Cave In Perfect Pitch Black
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01. Perfect Pitch Black
02. The World is in Your Way
03. Off to Ruin
06. Down the Drain
09. Tension in the Ranks
10. Screaming in Your Sleep
Cave In is back I guess that's a feasible description, despite the band's prolofic catalog since Until Your Heart Stops came out. Everyone is doubtlessly familiar with Cave In's shift from the forefront of technical hardcore to softer indie rock. And we can endlessly debate the merit of Tides of Tomorrow, Jupiter, and Antenna. But, for the sake of beating a dead horse - I'll just say I've liked most of Cave In's material over their disparate career.
Their signing to RCA and the subsequent "failure" of their forray into the mainstream is well-documented (especially by Lambgoat interviews, ironically enough). So, obviously people have always been interested enough in what this band is doing to check up on them. And now I figure Perfect Pitch Black serves as a sort of echo back.
Most of these songs were released on an official bootleg CD - and I've never heard it. Oh well. So, the first thing that grabbed me and everyone else was the fact that they started screaming again. I wasn't floored by this because they've been playing these songs live for a while now, but I didn't expect that their records would ever contain an aggressive edge again. Essentially what we have is a mixture of everything Cave In has ever done pieced together - even though Stephen Brodsky isn't screaming - and it comes together pretty well.
The riffs are bouncy and interspersed with some melodic mid-tones, and most of all they're pretty heavy. I don't think they could bring themselves to sonic brutality, but it's definitely a thoughtful weight thrown into most songs. The structure of the songs is definitely a little bit more rigid than I would have expected, but at the same time it's natural and has a gratifying cohesion. My largest complaint is that the songs (for the first half of the album, but I'll get back to that) alternate between Brodsky's trademark wail and Caleb's bottom heavy yell. Anyone familiar with Old Man Gloom will place his voice easily. The songs are pretty slow paced, not even picking up so much in its heavier moments, which at times make the songs wander a little bit. Well, not meandering for Cave In's standards, but moreso in terms of other aggressive bands.
The most obvious exception to this is "Trepanning," which really stands out from everything else on the album. From its Queens of the Stone Age-ish riffs, to the uptempo singing from Brodsky, to the quick guitar solo half-way through, to some basic and fortifying bass lines. What I can't quite seem to put my finger on is how a song utilizing such non-aggressive elements and structure can sound so heavy. But it works, miraculously.
And then after that song the album shifts entirely. Caleb doesn't get any more vocals and the songs, for the most part, take on a much more Jupiter-ish feel with some heaviness much more akin to Crossbearer than Moral Eclipse. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, I think a more equal distribution of these "heavy" songs would make more sense.
Bottom Line: This is an odd duck - but not something completely out of left field. I can't think of a label more suited to release this than Hydra Head - it's pissed, it's slow, it's fairly weird. If you've ever appreciated Cave In's eclectic side and subtlelty, I don't fathom any disappointment. If you're looking for one of the forefathers of technical metallic hardcore - they're there, but you're going to have to look for it.
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