Oof, before even hearing a note I knew this one was going to be a tough listen and in that department, Cave In’s Final Transmission does not disappoint. It’s also this gorgeous album that’s such a fitting tribute to late bassist Caleb Scofield and a stellar entry into the band’s already beyond solid discography.
But I digress.
If you can make it through the first two minutes of the album which, coincidentally, is also the entirety of the title track without welling up or at least feeling….something then you’re a stronger person than I. You also might wanna check in with a licensed professional if hearing Scofield’s scratch tracks don’t affect you in some way.
*sniff* Moving on…
“All Illusion” sounds as if it’s business as usual in the Cave In camp with this out of this world ditty that really returns to the space rawk prog roots that made early records like Jupiter so unforgettable. J.R. Conners’ drumming here, and throughout Final Transmission, is a revelation and almost like discovering Cave In for the first time again. The same can be said for all the performances on the record. There’s Scofield’s bass lines at the conclusion of “All Illusion” which is strained yet intricate and synonymous with the bassist’s work within his own solo outfit, Zozobra, while elsewhere “Shake My Blood” vibes so much in the Jupiter world with Steve Brodsky vocally offering moments of angelic levity within the walls of somberness.
“Night Crawler” is a rumbling beast mixing the rawness of White Silence and the spaciness of Perfect Pitch Black with Adam McGrath’s guitars singing to the stratospheres then “Lunar Day” is this epic moodpiece with Brodsky’s falsetto leading the charge. That falsetto rises once again during the verses for “Winter Window” amidst this sonic hum.
“Lanterna” is so nasty sounding in the best way possible and if the track wasn’t already one of the coolest sounding Cave In jams then just wait until this sonic joyride takes listeners through each different time signature and mood, almost like movements from an orchestral piece. “Strange Reflection” subscribes to the same sonic aesthetic merging Brodsky, McGrath, and Scofield into one gigantic rumble….kind of like that Blues For The Red Sun feel where you just get this wall of sound and these huge Sabbath-ian sized riff passages throughout.
For those of you anxiously awaiting something in the vein of “Trepanning” or “Serpents” here will have a pleasant surprise when you get to the end of Final Transmission as “Led To The Wolves” is, perhaps, the beastliest Cave In track ever. Conners and Scofield are in perfect sync as are Brodsky and McGrath as they throw spacey guitars, feedback, and just plain old thrashy goodness into this cacophonous behemoth leading to the cataclysmic finale and Scofield’s uncanny vocal wail to close the album in the most serenely vicious way.
Final Transmission is out through Hydra Head Records on June 7th. There’s a plethora of pre-order options available by clicking here and here. For the latest on Cave In, including a smattering of live dates, head here and here.