Friday 14 July 2023


Sweden's Cavern Deep, Max Malmer (bass/vocals); Kenny Oswald Dufvenberg (guitar/vocals) and Dennis Sjödin (drums/keyboards/vocals), broke the mould for conceptual themed albums with their lengthy self-titled tome "Cavern Deep" in 2021, it was a scintillating sinister tale, of Lovecraftian proportions, that told the story of an archaeological expedition that goes terribly, terribly wrong. The story was laid out like a novel only instead of pages and chapters it was told via the medium of music and lyrics, music that was of a doomic flavour and lyrics that were delivered in sombre melodic tones. The album was initially accompanied by a track by track synopsis explaining each songs part in the whole, a synopsis that served as a written guide thus enabling listeners to follow the stories journey from adventure to horror that much easier, (that synopsis has since been removed from their Bandcamp page but can still be accessed via video on the bands YouTube channel). Here was a story that had a beginning a middle and an end...or so we thought before the release of the single "The Attuning" landed (featuring Monolord's Thomas V Jager) and informed us that this single release was intended as bridging piece for a forthcoming album that would be the next chapter in the story. Today that chapter landed in the shape of "Part II-Breach" (Bonebag Records), and it is every bit as good, if not better, than its predecessor, get ready to re-embrace the horror.

 When Desert Psychlist reviewed "Cavern Deep" we tried hard to tie in the story with our descriptions of the music, it was a big ask and we are not sure we succeeded, "Part II-Breach" is a far more complex and convoluted story that mixes the physical with the metaphysical so in order not to do the story any injustice we will instead concentrate on the albums music and only gingerly offer any insights we may have on the albums concept. Title track "Breach" opens proceedings and is a song that switches routinely between crunching doomic heaviness and dank post-metal tranquillity as it chronicles the transformation of the greed driven archaeologist, featured in "Cavern Deep", from from flesh and blood into something else entirely, its a great opener that sets the scene for the rest of the album. One of the features of "Part II-Breach" is its guest appearances and the first of these appearances comes from Brume's Susie McMullan whose soaring powerful tones bring an ethereal  and otherworldly feel to the proceedings, especially when twinned with guitarist Dufvenberg's swooning bluesy lead work. McMullen's vocals and Dufvenberg's guitar are backed by a low slow doomic, but not overtly heavy, backing groove that is only just anchored to terra-firma by Malmer's booming bass and Sjödin's steady but powerful drumming, these parts all coming together to create a sound perfectly in sync with the songs theme of creation and birth. "A World Bereaved" finds Dufvenberg and Malmer sharing vocals duties over a backdrop of sedately paced but weighty psychedelic doom, their voices combing in mournful harmony to describe the destruction and devastation of a world seen through newly forming eyes. Next track "Skeletal Wastes" (featuring guitar contributions from Sarcophagus Now's Johannes Behndig). boasts a superbly powerful vocal that tells a lyrical tale of "sceneries of war" and "mountains made of spines" against a backdrop of groove that starts life in quite traditional doom territory but then in its last quarter dips its toes into more lysergic/post-metal waters and sees Sjödin's keyboards taking centre stage. Up next we get "Sea of Rust" a song that chronicles our newly birthed entity achieving awareness, the song boasting an appropriately evolving musical dynamic and it's vocals crooned in deep sonorous tones. Finally we arrive at "The Pulse", the songs intro of synthesised electronica heralding in a low slow heavy psych/doom groove built from thick crunching guitar chords, low grumbling bass lines and ponderous percussion. The song also sees the return of Brume's Susie McMullan, her vocals here possessing a fragile tone that might at first seem at odds with the devastating dankness surrounding them but as the song progresses soon prove to be the perfect  accompaniment. The synopsis accompanying this song hints at this story continuing which of course would mean another album, Desert Psychlist is keeping our collective fingers crossed.
# For those who might have missed out on "The Attuning", the song released prior to "Part II-Breach" as a tie in between the two albums, it is included here as a bonus track.

For Cavern Deep to release a debut album with a concept as involved and as detailed as "Cavern Deep" was an incredibly brave move, especially as it was so radically different from anything anyone else was doing at the time. To then follow up that debut with "Part II-Breach" and take that concept into places no one expected it to go is beyond courageous and borders on insanity. The fact that they have managed to pull this feat off and make what is possibly one of the best albums released in 2023 is testament not only to their skill and intelligence as musicians but also their depth of imagination.
Check it out ...   

© 2023 Frazer Jones

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