Review Summary: Slow is just an illusion.
Fire In The Cave is a Florida based post-metal band who take a page out of the book from Isis. That is not to say that they are by any means a clone, utilizing their genre defined expectations as a cornerstone: Fire In The Cave branches out from their peers with their own fresh identity. As to be expected from a post-metal band the atmosphere is grand and winding. At base level you will often find yourself sludgy riffs slowly moving along as the songs build upon their size. Above that level however there is much more going on, there is a fair bit of experimentation to be found on this band’s debut EP and it pays off.
Above the sludgy grind you will be able to pick out styling ranging from metallic hardcore to black metal. Heart-wrenching, twinkly lines cascade over the sludge as the drums slowly creep and pound the emotional layers across it efficiently, without letting up. The levels of texture to be found throughout the song structures add a great amount of variety to the songs without making them sound too long or slow like sludge would have you believe they should be. Solos are present on this album as well making appearances in both songs often delivered in noodly stretches as the crunching madness continues at the level underneath while the energetic solos and the atmosphere remain completely intact. Delivering both solos and faster paced hardcore guitar lines above the slower layer on paper sounds potentially disastrous however it all comes together beautifully. The slow movements act almost as if the mood setter and the differentiating riffs act as the progression and story as the release unfolds.
As the atmosphere, the vocals are great as well and fitting for the songs. At first I was reluctant of a thick metalcore styled vocals over this kind of instrumentation however their sheer force and production allow them to fit nicely into the puzzle. The vocals come as loud and feel as if they swallow around the instrumentation, not overtake it, but swoop over and elevate. The vocals themselves don’t have much variation throughout they are consistently dense, low, false chord shouts with the occasional layered scream thrown in here and there. It doesn’t turn out to be too much of a bother because the instrumentation and delivery work in unison to make the vocals sound affective and fitting to whatever the emotion may be in their support.
Although the first track is by no means bad the second track of the two tracks: ‘Aeden Carr’ is where the band really shines. The song structure adheres much more to a crescendo configuration presented in an interesting way. The sludge this time around takes the front stage in thick and heavy layers slowly building in tension. Partway through the song the heaviness just disburses into a quick shredding black metal riff that is quite satisfying. Black metal isn’t very prominent throughout the album instrumentation wise but the atmosphere is very brooding and undeniably reminiscent of what you could expect to find on a black metal release.
Riffs, so many riffs, big riffs, little riffs, whatever riffs! There are various riffs on this album that not only suit the atmosphere but prove to be rather memorable. The guitar work is excellent and a definite highlight of the band. Although at some moments particular sections can appear disjointed which takes away from the atmosphere, the overall package is very sufficient and leaves this ep being one of the best metal releases of 2012 thus far.