Despite Massachusetts trio Cazador having been a going concern for five years, Failure To Thrive (Self Release) is the band’s debut studio album, even being preceded by a live album. Having started out as a purely Sludge-based unit, their sound has evolved to incorporate a number of styles which makes this effort a short but exciting journey.
A Cazador is a species of tarantula wasp and there’s certainly an energy and sting from the outset, the howling of opener ‘R62.7’ building to an eerie, oscillating crescendo. The ensuing ‘Skeleton Crew’ commences with a mighty riff before exploding into some kind of Hardcore Doom hybrid that quickens then slows at alarming rates. The centrepiece is tense At The Drive-In, then introspective jangling melodies which separate the huge bombs led by Joe Haryanto‘s mix of harsh and clean vocals. His bass strings rumble out a pensive opening to the brief ‘Children Of Man’, and the shimmering guitars of Jake Quinn soon make it apparent that there’s a strong post-Metal influence here.
‘Kingdom’ begins in sombre fashion, Haryanto’s clean vocal high but soulful and fully suiting the mood. Again Quinn’s strings are musical and plaintive but not overwrought, while the subtle stickwork of Cliff Cazeau beautifully guides the early stages. The build to the mid-stage evisceration is delicious, a crushing Sludge feel overtaking that gentle sensibility and adding chaotic urgency to the tracks dying throes. The title track is initially brute force, a real nasty groove machine with stabbing, police siren riffs. Once more that profound guitar takes over, but here it’s a tad disjointed and almost falls into that (whisper it) Metalcore trap. However the band find a way to build the sound back up naturally, the coda growing to really throaty leadwork and back to the violence.
‘Edema’ is another brief interlude which shows some hostility in its cosmic, echoing leads. Somewhat surprisingly an acoustic guitar ends this particular chapter and leads into the evil crawl of the penultimate ‘Comey’, which turns a little Punk before moving towards Doom: all the while retaining a sackload of vigour even though the direction is all over the place. The closing solo leads into closer ‘Sassafras’: eerie organ giving way to some more of Quinn’s beautifully delicate work before a staggering fulmination says everything Cazador is about: beauty and angry protest in equal measure.
There’s an absolute shitload of both invention and promise in these guys and, while the switch between styles sometimes gets fragmented and lost, there’s often a glorious meld which makes you wonder why no-one has stumbled on this before. A little more cohesion and with any justice, Cazador should be bloody huge.
7 / 10