Hydra Head 2011
In so many ways it almost seems as though Cave In evolved backwards. Whereas most bands mellow with age and embrace their melodic influences at a later stage in their career, these Massachusetts natives went down that route surprisingly early on. While the controversy that followed that era certainly marked a tumultuous time for the band, their recent trajectory has seen them heading back in an starkly aggressive direction.
Such it is then that they have returned full force with “White Silence“, an edgy lo-fi slab of distortion and grandeur. Truly Cave In have liberated themselves from preconception and are now listening only to their own internal muse. A gnarled concoction, “White Silence” plunders dreamy Beatles-esque melody and grace as much as it snaps and snarls like a feral beast.
While some may be quick to claim that the group are merely paying fan service by playing up both aspects of their criminally overlooked career. Repeated listens prove that there is not only heart, but passion behind the eccentric material on offer. Whether it be the Danzig meets droning mutated electro pop of “Iron Decibels” or the claustrophobic ‘moral eclipse’ featured on the albums asphyxiating title track; the group remain as malleable as they are molten.
Still, for all the artistic embellishments and unbridled outbursts, for once Cave In seem fully in control of their destiny. No longer questioning themselves and freed from the nomadic regiment of touring musicians, the shackles of adulthood appear to have not only given the group a firm grounding, but a realization that they are stronger when they draw from both their strengths, instead of favoring only one.
Certainly a divisive listen, the rawness and unapologetic nature of “White Silence” is half its charm. Sure the at times questionable fidelity of the record may rub some the wrong way, but it remains an intrinsic part of its allure, adding friction to the twisted and intertwined nature of the songs on hand. Early on Cave In sang “the end of our rope is a noose.” “White Silence” is the ropeburn that proves they’ve yet to reach it.
4 / 5
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