This is the newest release from Cavalcade, and I was lucky enough to snag a copy of it at a recent show in Traverse City. As I would expect from Cavalcade, this release is a mix of heavy and weird. The sounds themselves are slabbed onto a chunk of standard black vinyl stuffed within a full color sleeve. A reptilian eyeball covers the entire front of the album, wrapping fully around to the backside. As a bonus addition to the package, tucked inside was a CD version and the ubiquitous free download. Almost every format…but where’s the cassette guys??? I noticed an interesting detail within the album layout. On the insert, written in Braille, was a hidden message which translated to “Rather Be Dead.” I always appreciate anything that makes me stop and really look at the design or layout while I’m doing my listening. This detail took a minute to figure out, and then translate. A nice touch!
Sonically, Calvacade fits in the realm of metal. Weird metal, noise metal, noisy metal? Who names these things anyways? They are heavy as hell with lots of sonic texture. Riffs come right alongside a plethora of other wave-forms, creating a unique soundscape, that, to me, is instantly identifiable as the one and only Cavalcade.
Delving into the opening track my ears are instantly soaked in every bit of that weirdness. Leading in with a super thick guitar riff and samples underneath, the track evolves into a noodle guitar soundscape. With the Cavalcade standby gravely vocal delivery, the song bounces from weird to stomping guitars back and forth to a satisfying effect. A great opener for those who are new, and for my ears. I found it to be a very congealed form of Cavalcade, grown up, fleshed out, and ready for business.
The opening of the second track, “Aspirate on Aspirations,” is noisy as all get out, slowly building into a noise wall of guitars and drums and screaming. Layered guitars and effects make for a thick texture. There is so much going on, creating an almost symphonic sound.
The third track, “Here and Now,” again brings the juxtaposition of thick driving guitars with haunting melodic guitars mixed beneath beside and below. The drum work on this track is great. The minimalist beats in the haunting sections that build into crashing accents to the explosions for the heavy parts. Closing out the track it sounds as if a theremin was brought into the noise wall, and this just adds to the texture!
Fourth up brings the giant riffage right out of the gate, deconstructing into a noise scape that scrapes slowly along, this time balancing the noise to thick riffage and back again. Cavalcade has once again created another great noise rock song. The vocal delivery at the close of this track is sick, one of my favorite sections of vocals on this album.
“Noose Tie” opens with a much more open guitar sound, not as heavy, and verging into an airier and more spaced out sound. The vocals stay in gravely death metal vein, but the music itself molds into a more epic sound. The vocals verging into an almost hook type of delivery, which really changes up the usual delivery for this track.
“Freezing in Fire” begins inside a world of twittering and tweeting noises, mixing with chords, slowly building forward. Noisy and heavy, but not in a “metal” way. It’s more of a dark and brooding slough, slowing the album to a crawl just in time to flip to the second side and see what lies beneath.
Side B opens up with a stomper called “Dead Idles.” The drums lead the attack, mixed low, with guitars and vocals sitting just over-top. The drums carry the frenzy of the song, feedback and guitar texture are again highlighted for the Cavalcade arsenal here. Keys (or accordion?) are an addition in the wall of noise, swelling the already ridiculous wall of guitar licks. We are fully in the chaos of the Cavalcade carnival now, I’m expecting my ears to bleed soon.
Next up is “Tragedy’s Sick Sense of Timing,” bringing more of a punk feel with almost airy guitars. Drums are still frenzied and vocals stay in the death gravel realm, but there are moments of an almost chorus sing-along-style sound. So much texture floats in, and around. At one point there is a saxophone flirting around in the riffs. The drums are nailing it here, hard accents and pounding rhythms make for very tight work!
“Prospective Prospectors” begins with a vocal sample that leads into a meandering guitar riff. The riff is a huge one and slowly builds bigger and thicker, bringing the song forward. This is the Cavalcade of yore that I remember, thick riffs, solid drums heavy as all get out, meandering along with the death vocals right on top.
Nearing the end brings up “We Dig Our Own Graves,” another stomper, firmly back into the metal vein here. I think this is the thickest heaviest spot on the album so far. Not soaked in weirdness, but sticking hard to the riffs and laying them down with a sneer. The guitar work is great, again, so much going on so many textures and the lead-work is sick as well.
“Lost Thoughts” is a reprieve from the heaviness of previous tracks. It has a feeling more like a Zappa track than standard Cavalcade, full of various percussion sounds and multiple voiceings. This track is absurdly hilarious, and, nearing the end of the LP it fits perfectly.
The closing track titled “Blackout Radius” is the longest track, coming in at over 5 minutes. Heavy, but in a more reserved way. I feel like this track captivates the weirdness, dual guitar riffage, and vocal delivery of the previous tracks all in one. The song sounds huge and feels like it just keeps opening up, bringing the album to its inevitable close.
Cavalcade rules and no one sounds like them. These dudes are always out playing shows so click the links below for the music and more info. Also check out our previous review of their 7″ here.