Codeseven started off as innovators. They preceded Cave In as one of emotional hardcore's true visionaries, leaders, and idealists. Their debut album A Sense of Coalition was widely hailed by critics and fans alike as one of the best modifications to the hardcore sound, and is even held in a higher regard than Cave In's superb debut, Beyond Hypothermia. After that, they released Division of Labor, an EP that added some more elements of experimental rock, but was still along the same road as Coalition, and it gave them even more respect.
But after that, things started to go downhill. Cave In etched away from hardcore with Jupiter in 2000 and started focusing more on progressive/space rock, and it almost seemed like Codeseven scrambled to do the same. Once innovative, Codeseven had resorted to apeing bands that were outdoing them -- the result was the space-rock experimental (not hardcore at all) album, The Rescue, which dropped in 2002 -- two whole years after Cave In officially took over Codeseven's original spot atop the critic's favorite list.
The album was good at what it was -- a non-hardcore album -- but it was neither as good as Cave In's last effort nor Division of Labor. The band then began touring with prog-rock favorites Dredg, and fed even more off of their energy, and over the next year or so, abandoned hardcore altogether. During their shows, all they would play would be material from The Rescue or newer -- just like Cave In did, mind you -- and slowly their older fans started to leave.
But Codeseven didn't care. They were going to up Cave In if it killed them in the process. They were going strong -- hard on their way to upping Jupiter. But then the bombshell dropped -- Cave In came out with Antenna (on a major label, mind you, while Codeseven was still stuck on nobody-label Music Cartel). Antenna secured Cave In a lot of publicity, and it killed Codeseven. However, all the attention they got brought label execs to Codeseven's door, and they eventually signed with Equal Vision in 2003. They labored hard, studying the works of others, still abandoning hardcore, and somewhere they learned to sing (just like Cave In).
The result came toward the end of 2004 with their EV debut, Dancing Echoes / Dead Sounds. The grand title says it all -- this album is pretentious space rock, for sure. Did they outdo Cave In with all their effort, though? The answer: Hell no. While this album is definitely good within the whole space/prog/pretention genre, it focuses more on weak sounds and lengthy interludes and instrumentals to really latch on to anything. It's obvious the band has been so influenced by Dredg that they've practically resorted to mimicing them -- "Quails Dream" sounds like every interlude on Dredg's masterpiece El Cielo.
The only time Dancing Echoes succeeds is when they're playing actual music. "All the Best Dreams" is pretty good, and "Roped and Tied" is a good use of synthesizers. Surely, fans of new Cave In and Dredg and the like will eat this up, but anyone who has any knowledge of the band's history will be utterly disgusted. The band seems so pathetic and attention-hungry now to really be taken seriously. Of course, this can be taken a different way also -- maybe they got sick of hardcore and grew up, maybe they didn't like hardcore in the first place, or maybe they were sick of people apeing them? But, all that is really doubtful. Watching them 'grow' and 'mature' month by month just shows how observant they are of ongoing musical trends and how they really just want to capitalize on them.
Dancing Echoes/Dead Sounds will most likely not succeed in bringing Codeseven the attention they crave, so it's quite interesting to see where the band will go from here. Maybe once Cave In starts doing heavier stuff again, Codeseven will magically record a hardcore album. Hell, you never know. I am right sometimes.