Something hideous has come back to life in the state of Maryland. After disappearing below ground for almost three years (save for one transitory single released last year), two founding members of Baltimore Death/Grind/Hardcore/Thrash act Noisem have clawed their way slowly back up through the dank, fetid earth to vomit their third full length(ish) album all over our faces.Continue reading →
Castle Freak are a simple death metal group, but they do a nice job setting themselves apart from the rest of the genre with their Human Hive EP (Self Released). While fun is a word you normally wouldn’t associate with a genre like death metal, this EP has an undeniable sense of enjoyment. From the sampling, which includes horror quotes and scattered Extreme Champion Wrestling commentary, to the breakneck pace of the music, it’s just a great time.
Vocalist Andrew Gigan manages to not sound generic, with a hardcore punk styled delivery spicing up his vocals. Combined with absolutely insane drumming done by former Noisem member Sebastian Phillips and shredding guitars courtesy of both Gigan and Zak Carter, this EP has plenty to appreciate from a technical standpoint.
However, there are sore spots on this EP. The first is the overuse of samples on the release. Every single track uses them, often right at the start of the song. Samples aren’t a bad thing, but some just seemed unnecessary. I can understand them starting the release as it set the chaotic mood, or the use of air raid sirens in the middle of ‘Toxic Winds’ to build atmosphere, but there is just too many samples on this EP and it overall soils the experience. Another gripe about this EP is the lack of much new material. Two tracks are rerecorded versions of songs off the bands previous two releases, and another is a cover of a classic death metal track from Impetigo. This leaves only two new songs on the EP. Admittedly the redone tracks sound miles ahead of the previous versions, but it still is kind of a bummer that only two of the five tracks on this release are new.
Overall, despite my complaints with this release, I can’t help but recommend this band to all death metal fans. The overuse of samples is more than worth sitting through for the insane talent on showcase, as this really is some of the most memorable death metal I’ve heard in a while. If nothing else, everyone should just give ‘Toxic Winds’ a listen as it’s 3 minutes of metal excellence, and the only time on the EP where bassist Ben Anft really gets a chance to shine and isn’t simply lost in the madness. It is the standout track on this release, and shows exactly how good this band can be.