Review Summary: Cave In reveal themselves from the depth of Hardcore Punk to create a progressive rock classic.
In the sleeve notes of this CD, Cave In's thanks go to bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge and Snapcase, bands well known for their walls of harsh sound. You would be forgiven for thinking that Cave In is just another hardcore band from Massachusetts. But upon placing the CD in the tray, you hear nothing of their influences. This CD has quite a unique vibe, not least from the guitar effects, cover art and the title itself, Jupiter.
The band has two very obvious assets in the form of their singer, Stephen Brodsky and their drummer, John Robert-Connors. Stephen’s voice could be compared to the likes of Jeff Buckley with the highs and lows that he can reach. One minute he is singing notes that I’m sure most grown men would struggle to reach (In The Stream Of Commerce) and the next minute he is growling away in the fashion of most metal vocalists (Big Riff). Given the fact that he also plays guitar on this release, his vocal range is a considerable feat. Robert-Connor’s drumming is also strong, thundering down the lines with a very basic feel. He drums powerfully, so that he is always audible but never overpowers the other instruments.
No messing around here, a quick fast drumroll from Robert-Connors and we’re in. The rolls are repeated throughout the intro at reasonable intervals, accompanying the reasonably heavy guitars. The vocals enter fairly soon, accompanied simply by drums and bass and at the chorus we get the first batch of “Space Guitar”, in quickly ascending notes. Brodsky’s voice soars high all the way through the song, and he gathers momentum and power in the closing stages of the song, at which it comes to an abrupt end. A good opener, but still lots of room for improvement.
2. In The Stream Of Commerce
Straight off with the Space Guitars here, reaching high wavering notes that all seem to run into each other. Within twenty seconds, we have seen the higher reaches of Brodsky’s range and it only gets higher in the following stages of the song. The drumming is slow and relatively weak, until the chorus where two huge blasts on the snare bring the rest of the band to an equal level of power. Things slow down towards the end where Brodsky finishes on yet another high note that gently fades away. An excellent track, but can they keep up this momentum?
3. Big Riff
Yes, yes they can. As the name suggests, the riff for this song is fat and loud. Although it is comprised of about 5 different notes, it is a fantastic intro, especially after In The Stream Of Commerce. The song slows down considerably at about the one minute with a constant rhythm section and some great guitar. The main riff comes in again with some powerfully sung vocals which are quickly followed by Brodsky positively roaring the line ‘You’re just a coat of red in hell’. Unfortunately you can hear him straining to hit those and it is obviously not his forte, but that just merely adds to the effect of the music. The song continues in this fashion until the first guitar solo of the whole record. It is once again the effects and distortion that raise this guitar passage. While not being technical, it is still a very effective section. The song ends with Mr. Brodsky’s voice finally breaking, due to some very resonant vocals. Yet another fantastic track and a definite competitor for ‘Best Song’.
4. Innuendo And Out The Other
With this song, we are given an opportunity to give our ears a break, but that doesn’t mean that this is a mediocre track. The prevailing mood of this song is one of loneliness. This is apparent from the opening guitar, a single lead. This mood is strengthened by the first lyric, ‘Write a letter to yourself about yourself’. The vocals seem much more distant on this track, again adding to the feelings of being alone and distant. The vocals once again hit the mark, going from soft moments to reasonably aggressive ones almost instantly. The drumming is also top-notch once again, providing a thunderous rhythm backbone the entire length of the track. A softer track, but just as loveable as the others.
5. Brain Candle
A short hard rocker for you now. The whammied single guitar lead almost sounds like bells until the intro starts properly, where the rest of the band kicks in. This section is short, heavy and to the point. The ‘bell guitar’ continues in the background but nowhere near as audible as it was before. Brodsky’s voice kicks in with some great guitar accompaniment which basically carries on down the whole track, with some occasional main riffs from time to time. All in all a good track, but not up to the standard they set themselves.
Jupiter’s epic. Clocking in at just over 9 minutes, the casual listener might be intimidated from it. But what would the casual listener be doing with this CD anyway? This song starts with some softly sung lines accompanied by some softly strummed guitar. The song slowly gains in power for a few minutes. Until the line ‘Do you feel it’s true/ That you’re always doomed’, where a comfortable level seems to be reached with no changes in rhythm or tempo. This continues onto the 4 minute mark, where everything slows down drastically. The vocals distance themselves once again. The song then slows down even further until the band kicks in again at the 6 minute mark with some steady strumming and drumming. The tempo then increases with some appropriately powerful singing and guitars. The tempo continues increasing with the added benefit of snare blasts until the song slowly and calmly fades out once more. An absolutely tremendous song. If you can only listen to one song of this record, I would most highly recommend this one.
7. Decay Of The Delay
An instrumental track. It fits in very well after Requiem. Although it is basically the same guitar line repeated over and over again with little variation, it is still an interesting listen. This is mainly due to the fact that they take things in and out to avoid stagnation. Things like UFO noises, radio static and plenty of other synthesised noises. A good follow up to Requiem but not really worthy of being a stand alone track.
8. New Moon
A perfect ending track. The song starts off with some sweetly sung vocals over some acoustic guitar. The drums come at an irregular pace which seems to almost upset the whole song. Things are continued in this fashion, until it is just the bass guitar left, strumming the same 3 notes, where the album seems fit to end. But out of nowhere a huge wall of noise with all the musicians giving everything they’ve got. The song finishes with a brief guitar solo and then it slowly fades out and so ends Jupiter.
So there ends a fantastic progressive rock classic. The only gripe I have with this album is that the guitar isn't quite as technical as it should be, but apart from that, nothing wrong at all. I would urge anyone who likes any kind of rock music, be it punk, hardcore or metal, to buy this album, no matter the price. You won't regret it.
Also this is my first review, so any feedback would be greatly appreciated.