Back when I was but a wee lad there was no internet. I know what you're thinking; how did we manage to LIVE?!?! Well in order to discover new music we had to go to a store and find a magazine that specialized in music that we liked. Then we had to read said magazine and based on the descriptions therein we had to decide which recordings seemed worthy of our hard earned cash. Decision made the search began for those records. This could mean a trip to the local record store or a journey to the one cool store that carried all the obscure things those local guys didn't have.
Today I get an email from someone that says, "check these guys out". I click on the link and voila, music right into my earhole. No pretense, no background, no warning... just music. Now this can be seen as a good thing or a bad thing I guess. Since I'm tasked with writing about this music I usually like to know as much as possible so that I can craft an intelligent sounding review that's full of (I hope) useful information for you, the kind reader. But sometimes I just listen and react. So here we go...
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If you like the no nonsense, beer soaked stylings of a band like Red Fang or enjoy the grandfatherly grunge of the Melvins (or their close cousins Big Business), but often long for a little more prog mixed in, then Castles are (is?) for you. While Red Fang is a stock Harley (a fine well crafted machine) Castles are (is?) a custom built chopper by those Orange County Choppers dudes or maybe Jesse James. Castles mix in a little more ISIS with their groove in the form of radical time shifts and intricate technical passages that are tangential to the core of the songs.
'I Started Rattling' has one of my favorite lyrics, "I don't give a damn about your honest opinion". What a great sentiment. 'Dispute In A#' is an instrumental romp with heavily syncopated riffs and lots of stop/start rhythms. 'Stress, Streams And Shallows' is a mostly instrumental labyrinth of serpentine arpeggios that lead up to a dramatic chord change before dropping the tempo to a crawl.
The instrumental tunes are a good idea because vocalist Mancunian Edward Godby doesn't exactly have a wide range and can grow a little tiring.
Castles' riffs are catchy and fun, but not quite as predictable as you might expect. Take the time to listen carefully and you'll be rewarded. In this respect they remind me of a Swedish band called Mammoth Volume. Just when you think you've got them figured out, something changes and you have to reevaluate things.
'Transylvania' is very Melvins sounding with its alternating voice/guitar intro, big deliberate chords and tribal drumming marching the tune along before speeding up towards the end in a dramatic finish.
Oh and just because I can't leave well enough alone, Castles are (is?) a trio from Belgium and Mancunian Edward Godby used to be the singer in the band Beecher.