|Doom Metal, Hard Rock, Progressive Rock
Self-release, The Path Less Traveled Records (2014 Reissue)
September 17th, 2013 / April 15th, 2014
Release length: 29:50
Cave of Swimmers bring in various styles to their sound, though don’t always use them well enough. This is actually where the band kind of drops the ball in the oddest way possible. “Hangman” starts off as a mix between traditional Hard Rock and catchy Stoner Rock. The vocal approach is powerful, comparable to the dynamic Geddy Lee of Rush, suiting the music nicely. It’s about three minutes in that you hit the Progressive material though, which is where the group starts to shine. The music is infectious, carrying a hint of a Caribbean foundation that grows into a solid guitar solo laced with some surfer mentality. The shift in is a bit sudden, but still without flaw, much like when that section ends and heads into the simpler Doom Metal performance of a held note and strike on the drum kit. There are some additional leads that seem like a mixture of a solo with riffs from “When the Saints Go Marching In.” If it didn’t last so long it could actually work out, but the time issue becomes their biggest enemy.
“Mareria” kind of gets that Doom Metal touch right. The sluggish track starts with an odd clicking noise against what sounds like something grinding against metal. There’s even a hint of the high pitch sound from the camera in Texas Chainsaw Massacre promos when photos of evidence were taken. Sadly this time the vocals take on an operatic sensation that is a bit too much for the rather minimal haunting atmosphere. This one is also guilty of pulling the cymbal washout to the forefront due to how empty some areas are, which isn’t helped by the rawer audio quality. “Cave of Swimmers” caters more to the sixties era of Rock, so the compression issues can be forgiven a bit, especially since, outside the largely melodic chorus and at the half-way point where the pace picks up, this sounds like the chords to Black Sabbath‘s “Sweet Leaf” in reverse order.
Finally there’s “Catch,” which has a pretty standard Rock vibe that kicks off like another Black Sabbath cut, but does drop it for something a little more unique. The build to some of the higher notes work out well and the vocals match the energy those tones reach. But, like “Hangman,” what stands out is the Progressive Rock shift that occurs about half way through, allowing the cleaner solo to lift you up and sweep you away on a magical journey before starting the steady descent back to the ground with some brief edgier riffs that take you right back to the chorus once again.
Cave of Swimmers is far from anything too new, but when the band manages to work in a catchy Progressive Rock piece or solo, even a well executed Doom Metal trudge that effectively shifts the atmosphere like on “Materia,” the material actually ends up kind of impressive. For a self-financed debut outing, there is no denying that Cave of Swimmers do have room to grow. Hopefully their next effort will have a bit of a sharper quality than what exists here, and maybe some vocals toned down a little bit, at least in the mix. While the singing compliments the hooks and rhythms the band is going for, there are times where it can become grating, like most of “Materia” proves. If you’re a fan of the whole Hard Rock and Stoner Rock revival, Cave of Swimmers might be an EP that will interest you, but until a little more is done, it’s just nothing but subtle idolworship with two genre’s slapped into the mix, a choice that may break the flow of the song, but sounds good the way it’s done.
01. Hangman – 7:53
02. Materia – 8:40
03. Cave of Swimmers – 7:12
04. Catch – 6:06
|Initial Pressing Score: 5.5/10