Cave In: Final Transmission (Hydra Head) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Saturday, November 28th, 2020  

Cave In

Final Transmission

Hydra Head

Jun 07, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Cave In's latest, and presumably last, full-length is one steeped in tragedy, though its outcome isn't all gloom. In March of 2018, founding bassist and songwriter Caleb Scofield died in a car accident, just as the Boston metalcore band had begun recording their first record in seven years. Scofield's loss was felt across the community, though many musicians came together to celebrate his life. Benefit shows in Boston and Los Angeles performed by Scofield's contemporariesConverge, Pelican, Isis (renamed as Celestial)raised money for Scofield's family while his bandmates finished the record to do the same.

Despite Scofield's untimely passing, he reportedly played a huge role in shaping Final Transmission, writing and recording vast amounts of the final product. Indeed, Scofield's voice hauntingly opens this record, as the title track is a mastered version of a demo Scofield sent in a voice message shortly before his death. It is a chilling, yet fitting, tribute to their charismatic ex-bassist, who also played in Old Man Gloom and Zozobra. Lead single "All Illusion" had its lyrics changed to notes left in Scofield's diary meanwhile chaotic finale "Led to the Wolves" is reportedly a Scofield-led track. 

"Shake My Blood" is lead vocalist Stephen Brodsky's first attempt to reconcile this terrible event. Brodsky's rage, sadness, and frustration are palpable on the track, simultaneously shifting the band back towards Cave In's most successful Jupiter-era. From there, however, the album gets less-focused. For unfortunate and understandable reasons, Final Trasmission feels like an unfinished album, because it is. That isn't to say there isn't a lot to enjoy about the second half of the record, "Lanterna" and "Strange Reflection," for instance, are particularly notable examples. The album touches on all eras of the band's varied back-catalogue, which serves as a pleasing send off should this indeed be Cave In's final transmission. However, there is a nagging sense that had it not been for Scofield's passing this could have been their best record since Jupiter. (   

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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Tommy Shelby
June 9th 2019

That’s shake my blood for ya all!