This fabulous album is a clear example of progressive music created by musicians that have not surely listened in their life a progressive rock album of the kind that is usually commented in progVisions, that is to say, they play one of the styles that I usually more like. Nevertheless, for its interest, openness and complexity and experimental musical focus, this third album of the Americans Cave In is worthwhile to be reviewed.
Surprisingly, Cave In come from the American hardcore-punk scene that has derived in an interesting style denominated "emo" (as of emotional) in these last years, more focused in melodies and atmospheres that in the fierceness and noise of the original hard-core. They are musicians born in punk but that don't feel any shame to acknowledge that they listening to damned groups as Pink Floyd, krautrock or the indie groups of the 80s (My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth) and they carry out an interesting medley of styles.
Cave Ins main feature is their excellent singer, Stephen Brodsky (very much in the style of Thom Yorke of Radiohead, or the more aggressive of Jeff Buckley), an encircling, brilliant and hard rhythm section, and some electrical guitars creating exciting and harmoniously complex atmospheres. This is really progressive music, hard, but never catalogued as prog metal, nearer in occasions to a punk Can and Pink Floyd and Rush at more revolutions per minute than to the big hard-core bands of the end of the 80s (Fugazi, Husker Du, Slint), of those which nevertheless, they show clear influences.
"Jupiter", the first piece, shows more post-hardcore influences than the rest of the album, albeit smoothed by incessant rhythm changes, melodic fragments of interest, excellent riffs and solos of guitar, and a voice, aggressive and psychedelic, worthy of the craziest Amon Düül. Maybe the least interesting song for the most classic progheads.
"In the stream of commerce" is a very interesting piece of modern rock that sometimes, for the novelty and fullness of its structure, reminds me of groups like Radiohead, Indisciplined Lucy or even Anekdoten in their more grunge moments, although with a sharper and quicker rhythm than these last ones. Pay attention to the intermediate guitar section, really similar to the Marillion of the last Fish albums.
"Big riff" starts, as its title indicates, with riffs of burning guitars and the torn voice of Stephen, then introducing a shattering section that reminds me suspiciously from the wonderful Rush (those keyboards, the voice tone, and the rhythm section seem directly taken out of "Power Windows", "Grace under Pressure" or "Hold your Fire") that later accelerates again, always in Rushian atmospheres, to in a final phase, move toward a more acoustic and calm motif as in the best U2 or Jeff Buckley, concluding marvelously in a more aggressive passage with an amazing voice. This song will amaze you, I am sure.
"Innuendo and out the other" shows us again the singer's excellent vocal registry, able to move from soft moments to aggressive ones in a single compass. The background music is melodic but with that aggressive bottom that I so much like. This piece remembers for moments the best Rush of the end of the 80s again, in this last case mixed with Radiohead and Can.
"Brain candle" is another quick and short topic, with more 80s punk (Fall, Wire, Gang of Four), although with a catching melody and always with the surprise contributed by the excellent singer. Maybe too distorted and hard for some of the habitual readers of progVisions.
"Requiem" is one of the jewels of the album, a punk mix of Radiohead, Rush, Anekdoten, Jeff Buckley, and Sonic Youth, a combination seemingly difficult to digest. A really startling song, an authentic musical suite in eight minutes, full of rhythm changes, melody, power, aggressiveness and feeling. I wish that the Flower Kings or Spock's Beard could learn from then to make long suites that don't make everyone asleep. Attention to the guitar parts, because they are blinding.
"Decay of the delay" is an instrumental piece that moves between hot riffs of guitars and a complex mutant rhythm section. It could be a mutation of Rush and Univers Zero in a kraut-hardcore key (surprisingly similar to the force deployed by the RIO group Present).
"New moon" finishes the album wonderfully. The song shifts between acoustic guitars and soft and sweet vocal fragments over a disturbing and percussive rhythm background, in what is the most similar moment to the Radiohead of OK Computer. It concludes in a brutal crescendo that shatters the ears, reminding me from my beloved Fugazi (the hard-core group, not Marillions album).
In summary, an attractive album, very different to the usual, that I find to be wonderful, and that only receives four stars because it is not a topical progressive rock album. Although to me, this is really progressive. Nevertheless, maybe you should listen to it before buying, just in case you are frightened.