Cave In

Picture of Cave In

Until Your Heart Stops

Cave In - Until Your Heart Stops ©1998 Hydrahead
1. Moral Eclipse
2. Terminal Deity
3. Juggernaut
4. The End Of Our Rope Is A Noose
5. Segue 1
6. Until Your Heart Stops
7. Halo Of Flies
8. Bottom Feeder
9. Ebola
10. Controlled Mayhem Then Erupts

Cave In's second full length album is an ambitious endeavor that attempts to weave a single emo, ambient noise, psychedelic, noisecore tapestry.

They come away with the noisecore part, anyway. At its best, Until Your Heart Stops surges and twitches violently, not unlike other noisy luminaries that have collaborated with Boston's fine Hydrahead Records, a list including but not limited to Dillinger Escape Plan, Drowningman, Converge and Coalesce. Like their contemporaries, Cave In can stop on a dime and shower the listener in a shuddering, discordant maelstrom of sound. But unlike any other band I can think of, they have an odd composing quirk that involves leaving nary a song (or riff maybe, I didn't keep track!) without some strange harmonic bent; this includes the cool dual harmonic guitar leads in "Juggernaut" and "Terminal Deity", but the same type of harmony/discordance dynamic exists in just about every musical fold of this album. While many are quick to throw Cave In into the Dillinger column, Until Your Heart Stops is in fact more enjoyable and interesting than anything DEP have released; where Dillinger are technical and soulless, Cave In pepper their songs with melodic breaks and Steve Brodsky's screaming, stressed, and pleading vocals that often sound dangerously close to burning a hole in his throat. In that sense, they are closer to Converge's brand of emotionally-wrought noisecore, although more compelled to throw more 80s-style thrash metal riffing into the mix.

Yet, when Brodsky attempts to sing cleanly, things come apart just slightly. Cave In's strengths here lie in the actute, complicated instrumentation. Brodsky's "noisecore vocals" are quite effective, but he falters when attempting to inject melodic vocal parts into the songs. This is most evident in "The End of Our Rope is a Noose" and "Bottom Feeder", both of which have substantial clean-singing sections. His voice just waffles aimlessly, never grappling with an actual melody, seemingly tethered by a lack of confidence. It is not atrocious, or at all ruinous of the songs at large, but it's a bit like a useless, vestigial limb: bothersome, but nothing to get yourself in a twist over. Incidently, the operative word here might as well be "confidence", as only a year later on the phenomenal Jupiter Brodsky will opt to finally stop singing "like a monster" (his words) and proceeded to employ his voice beautifully and masterfully, strutting like a twenty-one record veteran with the enthusiasm that only a 21 year old has.

Noisecore is of course the axis upon which this operation spins, and fans of this genre will not be disappointed, even if the emo excursions as well as the lengthy sound effect sequences (while cool enough in a "like it once but does have to be wedged between actual songs?" kinda way) are mostly distracting. In this sense, Until Your Heart Stops is an unqualified success. About forty minutes of asskicking noisecore - but at this point the Radiohead comparisons that surround this album's press should be taken with a grain of salt, as Until Your Heart Stops era Cave In is still an angry, angry beast.

Review by Lee Steadham

Review date: 04/2001

Back to top 

Creative Eclipses

Cave In - Creative Eclipses ©1999 Hydrahead
1. Luminance
2. Sonata McGrath
3. Magnified
4. Burning Down The Billboards
5. Sonata Brodsky

The aptly titled Creative Eclipses was Cave In's 1999 gentle nudging into the band's current style. With their departure from their psychedelic, manic, raging hardcore of their first two full length releases, Cave In helped ease fans towards their new sound over the course of five brief tracks. Creative Eclipses offers a wide range of new stylings, from ambient soundscapes reminiscient of Brian Eno to a straight forward, driving cover of Failure's "Magnified". There's also a neo-folky acoustic song called "Burning Down the Billboards". What is heavily featured on Creative Eclipses is the band's developing skills in warping feedback and guitar effects into a truly unique appoach to guitar based music. The opening track "Luminance" shows off their ability to weave unusual sounds into a cohesive, enjoyable song that suggests psychedelic influence but stands completely outside of the usual connotations of that style. The final, lengthy ambient track, "Sonata Brodsky", closes out the EP with a transcendent trip that proves this band was always far more capable of things beyond angry hardcore.

Creative Eclipses is a very much required piece of the Cave In puzzle. Fans of Jupiter will most certainly be intrigued by the stepping stone process the band has undertaken during their evolution and fans of the earlier releases will also wish to start climbing the same peak Cave In has scaled.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/2002

Back to top 

Jupiter

Cave In - Jupiter ©2000 Hydrahead
1. Jupiter
2. In The Stream Of Commerce
3. Big Riff
4. Innuendo And Out The Other
5. Brain Candle
6. Requiem
7. Decay Of The Delay
8. New Moon

Normally I don't check out too many products from bands who are associated with the "hardcore" scene, but Cave In's Jupiter appeared on so many Top Ten lists for 2000 that curiosity warranted investigation. Coupled with a friend's recommendation based his knowledge of my preference for semi-proggy music, I finally got around to acquiring a copy of Jupiter to see what all the fuss was about. And yes, there certainly is something to the buzz about Cave In, because this record is downright interesting and unique, especially for a band who has had previous comparisons to Slayer.

In metal world terminology, Cave In has apparently done an Anathema or a Katatonia on their fans by moving far from their original roots to pursue a new musical vision. In Cave In's case, their music is a mix between guitar noise and experimentation, exotic eastern influences and riffing and dramatic singing that evokes comparisons to Thom Yorke of Radiohead. The type of production the album received has the tendency to hide certain elements and qualities that will require many listens to fully assimilate. The first listen to Jupiter might not fully impress a listener but each successive investigation will unleash new sounds and engulf the slowly enraptured listener. It might be the very simple but haunting lead guitar line in the aptly titled "Big Riff" or a vocal melody in another track, but something on the album will encourage another listen. The band has a very raw feel to what is an ambitious musical approach but it seems to enhance the experience. Many moods are displayed and captured with great ease throughout the album. Cave In apparently has little pretension involved with their music and that creates a much more honest record than technically talented wankers who are more interested in showing off their chops than writing meaningful songs.

While some of the comparisons to the likes of Katanonia and Anathema seem offbase in terms of sonic and musical styles, you can find analogous similarities. Jupiter can be seen the same as Anathema's Eternity or Katatonia's Discouraged Ones as a jumping point into a new approach to music. I get the impression that future releases from Cave In will be much more realized and far more impressive, but at the same time, Jupiter is growing into a new favorite and should be checked out by all.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 04/2001

Back to top 

Moons Of Jupiter

Cave In - Moons Of Jupiter ©2001 Magic Bullet
1. Jupiter (remix)
2. Big Riff (piano Version)
3. Innuendo And Out The Other (piano Version)
4. New Moon (piano)

Moons of Jupiter is a limited edition, bonus EP featuring some reworked version of Cave In's music. Considering the phenomenal achievement of Jupiter, the band's 2000 effort, hearing more material based on that work is indeed a treat. The first track is a remixed version of "Jupiter", which isn't considerably different than the original version, but does enhance the clarity of the individual instruments. The other three tracks feature vocalist/guitarist Stephen Brodsky crooning in front of piano revisiting three other tracks. Unlike the dense wall of guitar feedback and trickery featured on Jupiter, these sparse reinterpretations are haunting and quiet. At times Brodsky's vocals remind me of Julian Lennon, of all people. Regardless, the young man possesses the ability to appropriate use his vocals to push forth the song.

While this EP may be one of those things meant for the most dedicated of Cave In fans, it is a wonderful bonus to those who have discovered the brilliance of Cave In in the past year or two and is worth seeking out.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 07/2001

Back to top 

2 Song Single

Cave In - 2 Song Single ©2001 Hydrahead
1. Lost In The Air
2. Lift-off

Coming off the massive critical acclaim for Jupiter, Cave In has been touring quite a bit as well as releasing a couple items for ardent fans to devour. The first was the Moons of Jupiter EP, which found the band reworking several tracks from Jupiter. The second item of note is this untitled two song single featuring a couple new songs to tide over fans until the band records their debut album for RCA in 2002. Both songs are a bit less involved and complex than what was released on Jupiter, instead going for a bit more streamlined approach focusing on guitarist/singer Stephen Brodsky's ever improving vocals and melodies. Moreover, the intense guitar experimentation of Jupiter has been set aside to focus more on a unified song. This might put some off who preferred the unique stylings on Jupiter, but both of these songs are infectious and enjoyable all the same. Considering the members of this band are still in their early twenties, this band should be something incredible to watch as they get older and learn their potential more fully.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/2002

Back to top 

Tides Of Tomorrow

Cave In - Tides Of Tomorrow ©2002 Hydrahead
1. Come Into Your Own
2. Dark Driving
3. The Calypso
4. Tides Of Tomorrow
5. The Callus
6. Everest

By now, all those with at least one ear to the underground are aware of the story of Cave In. After shifting musical directions and releasing a critically acclaimed (and essentially very darned righteous) record with Jupiter, the four piece signed a major label deal with RCA. Whether or not this turns into a wise decision can only be told over time, but as a final gesture to their longtime label Hydrahead, Cave In has released one last EP for them.

Tides of Tomorrow is an instantly likeable six song collection. Much like last year's "Lost in the Air/Lift Off" single, these songs lean towards a more poppy, catchy style of music than the meandering complexities of Jupiter. For instance, the album opener, "Come Into Your Own", is possibly the catchiest thing the band has recorded to date. One gets the impression throughout the EP that the band chose to put out a final Hydrahead EP that was "easier" listening than what they plan to brew up for their RCA debut next year. Despite the constant presence of their well honed guitar noise and hijinks and the incredible percussion, these songs are so very straight forward. Essentially, this might be what you'd get plugging Cave In's experimental tendencies into a poppy rock format. The result is not the nearly uncontrolled experimentism of previous releases nor sappy and weak alt-rock pablum, but something deliciously in between. From light, summery tunes such as "The Calypso" to the contemplative, pensive overtones of "Everest", the album provides a good glimpse into Cave In's poppier side.

So in spite of knowing this isn't the best work Cave In is currently capable of (you know they're holding those cards until their RCA release, which is fair), Tides of Tomorrow is still a quite tasty little CD that is a very respectful and enjoyable farewell to Hydrahead. Moreover, despite wishing for a mind-warping album, this catchy little EP will not stay out of my CD player.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/2002

Back to top 

Antenna

Cave In - Antenna ©2003 RCA/BMG
1. Stained Silver
2. Inspire
3. Joy Opposites
4. Anchor
5. Beautiful Son
6. Seafrost
7. Rubber And Glue
8. Youth Overrided
9. Breath Of Water
10. Lost In The Air
11. Penny Racer
12. Woodwork

Having ridden the high tide of mass critical praise ever since 2000's Jupiter, Cave In has found themselves in an interesting position on a new label (a dreaded major, RCA) with a chance to see if the mainstream is ready to approach their slightly spacy rock stylings. No doubt any fans of the band's early hardcore sound have long since abandoned Cave In, but there are possibly thousands ready to take their place. Since 2000, Cave In has kept fairly busy with tours, a couple singles and a farewell EP for Hydrahead, their former label. However, Antenna is potentially a make-or-break release for the foursome.

The unique sound the band began to explore around Jupiter has been scaled back, leaving the band a little more earthbound. As the 2002 EP Tides of Tomorrow demonstrated, Cave In was leaning more towards a catchier, streamlined and poppier sound. Antenna only furthers this along. The band's array of feedback and guitar effects exploration is still evident, but considerably more restrained. Interestingly, despite having three years to come up with new material, Cave In resurrects "Stained Silver" (originally recorded around the same time as Jupiter) and reprises "Lost in the Air" from the 2001 single. Moreover, some of the improvisations the band recorded as The Sacrifice Poles makes appearances here and there (most notably in the intro passage to "Joy Opposites"). All in all, one gets the sense the band still isn't quite onto their ultimate sound. As musicians, these four young men only continue to improve at their skills. In particular, guitarist/singer Stephen Brodsky sounds considerably more confident in his delivery and sells the melodies like a man possessed. His continued growth as a vocalist is the key to future Cave In success.

On the downside, Antenna suffers from sounding a bit too conservative, knowing this band's ability to meander outside preconceived norms of alternative rock music. Worse yet, three songs during the first half of the CD are downright dreadful either in being far too plain or disturbingly sappy in sentiment ("Beautiful Son"). The CD picks back up around the floating and contemplative "Seafrost" and stays strong the rest of the way, but the first half may turn off a lot of listeners. Cave In is at their best when they are challenging themselves and their listeners and some of the moments on Antenna do nothing but sell the band short of their own talent and promise.

Despite disliking a portion of this CD, I've found myself listening to the stronger tracks over and over. When this band hits on all cylinders, they're an incredible, unmatchable act with great vision. Hopefully the major label jitters will play themselves out and this band will rise from this point. Cave In are far too talented to do anything less than stellar. Becoming just another artsy pop band would be an injustice.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/2003

Back to top