Cave In

Final Transmission

Written by: PP on 23/12/2019 21:12:53

If it wasn't for such tragic circumstances, talking about a new Cave In album would have been one of the most anticipated discussions in 2019. "Final Transmission", as the record is called, is their first new material since 2011, but it is also the last audio we'll ever get to hear from Caleb Scofield. Back in February 2018, Cave In had namely gathered together to jam and to work on ideas for a potential new album for a full weekend after years of radio silence. Turns out, this was the last time the band would see Caleb Scofield as he tragically perished in a car accident less than a month later. Devastated by the loss of a friend and a member since 1998, the band decided to finish the song ideas into an album, naming it "Final Transmission" as a tribute to Scofield.

Originally, the tracks were meant as demos, which is why so many of them ooze vibes of a jam session. Caleb's bass lines are on six out of the nine tracks, including the introductory title track that features a hummed voice memo sent by Caleb to the band about another song idea. Stylistically, the songs are explorative, but then again Cave In's material has always been heavy on lofty and expansive post-hardcore vibes delivered through an experimental lens. That is also the case here, but without the roars and growls, we're closer to the band's breakthrough record "Jupiter" than material since then.

It's slow, experimental and spacey, often relying on repetitive, hypnotic melodies with only brief incursions towards heavier and more abrasive material (see "Night Crawler", for instance). Rather, the band is focused on the effects-laden, complex soundscapes effectuated by tracks like "Lunar Day", where soothing melodies and clear croons replace the aggression-fueled post-hardcore the band did in the past. Sure, there are also darker reflections like "Lanterna" and, to an extent, the angular "Shake My Blood", but it's certainly cleaner overall than recent Cave In output.

So the question remains, is it good if we look at it objectively outside the obvious tribute qualities? Personally, I'd suggest lengthy segments of "Final Transmission" feel like unfinished demos where some of the ideas are good, but the band couldn't quite finish them properly, which is understandable given the circumstances. Looking back at the band's impressive back catalogue, "Final Transmission" feels more like a b-sides record, while still being decent overall. A touching gesture from the rest of the band nevertheless, and here's to hoping they'll be able to regather and write a more 'normal' Cave In album for the lack of a better expression.

Download: Shake My Blood, All Illusion, Lanterna
For the fans of: Hopesfall, Failure, Isis, Coalesce
Listen: Facebook

Release date 07.06.2019
Hydra Head Records

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