The most noticeable thing about Fade upon first listen is the presence of distorted guitars, which announce a turn from the post-rock, folkish direciton of last year's Let Yourself Be Huge to the more metal and hard-rock oriented sound of Beacons and The Discovery. Fade, however, is not the same nonstop thrill ride that Beacons is. Whereas the latter is intense and turbulent, Fade sounds more relaxed and constant. The fast-paced clamor that characterizes songs like "Here, wait a minute! Damn it!" mostly gives way to heavy, melodic drone, like that featured on one of my favorite songs from Fade, "Seattle"; or else uplifting, U2-esque soundscaping guitars, like those heard on "LA After Rain", another favorite.
Like Beacons, Fade is a very consistent album that is sequenced very well. The songs work in a cyclical way, so that if you're listening casually you might not notice when one song has ended and another's begun. Still, sections of some songs tend to drag, and it is overall not as good as some of Cloudkicker's previous work. And while almost all of the songs on the record morph into something great, a few, like "The Focus" and "Making Will Mad" begin with rarely generic rocking. Though Fade is exceptional, it doesn't dethrone Beacons as Cloudkicker's crowning achievement.
Still, any fan of any type of rock or metal oriented music at all would be doing themselves a disservice by not giving Cloudkicker a try. You can name your price for the album at the Cloudkicker's bandcamp, here. And, while you're there, you might as well pick-up Beacons and everything else on his page if you haven't already.
Here's to much more quality music from Cloudkicker in the future!