(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the second full-length by the New Zealand project Caved, released on January 3rd.)
2020 is already off to an interesting start. Anyone who has followed me since I started writing for NCS back in 2011 will probably hear this album after reading the review and be instantly like, “yeah this is TheMadIsraeli’s taste in metal”.
Caved is a New Zealand one man progressive technical death metal/thrash outfit that is VERY directly comparable to Martyr. The vocal approach is even very similar, so if you’ve missed that frantic hyper-technical manic style of death metal with thrash vocals and attitude that Martyr brought to the table, Caved is the first time when I can say you can finally stop listening to “Feeding The Abscess” and hear something new in that vein. The Petrifying Vacuum is the sophomore album of Caved and my first exposure to the project.
Of course, Ryan Wallace, the project’s mastermind, doesn’t simply ape Martyr. He does a much more ambitious job of attempting to mix in the technical and progressive death metal elements with lots of thrash and even punk moments, and that results in a surprisingly diverse album. Sometimes it isn’t death metal at all and some of it is oddly even two-step in nature, but what never fades is the dedication to a consistently propulsive and impressively technical experience that induces that same obscene sense of chaos as Martyr used to. Aside from the obvious comparison, I’d compare this record to Watchtower, Voivod, Vektor, Pestilence, and Akercocke.
I feel like writing a more detailed review of this record would be difficult due to how incredibly dense it is, so maybe think of this as a recommendation more than a review? Either way, 2020 is off to a fantastic start already. I’ll be listening to this consistently, deep into this year.