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Cave In - Final Transmission review

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Band: Cave In
Album: Final Transmission
Release date: June 2019

01. Final Transmission
02. All Illusion
03. Shake My Blood
04. Night Crawler
05. Lunar Day
06. Winter Window
07. Lanterna
08. Strange Reflection
09. Led To The Wolves

In a parallel universe, this album would be Cave In's triumphant return after seven years of silence. We don't get to live in that timeline, instead we live in the one where Caleb Scofield was tragically killed in a car accident. Final Transmission indeed.

There's no point in trying to separate this album from its context. From the very first track, we are met with what actually is the "final transmission", namely the last demo that Caleb would send his bandmates before his demise. The album was already in development, and it would've been a big return of a legendary metallic hardcore band, one whose members had since moved on to other project, like Caleb moving on to Old Man Gloom and Steve Brodsky to Mutoid Man. But death strikes at unexpected times, so after tribute shows that also featured Old Man Gloom, Converge and even a reunion of Isis, we have the final Cave In record. The Final Transmission.

I saw Cave In at Roadburn this year, and I mentioned in the concert review that I was frustrated about their music not clicking with me at the time. In the meantime I had gotten the chance to absorb their music a bit more, though I'm still not there yet. Cave In isn't a simple band, but with every try I feel them growing on me more and more. Because their sound floats quite seamlessly between the metallic hardcore roots that had them compared to Converge, and their lighter alt/space/prog-ish that separated them from it, so going in expecting one and getting more of the other is pretty off-putting at first listen. But if anybody deserves those multiple listens requited to get it, it's Cave In.

The album is a bit rough around the edges, mostly because the band worked around Caleb's contributions in order to have them on each of the songs, and said contributions being only in demo form. Final Transmission was almost released as just a collection of demos, but with some more work and tweaking, it can almost go toe to toe with their previous records. Musically at least it has some very muscular riffs, more focus on Steve's clean vocals than any hardcore ones, and some intricate progressive sections as well that would've made this the worthy comeback that it could've been. Even in this less polished form, Final Transmission is a damn great album, and someone with no knowledge of their previous work and the context of this release can definitely enjoy it for what it is.

Thoughts on what could've been are pretty useless. I wish things were different, not just because Final Transmission would have been completed as it should have been, but because Caleb would still be among us. But we don't live that. We have to live with that. Rest in peace.


Written on 11.07.2019 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.

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