During my first year of university, I landed a bit of a dream part-time job when I got hired at a His Master’s Voice (HMV) store in downtown Ottawa. For those unfamiliar, HMV was at one point a well-respected music retailer known for their extensive selection of compact discs and vinyl. Near the start of my time employed there a record called Antenna by Boston based Cave In was released. The record received a perfect review in Alternative Press who subsequently compared it to Loveless, Mezcal Head, and You’d Prefer an Astronaut. An afternoon of work for myself around this time would include playing the record in the store while customers shop. My curiosity went from just that to total awe based on the high quality of their songwriting, guitar playing, and music.
The summer after the release of Antenna I was at a friend’s house having a couple of beers and smoking overpriced Ontario Marijuana when the topic of our conversation turned to Cave In. My friend stared at me in wonderment “Dude, have you NOT heard Until Your Heart Stops?” I didn’t know what he was referring to. He became even more animated “Dude, have you not heard JUGGERNAUT!?” From there my friend ran to the stereo and immediately pressed play on the record which is the subject of this piece. Initially, I didn’t know what to think – it sounded like a completely different band.
As time went on, my fandom for the band grew. This lead me further down the Cave In rabbit hole. I grew to love the band’s most widely known album, the critically heralded Jupiter. I marvelled at the sonic shift that marked 6 song ep Tides of Tomorrow. I even found 20 or so demos on file sharing application Soulseek that would eventually be culled into the full-length Perfect Pitch Black. By this time I never had gone back to revisit that “old” Cave In record my friend showed me that one summer.
Eventually, I moved to the west coast to start a band of my own (guess who our primary influence is to this day?) Given that I aimed to have Cave In‘s entire physical discography I did end up buying a copy of Until Your Heart Stops. The band were young when they wrote and recorded Until Your Heart Stops. 16 or 17 years old if I’m not mistaken. Over the years various interviews with the band have led this blogger to believe that along with the rhythmic precision of Slayer, the band drew influence from a large regional musical community which also produced contemporaries like Drowningman, Piebald, Converge, Rorschach, Earth Crisis, and Deadguy. These sonic kindred spirits would play a large role in refining the band’s approach on Until Your Heart Stops.
The record begins with one of the band’s most well-known songs: Moral Eclipse. To my knowledge, the blending of styles the band was so deftly executing was a relatively new thing. Exceptionally technical guitar playing, lightning quick dynamic changes, and busy but precise drums are all hallmarks of the album and “Metalcore” releases in the future, for that matter.
Track 3 from the record is arguably the band’s most well-known song. A fan favourite and probably one the band would be quite content to never, ever, have to play again. The song itself is outstanding but it seems to be a tune that seems to have stuck with the fringe of the band’s audience. Check out the band perform the song in question at READING FESTIVAL (!!!) in 2003. Incredible:
Another Until Your Heart Stops highlight would have to be the stunning “Halo of Flies.” Over the years the band has completely changed the way they perform it live. Bassist Caleb Scofield now performs the guttural vocal sections while vocalist/guitarist Steve Brodsky tackles the clean sections. On the original recording, Steve handles all the vocals. The guitar arrangements are clever, to say the least, and you can hear years and years of influence respectfully derived from this collection of songs by other bands of a similar ilk. See Hopesfall, Saosin, Finch, Senses Fail, The Used, Thrice, and other like-minded artists. The band play “Halo” a BIT faster than the recording in a live context and it really brings the piece to life, behold:
I realize I did little to describe the actual songs on Until Your Heart Stops but you can hear them for yourself at the Bandcamp link below. Brace your self for impact dear reader.