Cave of Swimmers – The Sun

Doom traces its roots back to Black Sabbath’s work in the 70’s, and have taken off into a wide variety of directions. On one end of the spectrum we find funeral doom, with an ethos and style very similar to extreme genres like death and black metal. On the other we find bands like Florida-based Cave of Swimmers, that carry on Black Sabbath’s hard rock legacy, infusing it with stoner and progressive rock. With two full-length albums under their belt, they have returned just now with the 7″ EP presently under scrutiny.

From a personal perspective, I’ll never be able to enjoy this somewhat hipster oriented brand of rock/metal as much as I do the proper extreme varieties. There is a slight sense of chart-hitting waiting to happen here, and a tad too much focus on musical finesse as opposed to that generic and sub-cultural isolationism that has given us the best works of metal. Since this is probably very much a personal opinion, and one that is hardly transferable to most people who are likely to be the target audience for this EP, I won’t let it get too much in the way here.

The A-side is taken up by “The Sun”, beginning with a riff that sounds almost like if it’s going to go full core. That is not happening, though, but instead we’re given a very catchy hard rock tune. There’s a nice contrast going on between some of the riffs and the very stripped-down, fuzzy yet well-produced sound, and the melodies and vocals, which are very much 80’s hard rock. A sense of deconstructed and chopped up power metal looms over the track’s chorus, as well as over the extended guitar solos. Even while standing by my snarky and hipsterophobic comments in the previous paragraph, I must admit that this is a really catchy piece of rock’n roll.

The B-side contains a live-recording of “Hangman”, the opening track from the group’s debut album. The production is not exactly top-notch, but the live feeling is certainly there. The occasional audience noises and the intense instrument mashing efficiently convey the fact that this was probably a fun gig.

All in all, a feisty little piece of vinyl, sure to appeal to anyone who like their hard rock old, but new. The EP is out on July the 3rd on Southern Druid Records, but is already up for pre-order.

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