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Monday, May 20
The Indiana Daily Student

arts music review

COLUMN: cleopatrick’s ‘DOOM’ briefly showcases a renewed and vital sound

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The fact that cleopatrick’s two members have been lifelong friends should come as no surprise. Their music is categorized by a persistent pushing of the sonic boundary, stretching the intensity of their sound to the limit while still grabbing the reins at the last moment, keeping it from toppling over the edge into chaos.  

Their newest release, “DOOM,” comes closer to this precipice than ever before, utilizing bold and unique production choices, allowing the music to walk the razor’s edge between dynamic and disorganized.  

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The EP comes out swinging with “ZUCK,” which paints the ills of social media. The band’s sonic evolutions are immediately apparent in this track. Drums and distorted electric guitar make up the backing instrumentals as is typical of the duo’s music, but they carry a new weight here, particularly with the drums. 

The kick drum feels enormous, thundering even over the strong guitar, snare and cymbals. The portions of the song that feature the kick and those that don’t feel like night and day, with the more intense chorus pounding like a heartbeat. 

The EP rushes along into “OK,” which similarly features the kick drum in the groove, albeit with a different, grittier sound. The guitar is more important to the texture this time, with the band using copious distortion to control the spatial feeling of the tune. 

For much of “OK”, the guitar is pounding away at low power chords, letting them ring through the timbre. In the sporadic moments when the guitar drops out or lays back, the track feels much more open, leaving the drums to carry the groove and occasionally using feedback to fill space. This variation provides a necessary break from the almost oppressively powerful sound of the rest of the song.  

“SCARING ME” slows down the tempo and opens with a soft acoustic guitar, the first variation from the electric guitar and drums formula. The electric enters alongside the acoustic in short order, but the decreased tempo and the continued use of an acoustic guitar make this tune a gentler entry. 

It’s also more complex in its instrumentation compared to the first two songs. The use of multiple guitars, as well as distorted background vocals, make the texture busier than is typical from cleopatrick, but it works well in this slower medium. 

This trend continues on title track “DOOM.” Similarly opening with acoustic guitar chords, “DOOM” chooses to keep the energy low throughout. Singer Luke Gruntz’s raspy tenor floats over these chords as occasional computerized blips fill out the texture. 

This song is easily the most disparate from cleopatrick’s typical sound. The softer arrangement is unusual but not unwarranted; the duo easily adapts their performing style to fit. Slight distortion roughens the vocal and guitar, keeping some of their signature grittiness through the ballad. 

The final track, “SERVERS SPEAK” is less of a song and more of a soundscape. Its less-than-two-minute runtime is filled with similar computer sounds as can be heard on “DOOM,” and there’s almost no melodic or harmonic content to speak of. 

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Through the most avant-garde of lenses, this could be considered a song, one without rhythm or structure, only vague collections of notes and beeps. By most standards, though, this is the kind of track one might see as an interlude in a longer work. To include it in this brief, five-song EP, particularly as the closing track, is questionable.  

With the exception of the experimental final song, “DOOM” is a brief taste of an exciting set of changes and developments in cleopatrick’s sound. Their increased vigor in instrumentation and production has yielded a set of energetic and potent music that puts cleopatrick’s promise on full display. “DOOM” will undoubtedly leave you wanting more. 

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