Review / Deathcave – Smoking Mountain

Seattle-based doom trio Deathcave announce their arrival with their debut album, Smoking Mountain. Named after the Apache Death Cave in Arizona, the band was forged in 2018 and got off to a flying start, as its three members — Freiburger (Throne of Bone, Brain Scraper), Benny Koslosky (Swampyheavy), and Tony Muñoz (Razorhoof, Worship) — are longtime veterans of the underground touring circuit. The band released one three-song, self-titled demo last year. Captured by Tad Doyle (Tad, Hog Molly, Brothers of The Sonic Cloth), it captured the imagination of those fans ‘in the know’ and secured them a place on the North West Terror Fest (now in 2021).

On the album, Deathcave rumble forth, sounding all coal-powered with steamhammer riffs, exhaust fumes pumping all over the place, burning rubber on massive tyres, with snarling engines and heavy-duty machinery, clattering along like the Tad’s own monster truck made metal. Listening to them, you can almost smell and hear the pollution their music evokes. However, dig a bit deeper though and you may be in for a bit of a surprise.

It’s nature, not fossil fuels that power Deathcave and rather effectively too, packing in quite a bit to the five tracks on show here. Lyrically, there’s lots of references to otherworldly geology, dark, foreboding forests and the unknowing wonders of the natural world; it’s clear they’re making best use of their surroundings on the Pacific Northwest. Aurally, it’s a rock-solid doom album with aggressive vocals, tectonic plate-shifting riffs and thundering drums. Opener ‘DeathCave’ has plenty of thrashy elements, kicking off the album in up-tempo style, ‘Last Breath’ lumbers along like an especially pissed off Treebeard, while longest track ‘The Seer’ features some beautiful, unearthly vocals from Holy Grove’s Andrea Vidal.

There’s nothing new or particularly groundbreaking on show here, which is not always a bad thing; sometimes you need to know exactly what you’re going to get. Want Doom? Put on some Deathcave.

Smoking Mountain is out now and can be ordered here.

Words: Scott Crawford

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