When I first came across Castevet’s debut album I was hooked with their sound. The hybrid post metal/black metal band was very innovative with their musical structures and their complex, outside of the box thinking when it came to their technical side were just some of the highlights of Mounds of Ash. Unfortunately back then; the other release of the band that was available was the Stones/Salts EP, leaving you with the anticipation of listening to some new material from them. Fortunately three years after their debut album, Castevet return with their even better sophomore release,Obsian. Joined by Nicholas McMaster of Bloody Panda and Krallice (that makes sense, doesn’t it?) on bass, the band from New York has hit yet another peak with this one.
What is so intriguing about the band is the way that they are able to structure their songs. It is very interesting how they are able to implement a math rock and post metal basis on top of which they are able to encompass their black metal nature. The result is an album that is multi-layered, creating a very dense sound and at the same time a very challenging listen. The opening track of the album, “The Tower,” is probably the best example of Castevet’s bitter sound. The band is allowed to indulge in a feast of progression and technicality, with the guitar unleashing waves of darkness spreading across the music, as the bass is giving a further sense of fluidity to the track with its imaginative playing. The brilliant leads, melodic or dissonant depending on the band’s mood, are always present, while the drumming is a highlight on its own, coloring the track with very carefully thought out hits.
The terraforming malice of Castevet washes over the next track, “Cavernous,” as the band keeps stretching the tension to unimaginable limits. The way the ethereal melodies interchange with the destructive black metal parts is creating an inescapable vortex. The mesmerizing riffs are pulling you into the twisted visions of the band, as Castevet is set on forcing your mind to bend. And if “Cavernous” did not do it then “The Curve” will definitely finish the job. The longest track of the album sends sonic waves your way trying to drown you in its intoxicating notes as the eerie leads and the insane bass sound are constantly surprising you while the drums are laying down strong foundations for the track.
And this is where things start to change. For the even better if you ask me. The inclusion of the acoustic guitar in “As Fathomed By Beggars and Victims” is nothing sort of brilliant. A black metal track that contains an acoustic guitar is one thing, but bringing it on the spotlight of your song is something completely different, as Castevet are making a dominant feature out of it. What soon follows are the hypnotic melodies of the instrumental title track, with the ambiance getting even darker and the effects causing you to lose your way within the insane structures of the band. The track is offering a few moments of solace and solitude after the devastating storm that destroyed everything in its path. Of course that does not mean that the song is less dark than the previous offerings.
Castevet then finish the album with a loud bang. “The Seat of Severence” sees the band bringing the grandest moment of the album, featuring Nick Podgurski of Yukon, Feast of the Epiphany and Extra Life on the vocals. The huge sound that the band is able to produce, their even colder atmosphere and the way that they are leaning more towards their post metal side combined bring a truly magnificent moment. The way that they manage to bring together the dissonant parts, eerie leads and unwelcoming atmosphere show the influence of bands such as Godflesh on their sound.
Obsian is an album completely beyond reason or madness. Despite its short length, about thirty-six minutes, the range and variety of sounds that you will find within is simply astonishing. At least now we have two full-lengths from Castevet to listen to until their next release. That should make the wait easier right? Probably not.
9.0 / 10
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