Cave In

White Silence

Written by: PP on 28/07/2011 06:43:36

Cave In were a dominant force in the late 90s and the first half of the 2000s where they released a number of critically acclaimed efforts, all of which saw the band explore a slightly different musical style. Debut full length "Until Your Heart Stops" was a furious metalcore album, one of the pioneering releases in the genre, which essentially combined together hardcore, metal, and a number of subgenres from both to form something unique. Then "Jupiter", hailed by many as one of the best albums of the 2000s, took the band into a more progressive and smoother direction, which inevitably lead into a major label deal and the release of "Antenna", where the band shifted their sound significantly towards space rock and alternative rock, while retaining some of the hardcore base of their roots in the sound nonetheless. "Perfect Pitch Black" followed, but it was too heavy for the major labels once again so the band re-signed with Hydra Head Records, before going on hiatus in 2006.

Now, a brief history lesson and a lengthy introduction to Cave In is necessary to understand where the band is coming from on their reunion album "White Silence", because it's essentially an album that explores their entire stylistic repertoire in a number of interesting ways. The first couple of tracks, for instance, will inevitably feel anonymous to the "Antenna"-era fan such as myself, given their Converge-inspired pounding mix of hardcore, metal, and even grindcore in places, but simultaneously are a return to the claustrophobic fury of their debut album. Then comes an eight minute progressive piece, "Sing My Loves", which recalls the lengthy structures of "Jupiter", but with an alternative metal lean to it (think Deftones especially towards the second half of the song) thanks to some prolonged clean wails and effect-laden guitar work.

"Vicious Circles" and "Centered" then return to the hardcore punk meets experimentalist metal and a ton of distorted feedback and dissonance, but yet retain just enough melody to matter. However, the album's real masterpieces lie within the last three tracks, and in especially "Summit Fever", which successfully combines the droning heaviness and instrumental depth of "Jupiter"-era with "Antenna"s alternative rock, clean vocals and an element of catchy that simply doesn't exist in the pedal-to-the-floor tracks. "Heartbreaks, Earthquakes" takes the style even further, pushing the band into something I'd describe as a metal version of Portugal. The Man.

Overall, however, it's difficult to shake off the feeling that we've heard Cave In sound much, much better in the past. Whether it's the furious metalcore pioneer stuff you're into or the catchy space rock, "White Silence" feels like a nostalgic nod towards each of the different types of Cave In sound without really succeeding in any of them fully, aside from "Summit Fever". It lacks cohesion, but more importantly, it's missing great songs.

Download: Summit Fever, Vicious Circles, Sing My Loves
For the fans of: Old Man Gloom, Zozobra, Failure,
Listen: Myspace

Release date 24.05.2011
Hydra Head

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