Discovering New Music. Case Study: Cave In
07 Jul. 2019

Discovering New Music. Case Study: Cave In


Those in the know would agree…

Discovering new music is simply amazing. If it’s something you emotionally connect with you find yourself in a perfect rapture… in an intense state of happiness… an unusual sense of euphoria… it is like you get carried away by this overwhelming emotion!

Until 6th grade, my music knowledge was limited to what I got exposed at home. It wasn’t bad, though, as my lovely mum and brother were music nerds themselves. At 7th grade, I started to dig through boxes at the local record store and asked the owner, the wise old man, to recommend me some music… He would ask me what I liked the most and play me something he would consider to be similar… He introduced me to a lot new music that year. You see I had my own streaming service algorithm going back then 😀

Today it’s easier, thanks to the ever-improving AI backed discovery protocols, we can dig up great music like magic through streaming services. Social media helps a great deal, too, but I found a more effective way and a more organic one, some years ago: metal festivals.

There is this one breed of festival that includes UK Tech Fest and Prog Power USA where they focus on a few styles around one or two genres, and there is a completely different beast where you get to hear a wide range of genres in 3-4 days like Hellfest, Graspop and Bloodstock. I believe those have their discovery algorithm in the form of professional festival curators.

I love the former for the obvious reasons: it’s risk-free, you know you will enjoy most of the gigs and see the bands that you love and have invested in, that you listen to on a regular basis. But there is a downside to it, too. You don’t really get to challenge yourself with new genres or styles. There is so little chance that you will hear a band that you wouldn’t normally check out, that you wouldn’t normally pay to see. So, the chances that you will hear something new that will rock your world and blow your mind, that will put you in a state I am in now and give you immense joy is pretty slim.

We are almost to the heart of this article… the biggest point I want to make… I found a band that touch my emotions…

But let me start from the beginning.

Of all the festivals I mentioned above, I gravitate towards Hellfest. They offer a bit of everything in the metal scene.  It is also so well organized: you know what kind of music you’ll get and where. And I love the Hell City Square they build every year to offer a well-rounded festival experience.

I tend to spend most of the day at Altar and Temple Stages where underground bands play technical, melodic, progressive death metal, atmospheric black metal… well you get the picture. I am where are obscure bands are 🙂

On the 22nd of June 2019, at 17.40 there I was, at Altar again… ready to see Moonspell.

It was going to be my 4th or 5th time but one song into their set, I felt a disturbance in the Force… Seriously I was being summoned by a superior power. I left the tent and went for a quick drink. Queuing up for a while, I heard this other band playing and everything changed.

The distorted guitar lead, the low, dirty bass instantly grabbed my attention. I was getting drawn to these thick guitar chords. I forgot about the drinks immediately made my way to the Valley stage, went to the side of the tent to see who was playing. It was Cave In.

Dang… I was planning to see them… I went “How did I miss this” and immediately found out that they had just started so I didn’t miss much. Yusssss! Trying so hard not to annoy anyone, I made my way to the front… song by song… further down the tent…

Photo credit: David Robinson

I was completely taken… on the stage was such a raw, dirty, rough, messy act! Oh mang. Right up my alley!

And when I got closer and heard this gorgeous voice… I instantly fell in love with what I heard.

Everything clicked. I was feeling this!

I knew I was hearing something stellar but could not pin down their genre. I’m not a genrefication maniac (or genrephile? Whatever rocks your goat) by any means but I was just trying to understand this thing that was blowing my mind!

They clearly weren’t focusing on one genre but choosing to cover so much stylistic ground, experimenting with a diverse array of genres, under a surprisingly consistent, overarching signature sound. Kudos.

At that point it was a game for me… I could see writing this in my head and was going after their genre.

Let’s have a go… What do I know about the band?

Well they were playing at Valley where mostly stoner bands play. But nope. Their sound is too varied to be just stoner or anything for that matter.  They are straying somewhere within the realms of post-hardcore, sludge and post-rock. But no, there is more.

They have this more of a crossover sound, there is some space rock ambience in there, I hear some mathcore, some psychedelia…  at the outro of a song we have some noise rock crescendos… Their compressed sound is very modern but there is something nostalgic about it too. But not old-school or hippy kind of nostalgia… it’s so fresh in that department. Sometimes it feels proggy and it has a very dark undertone at all times… Even when it’s groovy it has this dark atmosphere, exactly how I like my music! It’s beautifully chaotic in the style. There is something oddly hypnotic about all of this.

The genre kept changing and the landscape of music they spread before me was otherworldly.

As someone who LOVES variety in every aspect of life, I was super impressed by the creative stylistic changes.

We have a thinking outside the box kind of band here!

They offer so much. Catchy melodies, dark power chords along with infectious riffing, heartfelt screams after some clean breaks, ambient spacey guitar and vocal effects… the list goes on and on… most importantly though phenomenal musicianship!

One thing I know for sure about the band is that I’m digging it!

I know what captured me the most, though. It was easily Stephen Brodsky’s stunning voice, his ability to carry so many emotions through his vocals, his immense talent and the subtle qualities he has to his voice.

Photo Credit: David Robinson

But the praise doesn’t end with Brodsky.  The whole band showed what they’re capable of such skill, that afternoon. Adam McGrath showcased a mature and inspiring approach to his instrument and his stage presence was impressive too. Brodsky (I forgot to mention that he plays the guitar, too) and McGrath together crafted some unique riffs from dissonance and augmented chords. The drummer blew me away with his inventive rhythms that keep even the slowest moments moving.

Their energy was tremendous. They sounded epic throughout, both on a sonic level and through the sheer passion they showed. The intensity never relented. Nothing about their music was standard.

When I played them to Berkay (you probably know him from our reaction videos at Lady Obscure YouTube Channel) he immediately said, if they are capable of arranging these beautiful chord progressions rest assured that I will love everything they write.

There is of course still loads to say about their music, I am just scratching the surface with this article.

When I got back from the festival, the first thing I did was check out their catalogue. Starting from their latest release I made my way backwards to their earlier ones. I instantly fell in love with tightly written Antenna, Jupiter, White Silence and Final Transmission and the others just took a little bit of time. I also love their live recording at Roadburn where Stephen Brodsky and Adam McGrath pay a heartfelt tribute to Caleb Scofield, their beloved member and friend whom they lost at a traffic accident. RIP good sir. Thank you for the wonderful music, hope you’re in a happy place.

So, back to my original point… Discovering new music… It is wonderful, folks.

This morning I was driving to work listening to this wonderful newfound band and feeling so full of energy… for a second I felt like I had just moved to a new city and everything around me was so fresh and curious… I owe this to my new source of joy.

I know some of us feel guilty when we appreciate some new style of music or a genre. We feel like we are betraying our favourite bands or our tastes… or even worse, we feel like we’re compromising. We find it hard to admit it to ourselves let alone others that we like some new genre. All these factors act like a barrier for us to “get” some other music. But do you know what, emotions play a huge role in my taste in music too… and this band touch those emotions.

So thank you Cave in… What I’m feeling now is priceless.

Lady O

 

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