Fort Wayne musician Eric Frank stepped out from behind his drum kit with Heaven’s Gateway Drugs years ago and has since been honing his skills in the electronic/heavy synth project CloudMaker. 

CloudMaker has been a musical outlet and circuital experiment since 2019, when Frank released the first CloudMaker single, “Enough.” Since then, each release has been working towards the perfect musical symmetry between dance, pop, and industrial electronic music.

Diving into the world of analog synthesis is not simple. The instruments are moody and temperamental and often drop out of tune. So being a lone wolf in an analog synth project is like being in a band with other humans, except they don’t drink the last beer at practice. But over the course of four years and several releases, Frank feels he’s found the right balance in the work. Primal Unity is a showcase of the hard work that he’s put into the project.

If you’ve been following Frank’s journey as CloudMaker, you will hear a definitive evolution of sound when Primal Unity’s opening track “Father” starts playing. A driving, robotic rhythm comes in along with keys and guitar courtesy of Zach Smith of Swell Time, March On, Comrade, and many other projects. Frank’s vocals are low and gravelly, synthetic almost. It borrows more from ’80s industrial like Ministry and Godflesh than the more synth-pop sound from earlier releases. “Dead Again” is Gothic in nature, complete with Sinoia Caves synth touches and an ominous vocal that hangs in the air. “Content” has Nine Inch Nails vibes, courtesy of the arpeggiated synth line and more nuanced vocals. Think “Copy of a” from Hesitation Marks.

 “Feel” sounds like a crashing operating system before diving into a moody melody with touches of latter-era Depeche Mode. “Decay” melds bits of Makeup and Vanity Set, The Cure, and Joy Division into an epic and dramatic industrial banger. Title track “Primal Unity” closes out the album in big, melancholic, and monolithic tones.

Frank seems to have found that perfect balance between catchy pop hooks, danceable rhythms, and industrial heft while never falling too far into any one vibe. Primal Unity sounds like a new beginning for CloudMaker.