Coming right smack in the middle of the height of the Nu-Metal movement, Caddis was one of a bunch of local bands riding the crest of that trend. In the late nineties they were gigging everywhere and as often as they could, and were gaining some popularity, particularly with the ladies. In 1999 they released their first and only album, "Use only as Directed", an album that they financed by winning a studio time in a big battle of the bands contest. Having a sense of cracked humour, The cover of "Use only as Directed" was a old toaster brutally rammed full of large knives and still plugged in. Why the hell not.
Nu-Metal is a catch-all term we use to describe a wide range of bands and their recordings, but there are always variations in style and technique. The general guidelines of Nu-metal were that the music be heavy in sound but written in a catchy pop way, fat and detuned guitars, drums to be be played with aggression but basic in comparison to extreme metal, vocals to be delivered in a tone far less violent than black or death metal but open to extremely varying interpretations, lyrical content to be less death and hate inspired than metal, and so on. The movement swept around the world, engulfing such major bands as Machine Head and Fear Factory, and some would say that even the mighty Sepultura tumbled into this genre on "Chaos AD". Even fashions and stage performance were determined to some degree, as the black stylings of Metal were cast aside for more of an american streetwear sort of look, and headbanging was dispensed with in favour of pogoing, bobbing around and generally having a good ol' time up there. It was a phase, questionably unmetal and it has thankfully moved along.
Caddis - it has to be said - was a band of young blokes and very much became a victim of this trend, along with other Perth bands of the era such as Pimp and the Dirty Whittler. But although their music adhered to these general guidelines, it seems to be written from a different perspective to some others. Most Nu-metal bands drew on Korn, Drowning Pool, Limp Bizkut (shudder) and others of that ilk for inspiration, but there is a definate feel in " "Use only as Directed" that Caddis have taken inspiration more from such bands as Helmet and early System of a Down, and a good thing too. The vocals swing from singing to yelling to growling to whining to gibbering like a maniac, interesting for sure even if done to death by the bands they were inspired by. The guitars are fat as hell if a a bit too simple at times and the overall feel is big, boppy, grooving and chunky, but you would have to say a bit predictable. There are some heavy moments too, if you can be bothered waiting for them, and I remember that when I first brought the album home a decade or so ago my Lady listened to it plenty of times and loved it. Then again, she loves Breaking Benjamin too.
Live on stage they has a far better sound than the way it translated to the CD, I guess you could say that about most bands of the Nu-Metal ilk. Caddis came and went without huge fanfare, I have no knowledge of whether or not any of them went on to bigger and better things. They were never that heavy, never that fast and never really blew anyone away, but it was pretty cool at the time I reckon.
"Use only as Directed" is probably not relevant in today's Metal world, but is not the worst thing I ever heard. I enjoyed playing it a few times through today, a trip down memory lane.... and I will be just as happy to put it back in the rack for another ten years.
Review by Jez.