- Ryan J. Downey
- I'm a longtime contributor to MTV, Billboard, Alternative Press and MovieWeb. I've worked as on-air reporter, host, writer and producer for MTV, MSNBC and E!. I have provided opinion and commentary to programs on VH1, IFC, G4, Fuse, Current and Oxygen. I have written for Huffington Post, Premiere, OC Weekly, SFGate.com, NextMovie.com, MTV's television and movie blogs and other publications. I am the founder of Superhero Productions, providing broadcast, online and aftermarket content for a number of clients including Lionsgate, Sony and Warner Bros. I personally handle artist management for a handful of bands. "Ryan Downey has established a history of breaking some good scoops in the last few years, and you could certainly do worse than bookmark [him] to check in on." -- Ain't It Cool
Friday, October 05, 2007
Decibel Hall of Fame: Cave In, Until Your Heart Stops
There are a few goals with this blog project: 1. to revisit classic albums that moved me over the years, 2. to remember the times, places and circumstances I came across them, and 3. to discover classic albums that I have never really spent time with. And this Cave In record definitely falls into 3. with some shades of 2. as well.
In 1999 my old band was given the opportunity to support Cave In and Isis on a handful of shows in the Northeast. These shows were given to us by Matt Pike, who I work with on a daily basis now (he books Bleeding Through, whom I manage) and who would later go on to become Burn It Down's official agent, helping to secure tours with In Flames and Shadows Fall.
Both Isis and my band, Burn It Down, were touring in support of EPs on the newly formed Escape Artist Records. Neither band had released a full-length album yet. Cave In, on the other hand, were pretty established, but I wasn't familiar with them. And it turned out to be a point in time in their career shortly before they abandoned metal in favor of prog-rock and clean vocals. They seemed antangonistic toward the kids who came to their shows. And while Isis was distinctly a metal band (arty or not), they had a bond with them through the whole Hydra Head/ Boston thing. In other words, I don't remember anyone from Cave In being particuarly warm toward us at all. And I recall seeing subsequent interviews where they complained about constantly being stuck onto tours with "metal" and "hardcore" and "metalcore" bands and I've always assumed that included us.
With that being said, I gave their next record, 2000's Jupiter, a chance. And it became my favorite album of that year. I don't think the RCA record that followed was as good, though it's listenable. And I heard they returned to "metalcore" after that record flopped commercially, though I've never heard the later stuff. Anyway, I guess my point is that I LOVED the Jupiter album and I still do. It's creative, engaging, emotional and it really takes you places. "Big Riff"? I mean, c'mon!
As for the older stuff, I remember hearing a Metallica medley they did in our bass player's van and I thought that was cool. I mean, they pulled it off. But not until this week had I sat down and listened to Until Your Heart Stops.
And yes, I was missing out! And I can freely admit it! This album shreds! I mean, "no wonder," right? I know it's acclaimed. I know people love it. And I totally get it. The vocals are a bit monotonous, but there are hints of what the band would become on Jupiter (and of their Metallica fandom) both of which elevates this beyond the dreck of the average hardcore-kid-playing-metal. And I have to say in fairness to the recollection above that Caleb, the bass player, went out of his way to be friendly whenever I would run across Cave In after we had toured with them. I remember talking to Adam (guitar) a few times as well, but Caleb being a swell fellow still stands out in my mind.