Cave In - Anomalies Vol. 1 (Cover Artwork)

Cave In

Anomalies Vol. 1 (2010)

Hydra Head

For me, the reformation of Cave In is one of the best things to happen to music in the past few years. As one of the most fearless and unique bands of its generation, we saw the band go from early metalcore heroes to space rock visionaries to a major label rock band writing singles and, finally, back to some sort of amalgamation of all those things. This release, Anomalies Vol. 1 is a B-sides and rarities type of collection featuring a string of work dating back to 1999's Until Your Heart Stops.

Side A opens with "Mr. Co-Dexterity". Clearly from the Until Your Heart Stops days, it features a million riffs, double bass, some weird guitar theatrics, and screamed vocals from frontman Stephen Brodsky. Next up, "Inflatable Dream" is a Jupiter-era track with vocals solely from bassist Caleb Scofield. However, in contrast to that seminal album, it's much heavier and riff-oriented and I think it ultimately might have seemed out of place on that release.

What follows are three covers, "I Love I Jah" by Bad Brains, "Plainsong" by the Cure, and "N.I.B." by Black Sabbath, each one originally destined for or appearing on a tribute album. Thankfully, the band takes "I Love I Jah" and puts it into their own style, producing a pretty atmospheric song that sounds like something that might have been on their Tides of Tomorrow release, if not for the very un-Cave In-like style of the lyrics. The track ends with an extended delay and noise segment, a staple of their live shows around that period.

"Plainsong" is decidedly downtuned, even moreso than I remember Cave In ever doing. The synth line is suitably covered via ultra-effected guitars, working well within the band's sound. Overall, though, the song comes off awkwardly, with Brodsky singing what sounds like is way too low for him, and some weird echo thing all over his voice. Thankfully, the band nails the next cover, "N.I.B.", turning the originally dirging Sabbath rocker into an atmospheric post-rock spectacle. I would love to see the band bust this one out live like they used to with the Led Zeppelin "Dazed and Confused" cover they were playing around 2001 (by the way–I'm a Cave In superfan if you didn't notice).

Following the covers is a demo version of "Innuendo and Out the Other", one of the standout tracks from Jupiter. Without much studio polish, it kind of sounds like a live recording. Differences from the album version include some odd vocal harmonies, an additional vocal line and lyrics over the drum roll bridge, a busier bassline, and a different ending with screamed vocals. It's cool, but listening to this version just makes me want to throw on Jupiter. Finally, the record closes with a cover of Codeine's "Cave-In", which is obviously the band's namesake song. It's a slow, drum-less song with nicely sung vocals and is reminiscent of the '90s band Failure.

This release is likely for big fans only as nothing on here is as great as any of their regular releases. However, from a fan's perspective it fills a nice roll in the band's varied discography, getting these outside tracks onto vinyl.