By: Garviel Loken
On their first musical offering to the world at large, Cave Dweller have thrown down a mighty challenge to the Arizona heavy music scene. Clocking in at just under thirty minutes, the six tracks of "Terra Incognita" erupt with a venomous intensity that could burn the world to cinders if it was somehow able to escape the confines of compact disc imprisonment. Everyone take note, this band clearly means business and now has the proof to back it up.
From the tight and furious gallop during Emperor of Light to the slow building epic of Glacier, Cave Dweller skillfully engages in the blending and bending of genres to the point of creating something new that stands out from the everyday ether. At their core, these guys are a blackened death metal band that cloaks itself with post-metal, doom, thrash, and some progressive elements. To say that is all there is to the sound would be to diminish the impact of their music. One must listen to the record to get a full understanding of what Cave Dweller sounds like.
Not one song on "Terra Incognita" is a throwaway that could compel a listener to hit the skip button. Each track remains engaging from start to finish, showcasing superb writing and performance skills, especially on the song Animal, which is full of twists and turns, instrumental passages, and great riffs. Special mention must be made for the virtuosic bass playing on this EP, which is reminiscent of the talent found in such artists as Steve DiGiorgio or Alex Webster. Another highlight is the contrasting vocal styles. Alternating between two vocalists, one of low death metal growls and another of Ihsahn like screeching, Cave Dweller expertly pairs these opposing forces together within their songs, and the end result just makes the heaviness hit all the harder.
All told, Cave Dweller have really hit it out of the park with this EP. With great production by Ryan Butler at Arcane Digital, it succeeds at capturing the massive sound that this band wields with undeniable force at live shows. Having witnessed their epic set at the inaugural Southwest Terror Fest back in October, this reviewer can say with total confidence that Cave Dweller has the talent to go far in the metal world.
Final Score: 9/10
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