Cave In
Final Transmission


3.7
great

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
June 12th, 2019 | 99 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Cave In sing their loves.

I've always gone to metalcore like an adrenaline junkie chasing a rush. Nothing beats the thrill when a band shies away from the generic half-time breakdown to deliver something uniquely crushing instead. Or when they truly click as a family, with that lived-in ease that only comes from writing, sweating and breathing stale tour bus air with four other people for a lifetime. Most appreciably of all, for me, is when a band evolves from their initial sound into something you never imagined they could be. That's where Cave In comes in, hardly still a metalcore band, orbiting their original style since Creative Eclipses and yet still within contact range, receiving transmissions from their old selves which bleed through onto the tapes now and then, notably on 2009's Planets of Old and 2011's White Silence.

Of course, you can't think of Cave In's heavier side without Caleb Scofield's iconic throaty growl coming to mind. His voice always had the power to instantly transport the listener back to the mid-90s scene, to the off-kilter mathcore influences, noise rock crescendos and filthy rhythm sections that Cave In helped to pioneer. There's regrettably less of those vocals here than one would like, especially in comparison to White Silence, where he dominated an unrelenting four-song opening stretch that rivals the best music Cave In ever made. Still, it's only appropriate that Final Transmission is bookended by Caleb's voice, these moments in themselves a perfect encapsulation of this multifaceted band. On "Final Transmission" he's a wordless voice over acoustic guitar, intimate and uncomfortably close; on "Led to the Wolves" his vicious screaming self, mixed low and distorted as if coming from a distance the listener can't bridge. It's a pulse-pounding conclusion to a low-key album that's really the only way it could have ended. Not that Final Transmission is here to languish or wallow: the straightforwardness of "Strange Reflection" and "Led to the Wolves" suggests a back-to-basics album, even rawer and dirtier than White Silence's first act, whereas the furious "Night Crawler" decaying into the downright creepy noise rock "Lunar Day" is some of the weirdest Cave In since Jupiter. These halves meet in "Lanterna", a late-album highlight which builds and builds to a furious roar just to halt momentum entirely, dropping into a tense post-rock guitar figure that takes up the final minute.

Even with an eight-year gap between, it's easy to think of Final Transmission as a sister album to White Silence. The facts of each album's creation are remarkably similar, down to being nine-song hitters largely recorded in practice spaces rather than a recording studio proper. The difference, of course, is that Final Transmission is short and raw by necessity rather than choice.

Caleb Scofield's death is the kind of split-second, unforeseeable tragedy that reminds you of the randomness of life and death. One glance at social media will show the deep wounds this man's loss carved into the people of every scene he had contact with, from bandmates in Converge and Old Man Gloom to bands who sprung up in Until Your Heart Stops' wake and were left in the dust as Cave In took off into the stratosphere. Still, though, it was metalcore that had claim to Scofield's roots. It seemed he was the one pushing for the band to keep one foot grounded in their past while the other meandered to new vistas – as Stephen Brodsky said of this album's creation, "[Caleb] was really digging the stuff that was spacey, heavy, a little bit weird, but with very pretty melodies and hooks".

Final Transmission's somewhat unique (to this writer's knowledge) hook is that it has the opportunity to reflect on the passing of a member, while still bringing into existence the last music he wrote and played with them. The often first-take chemistry of the band is as remarkable as their unknowing is heartbreaking. The aforementioned tracks are tragically informed by opening duo "All Illusion" and "Shake My Blood", the former with lyrics written by Scofield and the latter a direct response by the band to the aftermath of his death. "All Illusion" centres on a heart-rending "what doesn't kill me may survive" lyric and has a tricky, sneaking melody that recalls the terrific Tides of Tomorrow EP, itself heavily co-written by Scofield. Meanwhile, "Shake My Blood" is a moving tribute to togetherness in times of tragedy which doubles as a sheer reminder of Cave In's pure ability, vocal and instrumental. All three remaining members harmonise on a lyric about looking to the future, Caleb's inimitable guitarwork grounding them as they go. And it's haunting hearing him play rhythm section to three other men mourning his passing.

The song advocates perseverance in times of tragedy, resolving to remember but not to dwell. It's good advice, and hard come by. But the sense of little resolution, even of anti-climax is unavoidable in Final Transmission, because that's how life works. There's no real lesson to be learned from something like this, bar the lessons we teach ourselves afterwards on how to keep going and to appreciate life while we have it, lessons we keep teaching ourselves for the rest of our lives. Other than those small comforts there's no big meaning to be found in this. The band plays on for 31 minutes, blissfully unaware: you couldn't find a more apt metaphor for life if you tried. You spin the album again, looking for closure on a life or even just a theme, something to anchor the feelings onto. You don't find it, but something far better comes instead: the visceral enjoyment of an adrenaline rush shared between band and listener, that selfsame lived-in chemistry that comes from years spent together. You find some comfort there instead, and start chasing the next peak.


R.I.P. Caleb Scofield, 1978-2018.



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user ratings (115)
Chart.
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2019


42020 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

I'm not gonna lie this was a very very tricky one to write and I nearly didn't finish it, here's hoping it's good enough. RIP



edit: shame on me for forgetting to say, thanks to Blush as always for fixing this with a proofread :heart:

Digging: Cave In - Final Transmission

Supercoolguy64
June 12th 2019


8911 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Shake muh blood

Digging: The Austerity Program - Bible Songs 1

Relinquished
June 12th 2019


40267 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I was writing my own review for this too, may finish even as busy as I am usually



his passing fucking hit me harder than I wanted it to

Mongi123
June 12th 2019


20422 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Beautiful review Rowbro! RIP, this rules and feels appropriate for what it is. But man, An Illusion is just Cave In at their best.

Pikazilla
June 12th 2019


812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

RIP Caleb



Love this album! Wish it was longer though.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2019


42020 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

thx mongi. yeah All Illusion, Night Crawler and Lunar Day are the fuckin' truth

rc239
June 12th 2019


259 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wish this was more fleshed out but i dont care THAT much because it's still so good

cloakanddagger
June 12th 2019


330 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Wonderful review, I wrote a review for this as well but it's been published elsewhere so I figured I'd leave it for someone else to do.

Strange Reflection may well be the best song Cave In has ever written.

deezer666
June 12th 2019


4379 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Same re:fleshed out. I kinda don't mind the 'Unfinished' quality to it. Its kind of fitting. Im happy with this as a swan song. Kinda wish they'd thrown a bit of the proggy side of jupiter into some of these tracks but hey. It is what it is. Its more PPB, a sprinkle of White silence and a dusting some of the EPS in a short burst.



@wolfe I was wondering if you might do a review too man. Look forward to it. Calebs passing hit me hard also for someone id never met. Didnt expect it to but I grew up with Cave in. Calebs my age. We were all little punk hardcore kids going to shows with 20 people at the same time. I got friends who knew him who all say he was the best. A tough one.



'strange reflection' is my fave on this I think.



Good work Rowan! Long live Cave in

Digging: Yellow Eyes - Rare Field Ceiling

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
June 12th 2019


7174 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Incredible album



Awesome review

Digging: State Faults - Clairvoyant

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2019


42020 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

appreciate kind words folks. glad this was at least adequate for the context of it all.



Strange Reflection's actually been my least fave so far. didn't think I'd see love for it but it's a mark of a great album when there's diverse faves.



@cloak can you link us your write-up??

cloakanddagger
June 12th 2019


330 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

"@cloak can you link us your write-up??"



Sure, you can read it here: https://www.noizze.co.uk/single-post/2019/06/11/Cave-In---Final-Transmission-Album-Review

Space Jester
June 12th 2019


6582 Comments


Really good review. Been listening to their whole discog for the past two weeks or so.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2019


42020 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

very nice review. it's heartwarming seeing a whole fanbase just appreciating this thing together

Ecnalzen
June 12th 2019


8430 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Can't wait to get my copy of this in the mail.

FadedSun
June 12th 2019


1982 Comments


I honestly had zero idea this coming out, but gonna pick it up ASAP.

Space Jester
June 12th 2019


6582 Comments


It’s been out for a few days now lol

My CD is coming tomorrow

Casavir
June 12th 2019


3563 Comments


Awesome band. Should check this when I get the opportunity.

Ecnalzen
June 12th 2019


8430 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Mine is supposed to get in Saturday. I would have liked it sooner but damn shipping was a little more spensive than I wanted to go for.



Will read soon! Always love me a Rowreview.

Dedes
June 12th 2019


6476 Comments


Awesome review man! I know I should check Cave In soon but realistically I'll probably forget to for 6 months until some other review outlet/youtuber reminds me of their existence



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