Cave Of Swimmers – Reflection (2015) – Cave Of Swimmers are back with a rather odd release in Reflection, which seems like an EP of sorts with an added radio edit of “The Prince Of The Power Of The Air 6:51” that killed everything that was magical about the song. So let’s get that out of the way right now. As for the original song (which comes in at 10:02) it stands out as my personal favorite on the disc and is ultimately a perfect point at which to begin.
It also seems to denote a genre change in the act, which shows that they’re moving closer to a doom metal style, albeit with the eclectic progressive elements still intact. The song really seems to take off with the chorus, which you’ll definitely have stuck in your head for a while. But as we continue to listen, we’ll begin to hear some rather great moments in the vein of a progressive jam-fest that begins with a solo and continues with a thick tribal percussion that peaks into massively intriguing end session, which I will not spoil.
The massive end session is completely killed in the radio edit, which I feel once again; is a complete travesty. But I will not take off points because the radio edit exists, I just wish that bands of this nature would get the same amount of radio playing time that other artists get with some of their long songs. I’ve heard some lengthy Pink Floyd epics played in their entirety on the radio before and it just doesn’t seem right that Cave Of Swimmers aren’t granted that same opportunity.
A little over ten minutes of music was recorded and by all means; a little over ten minutes of music should be played. “The Skull 11:20” comes next with a mix of prog and doom, though I’ll admit that the verse starts at a rather odd time in the track. I just wouldn’t expect it to kick up that much, especially considering the slow blues with slight progression that makes up a great deal of the song. But then things of course get a little weirder for a section before throwing into chorus one more time before what I feel are the best parts of Cave Of Swimmers songs, the prog-jams.
Now this one takes a heavier turn, as the band pounds out riffs, throw on a bridge and then go into straight psychedelics. That’s not something you expect for a song like this, but you’re glad to hear it. A little Sabbath influence comes in, along with a nice solo and that’s really all you need, frankly.
Now the next two tracks are shorter and make up the length of just one of the previous two. Still, they’re worth noting. The chorus section from “Still Running 6:56” I found to be the most potent portion (the verse sections on this album have not been all that exciting to be honest) along with the unexpected moment of death metal drumming and what eventually turns into a rather extravagant end piece. These guys always seem to have a slow start, but they manage a spectacular finish every time.
I’d really like to hear a song begin the same way that it ends here, but I’m not real sure if they’ll be able to deliver both ecstatic effects at the same time. By all means, (since I’ve already discussed the radio edit) the album ends with the title cut (5:10) which certainly does allow more room for instrumentation, but that’s probably because it’s an instrumental. But don’t turn the record off yet, because as I’ve said; this is where Cave Of Swimmers do best and if I went to see them, it would be this stuff that I would be more interested in hearing live.
These guys truly are stellar musicians and I think they’ve got enough skill and talent to produce a rather amazing stage performance. I guess I’m not really doing a great job of explaining this instrumental closer, but that’s probably because I want you to sit down and soak it in for yourself.
In the end, Reflection gives you about thirty minutes of solid material and while I don’t like it as much as their last, I still think it’s a very potent effort and it’s definitely worth picking up. If you like doom-laden odes to the dark lord with plenty of prog explosions and psychedelics, then definitely give this one a listen.
(5 Tracks, 40:00)