With the release of CLERIC‘s Retrocausal coming up this Friday, December 8th, Metal Injection has launched a stream of the full album. Listen to the “sprawling avant-garde metal masterpiece,” HERE. The Philly quartet’s first new full-length in seven years, Retrocausal will be released on Web of Mimicry, the label owned by Trey Spruance of Mr. Bungle and Secret Chiefs 3!
Founded in Philly in 2003, Cleric resides in the circle of bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan and Car Bomb – elite musicians playing avant-metal that wows on both a cerebral level and a gut level. Cleric’s brand of metal is marked by dark, cinematic atmospheres and free jazz-informed forays, bursting through a base of highly technical, mathy shred. As a review in Chicago Reader phrased it, the sound is “a kind of metal, the way [David Lynch’s] Lost Highway is a kind of movie. It’s an elastic tissue of creepy electronic noise and barely-human screaming, impregnated with patches of riff-salad grind and hypercube mathcore.”
On Retrocausal, Cleric has pushed its style to new heights. Meshuggah-esque hypnosis, doomful synths, spastic skronking, and blastbeats weave together into highly unpredictable, kitchen-sink epics, many surpassing the 9-minute mark. An ominous vibe, straight off a movie screen, underlies everything; lurking in the shadows are mysterious samples and field recordings evoking deep sea and outer space.
None other than John Zorn is a fan and collaborator who lent his talents to Retrocausal. Elder statesman of musical freedom, a man whose massive body of work incorporates jazz, classical, metal, klezmer, film scores, and more, Zorn guests on Retrocausal’s closer, “Grey Lodge.” Cleric’s relationship with Zorn began in 2013 when he invited the band to work with him on his ongoing Masada project, and continued with his tapping guitarist Matt Hollenberg to join his band Simulacrum (along with John Medeski of Medeski, Martin, and Wood).
In addition to Zorn, Retrocausal features guest appearances by Mick Barr (Krallice, Orthrelm, Ocrilim) and Timba Harris (Secret Chiefs 3).
A concept album, Retrocausal is an adventure story set in a dystopian future. Cleric vocalist/keyboardist Nick Shellenberger explains: “Lyrically, Retrocausal opens a window into a bleak sci-fi landscape plagued by environmental fallout, in which corrupt governments send their citizens to die, and centers around one submarine crew that learns of their intended fate and chooses to pursue the beyond, despite the terrors that await. Told from different perspectives throughout the record, it’s a story of hope, fear, uncertainty, and constant struggle in the face of failure and death, and in search of something that may never be.”
The album was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Colin Marston (Gorguts, Dysrhythmia) at The Thousand Caves in Queens, New York.
“Sprawling avant-garde metal masterpiece… Cleric is one of the most unique and brilliant modern metal bands around… One of the most insane and epic metal albums I’ve ever heard.”
“Total, blissful sensory overload. Like staring into the sun… for your ears.”
“A dense cacophony of death/grind with the incredible stamina of doom and, stunningly, all the same Web of Mimicry freakery exhibited by the label’s other fare, but drenched in the raging napalm fires of the heaviest guitar music ever made…”