With a name like Cave Bastard and an album cover and logo like this, how could I not want to check this out? I’m pleased to say that this initial promise has been fulfilled, and what we have here is 31 minutes of sonic violence and intensity.
With members drawn from a variety of different bands, (including an ex-member of Cattle Decapitation), there’s some good experience levels on this album, and this is apparent from the start. Yes, The Bleak Shall Devour the Earth is a fully-formed and well-rounded slab of heaviness, with elements of death metal, grindcore, sludge, hardcore, black metal, and doom all featuring in the band’s sound.
Cave Bastard mainly have a gritty, old-school delivery. For a relatively brief album there’s a good amount of variety on display across the tracks, from monolithic doom, to filthy sludge riffs, blistering grinding blasts, blackened atmosphere, and plenty of old-school death metal bludgeoning. Due this variety of delivery the songs vary in length quite wildly depending on what they get up to, but this just adds to the involvingly brutal journey that Cave Bastard take you on.
This could so easily have a been the type of release that was shrouded in darkness and murk, but like the album cover there’s plenty of actual colour here. The band have a decent melodic side to them, manifesting mainly in leads and solos, and I especially like some of the slower material which usually combines crushing riffs with evocative melodies.
The guitars have a nice, thick, heavy sound, and overall the recording is both satisfying and appropriate. As for the singer, he sounds quite animalistic and feral. I’m not sure you’d want to meet him down a dark alley.
The Bleak Shall Devour the Earth is a very enjoyable and well-crafted album. Despite the old-school influences this is extreme metal for the new-school generation; Cave Bastard bring an impressive amount of qualities from older eras kicking and screaming into the contemporary one, and have delivered a record that does them justice. Plus, it just completely slays.