The Seattle-based experimental doom trio deathCAVE are gearing up to unveil their sophomore release II on April 22 via Satanik Royalty Records, and in tandem, we’re glad to debut the first single/music video from said effort, right here, right now!
If you’re not familiar with this outrageously heavy and ponderous act through their earlier doings, now’s the perfect time to fix that. The doom-sludge-thrash-black metal hybrid has perhaps been going at it for only a few years now, but evidently pack the necessary punch to demolish their listeners and reserve a spot in their psyche for quite a while. We all know that songs running under ten minutes are hasty and slapdash anyway, so you might as well spend the rest of your day listening to “Birch Trees Are Bones” on endless repeat and indulge in the accompanying visuals, both available for your consumption from below:
Igniting with a steady drum pulse and foreboding feedback, “Birch Trees Are Bones” takes its sweet time to properly unfold. The pacing feels like a lingering serpent in the shadows looking for a crack to escape from, as the tremolo-picked leads start to amp up tension in almost an excruciating manner. The video is divided between colourful, aerial footage of vast landscapes and the band’s live performance in what I can only assume is some sort of a stealth bunker den with an audience in it, keeping your earholes filled and eyes fixated on its contrasts. A hair over two minutes in, an unexpected, rabid drum fill carries us to the song’s first verse, pulling the rug out from underneath us in nothing short of awe-inspiring fashion.
The ravaging but nearly post-metal-esque section that ensues is captivating as hell, weaving the atmosphere together and apart in a fluent manner for a good while, until another relentless drum fill and… blast beats? Yeah, fucking blast beats. Before you know it, you’re in the middle of a whirlwind of agony and distress that is equally earth-shattering as any of the other parts on the track, but oh so much more. I knew to anticipate the black metal element mentioned by the PR letter to show itself in one form or another, but by no means did I expect it to be so overwhelming. The barrage settles down into a more fragile, airy section followed by a crescendo and the returning feedback noises, after which the latter half of the song ebbs and flows like a murky bulldozer through an immeasurable mountain, varying between unbelievably heavy and gauzy, quite the sullen portions. deathCAVE clearly know what they’re capable of, and hold absolutely no punches on this twelve-minute extravaganza.
‘While I was peaking and in fractal-vision mode, I couldn’t stop staring at the birch trees across the river.‘
The inception for this majestic track came during a retreat in the woods spiced by what is characterised as a ‘heroic dose of psychedelics‘, in which bassist/vocalist Michael Freiburger secluded to deal with the so very familiar pandemic blues as well as the aftermath of the termination of a long-term relationship. According to Freiburger, he did this in order to recalibrate, finding himself in the middle of a transformative journey full of revelations and enlightenment that prompted the creation of the song in question.
I’m confident I used an excess amounts of superlatives here, but believe me when I say that deathCAVE isn’t something anyone in their right mind should miss. Do yourself a favour and keep track of them conveniently via their Facebook and Bandcamp pages, and pre-order II from this location, stat.
Band photo by Kelly O