Castevet are a powerful band, pulling in elements from all types of unexpected corners of the musical spectrum. That said, they are very decidedly and inescapably a black metal band in sound and approach, all the same, it's rare that names like Ligeti come up in black metal interviews, or that touches of Yes, Magma or even Fugazi are brought to mind as part of one's impressions of a black metal band's live set.
It was clear from my brief contact with Andrew, Ian and Josh that they simply do not limit themselves, and why should they? They're talented players, so why suppress their chops? Speaking more generally, it was inevitable that aspects of the genre, like the wearing of corpsepaint and strong anti-Xtian rhetoric, eventually subside, leaving less-easily-deciphered, more eloquent and abstruse musical and ideological facets rise in their wake. Point being, you can bring the "art," without sacrificing one ounce of ferocity, as this session bears out.
After over a decade of black-metal fanaticism, I'm learning that what really matters, when a band is called to the mat, is songwriting—original, interesting, "catchy," powerful or all of the above—it's the songs that separate the good from the great, and these songs exemplify top-shelf black-metal songwriting and arranging.
Don't miss an opportunity to see Castevet live (May 7th at Mother Pugs in Staten Island, and May 8 at The Acheron in Brooklyn, both shows with Richmond natives Bastard Sapling and Inter Arma.) In the meantime, you have their full-length debut, Mounds of Ash (Profound Lore) to explore and enjoy. There are layers of great shit happening on that record.
Tremendous thanks are due to Diane Kamikaze Farris, for showing up under the weather and pulling off a great job engineering this live session, to Tracy Widdess of Brutal Knitting for collaging and photostomping Johanna's band portraits, and to Johanna Lenski for taking pictures, hanging out, and essentially making the event happen.