CAVE SERMON - Divine Laughter


Album: Divine Laughter

Genre:  Dissonant Post-Metal

Release Date: January 18th, 2024

Country: Australia

Label: Self-Released


CAVE SERMON, a solo project from Australian musician Charlie Park, had a very prolific 2021, releasing a demo, EP and album as instrumental releases under this moniker. A little over two years since the debut, CAVE SERMON returns with his sophomore effort "Divine Laughter", Park having recruited a vocalist to further his vision - and it is a doozy!

In truth, the genre tag is not particularly descriptive of the album and does a disservice to the mélange of sounds from which Park has crafted this opus. An analytical listener (like yours truly) will recognise elements of Black, Death and Sludge Metal funnelled through a melodically dissonant filter and arranged in the layered and expansive way that is characteristically Post-Metal. These elements combine for an experience that is at times oppressive and uncomfortable, but at others, cathartic and affirming.

The album wastes almost no time in setting its scene: blast beats, powerful growls, tremolo riffing and dissonant chords are introduced from the opening minutes and are touchstone features over the length of the album. Unsettling dissonant ambient sections further accentuate the abrasive feel of the Extreme Metal parts of Divine Laughter’s sound. However, these harsher aspects are balanced against evocative melodic sections, allowing the impact of these melodies to be maximised as they unfold. In this regard, I find the artwork the most compelling I’ve seen so far this year in terms of visually depicting the music: a smattering of different colours (i.e. Metal styles), violent in their application, where light emerges from a central darkness.

The songs (ambient piece ‘Birds and Machines in Brunswick’ notwithstanding) are all expansive and non-traditionally structured, ranging from 7-12 minutes in length, which paired with the predominantly dissonant delivery may seem like an exhausting experience. However, as I’ve a tendency to belabour, whether you’re crafting an album or a song, pacing matters. And on "Divine Laughter", the compositional attention to detail results in an album that flows effortlessly, remaining compelling across the near entirety of its relatively long 53 minute runtime.

There are a few specific songwriting tools Park uses to this end. First is mid-song ambient breaks (‘Beyond Recognition’), clean guitar (‘The Paint of an Invader’) or traditionally melodic sections (‘Divine Laughter’), used to provide a classic light and shade auditory reprieve. The second and more unique aspect of the album is contrasting the black/death assaults with rhythmically complex and groovy sections. These latter sections are a real highlight in the album’s sound and a huge contributor to the pacing. For example, the staccato riffing of ‘Beyond Recognition’ (~6:25), or swagger of ‘The Paint of an Invader’ (~3:10) are genuine headbanging moments that groove hard, serving as both reprieve from, and accents for, the Extreme Metal assaults. Finally, although none of the songs come close to using traditional verse-chorus structures, they’re never a free-form, one-and-done spray of ideas. Riffs and sections are repeated, sometimes with a bit of a twist, giving tethers for the listener to call back to, as well as be rewarded for on repeat listens.

I love discovering a new artist, and when it's a fellow Aussie, it’s icing on the cake. However, something I love even more is when an artist can subvert my expectations, which CAVE SERMON has done here. Although I generally struggle to engage with albums of more ‘disso’ or abrasive styles, "Divine Laughter" is an excellent album and an exception to this: it is expressive, thoughtfully crafted and rewarding on repeat listens. I’ve little doubt it will feature amongst my favourite releases of 2024 by the time the end of the year rolls around.

Written by Lloyd


Charlie Park - Guitar, Bass, Programming

Miguel Méndez - Vocals


1. Beyond Recognition

2. Crystallised

3. Liquid Gold

4. The Paint of an Invader

5. Birds and Machines in Brunswick

6. Divine Laughter


Old World Viper - Demo (2021)

Fabricate - EP (2021)

Memory Spear (2021)

Divine Laughter (2024)