Five Heavy Albums that Changed My Life with Stephen Brodsky of Cave In

Our July cover story says it all: Cave In’s new album, Final Transmission, out tomorrow, is bassist Caleb Scofield’s, well, final transmission. It’s a tragic story, but Cave In have given the world plenty of wonderful music to help make it all just a little bit more bearable.

In honor of the band releasing a new album—and, by extension, in honor of Scofield—we rounded up Cave In lead vocalist/guitarist Stephen Brodsky to find out what five heavy albums changed his life.

Metallica – Ride the Lightning (1984)

It starts out so wrong. A classical curveball into belligerent thrash, all in less than a minute. It’s “Fight Fire with Fire.” And James Hetfield starts barking the riff. Which is Ozzy’s thing. I mean, who doesn’t wanna sing sick riffs? James is basically the spirit of Ozzy and Iommi in one human. This album blew my mind open to awareness of heavy music as a driving force—plus the idea that guitar solos could have exclusive riffs to wail over.

Anthrax – Attack of the Killer B’s (1991)

I know, kind of a weird choice. But this was my introduction to Anthrax. Again, it starts out so wrong. Ignorant thrash, then… I want some milk? “Bring the Noise”… it sounds so derelict. I grew up in the suburbs of Massachusetts so that shit was right up my alley. Gotta give credit to a band that somehow turned me onto both Discharge and Dick Dale at the same time. As of this writing, the album does not appear in their discography on Wikipedia, and I think that’s messed up.

Megadeth – Rust in Peace (1990)

Pretty interesting that this album was produced by Mike Clink, who also did Appetite for Destruction. Don’t bother with that 2004 “remaster” bullshit—it’s actually a remix. Find the original 1990 recording and hear the Gn’R connection. There’s a rock n roll swagger here and it rules—so did Nick Menza.  Man, I can’t count the number of times I’ve tried my hand at hacking through “Holy Wars.” Feeling genuinely angry seems like the best way to play those crazy riffs with actual conviction.

Converge – Halo in a Haystack (1994)

These guys are my friends. I love them as people, I love their band, and I love playing with them from time to time.  I’ll never forget when [Cave In guitarist] Adam McGrath let me listen to a tape of the album on his Sony Walkman during lunch in our sophomore year at Methuen High. The arrangements are storytelling, and there’s no noticeable formula from song to song. As a writer, that flipped things upside down and around for me. Also for me, this album doesn’t sound quite right without hearing it on scratchy vinyl with a worn-out record player needle.

Neurosis – Times of Grace (1999)

These guys are also my friends, and I also genuinely love their band. This record was exciting because it was the first one they made with Steve Albini. At the time, I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea, and I wasn’t the only one. Then I heard an unmastered cassette copy at the Hydra Head office, back when it was basically Aaron Turner’s apartment in Mission Hill. And now, let’s face it—Neurosis is basically the band we’re all trying to be.