Review Summary: Elitist may not be introducing any new fans to metalcore, but they sure as hell impress the existing ones.
As someone whose musical interests dwell mostly within the realm of metalcore, I often get asked how I can listen to such generic music. My only response is that while it's true metalcore is one of the less expansive genres, it's not to say there isn't variance. For the discerning listener, the differences between your average djenty chug-fest and an actually impressive addition to the genre lie very much in the slightest of details. Furthermore, what's absent in a band's sound can often be just as indicative as what's present.
Elitist is one such case. Caves
, their debut EP, has all the fan-favorite elements of a sound metalcore band without any of the superfluous gimmicks that demagogues tend to decry. The album exudes technical prowess, and while the melodic riffs and meaty chugs employed here may be nothing earth-shatteringly new to the crowded Southern California scene, they manage to distinguish themselves, not through cheesy lines that beg to adorn the back of a t-shirt, but with solid musicianship and tasteful execution.
Rather than dwell and abuse any single breakdown or melody, Caves
offers a dynamic and much more cohesive sound than its less talented competition. Tempos come and go with slower intros giving way to frenetic djent bridges accompanied by atmospheric but rarely overbearing clean riffage. In establishing themselves as a solid contender, a noteworthy aspect is the sheer volume of variation in Elitist's music. Where a lesser band would fall to temptation and recycle previously exhausted riffs, Elitist instead transitions into new material. No single song is dominated by any one element; the breakdowns are present, but never linger, and the chug-riff dichotomy never drags on long enough to become monotonous.
One of the few pitfalls in this otherwise outstanding work is the lack of anything exceptional. Although decidedly not for lack of ability, Elitist avoids employing any completely fresh elements. In this sense, their refusal to put any gimmicky lines or riffs keeps them from bringing anything fresh to metalcore, which is a much better alternative anyways (no wistful clean vocals or witty movie clips here, sorry TDWP fans). While noticeable similarities to bands like August Burns Red are present, Caves
remains a promising start that clearly displays the level of musicianship and creativity needed for a band to distinguish themselves.