Mounds of Ash

It seems that Profound Lore and Colin Marston (Krallice, Dysrhythmia, Behold…. The Arctopus) have become two of the more respected and wanted elements of artistic, challenging black metal nowadays with anything either of them touch being of the highest quality. In the light of Marston getting producing credits for the likes of Krallice, Altar of Plagues, Winterfylleth, Liturgy, The Howling Wind (and even death metal act Vaesaleth) and Profound Lore being responsible for the likes of Alcest, Ludicra, Amesoeurs, Blood Revolt, Krallice, Cobalt and such, it makes sense that yet another collaboration would be brilliant.

Featuring members of Defeatist, Biolich and Copremesis, the bloodlines of Castevet (not to be confused with the punk/indie band from Chicago, though they look similar in appearance) are a bit of an eyebrow raiser, but with Profound Lore and Marston involved, you know it is bound to be good, and you kind of have an idea as to the sound; shimmery, jangly, post rock injected black metal that’s distinctly ‘American’ sounding. Rather than rely on traditional tremolo picked riffs and frosty atmospheres, Castevet, like many of their US peers play the template laid down by Agalloch and Wolves in the Throne Room ― they are a bit more ambient , languid and well grey, relying on  a damp, controlled, organic sound that’s a bit off kilter and discordant, but still elegant and natural.

With titles like “Wreathed in Smoke”, “Grey Matter”, “Stones” and “Harvester”, you know this isn’t church burning, Christ hating Satan spewing USBM, but squarely in the new trend of dare I say ‘hipster’ American Black metal, that frankly has more allure than yet another Immortal rip off. The generally lengthy songs jangle and shimmer with a double bass back bone and angular, contorted but beautiful layered guitar work. The vocals are rooted in a little more grindcore/hardcore /screamo, with a gruffer, gravelly edge than high pitched, piercing screams, but it all comes together for a rewarding, cathartic expression of art meeting extremity.

As with most albums of this type, it isn’t really about songs or catchy choruses but certainly strains of the enigmatically melodic standout “Stones” (with a closing section to die for), the brief but beautiful horn laced instrumental “Wreathed in Smoke” and the steady dirge of closer “Harvester” provide a mesmerizing last third act to the album. Not that the first part of the album is chopped liver, but it seems a little more jarring and caustic, but no less engaging thanks to tracks like “Grey Matter” and the opener  “Red Star Sans Chastity”.

Castevet are another excellent addition to the short haired, bearded, sweaters and glasses clad US black metal scene and another CD made of win from Profound Lore Records.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
September 2nd, 2010


  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    cool, I had wanted to do this based on the samples I’d heard but never had the time… glad you covered it though. based on your write-up, now I need to go back and hear the whole thing.

  2. Commented by: bast

    Top 10 material for 2010 IMO. And a bright future.

  3. Commented by: Clauricaune

    I like the balance these guys keep between the soundscapes and the heavy riffing, so that neither ever drowns the other. It’s a really good debut album.

  4. Commented by: vugelnox

    great album, another excellent band that calls NYC home :)

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