My main thought when considering this album is a positive one. I choose not to dwell on the opinion I have that this is far from their best (2000s amazing Jupiter), and instead on the fact that this album very nearly didn’t exist.
Word got out at some point in 2005 that, after issues numerous and rather predictable with their major label, Cave In had actually called it a day. Granted their last album, Antenna, wasn’t great, but it apparently had RCA oar-sticking. Besides, it’s never nice to lose a good rock band [obligatory Kerbdog shout-out].
So, some time after demos leaked, the band was back with their original home, Hydra Head, for this independently created album. While the mass-market media machine was no longer behind them (fat lot of good it did them anyway), they were where they could record what they wanted without suits peering over their collective shoulder.
Whatever the factors surrounding Antenna, Cave In’s latest is no return to their peak. There are no bad songs. The album is not too long, though some of the tracks could do with about a minute being trimmed. There is nothing really wrong with this disc at all.
The problem is the knowledge of what has been. Granted, the instrumental song here is better than Jupiter’s ‘The Decay Of The Delay, but aside from that, no song on offer here can touch anything from ‘Requiem’ to ‘Big Riff’. And this is not to castigate the band, as the album is very enjoyable. It’s just a bit sad that such a young band seems used up and spat out already.
Perhaps with time to heal from their deal gone awry, Brodsky et al. can get back to their best. In the meantime, they can settle for just being better than most other rock bands of the moment.