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GOLDEN CAVES

Crossover Prog • Netherlands


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Golden Caves biography
GOLDEN CAVES were formed for 'Nature' as the main theme which is reflected in their music, artwork, and live performances, by five students at the Dutch arts university Codarts (Rotterdam). In December 2013 their first ep recorded in Rotown has been released, and the debut full-length album "Collision" in collaboration with a producer Christiaan BRUIN, released in 2017 with remastered versions of their earlier songs via Freia Music.

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GOLDEN CAVES discography


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GOLDEN CAVES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
Bring Me to the Water
2016
2.80 | 5 ratings
Collision
2017
3.78 | 13 ratings
Dysergy
2020

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GOLDEN CAVES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Dysergy by GOLDEN CAVES album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.78 | 13 ratings

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Dysergy
Golden Caves Crossover Prog

Review by nick_h_nz

4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

I first became aware of Golden Caves when they toured the UK, sharing some dates with fellow Dutch band Sky Architect. I didn't manage to catch a date where both bands were playing, but I made sure to check out the band online, and have been following them since. They recently released their second album, Dysergy, and it's an intriguing title to use, implying, before I started listening, that the whole is less than the sum of the parts. Given that I prefer a great album as a whole, rather than a collection of great songs comprising an album, the title is rather ominous. I've loved all I've heard before from the band, but I approached this album with a little worry.

I needn't have worried. While they draw on several styles and textures, the album is one cohesive whole ? in synergy, rather than dysergy. The title does not refer to the content of the album, so much as the theme. Lyrically, it addresses the idea of dysergy in oneself ? not feeling complete or in one's own world. The album addresses this disconnect or discord with oneself or the world not only through the lyrics but musically too, with instrumental discord used at times to great effect. The album comes together amid a series of dark electronic and atmospheric soundscapes, as one very proggy package that is actually very light, in spite of its dark ingredients. A lot of this is down to the bright and powerful vocals of Remy Ouwerkerk, and, of course, Golden Caves are one of few prog bands that have never been shy to let their pop flag fly. This may put some people off, but it really shouldn't.

Somehow I've ended up listening to a lot of releases for review lately that are inclined towards pop. That's of no great concern to me, as I like music regardless of genre, so long as it is done well. What I've found surprising is just how strong some of these albums have been. But it came as no surprise for me, in the case of Golden Caves. Their previous releases have shown how well they can incorporate a pop sound into their music, without losing any of their edge. If anything, Dysergy provides even more edge than its predecessors. In fact, given the lyrical content and the often dark nature of the music, this is as far away from many people's idea of pop as it is possible to be. And, again like several albums I've reviewed this year, it's somewhat scarily prescient, for, in these days of quarantine and self-isolation, aren't we all a little disconnected from the outside world?

The rhythm section of Erik Stein (drums) and Tim Wensink (bass) provide much of the enjoyment for me (and also I guess, much of that aforementioned edge), with their rather brilliant fusion of unconventional grooves. After the sweet and gentle introduction to one of my favourite tracks on the album, Hide and Seek, Stein and Wensink play a prominent role in creating an addictive and enthralling beat that is reminiscent of the tribal rhythms of Vodun. Ouwerkerk only strengthens this comparison by sounding similar in style to Chantal Brown at times. I would love to see this song performed live, I can imagine how much energy there would be. Hide and Seek also gives an indication, within one song, of how well Golden Caves juxtapose quieter and more reflective atmospheres with punchier, more energetic passages, and though it's the third song, it's where the album really comes into its own for me.

Temperature provides another rhythm-fest, which is glorious to listen to. It's another favourite, especially the bendy bass bridge. Wensick provides so much personality to Golden Caves' music, and this song really showcases that. Ouwerkerk's vocals, of course, soar over the top, but it's Wensick who really shines for me on Temperature. Ouwerkerk has her turn on the following track instead as the tempo slows considerably for How To Care, which is absolutely gorgeous in its minimalism, and Ouwerkerk's emotive vocals are definitely the star ? reminding me a little of Skin, from Skunk Anansie. I hope my comparing her voice to Chantal and Skin goes some way to illustrate the potency and power of Ouwerkerk's voice.

But it's not all about powerful vocals, and the introduction to Happy Dreams provides the most joyful and upbeat feel of the album so far, with an appropriately dreamy repetitive vocal refrain over a pulsating beat, before shifting into more of a song-like structure only after three minutes ? yet retaining the vocal refrain, if not so repetitively. Elise Polman's keys finally get to come to the fore in Happy Dreams. They've been impressive throughout the album, but largely relegated to the background. They continue to shine in the introduction to Samsara, but the stars of this track are the drums of Stein and some gorgeous guitar from Alex Ouwehand, and, of course, the stunning vocals of Ouwerkerk. Ouwehand's guitar is never particularly prominent, and very rarely takes a leading role in the soundscapes, but there's no doubting either Ouwehand's technical prowess nor his importance in the mix. Again, while the album may be called Dysergy, the band are a perfect example of synergy.

Samsara ends what is my favourite sequence of songs (that began with Hide and Seek). There's absolutely nothing wrong with Little Lonely, just as there's nothing wrong with the opening pair of tracks, Chromosome and Dignity. This is an album without a bad or weak song, and they're actually all thoroughly enjoyable, but if they are all great, it's inevitable I will find some greater than others, and I guess these are the three that don't make quite so much of an impression with me. Unlike the following Black Hound, which was released as a single for obvious reasons. It's a very strong song, which shows all the strengths of Golden Caves, though it is not entirely representative of the sound of the album, being heavier in parts (especially vocally) than anything else here. But, wow, what a song!

After the bruising brutality of Black Hound, Somehow provides a much-needed comedown and is a perfect closing number. It's delicate and beautiful, and ends an album that may be called Dysergy, and describes dysergy musically and lyrically, but which is anything but dysergistic. It may be a collection of incredibly good songs, but the whole is definitely greater than the sum of those parts. The quality of the songs is uniformly great, despite how it may come across in this review. I may like three of the songs less than the others, but in no way are those three of a lesser quality. This whole album oozes quality. And in a world where we are all experiencing some disconnect, it's a welcome quality.

 Dysergy by GOLDEN CAVES album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.78 | 13 ratings

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Dysergy
Golden Caves Crossover Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars GOLDEN CAVES is a young Dutch music group. He is releasing his 3rd album here (2nd if we remove an EP whose Cd included a lot of tracks!) On an electronic and atmospheric prog rock style, also a bit alternative in line with the current instilled by their masters THE GATHERING and THE PEOPLE lately I think. When I say THE GATHERING, it is to tell you that the effects of reverberation on the guitar can make you leave in soaring and dreamlike sequences; knowing that they were nominated at the Progressive Awards can also put the ear to the bug. The lyrics speak of the struggles to live outside of external connections which could also be a sign with these 5G waves which can weaken us! A fresh album, let's take a closer look to see what it is all about. "Chromosone" starts the album with a cavernous sound, putting Romy's voice forward, and the slightly raw, slightly chopped instruments set the tone; from the beginning, I think from afar of THE CRANBERRIES on their end, THE HABITANTS, there is atmosphere in there, I also feel a research based on flayed rock, good prog rock in fact. "Dignity" drives the point home, a title that THE GATHERING could have released, it's sweet, it explodes, it's varied, well placed voice, the alternative with drums then basic synth, it's very rhythmic, almost dancing, a sign that PROG is modernizing to the point of changing its values. "Hide & Seek" for a calmer, symphonic, ambient title, a bit about what Anneke could get out, there we feel the origin of culture; the climb is nervous, varied; melancholic break but with a note of freshness, a musical oxymoron often in verve in the progressive compositions of the years 2020 I find; the finale on an explosive crescendo. "Temperature" then rolled out and offered varied and successive developments in 6 minutes with a break in the heavy, unhealthy but also original environment, a little SKUNK ANANSIE and the sound variety well framed by the rhythmic part; the ambient progressive notion is here in order. "How To Care" and its cold genre intro "On Upon a Time in The West" or "The Man with Harmonica" for a slow-tempo song, cold, gothic atmosphere, the icy ballad with repetitive voice ready to freeze the room I'm in. At this time, the progressive drawers develop over listening, interesting in view of the relatively short titles it is true. "Happy Dreams" on a very, too repetitive electric beat which hardly varies but which is saved by an alternative to the piano and by Romy's sensual voice; singular, it's up to you to make your own opinion, the height of making you work there. "Samsara" on a slower tempo again offers a minimal air of interlude with piano and voice, with a programmed rise, a fairly basic song for a progressive fanatic, a more post rock song here and hovering for others. "Little Lonely" leaves on the same influence very gently then rise and break with bass letting the archaic guitar make its frozen solo; we get very close to the sounds of doom or cold wave, a bit of atmospheric metal, a little JOY DIVISION too. "Black Hound" arrives darker, more atmospheric with a rhythm again heavy until the refrain where a guttural voice denotes a little but without excess; the crescendo takes up the developments of THE GATHERING during their beginnings, very good title but there the spleen is gone; violent title even with a deluge of instruments, synth and guitar behind in reverb; an intense title all in relief and with mixture of rhythms. "Somehow" and already the last track with an intro that flirts with LEPROUS, a high voice, an ethereal and hypnotic synth, a piano tune with angelic voices, then osmosis of the genres of the group; I am surprised to notice that the last songs are often not neutral in a prog CD, there is often a digest, a melting pot of many movements gathered and reworked in these last titles; the plaintive guitar solo is well worth being placed there, just asking for a replay, in short a title that sums up the album a bit, a slightly revealing title. A group offering new sound, to follow very closely.
 Dysergy by GOLDEN CAVES album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.78 | 13 ratings

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Dysergy
Golden Caves Crossover Prog

Review by Deadwing

4 stars Dysergy is a pretty surprising effort from Golden Caves.

It's an album with a strong modern and alternative rock focus, with tight-packed songwriting that might not really be prog, but is a good combination of pop and catchy choruses with enough weird atmosphere and nice dosage of heavy guitars. This all followed by a great female singer with a strong and potent voice, which is something different from the usual. The guitar work here is stellar and very atmospheric, with lots of effects and slide usage. The bass is also really present with very remarkable riffs such as in "Dignity", "Temperature".

You should check out this if you're into modern prog bands like: Leprous, Pure Reason Revolution, The Dear Hunter, Coheed & Cambria, Riverside, The Pineapple Thief and etc. I don't think they sound anything like them (maybe except PRR) though lol

4/5

Thanks to dAmOxT7942 for the artist addition.

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