By Matt Hinch
You know what? New York can keep pumping out black metal bands and I would be perfectly fine with that. As long as they continue to be as good as Castevet. With Obsian, their follow-up to 2010’s Mounds of Ash, Castevet have created a truly immersive experience. The addition of Nick McMaster (Krallice) on bass is just the icing on the cake. The trio of McMaster, guitarist/vocalist Andrew Hock and drummer Ian Jacyszyn cover some vast sonic territory over these six tracks. Not to mention the depth of emotion wrung from the listener’s tortured soul.
While only a trio, Castevet are able to bring a full palate of sound to the canvas. Obsian is expertly arranged and executed. This is definitely the work of musicians that understand each other. The production isn’t lo-fi but it still feels like you are right there with them. Perhaps that’s because the music taps into the psyche, burying itself deep.
Songs like “The Curve” hold on tight and take you along for the ride. From the textured guitar to the stirring gallop, everything weaves in and out amongst the tones, melodies and percussion. It’s brilliantly moving. As is the mournful title track. It makes you feels as if you’ve dropped off the face of the earth to drift through the void with only your failures to keep you company. It’s captivating in its hopelessness.The nervous and paranoid “Cavernous” squeezes the consciousness through to its crushing conclusion.
And “As Fathomed by Beggars and Victims” heaves with malevolence as the listener is caught in the iron grasp of Castevet’s progressive-minded black metal. Eventually the grip loosens around the 3:45 mark and the track becomes downright gorgeous. The cascading melodies fluttering over McMaster’s rumble and Jacyszyn’s intensity makes for some truly heartbreaking music.
From the black metal roar of “The Tower” to the melancholic beauty of “The Seat of Severence”, Obsian is a complex and flowing work. As elaborate as it can be, it’s simple in how it forces the basest of human emotion to rise to the surface and dominate the experience. It’s a masterwork that continues to reveal the layers of its bleakness with warmth rather than cold.
Obsian is mandatory.