Cavaran - Bulldozer (2020)
Though they've been putting in work on demos and live shows since 2014, this is the first studio release from the Belgian power trio of Cavaran, and it shines bright enough to warrant the wait. If the energy shown here is anything like their live shows, it'll give you an extra reason to resent the pandemic. And, while it did come out last year, it's finally receiving a physical release on CD, thanks to Polderrecords.
Leading off with “Walter”, the group immediately shows a stylish approach to instrumental stoner metal, blending tasty noodling with hard riffs, and swinging between the two grooves as the mood takes them. Some melodic nods here and there could be an indication of the band's roots, or just a quick goof – where would you place a couple bars of “Careless Whisper”?
As they continue, with “Dino” cranking up the guitar acrobatics, the rhythmic compulsions rise to greater heights, and the drummer gets to shine in the breakdowns. Things go higher still with “Holy Grail”, ripping through progressions, playing with feedback, and working a tight and deft central rhythm that'll be hooked in your head for days. “Wörner” takes penultimate placement, settling back down into more of a bluesy mode, and putting its status as the EP's longest track to good service as it turns out some truly sweet melodic maneuvering. Lastly, “Bigfoot” brings it home with a percussion-driven trip into prog-seasoned delight, twisting and flexing the song in a new way virtually every measure.
Unlike a lot of instrumental stoner groups, whether their feet are planted more in rock or metal territory, Cavaran resist the impulse to drop in audio samples. As much fun as those can be, the omission does let them stand in a more professional light, without having to worry about weird sample clearance coming back to bite them. And, thankfully, their song-crafting is more than strong enough to make up for it, coming off fantastically no matter which mood, tempo, or style they tackle. Plug this one into your ears ASAP, and let's hope a vinyl version isn't too far off!
For Fans Of; Acid Rooster, Alltar, Bomg, Major Kong, Stonerror