Review Summary: It's exactly what the album title says it is.
The name of an album is certainly one of the most important things the musician must come up with, for me at least. An album title can be a very powerful thing, giving the songs within it an aura and meaning, while also giving the listener a warning of what lies inside, and a central idea of what the artist is trying to express through the music. Unfortunately, this isn’t done all the time, but when done, and done right, it can be an incredible feat. “Jupiter” does this, and it does it exceptionally well. “Jupiter” is exactly what its massive title sounds like, foreign, distant, spacey and huge.
A drum roll commences the opening song, which also happens to be the title track. You are greeted right after that by a dangerous, yet adventurous sounding distorted guitar lead, rolling drums and an ever so frantic bass line. These first 30 seconds of the album take you to a place where an album with the name “Jupiter” should take you. Stephen Brodsky’s vocals chime in, allowing them to become known as a driving force throughout the album. His vocal ability is as outstanding as it is entrancing, and the title track makes a note of showing this, through the use of excessive vibrato and the use of his impressive range. Brodsky himself is the heart of the album, impressing at all times, whether it’s the high falsetto on “In the Stream of Commerce” or his violent screams on “Big Riff”. His vocals weave in and out flawlessly throughout the other instruments, playing alongside them, while at the same time working with them just as well.
Now it’s not that the other instruments aren’t enticing or interesting, in fact, a lot of the guitar parts are quite memorable, spacey in nature and full of energy. The drumming is tight and engrossing and the bass rarely falls short to its counterparts, the problem however lies within the vocals, which are far greater than the sum of its parts. “Decay of the Delay”, the instrumental track of the album is a good song, but is lacking when compared to the others, and I blame this for the absence of vocals. It’s a fine listen, and stays true to the whole spacey feel of the album, but proves that the band falls short without its eccentric front man, especially being placed right after the epic “Requiem”, which shows Brodsky’s vocals in full form. In this sense, it’s almost ironic in that the greatest strength of the album is also one of the weakest points of it, as the vocals constantly continue to outshine its companions.
Jupiter’s weaknesses are indeed shallow, but are also noticeable. Weaknesses aside, Cave In have truly crafted a force to be reckoned with, with one of the most appropriate titled album’s I’ve ever heard. What the band does best as a whole is create this refreshingingly beautiful sound, that also proves to be dark and uplifting. By the time the last track “New Moon” is over and “Jupiter” finishes, it becomes clear that you’ve seen the danger and survived the adventure that came along with what the title of the album warned you about. This is what makes it a remarkable experience and a rewarding listen to anyone who likes to think outside the box. Oh Jupiter, It’s been a ride, but I feel like I still hardly knew ye.