By Dr. Abner Mality

"Reflection" is one of those delightful surprises that creeps up on you without warning during the course of a reviewer's job. The name really gives away nothing about what's inside, although I had a feeling it was some kind of atmospheric post-metal mishmash. No, indeed, this instead was a kind of very heavy prog metal workout that somewhat resembles what Rush might have sounded like had they continued in the vein of "2112" and added a heaping help of doom.

The Cave of Swimmers sound is hard to describe but comes across very heavy and very organic. "The Power of the Prince of the Air" opens with synth spaciness and tribal drumming giving the feeling of Hawkwind and krautrock. Then a bass riff slowly builds until fat and heavy guitar comes in with powerful, even crushing chords. The real kicker to Cave of Swimmers is the vocals...extremely operatic and melodramatic male tenor that takes a lot of getting used to. It definitely seems to emanate from an earlier age of rock and is on the overblown side, but it adds another layer of distinctiveness to the band. This first track is hypnotic and engaging and even though it lasts more than 9 minutes, it's never dull. Second track "The Skull" is the real monster epic here and contains some of the heaviest, most distorted doom riffing you're likely to hear. Imagine early Trouble mixed with the jamming unpredictability of 70's Rush and that's where you'll find "The Skull". This is the album's top track for sure.

"Still Running" shortens things up and is a fast, aggressive tune with one hell of a bass/percussion jam to catch your attention. The title track is the last proper song and instead of the 20 minute prog behemoth I was expecting, it's an instrumental lasting less than five minutes. A fusion of Rush and Dream Theater with some smoking guitar solos. Some editions will feature a shorter reprise of "The Prince of the Power of the Air".

Very happy to stumble upon Cave of Swimmers and "Reflection". Prog metal that doesn't forget the metal!