Monday, October 28, 2013

Castevet: Obsian (2013)

Left Turns

It was three years ago that Castevet briefly captured some attention as a part of a then-novel movement, to combine hardcore tendencies with black metal. Now it seems the only time anyone talks about that is never, or maybe whenever Decibel waxes poetic about Tombs.

So the old novelty/controversy is irrelevant. So is Mounds of Ash, it turns out. While the only lineup change is at bass, the band doesn’t really sound that much like the old band. They imported Nicholas McMaster* from Krallice, and now their riffs sound distinctly like Krallice. Whether you think that’s a good or bad thing largely depends on your opinion of Krallice. They’re a band I enjoy, but I don’t understand why some people shit their pants over them.

The tremolo riffing that dominated the prior album is largely absent, replaced by Krallicesque, seemingly nonsensical combinations of high-pitched riffs blending both open and palm-muted chords for that now-familiar disorienting effect. “Cavernous” also has a jazzy prog break, which is something I definitely do not care for. I do like the way they use it in conjunction with the halting drums of “As Fathomed by Beggars and Victims.” And thankfully it never flirts so recklessly with the term “wankery” like Krallice does.

Things take a radical left turn at the end of the record. The title track is more or less an ambient piece, and then album closer “The Seat of Severance” comes along with clean vocals and a radio-friendly riff. It sounds like a bonus track, not a part of the album proper, but it isn’t bad.

That raises a huge question. Can they combine the weirdness of those Krallice riffs with their newfound radio-friendly side? That would certainly be something to behold. Right now, I’m going to consider them still a band with great potential.

The Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars

*I bet he’s used the screen name McMasterofPuppets somewhere on the interwebs.

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