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Album Review: Caveat – “Alchemy”

Canadian Metallers, Caveat have unveiled an album that has taken years to come into fruition. “Alchemy” is a 7-track long album that has been a fight to bring to light; with the struggles of the modern world, to tackling deep and personal lyrics that deal with addiction, and trauma, this is an album that is not for the faint of heart.

Featuring members of Greybeard, Illuminated Minerva, and Exit Strategy, Caveat is the longest-running active metal band from Alberta, Canada, and is made up of Amanda Marie Bourdon (Vocals/Keyboards), Greg Musgrove (Guitars/Vocals), Joe Sikorski (Guitars), Matt Petti (Bass), and Casey Rogers (Drums).

Caveat chooses to move through its music as a genre-less entity while combining the elements of Prog, Heavy, Symphonic, Thrash and more into its songwriting and melodies. They pride themselves on being experimental in their musical creations and this album is the proof. For fans of Meshuggah, Opeth, Gojira, and Cynic, this album is sure to get your curiosity running wild.

With each track stretching an average of 7-minutes in length, you know there is a story to be told, and another to discover with each. “Silver” is melodic and flawless in its rise and fall with lyrics touching on the silver lining of one’s actions and the ripple they may have on one’s existence. Rich with talented guitar work, and hammer-like drums throughout the song’s duration, this track is a cocktail of blends that touch on groove elements and even a hint of salsa in its tune.

Title track, “Alchemy” brings the fire with a heavy drum solo entrance that builds the prog elements and solidifies Matt’s incredible bass skill. As the speed ramps up so does the potency. This track touches on the subject of addiction and the alchemy exchange in which we wish to partake for a ‘cure’. We search for some miracle to better ourselves, yet the truth we seek may just aid in solidifying the lie which we’ve become. Killer chords work up this track with some rapid verses shaking up the atmosphere from one of mellow depression to one of panic and desperation.

“Infinite” is by far the heaviest off the album, and the first written for its process. Infinite tackles the dwelling on endless fears that plague us but, can also be a furious motivator. It’s speedy and brutal from the music to vocalization making it an easy like for those seeking a Gojira-feel in their music.

 

 

The fourth track, “Black Mirror” is one of the most experimental tracks on the album. Based on the Black Mirror episode ‘White Christmas’, this song tackles the imprisonment of the human mind, and the concept of playing God. The cacophony of back and forth in this track take to heart its inspiration with rattling drums, heavy bass, and untamed guitars. Combined the musical chaos with the battle of vocals and you’ve got a wild track that burns in the ‘What Ifs’ of the darker side of technology.

The beginning of the end features “Ghost” – the last song written for the album, and the best indication of what Caveat can bring to the Metal potluck. It’s got rapid twists and turns from Filter-like flow to Opeth-style drags with the progressive elements amped up for this one. Despite beginning at a slower pace, this song’s lyrics face the struggle with inner demons, and the spiral into depression that comes with inner turmoil. It’s a track that seems to linger upon us, as if we’re haunted.

Amanda’s vocals are short but, drawn out in emotional vigor that feel all too natural and painful. It’s my favourite display of her vocal talent on this album. Of course, the panic quickens the speed of this track with righteous solos and conflicting melodies that add to the oppressive atmosphere and easily make this one of my more admired tracks from the album.

“Until Dawn” is Casey’s creation of what it would feel like to write a Devin Townsend type of song that huge chords, massive vocals, and messages of positivity playing homage to finding that someone who truly connects with you. It’s light, and holding the Townsend vibe that it was intended to. It’s got the beautiful backing melody, and head-banging strength for any Townsend fan and touches on the personal elements from the band regarding Greg and the positive influence his wife and children have had on his life.

“Zero Hour” features introspective lyrics tackling the emotions of Amanda and Greg who both had lost their Mothers during the making of this album. It’s the most melodic of the album’s songs and one of the finals written for it that takes Amanda’s vocals soaring on a higher plateau. It’s a song that’s very personal and close to heart and by far the strongest on the album both musically and lyrically. Even without the personalization, the melody itself conveys a layer of emotion unheard by many and is an absolute tear-jerker with heartfelt solos and high notes that take Caveat to a whole new level.

Overall, this album’s claim to take an experimental route is justified. With elements of many Metal subgenres flowing in their songwriting veins, it’s hard to stick Caveat into one category. While Greg’s vocals are strong and powerful, Amanda’s seem unrepresented save for a few tracks on this album that hit personal notes. What the band displays in musical prowess gives slack to the vocal capabilities that could be greatly expanded. Nevertheless, Caveat brings strength, and wonder to the Metal scene and has given us only a glimpse of what is to come.

Favourite Tracks: Zero Hour, Ghost.

Rating: 6/10
Release Date: February 11th, 2022
Label: Independent
Track Listing:
1.) Silver
2.) Alchemy
3.) Infinite
4.) Black Mirror
5.) Ghost
6.) Until Dawn
7.) Zero Hour

 

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