Cave In - Final Transmission
Hydra Head
Alt Rock, Post-Metal
9 songs (31:19)
Release year: 2019
Hydra Head
Reviewed by Goat

In the eight or so years since their last studio album the members of Cave In would operate more as a group of friends than a band, meeting up for hang-outs and camping trips rather than jam sessions. Having finally decided to get together to warm up for new studio material, the band would meet for a weekend in March 2018 to record a set of four-track demos, and it was travelling home from there that bassist and singer Caleb Schofield would have the car accident that took his life so tragically. The rest of the band and associated friends immediately put their efforts into fundraising for his family, including a one-off Isis reunion, and although the demos from that weekend was never intended to be made public the band eventually decided to have them mastered and released as a farewell to Schofield.

This is the result, the Final Transmission from the band as led by Caleb Schofield and it's hard to process the results properly as a fan, even before you take in the pure emotional impact of the opening title track, an acoustic demo that Schofield sent to the other members as an idea for a new song. Final Transmission as a whole is a set of unpolished tracks that do work in their own right but are impossible to process outside of the album's tragic surroundings, and as such it makes it especially hard to review. Looking at individual tracks gives you a set of snapshots of what could have been, the post-Jupiterian mood rock of All Illusion and Shake my Blood opening proceedings well and leading into the slightly more aggressive post-metal sludginess of Night Crawler - combining the band's past extremes into a surprisingly cohesive unity, even with droning experiments like Lunar Day. There's an overall inclination towards doomy, atmospheric but clean-sung pieces like Winter Window that works very well, particularly when the band allow the songs to shimmer moodily as on Lanterna, in the second half, worshipping riffs for their own sake. And although finale Led to the Wolves is the most violent and roughest piece present, most like an unpolished demo even with the clean singing, it still fits the overall vibe of the album. It says a lot about Cave In that this feels like an album rather than a collection of unfinished songs, and whether the band continue without Schofield or not, this is a worthy farewell.

Killing Songs :
Shake My Blood, Winter Window, Led to the Wolves
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Cave In that we have reviewed:
Cave In - Perfect Pitch Black reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Cave In - Antenna reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Cave In - Jupiter reviewed by Goat and quoted 88 / 100
Cave In - Until Your Heart Stops reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
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