Cloud Rat Credit: John Cates

On Cloud Rat’s October compilation Silk Panic, vocalist Madison Marshall howls, “Sister wolf eats the throat of the jester / Here to fucking perform.” That line might make a fitting mission statement for the Michigan grindcore band, who have been crafting surrealistic political punk-grind for almost a decade—taking the nightmarish lyricism of Pig Destroyer and melding it with the fury born of living in a state that’s full of injustice. The band is not just ferociously articulate; they’re also inventive and unafraid to explore a vast number of styles. Silk Panic ends with gothy synth-pop jam “Amber Flush,” while their other recently released compilation, Clipped Beaks, ends with the 18-minute epic “Holding the Picture,” from their 2017 split with Tokyo-via-Chicago doom band Disrotted. To complement Disrotted, who are known for their lengthy songs, Cloud Rat eschewed their usual brevities, instead creating a dystopian sci-fi saga about a woman alone in a ruined world. According to a statement the band shared with Invisible Oranges, the piece is heavily influenced by Voyage of the Acolyte, the 1975 solo debut by Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett; 70s prog rock may be a surprising inspiration for a grindcore band, but they make it work. Regardless of where and when they’re set—be it present-day Detroit or the far future—Cloud Rat’s vivid portrayals of scorched earth linger far after their songs end.   v