The Lansing metal scene has been a bit off for quite some time, thanks to the bleak weirdness of Cavalcade. The band’s otherworldly discography isn’t strictly metal, punk or sludge rock, but it touches on all those genres and then some — sometimes all within the same unnerving track.
While things have been somewhat quiet on Cavalcade’s discography front, the band returns Nov. 4 with its first album since 2020’s “Quarantine,” a quick three-song EP. The new record, “Evergreens,” offers up plenty more weight — a double album’s worth.
Cavalcade, which comprises Sean Peters (vocals, synth, noise), Craig Horky (bass, theremin, toys), Brad van Staveren (guitar), Cale Sauter (guitar, samples, keys) and Christian Urrabazo (percussion), dropped the first single, “Demons for the Truth,” and an accompanying music video earlier this month. The dynamic track checks all the weirdness boxes the outfit is known for.
“It’s one of the first songs where we’ve compiled all of the looks and dynamics we’d give across an entire album into a single song,” Sauter said. “There’s the soft-loud dynamic and weird chords and tuning. There’s spacey stuff; samples; sparse post-punk moments; blackened-noise moments; a thick, sludgy chorus; and everything in between.”
While those descriptors veer far left of the radio dial and come littered with sonic Easter eggs, Sauter said the single doesn’t entirely abandon the pop blueprint.
“It’s all still sandwiched into a relatively classic pop-song structure,” he said. “With how it flows, we think it still makes for a fairly breezy seven minutes. We’re happy that, so far, people all seem to notice something different every time they hear it.”
As for the rest of the album, the big decision to drop a 17-track double LP stemmed not only from an abundance of new material, which piled up during the COVID-19 lockdown, but also nostalgia from growing up listening to classic four-sided albums back in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
“We all grew up in houses with vinyl collections, and those gatefold double LPs were always fun curiosities,” Sauter said. “At the outset of the shelter-in-place days, we talked about some of our favorite double LPs and what made them not feel bloated. Plus, it’s always been somewhat of a bucket list item for the band to attempt. We set out to accomplish that goal.”
While this is the band’s first double album, it’s far from its first LP. Though its been through multiple lineup changes, Cavalcade originally formed back in 2006.
“‘Evergreens’ will be our sixth full-length overall,” Sauter said. “But I look at this as the third in a trilogy of albums since Sean joined the band that all fit nicely together. That would include our previous two LPs, ‘Lake Side Effect’ and ‘Sonic Euthanasia.’ We still play songs from records before those, so it’s no slight to our roots. Those three just perfectly sit together in a way we didn’t necessarily intend but are certainly happy with.”
Lyrically, a trio of band members may have penned the words on “Evergreens,” but Sauter said a Cavalcade-style hive mind formed during the writing process and, completely by chance, delivered a cohesive thread across all sides of the new record.
“Surprisingly, with the lyric writing spread out across three members, we seemed to land in similar territory,” he said. “That’s where the name ‘Evergreens’ came from eventually. Part of the reason we ended up in this band together comes from being the type of people who make music and art for fun. It’s almost preternatural. We can’t stop creating.”
“We also stay conscious of what’s going on around us and try to better ourselves, but we don’t switch up too much or lose our leaves over changing seasons,” Sauter added. “That’s something that worked its way into multiple songs with multiple mentions of evergreens, so it pretty much titled itself.”
With one bucket list item checked off, what would be another dream sequence for Cavalcade?
“No bones about it. We want to score a movie,” Sauter said. “We’ve been a band long enough that we’ve shared a lot of nontraditional goals and ideas and keep circling back around to this. Hopefully, a project emerges or is offered to us before we start rescoring movies that we don’t like the original score to. We’ve been only half-joking about that.”
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