Cave In’s new album Final Transmission feels like an absolute triumph of immersively dark but alluringly melodic songwriting, presenting catchy, spacey riffs with a metallic edge. The long-running Massachusetts band sound like they’ve tapped into a hidden stream of inspiration and unfolded its contents for the world, unifying otherwise distant strands of artistry into an elevated, truly fresh creation. At once, their latest music both proves very heavy and soars with exhilarating freedom, but it doesn’t just bring these styles together, either. Final Transmission catapults them and listeners into a world in which their most downtrodden, emotional sludge-ridden moments don’t have to stay stagnant, and instead, cracking through a muddy, emotional rock bottom, there’s some kind of light. Through this transformative music, Cave In craft a comprehensive, truly musically satisfying venture on their new record that feels like an invigorating attack on the norm.
The album starts out on an especially precarious, emotional note. The first track constitutes a voice memo that the band’s late bassist Caleb Scofield made chronicling his idea for the melodic backbone of a song. His actual voice pops up at a couple points as he guides the thread along, but his presence does not at all end there. Some of his contributions feature on every other track on the record, which includes both bass and guitar playing from the icon of the boundary breaking heavy music community in which Cave In operate.
At about the mid-point of the record, Cave In’s ambition to transform their unity of musical light and dark into something entirely new makes itself further abundantly clear with an especially noisy track that’s definitely not just an interlude and instead feels like a bridge into what at that point at least, is the unknown. From that point, Final Transmission continues to prove darker and more physically intense musically until it crashes into its cacophonous ending that even features some famous roars from Scofield himself accompanying Stephen Brodsky’s main vocals, which is a rarity for the band these days.
Ultimately, the band feel like they don’t waste the impact of a single note. Their complex tapestry feels well-summed up by a passage Brodsky offers towards the end of the record, when he sings with his familarly emotionally direct tone: “Someone took me to the dance of dead souls. I found heaven in a haunted ballroom. I found heaven.” He and his band mates — including the departed Scofield — unite contrasts to upend expectations and present a musical experience that will really stick with you.
The full record is available June 7 via Hydra Head
Check out the album below