Review Summary: 2016 has arrived but Cauldron have brought the past with them.
While other bands rush to catch up with modernity in terms of technological advances and newborn subgenres (Djent, melodic/post-[insert genre here] and metalcore etc ) in order to remain significant, Cauldron refuses to grow up and instead drags the past along with them through a new age of heavy metal. Whether it was to do with the death of Lemmy or another force at large, something has signalled the beginning of a new era for the metal genre; and this Canadian trio don’t seem too keen to get with the program.
One of the best things about “In Ruin”-or even the band in general -is that their music is so undemanding to listen to. What they lack is actually their biggest asset. They do not have the thought provoking lyrics of Steven Wilson nor the bravado of Motley Crue or even comparable talent to Iron Maiden. Instead they offer a relaxed and mellow listening trip where you don’t have to concentrate to enjoy it. Take ‘Burning At Both Ends’ and ‘No Return/ In Ruin’ for example, they both feature about 3 retro riffs, a standard NWOBHM gallop and a catchy chorus. Now you may think “oh that sounds boring though” but in a world where more bands are judged on technicality, a touch of simplicity is what we need.
An extra perk to this minimalistic approach is that any extra ingredient Cauldron stir into the songs’ sparks even more attention. Little guitar licks and shifting dynamics from Ian Chains in ‘Empress’ add an extra layer of vivacity to the music and his solos in the same song somehow manage to lead you on a nostalgia trip back to the ‘80s or evoke a dream to the same setting. Jason Decay also shows off his bass with a nippy groove in ‘Santa Mira’ as well as singing in the darkest tone he has ever undertook during ‘Come Not Here’. The instrumental ‘Delusive Serenade’ draws the most interest on this album and not because it’s an instrumental, but more because of how it is executed. Though this is clearly a recycled product of Metallica’s ‘Orion’ or ‘Call of Chtulu’, it is performed with clarity and portrays varying emotions from mourning to merriness- which is pretty deep for Cauldron.
While these nine songs are purposefully composed with straightforwardness in mind, you cannot dismiss the fact that the majority of “In Ruin” features the same song structures as they have always followed. The four year gap between “In Ruin” and 2012’s “Tommorw’s Lost” does also seem peculiarly evident. Consequently, ‘Outrance’ and ‘Hold Your Fire’ are really the only songs that are instinctively animated which is disappointing considering Cauldron symbolise a period in heavy music that was bursting full of life.
Just like the band themselves, the power of simplicity in the modern age of music has been overlooked in metal by people who forget that it was only 1 chord (on a certain debut album from a certain band) which ignited not just a music genre, but a way of life. And with new albums from bands such as Megadeth, Anthrax, Metal Church and Diamond Head arriving this year it’s safe to say that while the world of heavy metal must spin on and adapt, there are some bands who will not forget their heredity just so easily.