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Cave In - Heavy Pendulum (Album Review)

Monday, 23 May 2022 Written by Will Marshall

Photo: Jay Zucco

You’d be forgiven for thinking 2019’s ‘Final Transmission’ was exactly that for metal visionaries Cave In following the loss of bassist Caleb Scofield. Thankfully, that wasn’t to be the case. On their first proper studio recording since 2009 they deliver plenty of what made fans fall in love with the band in the first place, as well as offering a memorial of sorts to their late bandmate.

With the charging first song New Reality, ‘Heavy Pendulum’ sinks its hooks in immediately. Alongside Blood Spiller it forms part of a catchy, riffy opening salvo that leans as much into sludge as they do progressive metal, showing just how many sonic pointers Mastodon’s seminal ‘Crack The Skye’ took from Cave In.

It’s not all marauding rhythms or serpentine riffs, though, and the band balance every New Reality or Amaranthine (whose lyrics and title come from an old journal of Scofield’s) with moments such as the title track. 

Here they swap speed for swirling guitars and a methodical, muddier tone, and Cave In close an already excellent first half with the slow-burning Blinded By A Blaze, its serene beginnings building to a stunning conclusion.  Across ‘Heavy Pendulum’ the band—now featuring Converge’s Nate Newton on bass—show their command of genres as disparate as grunge, post-metal and even thrash. 

Nowhere is this more evident than closer Wavering Angel, which might just be one of the best heavy songs of the past few years. At 12 minutes, it’s a significant undertaking but masterfully executed, boasting towering riffs, a melodic chorus, and a searing guitar solo. It’s the best progressive thrash song Metallica never wrote. 

With such a storied career behind them, a decade-plus wait and their first time working with heavy music royalty in producer Kurt Ballou since their debut, ‘Heavy Pendulum’ had a high bar to clear. But clear it it does, proving yet again why Cave In are viewed with such reverence.

Cave In Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Mon October 24 2022 - LONDON Heaven
Tue October 25 2022 - BRISTOL Exchange
Wed October 26 2022 - MANCHESTER Gorilla
Thu October 27 2022 - GLASGOW Room 2

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