Castevet Obsian

The addition of Nicholas McMaster (Krallice) on bass is keenly felt on Castevet's second record, the searing and unsettled Obsian. Their debut, Mounds of Ash, was a challenging, apocryphal listen, both calamitous and revelatory, but with a strangely subdued, almost introspective quality, as though the end had already come and there was nothing to do but wonder and worry over the bones of the world. On Obsian, the apocalypse is still in full swing and the brooding, ambient, post-hardcore elements of their sound take a backseat to the active boil of an aggressive, glowering interpretation of contemporary American black metal. Andrew Hock's vocals aren't barked so much as blasted, as though opening the door to a furnace, while Ian Jacyszyn's drumming has a wicked, fiery precision. The songs are sharp and difficult to find an aural purchase upon, their construction almost crystalline, which makes them sound both alien and lovely. The record ends, appropriately, with a single, drawn-out trumpet blast, recalling the horns blown by the angels in the Book of Revelations that rain down plagues upon the world. Obsian is a harrowing record, one to be weathered, but also worth the challenge. (Profound Lore)