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Cave In- Heavy Pendulum (2022, Relapse Records)

After the tragic death of bassist and (in my humble opinion) best death growl this side of modern hardcore Caleb Scofield in 2018 I never thought there would be another Cave In album, let alone one I would every fully enjoy as much as when he was still in it. And yet, here is Heavy Pendulum, and it rules. In stead of the mournful and heavy melancholic doom epitaph album you might expect, it is a jubilant celebration of everything Cave In was, is and will be. It soars, rocks, hooks, and shakes its audience, screaming to them and themselves that this wat they were meant to to as musicians, and that Caleb would not have wanted it any other way.

Instrumental to the reinvigoration of Cave In‘s sound is Scofield’s old friend and band mate in Old Man Gloom Nate Newton (Converge, Doomriders), who brings his unmistakable ruggedness to the table to fire up the Cave In engine. His rough vocals don’t match Scofield’s in depth and ferociousness, but they do compensate with hardcore urgency and sheer aggression. I honestly don’t think there could not have been anyone to do this job any better. His strong ties to the band and Scofield all breathe a deep and sincere respect for him, his music, and his legacy. And he also brings his background with him into the sound, adding hints of Doomriders’ rock ‘n roll energy, as well as Converge’s out-of-the box metallic hardcore genius.

All good intentions, new found energy, and respectful legacy aside, Heavy Pendulum mostly is an excellent album simply because it IS. It has a couple of Cave In’s best songs to date (New Reality, Blood Spiller, Careless Offering, Nightmare Eyes) and it is a balanced record from first to last, ending with a mighty doomed out tombstone through Wavering Angel, a song that encapsulates true loss in such a goddamned heavy and progressive artistic way only Cave In ever could. It’s a goosebump inducing eulogy to their friend and soulmate;

Wavering angel
Cling to your wing
Let yourself fly
Wavering angel
Cling to your wing
Let yourself fly
Let yourself fly, yeah

Floating, floating untethered
Light as, light as a feather
Heavy, heavy wet weather
Twisting, turn to the never

Wavering angel
Wavering angel
Wavering angel
Wavering angel

What happened to us, my friend?
What happened to us, my friend?
What happened to us, my friend?
What happened to us, my friend?

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