deathCAVE – Smoking Mountain

This debut release from Seattle’s deathCAVE will capture the attention of those who worship at the altar of doom ‘n’ dirt following last year’s self-titled demo with legendary noise heavy, Tad Doyle, manning the controls. The latter release was enough to earn them a spot at Northwest Terror Fest and each of the three members have plenty of experience bringing the noise. It only takes a survey of their past forays in numerous underground acts (Throne of Bone, Swampyheavy, Razorhoof) to understand how they nurtured into quite the formidable riff machine.

Named after the Apache Death Cave in Arizona, the songs are largely based on the cheery subject of human extinction and nature itself. But rather than offer their thoughts in layman’s terms, they opt for a little artistic licence and delve into mythology and fantasy, with the album title named after Mount St. Helens. This all brings quite the epic adventurous feel you tend to get when listening to traditional doom releases and each song takes you on a pulsating and grizzly journey.

Combining elements of old school doom, thrash, psychedelia and grimy sludge, the compositions weave between shapeshifting angular bursts of grinding churn, pained and furious howls, and drawn out doom riffs. The two-pronged vocal attack of Freiburger and Tony Muñoz is a constant menace throughout and benefits from numerous guest appearances, including Dave Verellen of mathcore legends, Botch. It’s also a lot more invigorating thanks to the performance of Benny Koslosky behind the kit, who keeps things ticking with rapid fire drum fills and the odd soothing clean part to break things up nicely.

Opener ‘Death Cave’ wastes no time in shooting straight for the jugular and is a sign of things to come with riffs spewing from every corner. The performance and effort from each member are commendable, and they all lend a vital hand to the record. Producer, Ben Verellen (of the excellent Helms Alee), does a fine job with the huge but dark sounding atmosphere. On ‘The Road’ they tantalise with a grinding bass and go on to summon the void, giving it form and shape. There is no need to seek a bad acid trip with music like this aggravating your paranoid tendencies and soothing your fatigue.

The standout track is ‘The Seer’, a twelve-minute juggernaut that starts off with a rumbling bass line to lay down the foundations for a tribalistic march into war before the song goes into battle cry mode. Holy Grove’s Andrea Vidal then lends her bewitching croon to proceedings in the middle part underneath a cacophony of smoky feedback and ominous drumming as the song builds to a frenetic climax. There are elements throughout of old school Mastodon, early Neurosis and High On Fire. In other words, more riffs than you can shake a Gibson SG at.

DeathCAVE promised to bring the mystique and shatter perception with unsettling tales of woe. On the whole, they succeed. This is a great debut offering with many twists and turns and is a definite must for the doom fiends.



Release Date: 14/08/2020

Record Label: Satanik Royalty Records

Standout tracks: Death Cave, The Road, The Seer

Suggested Further Listening: Mastodon – Remission (2002), Neurosis – Souls At Zero (1992), High On Fire – Death Is This Communion (2007)