Joe Haryanto – Vocals & Bass,
Jake Quinn – Guitar,
Cliff Cazeau – Drums & Vocals.
2. Mean World Syndrome
5. Tough Love
It’s a small privilege covering a band at a number of points in their career, with the opportunity to see their progression over the course of time an interesting prospect. It is also immensely gratifying to see their positive growth. Now growth can demonstrate itself in a variety of ways, but with music it is chiefly in two forms. Bands either expand their sound by incorporating further instrumentation or influences, or further refine themselves and distil things down to their core. So having covered CAZADOR’s second release, ‘Failure To Thrive’, last year, how have they pushed on?
Last year’s ‘Failure To Thrive’ was a strong sophomore offering to the world, so the fact that they have returned with another release so quickly should be testament to both the band’s ability to write (especially in spite of the year that has been 2020), but also their drive. Last year’s review reckoned that, while their voice amongst the vast swathes of metal music out there wasn’t an entirely unique affair, it was a strong one that should ensure their steady ascension up the metal pyramid. Does ‘Acceptance/Isolation’ live up to that promise, or does it fail to thrive…
Simply, their promise from last year is met and exceeded comfortably. The growth that is evidenced on ‘Acceptance/Isolation’ feels rather more like a refinement than an expanse. Clocking in at 24 mins, it is comparatively shorter but no less impactful. If anything, CAZADOR’s impact is amplified by the seeming increase in atmospheric, clean-guitar-driven passages that augments the howling cacophony when the band’s sludge-y metallic side comes crashing through the serenity. In many ways, the calm before the storm acts in a way similar to that of your slow, gentle inhale before screaming bloody murder at the futility of it all. That’s CAZADOR’s music in a nutshell.
It’s not a constant formula, as songs flow and breathe almost effortlessly between their more delicate passages and the raucous counterpoints. “Mean World Syndrome” weaves between the two like bouts of mania: angry, thumping guitars and drums clatter at the opening before segueing to something more melodious, before flying off the handle once more (especially the temper-tantrum stylings of the songs feet-stamping finale). “Exigent” presents a more melancholic affair, with reverb-drenched guitar melodies chiming around and wistful vocals sounding entirely lamenting of life’s complexities – apt given this year.
Whilst the one-two of “Tough Love” and “Karoshi” give both punch and a euphoric tumult to round off proceedings (notably “Karoshi” for the latter), it is worth mentioning the beautiful instrumental “F32.8”. Part ambient, part EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY, it’s a delightful pause between two juggernauts in “Mean World Syndrome” and “Exigent”, but really hammers home the band’s nous for producing surprisingly uplifting moments of melodic clarity. The fact that these sorts of moments permeate the record definitely demonstrates the band are onto a good thing, but “F32.8” is where these are allowed to shine in a shimmering respite.
You never want to see a band regress or put out material that can be considered inferior to past efforts, much as it can be easier to critique and snark on. It is a genuine joy to behold finding new music, but more so when a band ups their game from last time, and that is exactly what CAZADOR have done here on ‘Acceptance/Isolation’. Aptly-titled in this topsy-turvy year, the distillation and refinement on display from their release last year comfortably notches their position higher up that aforementioned metal pyramid, and all the better for it. At once calmer with twinkling melodies and atmosphere, and aggressive with crunching riffs and a rawness that befits the unbridled rage that is felt, it really is a step-up in all aspects from these Boston-natives.
‘Acceptance/Isolation’ is a journey of a record, brief but well-worth your time as we sit out the last throes (hopefully) of our isolated days before we can all thrive together again.