Review Summary: The debut album from Cave In is different than anything else they have ever done. Originality is shown throughout but many of the heavier sections just become a chore to listen to.
A musical metamorphosis if there ever was one, Cave In has certainly turned their back on the hardcore and metal roots that they once possessed and traded them in for an atmospheric rock sound with the release of Jupiter
. The only remaining trait of Cave In's early sound is the spacey effects and moods that made them stand out from many other acts. Possible reasons for the change could easily be wanting to become accessible to a wider audience, to make more money and all the other added perks of "selling out". Strangely, however, in my years of listening to Cave In I have yet to find a single person who believes that this band has "sold out". Cave In were still able to advance their musicianship and songwriting ability despite the evolution and so "selling out" never came into question. The shift from Until Your Heart Stops
was masterfully and tastefully done even though I could barely tell that it was same band with the exact same members. For this daunting task and refusal to stay the same, Cave In should be praised.
A look back at their first full length, Until Your Heart Stops
was a collection songs from splits and 7"s I believe) it is obvious that the band was still trying to find their definite sound. The album feels very underdeveloped compared to Cave In's later albums. The first time I listened to Until Your Heart Stops
I was confused to the direction the band was trying to take with their songs and for the life of me, I still can't find one.While the technical ability of all the musicians is fantastic, the songwriting is premature and is forced to take a back seat. I noticed that throughout this album that some of the sections felt like they were just placed in there just for the song to seem different, cut and paste feeling if you will. Even if some passages sounded like they were forced into the songs, they surely were an interesting listen, they just weren't executed as well as in later albums such as Jupiter
. I can somewhat see the qualities that constitutes Until Your Heart Stops
as being a classic such as the undoubted creativity in the generic realm of hardcore/metalcore, but creative music doesn't have to be good, it is just means that they are different.
Listening to the first ten seconds of 'Moral Eclipse' made me realize that, like their fellow Bostonians, Converge, these boys listened to Slayer, and it shows. This blunt influence doesn't translate that well into Cave In's sound as well as you would hope or think. This contributes to the faulty songwriting found on the album. As I said before, Until Your Heart Stops
contains a cut and paste feel found on most of the tracks with no real transitions. Generic metal riffs and breakdowns are the basis for songs such as 'Terminal Deity' with the intriguing spacey passages that Cave In has become known and loved for that are few and far in between. 'Halo of Flies' follows a similar pattern to that of 'Terminal Deity' but with a sludgier sound. Crazy sounding phaser effects on the cymbals shows the bands excellent utilization of effects, something Cave In has always been good at. The songs suddenly shifts between a Jupiter
-esque section with Brodsky's smooth vocals and a metal onslaught with his not so smooth screaming. 'Ebola', like most of the songs, doesn't offer an exciting experience. The math-core approach to the song becomes slightly boring despite it's best efforts. The only worthwhile section of the song is a passage that resembles a daydream with the loftiness that accompanies it. But as the rest of the album is a sure indicator, all good things must come to an abrupt end. Ruining what 'Ebola' had going for itself, chugging progressions and more mathy riffs make you snap out of the dreamy trance. More of the same follow with 'Controlled Mayhem Then Erupts' but this track drags on way too long, to a staggering fourteen minutes but nine minutes of that is ambient noises that give way to machine-like samples.
The best tracks Until Your Heart Stops
has to offer all fall in the same spot on the album. Being a favorite among Cave In fans, 'Juggernaut' was the track I was looking forward to the most while listening to the record. Unlike most of the tracks on Until Your Heart Stops
, 'Juggernaut' is actually a song I can listen to over and over again without wanting to smash my speakers. So basically, the mosh is minimal. Featuring trippy staccato guitar work and reverberant vocals, this track is surely a recommended one. 'The End of Our Rope Is a Noose' is like 'Juggernaut' in the way that it relies more on neat effects and songwriting then typical metalcore breakdowns and riffs. Cave In are able to keep the originality flowing until the end of the eight minute song. The only instrumental on the album 'Segue 1', is without a single doubt in my mind the best track on the entire album and is also the shortest, crazy world isn't it? Again the dreamy soundscapes are the main component of the fantastic song that feature jaunty bass work that feel right at home with the rest of the band.
A mediocre debut from a wonderful band. There is nothing wrong with that. Can you expect a band to come into its own on their first attempt to compose an original album? Certainly not. It is obvious that I don't enjoy this album very much, save a few tracks, but I believe that Until Your Heart Stops
was an essential release for Cave In. Not only does it make their change in sounds more unique and spectacular, but this album also laid the groundwork for Cave Ins masterpiece, Jupiter
and the following albums. Tight musicianship and originality are the only thing from keeping Until Your Heart Stops
from drowning really. When heavy riffs and breakdowns are being played, I can't help but to feel underwhelmed. Until Your Heart Stops
is a very interesting listen for fans of Cave In to see where they came from. Maybe you might find some "classic" in this but I sure as hell didn't.