Review: Full Earth ‘Cloud Sculptors’

From the frozen swaths of Norway emerges Full Earth’s Cloud Sculptors and their utterly dizzying barrage of synth and keyboard laden musicality. I’ve always marveled at multi-instrumentalists and their ability to shift gears, and literal gear, but the proficiency these five fellows have in the standard ‘rock’ formula with a swirling counter mass of keyboards is quite something to behold. Brought to us courtesy of Stickman Records, the band’s debut indeed sculpts a restless juggernaut of psychedelic and heavy accents that makes for an ambitiously impressive project.

Full Earth 'Cloud Sculptors' Artwork
Full Earth ‘Cloud Sculptors’ Artwork

The opening, and aptly titled, Full Earth Part II: Emanation is sure to appeal to fans of Elder and Gaffa Ghandi’s recent output as it has a similar intertwined sonic network of snaking melodies and off kilter percussive changes. The band’s numerous keys and synths succeed in making a heavenly choir in their own right, and it can sometimes be difficult to discern if you’re listening to guitars or keyboards. Halfway through the twenty-plus minute track, things take a punky stoner turn with more aggressive drumming before returning the aural dazzle. It’s hard to emphasize how much is going on with this song.

Not to be outdone, the title track Cloud Sculptors begins with a very ‘70s British prog vibe with folky flute that eventually accelerates into a somewhat Mastodon or Baroness-like style. One cannot help but be impressed with how Full Earth does not treat the non-stringed instruments as flourishes at best or gimmicks at worst. They fully flesh out every instrumental attack that they have at their arsenal. In particular, band leader and drummer Ingvald Vassbø ferociously commands the kit just as well as he does in his other act, Kanaan.

a riveting masterwork of heavy psychedelic composition…

The ominous Weltgeist feels like the soundtrack of a dystopian ‘70s science fiction film, while the ever-building King Crimson energy of The Collective Unconscious eventually gives way to a cacophonous planetary crash landing of a close. The final track Full Earth Part II: Disintegration has the band firing on all cylinders with everything at their disposal.

Cloud Sculptors has to be one of the most musically dense works I’ve heard since Longheads’ 2022 opus Mars Doesn’t Feel Like Home Anymore. I felt somewhat drained by the end of its near 90-minute runtime, but in the best way possible. This is a riveting masterwork of heavy psychedelic composition perfect for those who wish to keep their heads in the clouds.

Label: Stickman Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram

Scribed by: Rob Walsh