Brought to us by the rather impressive snowball effect of bands deciding to reconvene, we finally have the first new material from Cave In since 2006.
True, it may be a mere fourteen-and-a-half minutes in length and four songs in composition, but it is new material. So, which direction have the former Metalcore turned Space-rock, turned alt. rock, turned post-hardcore band decided to pursue this time? To be frank: a little of everything.
From the outset there's an aura of extra-terrestrial shenanigans coated in a sludgy bassline more owing to the psychedelic movement. Ignoring all rhyme and reason, front-man Stephen Brodsky decides to pair this with alt. rock vocals which swiftly devolve into straight-up hardcore, taking the guitar riffs with him. It works, but just barely, and while being an interesting start to the E.P, it possesses neither 'wow factor' nor much in the way of melodic content as "Cayman Tongue" spends its six minutes wallowing in pointless feedback-loops.
A brief sojourn is made to Placebo land on "Retina Sees Rewind", which excels in its more relaxed atmosphere. Whether this is to bring in a false sense of serenity for the hardcore assault of "The Red Trail" is debatable, but it is still one of the strongest tracks here, even at just two-minutes-thirty-seconds.
Just as quickly though, hardcore has left the building, leaving the final track "Air Escapes" in the hand of muddy alt. rock with a suspiciously upbeat voice.
E.Ps don't necessarily have to follow the same laws as albums. They need not concern themselves with consistency and continuity. Instead they act as a statement of intent: a demonstration of what the band can do (if anything). As such, it's hard to criticise Planets of Old for being a work built on the schism between the land of rock and metal. Whichever side they plant their flag though, they're going to need to step up their game beyond the just-about-better-than-average fare that is presented here.
Still, it's nice to have them back.