There is nothing so inexplicable as death. The all-powerful, all-knowing, all-consuming end of beingness. Beloved Portland mixed-metal heroes Cadaverette’s second album A Farewell To Earthly Existence is the portrait of death. It is an intimate look into the process of watching someone you love die, communicated with at times uncomfortable clarity, and it does not blink.
Opening track “Catcall” builds tension with a clean, mysterious riff, and clear, bright, melodic vocals which part and give way to the group’s characteristic untethered intensity. It serves as an overture, moving through many of the tones and styles we’ll hear repeatedly throughout the record. In terms of the sonic identity of this album in comparison to the band’s previous work, the self-titled Cadaverette (2016, self-released) the band breathes deeper, amping up chaotic movements to 3rd-degree facemeltery and leaving more space for morose interludes & builds. The vocal production takes on more character throughout the album, utilizing a greater variety in recording techniques to add nuanced emotion. These subtle details put A Farewell To Earthly Existence’s production a cut above much of what I hear in the world of hardcore, punk, and metal recordings.
The album moves on to “Kali,” a fantastic example of Cadaverette’s masterful use of contrast within the same track. An instrumental interlude transitions us into the phase of the album centered around guitarist Logan Abbey’s experience with the hospitalization and loss of his father.
This suite of songs does not portray the events in retrospect, nor does it gloss over, simplify, or abstract the thoughts and feelings of witnessing a loved one’s death. Musically and lyrically it puts us right there in the moment, illustrating the density of emotion and memory, and swinging drastically between serenity and utter chaos. On “Bleed Silence,” Danny Bailey’s opening bassline drops us right into the gravity of the moment and what follows is certainly the record’s hardest and heaviest track. The song hauntingly conveys the feeling of some of the last moments of looking into a person’s eyes. The distress of knowing these moments are nearly gone.
The album wraps up with “Trapped In White,” a representation of the end. The perspective shifts back and forth between subject and witness in a blur of surreality. A heartstring-plucking, nostalgic shoegazey riff brings us into the slower and more melodic closing track. The mood is somber and sentimental.
The album makes space for delicacy within a deep, cold ocean of harsh chaos. Compromising nothing, A Farewell To Earthly Existence captures the ferocious power, terror, nostalgia, and inextricable fragility of its subject matter. Additionally, it manages the feat of capturing on recording both the unwavering technicality and raw energy of the group’s live performances — a struggle for any extraordinarily loud band.
Cadaverette has built a reputation based on the all-encompassing sheer power of their live sets, so I can say with absolute certainty that the release show for this album — Saturday, January 11th at SPACE — will be unforgettable.