Melbourne’s Caged Existence follow up last year’s twin The Body Prison EPs with another short, furious blast of heavy metallic hardcore. This review will be quite short and to the point, somewhat reflective of the three tracks that comprise The Burden of Purpose.
Released just after returning from their European summer sojourn in support of Knocked Loose, Kublai Khan and Cruel Hand, The Burden of Purpose represents another stage in the development of Caged Existence, one that sees them force their way into a space occupied by those more notable groups they’ve just toured with.
Musically, The Burden of Purpose sees Caged Existence further entrench themselves within the 90s metalcore sound that is currently in vogue. While they tick the boxes in terms of this; the spoken word introduction to the record, the dissonance sprinkled throughout, the breakdowns that become increasingly punishing as the record progresses, they also take it a stretch further. While many bands borrow the bludgeoning styling of bands like Arkangel, Morning Again and Disembodied, Caged Existence also take more nuanced cues from these bands, as reflected in a verbose lyricism, which also helps distance them somewhat from being lumped in with beatdown-y bands that draw from the same pool.
Moreover, the well-produced (and somewhat polished) sound of this record offers an insight into what say, Dead Man Walking (Arkangel), Hand of Hope (Morning Again) or even that Harvest record might sound like had it been recorded in the present day. With regards to the content of the record, these three songs are tight, cohesive and well-structured. Of particular note is vocalist Steffanie, whose dominating presence compliments perfectly the hammers being thrown by the rest of the band.
Another quick note—Caged Existence have produced a great EP by keeping it short and ensuring that what made the cut was stellar. No bullshit, no frills, no unnecessary filler—a lesson many of their contemporaries could learn, perhaps.
The Burden of Purpose hits like a cement block dropped from a great height. Watch your fucking head.