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Caverne > Des tréfonds du haut bois > Reviews > Thumbman
Caverne - Des tréfonds du haut bois

Could Have Been Worse For A NSBM Demo - 54%

Thumbman, June 14th, 2015

While this demo isn't anything special, it has achieved one pretty lofty goal - being a NSBM demo and not sounding like pure shit. It might not be immediately noticeable that Caverne have some very unfortunate political accosiations, but if you look very closely at their logo you can actually make out a small swastika in the C. While I obviously don't agree with it, I don't really give a shit what their ideology is. It's not like I'll be able to understand what someone shrieking in French is saying, anyway. The NSBM scene is the king of disposable raw demos, and you've got to give Caverne credit; at least they're attempting to do something above average. That said, in the end they have fallen short of that goal. You can tell that they're really trying here, but this sounds like a band trying to find their footing and not something worth actively going out of your way to listen to.

They try to be diverse and make things interesting, but they don't really have the best grasp on how to do that. A Finnblack riff here, a spooky keyboard part there; a boisterous rocking riff in one section, a clean arpeggio in another - they run the gamut on different black metal styles but have no idea on how to implement them. They do have a fair amount of influences, but they use each in the most textbook way possible. Splattering a bunch of common tropes against the wall and hoping some will stick isn't really the best approach. There is nothing truly interesting in and of itself. Look, I'm not asking for black metal riffs played on an electric sitar backed with blast beats that somehow manage to incorporate cowbell, but it would be nice to have something not totally obvious. Not that all good bands have to be doing something totally different, but this isn't at the level where it can play somewhat totally expected and have it sound awesome.

While it's not bedroom black metal quality, this still very much sounds like a demo. The production quality is lo-fi, but not uncompromisingly raw. It's competent, but not particularly good. Despite the bass being rather high in the mix, it still somehow manages to sound thin. The tone on the bass isn't particularly good, and at times it sounds detached from the other instruments and doesn't really mesh well. The drumming is as average as humanly possible. The shrieking rasps are also quite run-of-the-mill. There are some standout parts like the more rocking mid-paced riff in the song that shares its name with the band, but these are few and far between. One of the worst parts of this demo is its just way too long for its own good. There is no justifiable reason why it had to be 35 minutes. It's the length of a shorter album but has enough decent material to maybe fit in 15 minutes. While "Caverne" is one of the better tracks, it simply had no business being 13 fucking minutes long.

I can't really blame Caverne for this one. It's rare that bands are amazing right out of the gate with their first demo. To their credit, their second one is far better and actually worth the time of day. Caverne's sister band Necropole's newest release is also well worth a listen. This is not. It's not an egregious embarrassment, it's just really fucking boring.