This is the album that changed my -- and a lot of other people's -- view of what heavy, passionate, noisy hardcore could be. I was a fan of Richmond, Virginia's hardcore 'commune' Pg.99, and when any of it's 13 members started new projects of their own, I took an interest. In 2000-2001, a lot of talk was focused on CoC, whose live shows were blowing minds and eardrums, and whose split 7" with Pg.99 provided a hint of the potential they possessed.
I was part of a small group who greatly admired the Canadian band 'Godspeed You! Black Emperor' and their 2000 release 'Lift Your Skinny Fist Like Antennas To Heaven'. It introduced a style of music that was like classical orchestral compositions fused with noisecore and folk. Using instruments you'd expect to find -- electric guitars, bass, and drums -- they added violins and cello, as well as the Saw. They created heavily affecting soundscapes that spurned structure, with tracks running 15, 20 or 25 minutes. They began quietly, often sweetly, but would build in intensity, the stringed instruments becoming frantic, the haunting, keening sound of the saw taking on a tragic quality that was like the wailing of the damned.
City of Caterpillar adapted the atmospherics of GY!BE with the noisy hardcore of Pg.99 on their 2002 self-titled LP, a seamless fusion that was utterly stunning. When I first heard the opening track, 'And You're Wondering How A Top Floor Could Replace Heaven', I realized immediately that this was the band, the music I'd been waiting for. The soft-LOUD-soft-LOUD dynamics that were popularized by bands like The Pixies and Nirvana was taken to another level, and CoC's vocalists, Brandon Evans (a vocalist and bassist in Pg.99, Documents #8-13) and Kevin Longendyke (also a bassist in Pg.99, Documents #9-13) provided an honest, brutally raw intensity that complimented the music perfectly. Guitarists Evans and Pg.99 guitarist Jeff Kane would weave together complex passages that intertwined with Longendyke's bass lines, slowly building in intensity, using volume modulation and subtle variations. Ryan Parrish provided solid percussion skills combined with a restraint that so many drummers lack; knowing when to let loose and when to step back. He used simple, effective techniques when they best served the music, instead of indulging the desire prove his technical prowess at every opportunity. When the time did arrive for a vulgar display of drumming power, his intricate beats were absolutely explosive.
When the band broke up in 2003, I was sorely disappointed. I had watched video footage of their latest live shows, and thought that the new material sounded even better than than the first album. Unfortunately, none of that material ever made it to the studio, and is now lost. What few cell-phone and handi-cam footage exists has very poor quality audio, but that's all there is. That one, perfect album exists, however, as a testament to their creative brilliance and originality, and their influence is stronger than most would realize. Along with Majority Rule, CoC's touring partner and friends, they are the most under-appreciated band of the early 2000's, and this album will remain a hardcore classic regardless of how many people are aware of it.