Review : Castevet - Mounds of Ash
PopmattersAlthough they’re regarded as completely differing entities today, black metal and hardcore punk are much more closely related than some kids these days would care to admit. Going back to black metal’s first wave, there was a distinct hardcore punk element to the music, whether it was the crunching proto-thrash riffs of Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, and Bathory or the frenzied d-beats of Venom. Conversely, 1980s crust punk bands like Nausea and Amebix drew heavily from the metal side, and those same kind of raw, open riffs, in turn, crept into Norwegian black metal in the 1990s. In fact, one could easily categorize the current musical direction of black metal greats Darkthtrone as crust, their last four punk-infused albums bearing no similarity to the icy atmospherics of landmark records like Transilvanian Hunger and A Blaze in the Northern Sky.
One side of hardcore that bands haven’t bothered to merge with black metal, however, is noisecore. And for good reason too: in theory, the combination of traditional black metal atmospherics and melodies with the jagged, often atonal sounds of Botch, Refused, and D.C. Dischord bands just seems like a completely awkward, unnatural fit. Unbelievably, not only has a band come along that dares to meld the two seemingly disparate sides, but they’ve done so with such panache on their debut album that they already sound completely different from any band in metal after just one record. That’s not a bad way to start off a career.
Perhaps it helps that the Rosemary’s Baby-referencing New York City trio Castevet doesn’t have much of a black metal pedigree. Bassist J. Scott did time with experimental band Anodyne and grindcore act Defeatist. Guitarist Andrew Hock played in grind band Biolich and doomsters Ehnare, while drummer Ian Jacyszyn previously specialized in brutal death metal with Copremesis and Pillory. Of course, there are some in the underground black metal world who will immediately question the band’s credibility simply because a) they’ve emerged from a very trend-oriented local scene, b) they have switched to black metal from death and grindcore, and c) they don’t stubbornly stick to the traditional black metal template. But Castevet surely couldn’t care less about such trivialities, and neither should we, especially when the actual music on Mounds of Ash is as excellent as it turns out to be....full text
HeavymetalMounds Of Ash is the full-length debut from Brooklyn, New York's Castevet. Their style of black metal tinged with progressive and hardcore influences is unique enough to make them stand out above their black metal brethren. Their musical pedigree coupled with a label known for finding the best the underground has to offer has them poised for success.
Produced by Krallice's Colin Marston, Mounds Of Ash both steamrolls and floats. Harsh, dissonant guitars and lightning-fast drumming along with an ominous atmosphere create an oppressive environment. On tracks like “Red Star Sans Chastity,” that oppression gives way to progressive instrumental sections that are much lighter, but still have bite.
“Grey Matter” has a more regal bearing, although the ragged harsh vocals strip away some of that dignified vibe. “Red Aura” even has a hook or two amongst the extremity. “Wreathed In Smoke” is a dramatic instrumental, and a good change of pace. However, it might have been even more effective toward the middle of the album instead of the second to last track.
I have a feeling Castevet is a band we'll be hearing a lot more about. They are off to a rousing start and have set the bar high with Mounds Of Ash. If they can keep the momentum going, they'll have no problem quickly ascending the ranks of American black metal bands....full text
ElboYet another New York band takes on black metal, but in a way that no one could have expected. Although they're regarded as completely differing entities today, black metal and hardcore punk are much more closely related than some kids these days would care to admit. Going back to black metal's first wave, there was a distinct hardcore punk element to the music, whether it was the crunching proto-thrash riffs of Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, and Bathory or the frenzied d-beats of Venom. ...full text
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