The 25 Most Important Metal Bands of the ’90s: #21, Cave In


The ’90s: they were the bomb! That’s why MetalSucks will spend the month of March giving snaps to the decade that was all that and a bag of chips by counting down The 25 Most Important Metal Bands of the ’90s. These aren’t bands that necessarily formed in the ’90s, nor are they bands that would turn out to be influential somewhere down the road; these are bands that a) were doing their best work in the ’90s, and b) amassed a devout following during the ’90s. These are the bands that we feel truly defined the decade for extreme music. These are the bands that we feel truly defined the decade for yo mama.

Combing Slayer riffs and breakdowns is so common these days it seems silly to even mention as a trait of any modern band. But before Cave In, there was metal and there was hardcore. Crossover thrash excepted — which was rooted in music nearly two decades old by the time Cave In came around — those two things did not mix.

Before we get all carried away and start blaming Cave In for modern day “metalcore” atrocities like Motionless in White and Bring Me The Horizon, let’s take a step back and appreciate how positively brutal their debut full-length Until Your Heart Stops was, and still is. “Moral Eclipse” is as furious an album opener is exists in the modern metal canon; sludge bands are STILL trying to top the glacial morass of “Bottom Feeder;” and even on “Juggernaut,” a track that portended some of the space rock tendencies that would later come to define Cave In’s sound, the groovy riff drives as hard as anything Pantera ever put to tape. Stephen Brodsky, who had stepped into the vocal spot by default just two weeks prior to the album’s recording after several successive lineup shifts, bellows his heart out throughout, a hardcore-leaning scream that — together with the band’s crosstown Boston buddies in Converge — would come to define the genre for the next two decades.

By the time Cave In had fully embraced space rock on Jupiter, released in 2000, the combination of metal and hardcore they’d helped forge had gone on to birth an entire scene. It’s safe to say that without Cave In, Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, Every Time I Die, God Forbid and the rest of the NWOAHM bands wouldn’t have had careers, or at the very least wouldn’t have been nearly as successful as they ended up being.

What’s more, their approach to metal songwriting is a hallmark of most metal songwriting to this day: as stated in this piece’s opening sentence, it’s so commonplace we don’t even stop to notice. Rare is the band who’s influence is so unmistakably enduring.

#25: Morbid Angel
#24: Melvins

#23: Meshuggah
#22: Emperor

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