Album Review/Audio: Caverns – Kittens! EP (FARC)

Enjoy this exclusive track leak from Caverns!

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MP3: Caverns – Dance you son of a bitch

It’s been a while since I’ve listened to something this fun.

My first impression of Caverns was a very positive one, and they’ve never dropped the ball live since.  Caverns boldly produce instrumental hard rock music, with the only vocals for miles being a lone adrenalized shout.  Calling into play bits of melodic hardcore and metal, yet retaining a technical outlook that strays in and out of math and prog, this is Dilinger Escape Plan dabbling with the catchier elements of pop and less abrasive, equally aggressive metal sans obnoxious cookie-monster vocals.

On this EP, they manage to hone their style into an engaging release they can be proud of.

The static drone of intro track “Monday” ratchets a palpable tension that floods like a breaking dam into the near-cacophony of “Spreading like a virus,” a tornado of shredding guitar accompanied by a strong melodic piano line.  As the track progresses, the piano gets swept into the churning guitars and becomes a mirror rather than a contrasting voice, the intertwined runs careening and toppling into more dissonant and minor progressions.

The hilariously titled “Brodown: High Noon” follows, yanking the rug out from under the tempo, treading at a  more relaxed pace and really letting the lush piano work sink in.  But never far from the fore, the loping guitar and drums keep the piano from lingering too long on any one passage. One of my favorite tracks, its weight becomes massive as it trudges along, bearing down with a bittersweet, melancholic intensity that is at once crushing and cathartic.

“Dance you son of a bitch” has a distinct, asymmetrical feel unlike that of any other on the EP, never settling into a comfortable groove for longer than 30 seconds, a stuttering warzone of piercing prog passages mixed with grinding metal riffs. “Stop being paranoid” tosses another curve ball, a muted track playing with shifting times and looping riffs.

“Remasculator” takes everything to 11, a ferocious shred-and-chug fest with surprising clarity, even providing a thematic medley of previous melodic lines.

The finale ballad, “Pillow talk,” can be seen as a tongue-in-cheek, humorous coda to cap off the sturm und drang of the previous 6 tracks on the EP, or a heart-felt, deeply confessional cooldown for the exhausted listener.  But knowing the guys from Caverns, I’d bet on the former.

The guitar lines laid down by Kevin Hilliard simultaneously provide technical pyrotechnics, propulsive sense of tempo and a hefty amount of lyrical depth; ultimately, there are few problems Hilliard can’t solve by hailing a sheet of notes through your speakers.  Patrick Taylor’s piano work is a joy to listen to.  Keeping things weighty, with a lingering touch on each note, he forgoes the twinkling technical virtuosity that has taken hold of many talented ivory players, instead employing a more lyrical, meticulous approach and a much more toneful style that is critical in setting the mood and atmospherics for each track.  Drums are solid, with Ross Hurt providing a tight, driving rhythmic foundation to the dueling piano and guitar lines.

Caverns have succeeded in refining and distilling a snapshot of their style and sound into a fantastic EP, full of vitality and spitting fire.  A formula does tend to emerge, as with most hard rock bands: a variety of different tapestries interweaving soft and pensive with loud and aggressive.  But Caverns blur things just enough so that things never truly become tiresome and formulaic.

Let’s see if they can keep it up.

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12 Responses to “Album Review/Audio: Caverns – Kittens! EP (FARC)”

  1. Girl No. 1 says:

    sweet review, sweet band, let’s have a brodown.

  2. fister says:

    Great EP cover. Im excited to check it out. I love seeing caverns live because they are the most powerful and consistent live band in D.C. The energy is always there, and in D.C. if you’ve got that, you’re already well ahead of the curve. Nice review Greg.

  3. I love that track! I saw these guys earlier this year at the Rock & Roll Hotel and, to be honest, they were so goddamn loud that I hated their set. Giving them a second chance when they play the Ottobar next week with Imperial China.


  5. Mitchell says:

    These dudes SLAY! Can’t wait to hear the album.

  6. BPO says:

    i can’t wait to hear this shiz.

  7. KFC Popcorn Chicken says:

    This is definitely going on my ipod playlist entitled: “Fucking bitching workout mix”
    I envision many a leg lunge and deep squat thrust done to this EP.

  8. Grid Corruptor says:

    fast, loud, aggressive and the definition of energy. very similar to the type of dudes Imperial China sleeps with.

  9. mathpanda says:

    its like magma

  10. That’s what I’m talking about! They knocked the volume down a couple of notches and played a kick ass set last night.

  11. j.r. mcintire says:

    I want a tshirt please email me how to get one, I just had surgery and can’t make it to your show, please help me support your killer band!

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