Cave In’s Final Transmission is a tribute to late bassist Caleb Scofield, their heart and soul | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Cave In’s Final Transmission is a tribute to late bassist Caleb Scofield, their heart and soul 

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click to enlarge Cave In

Cave In

Teddie Taylor

The winding story of Boston band Cave In is full of massive triumphs and heartbreaking pratfalls, and they’ve kept on trucking no matter what comes their way. Formed in 1995 as an extreme metalcore band, Cave In debuted in 1998 with Until Your Heart Stops, whose layers of corrosive vocals, dual guitar shredding, and unrelenting double kick drum essentially drew up a blueprint for generations of like-minded bands to follow. Cave In’s crowning achievement was their second LP, 2000’s Jupiter, on which they shed hardcore almost completely, opting instead for the shoegazy progressive space metal that became their signature sound, with front man Stephen Brodsky trading in his shrill growl for an operatic vibrato. The album is huge, weird, beautiful, and polarizing—you either loved it or you hated it, but even its biggest critics had to admit that nothing out there at the time sounded like it. Jupiter caught the attention of a lot of people, including major labels, and Cave In signed to RCA for their 2003 follow-up, Antenna, where they reined things in a bit while keeping the spacey vibes; a tour opening for the Foo Fighters followed. But Cave In proved too weird for the majors, and soon enough they were back to indie-heads-only territory. They broke up in 2006, reunited in 2009, and then released a full-length studio album, a live album, a rarities compilation, and two EPs. In early 2018 Cave In were demoing material for another new record when bassist Caleb Scofield was killed in a horrific car accident. Scofield was the band’s heart and soul; his thunderous low end provided the driving melodic foundation for a sound with its head in the stars, and when the band started experimenting with metalcore again after their major-label stint, he covered the harsh vocals with his punishing growl. Cave In cleaned up those demos and in June released them as Final Transmission (on Hydra Head, which is essentially in retirement but pops up occasionally for special projects), a beautiful record that sounds like classic Jupiter-era Cave In from front to back. The band have also played a handful of shows in Scofield’s memory with Nate Newton of Converge filling in on bass. This fall Cave In are on their first large-scale tour in years, which is also their first without Scofield. It’s not to be missed—I saw their first show with Newton on bass last summer in Boston, and it was as crushing as it was emotionally draining.   v

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