Cavernlight immerse music into mental issuees on great debut offering ‘As We Cup Our Hands…’

Some of the very worst people on the planet are the macho assholes who question any human being suffering from mental illness. Basically, if you’re one of those people, go fuck off forever. No one is weak or soft because of this, and some folks just have brains that don’t process chemicals the same as you, you garbage tank.

Sorry to get off track, but anyone who has read this site at any time at all knows we have a soft spot for mental illness. I suffer from it and have battled it for years, and that’s a major reason Cavernlight’s debut full-length “As We Cup Our Hands and Drink From the Stream of Our Ache” hit me so hard in the chest region. The record is a five-movement piece that follows a person suffering from cataclysmic anxiety and mental illness and the daily struggle to find meaning, peace, happiness, and even a reason to keep taking the next step. Trying to work through that black hole of hell and attempting to heal can take longer than major surgery, and there is no guarantee there will be a happy ending. The band—Scott Zuwadzhi (vocals, guitars, noise), Patrick Crawford (guitars), Brandon Pleshek (bass, synth) and Adam Bartlett (drums, vocals)—actually formed in 2006, and as their mission developed, so did these songs and what makes up this amazing record. The band’s form of atmospheric doom can drag you to the bottom of the river, gasping for breath, though now and again, light beams through.

Opener “Lay Your Woes Upon the Ground and Know That the End Will Swallow You” has noise charging and a slightly gothic feel to its atmosphere. Tortured growls erupt, synth curls beneath the chaos, and a cloudy doom blanket spreads over everything. Wild shrieks break through the murk, injecting a feeling of utter sorrow, while the band mauls viciously. Demonic cries rise with the tempo, as the track rolls out with the storm. “Constructing a Spire to Pierce and Poison the Infinite” has cold guitars stinging and the drums beginning to rumble. The song takes up a slow-pounding push, and as things develop, the track gets more vicious. Sheets of hurt delivered by the chasms of madness eventually pull back a bit. But then hulking growls and a slithering pace drag the song into the mist. “Wander, Part II” (the first part was on their 2015 “Corporeal” demo) is an instrumental cut that simmers in sounds, with guitars dripping, and a cold, post-storm coldness breezing your cheeks and putting chill in your bones.

“To Wallow in the Filth That Dwells Where Despair Is Born” has some brighter guitar work at the start, with sounds drizzling and a heavy gaze section swelling heavily. Tortured wails erupt, while a slowly bleeding pace emerges and is met with bone-crushing shrieks. The vocals turn to bruised wails, while pain and beauty mix in the music, piano lightly falls to the surface, and a fog thickens and leads into devastation. Closing track “A Shell of One’s Former Self” brings everything together, and it also features some guests who add their own textures to the song. Sarah Green (who also contributes cello to the record) unleashes her angelic voice that mixes with churning guitars that should squeeze your lungs. After several minutes, the tracks bursts as growls slither across the earth, and skies begin to crumble. Terrifying wails from both Rachel from FALSE and Mike Paparo from Inter Arma/Bastard Sapling breathe fire, as Green continues to boom, while the song slowly dissolves and turns into a mist.

Cavernlight’s music puts their individual members’ hearts and psyches on the line with “As We Cup Our Hands and Drink From the Stream of Our Ache,” and this music could help someone who’s wallowing in the same dark body of water find a like-minded voice. The music is immersive, dark, and swelling with emotion, and the journey is one so many of us face. Anyone out there suffering should know they’re definitely not alone, and this music could be their journey to healing.

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