Review Summary: Cave In’s return is a solid album that might just have a little something for everybody.
One thing I’ve noticed about Cave In over the years is that each time they release an EP, it’s usually a precursor for what’s to come. Creative Eclipses
gave out the warning that the metalcore sound was a thing of the past and paved the way for the progressive/spacey sounds of Jupiter
and Tides of Tomorrow
took that sound and combined it with an alternative rock style that was completely incorporated into the major label debut of Antenna
. Next, we have the molding of virtually all these sounds (minus the metalcore for more of a heavier rock sound) on Perfect Pitch Black
before the band decided to take a break. A few years later, Cave In releases Planets of Old
almost out of nowhere to let us know what’s happening next: Things are about to pick up and trust me, it’s an interesting ride.
is a huge mish-mash of genres and styles, even for Cave In, that harkens back to their metalcore days for the first half of the album, with energy and speed I didn’t know the band had in them, as well as bringing some rock, pop and progressive sounds towards the latter half. Planets of Old
gave us a small taste with "The Red Trail," but White Silence
takes it to a whole new level. Tracks like “Vicious Circles” and “Serpents” bring such intensity and ferocity, with fast pacing and demonic-like screams, they could knock the wind right out of you. Even though “Serpents” takes a little too long to get going and is a bit bare bones, it's still a blast to listen to. It plays out for almost a minute and a half before the vocals come in, and then all the instruments continue doing the exact same thing for the other minute and a half then the song is over. The title track is similar, also being a somewhat simplistic track. It starts out with a single guitar part and a repeated screamed lyrical passage for the first minute and a half, which then turns it over to the rest of the band for an instrumental ending. It’s a great setup to “Serpents,” but kind of feels like an intro/filler track, which isn't necessarily a good thing for an album that only has 9 songs.
“Sing My Loves” and “Centered,” unlike the previously mentioned tracks, bring a sing/scream combo to the album. “Sing My Loves” brings back memories of songs like “Cayman Tongue” and “Off to Ruin” from previous efforts, giving off a slower, but still heavy, and more methodical pacing, while “Centered” works like a frantic mess of a song that couldn’t have come out better. "Centered" makes use of triplet sections, time signature changes and sudden shifts between half time and double time to throw the listener every which way. It’s probably the closest thing older fans will have from the days of Until Your Heart Stops
. “Sing My Loves” goes on a little too long for me though. It introduces a new section around the 4 minute mark and just repeats itself until the song is over, hitting in at 8 minutes. This section gets a little old after the first 2 minutes and nothing new is introduced, vocally or instrumentally. After all this is said and done, the album kicks into another gear entirely. It’s a sudden move and could turn some people away if they got a little too comfortable with the first half.
“Summit Fever” starts our journey into the last 4 tracks, which has a more alternative rock styling to it. It reminds me of “The World is in Your Way” from Perfect Pitch Black
, minus the screaming vocals. It has these kinds of goofy guitar parts that make use of a lot of bends that can be found on several of their older albums and EPs. “Reanimation” is a beautifully done slow song with very soft vocals, simple instrument parts, and almost a lullaby feel to it. It works very well and is a nice way to finish the album.
Last we have the two oddballs of the group. After listening to most of the music these guys have put out over the years, I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever heard them try anything like this before. “Heartbreaks, Earthquakes” gives off a feeling of the progressive/space rock sounds of Jupiter
, but still feels like new territory for the band. It’s pretty mellow throughout the whole song, but when the drums and the bass kick in it gives it this driving force feeling while the guitars keep to their simple chord progression. It’s a very interesting, almost clashing songwriting approach that ends up working out pretty well. “Iron Decibels” kicks “Heartbreaks” to the curb for weirdness though, which sounds nothing like Cave In, vocally or instrumentally. “Decibels” gives off this funky style with the odd strumming pattern of the guitars and the even stranger vocal lines that flow throughout. It’s a good song, but it sticks out something fierce over the rest of the album.
If there’s one thing I can say about White Silence
, it has a very small amount of continuity. Instead of just genre hopping from album to album, Cave In decided to do it within the same one. As individual songs they are all very strong tracks, aside the few minor complaints I made above, but on the other hand, when I look at this as a whole I can’t really say the same. Depending on the listener, this can be a good or a bad thing. I enjoy it, but sometimes the transitions from song to song are a bit jarring and damage the experience if you are going listening to the album straight through. At any rate, Cave In has treated us with more successful attempts at combing previous sounds and even introduced us to some new territory. Who knows what the future holds for such a fascinating band? I, for one, am just glad to have them back and writing new music.