Review Summary: While it's true that Cave In have made their triumphant return, "White Silence" feels as though they never left us to begin with...
Back in 2009, at the release of Planets of Old
, Cave In crawled out from whence the hid, and showed the world that they had not yet expired. Fast, intense, and full of bruising riffs and crushing melodies, the brief EP saw a return to the Cave In of old, circa Until Your Heart Stops
. More importantly, however, it depicted a band that had not yet lost their touch, even after a few years respite. The thing to note here is that Cave In, while having “returned,” does not sound like a band that even left to begin with. White Silence
, their first record in almost six years, picks up where the band left off, melding everything they have ever been throughout their careers, whilst sounding like nothing they have ever done before.
is the follow up to their 2005 effort Perfect Pitch Black
, an album full of pent up anger at their label, RCA Recordings. Having returned to their roots with the album, Cave In presented RCA with several demos, of which were shot down, which eventually led to the label dropping the band in 2004. These demos went on to become their fourth record, but this time on Hydra Head Records. White Silence
somewhat follows this album, in that it incorporates their heavier pre-Jupiter
sound, as well as their more alternative/progressive side. However, comparing the two is a bit of a stretch, as White Silence
is the band’s most experimental album to date, sounding like a logical progression from Planets of Old
, as well as a minor revisit of their more spaced out middle era recordings.
Regardless of where it falls in comparison to the Cave In “canon,” White Silence
manages to be one hell of an album, and a new standard for the band. They’ve crafted a record that literally defies “genrefication” as well as any sort of definition, floating somewhere within the realms of post-hardcore, metalcore, alternative-rock, and sludge. Each track paints its own sonic landscape, never sounding akin to the song before or after it. This is thanks in large part to the line-up, who manage to impress at just about every turn. Most impressive are the vocals, of which are the absolute best on any Cave In record to date. Stephen Brodsky, Caleb Scofield, and Adam McGrath all contribute to vocal duties, but it’s Scofield that truly steals the show. Deep, throaty, and menacing, Scofield is quite a force to be reckoned with behind the mic. The rest of the crew, while not over coming feats of mind bending technicality, impress with creative stylistic changes and off-the-wall combinations of influences. You’ll hear breakdowns alongside southern style riffs, all tied together with a sludgy, dark chug. Cave In have always been a band to keep the listener on their toes, and White Silence
is no different.
The album opens up with an eponymous track, filled with static, ominous vocals, and murky guitar. It’s an intro of sorts, leading into the explosive “Serpents.” It’s with this track that their “return to form” becomes readily apparent, as a frenzied and upbeat drum segment gives way to a rapid guitar interlude. Scofield comes in with his wallow and the song’s intensity never lets up. It’s about as close to Until Your Heart Stops
as the album gets, for “Sing My Loves” comes in and dismantles all pre-conceived ideas of what White Silence
will be. “Sing My Loves” is destined to be the band’s anthem, a sprawling song that perfectly captures their new direction, all while being particularly engrossing. It’s also destined to be the song fans will talk about for years to come. At eight minutes in length, it’s by far the longest track, featuring several shifts in tone, dynamics, and atmosphere. It’s a sludgy, thoughtful tune that sees strong vocal interplays and rather beautiful guitar work. The slower pace and the considerable girth would have been better suited as a middle-of-the-album anchor, but it does little to detract from the piece.
The rest of the album sees Cave In letting loose, mixing intense, heavy tunes, with frenzied balls-to-the-wall enjoyable songs. “Vicious Circles” and “Centered” come in at full force. With guns blazing the two songs speed through the album’s midsection, all whilst being wholly unpredictable. “Summit Fever” slows things down a bit, feeling more methodical and melodic, yet still uncompromisingly heavy. “Heartbreaks, Earthquakes” reeks of 70’s cheese annealed with a Pink Floyd flair, but Cave In contort it enough to make it completely captivating. The acoustic closer, “Reanimation,” is the most minimal, subtle piece on the entire record, but is absolutely the best possible way to end the record. With a climatic explosion, the album fades to its conclusion, and ultimately, ends on a fascinatingly beautiful note.
is a stunning return for Cave In, and should without a doubt stand tall next to their very best works. This is the album Cave In needed
to make; proof that they’ve never really left us, and a shinning beacon of what is hopefully a start of what is to come.