Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Castevet: Mounds of Ash


Castevet is a hardcore/post-hardcore influenced black metal band from New York whose debut Mounds of Ash has been getting noticed by a lot of people.

Though they're on the west end of the Atlantic, they have a very similar sound to French bands like Celeste, or Deathspell Omega if the latter weren't so frustratingly spastic.

The guitars play mostly tremolo riffs, and they understand the technique well enough to create melody out of it. Many of the chords are dissonant, in true post-hardcore fashion. Drums are generally fast, but not relentless enough to be considered true blast beats. The bass is perfectly prominent in the mix, and tends to go at a much slower pace than the rest of the instruments. The vocals sound like I imagine Aaron Turner would if he were hoarse. And they throw in some horns on instrumental "Wreathed in Smoke".

Despite the mathcore leanings evidenced by many of their dissonant counterpoints and abrupt changes in rhythm (especially on "Stones"), the songs seem to progress naturally and eventually, and they put equal emphasis on melody and atmosphere. In a way, Castevet is doing to black metal what Neurosis did to sludge metal. You might say bands like Alcest already made post-black metal, but in the process they made it too pretty, and took too much of the metal out of it. Castevet has no problem with that. Yeah, it's arty, but it's also viscerally satisfying.

The Verdict: Yeah, this is good--maybe not quite up to some of the hype, but given that this is a debut, it's extremely impressive, solidifying Profound Lore's reputation as a premier record label. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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