Cave of Swimmers – Reflection ALBUM REVIEW

Earlier this year I reviewed an album that was a mixture of tech death and latin jazz which ended up being one of my highlights of the year so far. I feel appropriately adding ethnic influences in metal is a great way to spice things up a bit. That is, if you don’t completely fuck it up and instead put in midi synths of flutes calling it nordic folk music. Fortunately, Cave of Swimmers uses actual instruments and, hailing from Miami Florida, decided to mix in some cuban music in doom metal of all things.

Surprisingly enough, it actually works. The two never fully mix with each other, it’s always very much one or the other, as they use the cuban music more as interludes mid song than as a fusion with the doom. Normally I’m all for bands mixing sounds together, but I think in this case the separation is for the best. I’m not really sure how good a depressing fiesta would sound to anyone. In this case, it helps that this is very much more on the traditional doom/heavy metal aspect of the doom heaviness scale, making the upbeat cuban rhythms not seem to clash as much. However that being said, I will note that while this isn’t exactly Indian levels of heavy, it does not at all trade any of it’s doominess for more heavy metal riffage, which is why I see it more as a trad doom album rather than a heavy metal album like rym tags. I really feel that’s a plus, too much doom that mixes with heavy metal goes light on the doom part. I need to feel something crush me when I listen doom metal, taking that away just ruins the experience.

One thing that did annoy me was the repetitive nature of the lyrics. I don’t mean in terms of lyrical themes, I mean as in repeating the same phrases over and over again. It only annoyed me a little bit at first, but it got to be quite a bother as the album went on. I’d even say it seems to be the main lyrical schtick of this album, to my disappointment. It doesn’t even feel like they’re adding emphasis each time. I mean they try to, but it doesn’t actually have the effect I think they desire it to have. I also feel like the last track is completely phoned in and tacked on. It’s one thing to make an album that’s only 32 minutes long and has 4 tracks on it, it’s another for one of the tracks to also be completely useless while making that album. Fortunately it’s the shortest track on the album, but that still clocks in at about 5 minutes. Still Running, the third track, doesn’t really feel like as much of an epic as the first two are either, although clearly more effort was put towards it. I really feel like this would’ve been a better album if they combined the lengths of the last two tracks and put them into one, making an actual epic. Reflection’s strong point is making great doom epics with lots of flavors, twists and turns, all brought together by latin beats and guitars. While I do think this is quite a good album, and quite unique at that, it feels not fully fulfilled to it’s potential, which I think would’ve been solved by either having a longer album, or doing more with how long it is.