Peter Kotikalapudi
CASTRUM - "Mysterious Yet Unwearied" (Bloodbucket Productions)
The Ukranians CASTRUM has returned with this new work of brutal and melodic Death Metal, they have its own sound but with influences that goes from AT THE GATES, DISMEMBER, DESTRUCTION, KREATOR, etc. Their 10 tracks are very interesting, 3 of them are instrumental. They really have improved, the riffs are intense, speedy and at the same time melodic, the slow are very cool, the execution of the solos is perfect, they raise the voice of the battle by means of speedy rhythms, get it. 8.5/10
CAUSTIC TRUTHS #98/March (Canada)
CASTRUM - "Mysterious Yet Unwearied" (Bloodbucket Productions)
Coming from an unexpected country of origin, Ukraine, CASTRUM play vicious metal that borrows equally from death metal, black metal and thrash. The band isn't what you'd consider an extremely heavy band. They actually seem to keep the guitars tuned rather high, which allows all of the nuances of the guitar playing to ring through with clarity. The band seems highly influenced by DEATH, with the use of guitar solos and more technical riffs, but this is faster then DEATH ever was and also shows off a more sinister side. (Mike Hochins)
P.O.Box 584, Conyers, GA 30012-0584, USA
CASTRUM - "Mysterious Yet Unwearied" (Bloodbucket Productions)
Not to be confused with the limp-wristed Croatian posers of the same name, the true Ukrainian CASTRUM strikes back with their second full-length, once again on Canada's Bloodbucket Productions (home, also, to the godly HORDE OF WORMS). While improving upon the nuances of Hatenourisher, the band introduces some new elements, namely the Middle Eastern sounds, creating an engaging 10-song crusher of an album.
Still holding onto the melodic aspect, Mysterious Yet Unwearied boasts plenty of catchy, brutal riffage and punishing drum work with a lot of variation and no small amout of fills. Cornelius' vocals are better than ever, especially the possessed shrieks he uses now and then. When not focusing on melody, the band likes to tear it up with some chugging, thrash-driven guitar work. "Suffocating Thugs" is easily one of the album's stand-out tunes, introducing some of that aforementioned Middle Eastern flavor via some sort of stringed instrument (a sitar, perhaps?). Hopefully they'll continue experimenting like this in the future. The only time CASTRUM's metal onslaught lets up is for three short, very well-thought out instrumental interludes scattered throughout the disc.
There are still lingering similarities to early AMORPHIS, but far from sounding like a carbon copy. CASTRUM continues to grow into their own identity, leading to the conclusion that their next recording will be the one that brings them worldwide acclaim. This is the real deal, folks! Heavy, memorable European death of the highest order!
Preferred tracks: "Suffocating Thugs", "Unrestrained Power", "Invisible Force of Fear", "The Essence of the Past Still Haunts Us". (goden)
Jan-Erik "Janne" Nyman, Tvistevägen 9A Läg 106, 90729 Umeå, SWEDEN
CASTRUM - "Mysterious Yet Unwearied" (Bloodbucket Productions)
This is the second album by the Ukrainian band CASTRUM and it begins where their debut album "Hatenourisher" ended. The style is basically the same, melodic Death metal with some Gothic influences and a medieval feeling over the music. However, "Mysterious Yet Unwearied" brings some changes.
Firstly the production is better and now I can't complain over Cornelius vocals anymore. He still sings both with the traditional growl and the high screams but it sounds much better than it did on their debut album.
The second thing that has changed is the lyrics. The lyrics on the debut album were mainly inspired by historical events but they are now more fictitious. However, there is especially one of the song lyrics that distinguishes from the others and that is the fourth song "Suffocating Thugs". It's not common that Death metal lyrics are takes inspiration from Hindu myths and legends but that is was that songs lyrics are based upon. The song tells about the battle between the gods Kali and Vishnu and the bloodbath that took place. Even if the lyrics aren't really about the medieval times the feeling is still noticeable. Especially on two of the instrumental songs ("The Undiscovered Dimension" and "The Essence Of The Past Still Haunts Us") the medieval feeling is quite strong. The third instrumental song "Unrestrained Power" is more "traditional metal".
Personally I like most the first song "The Gates Of The Universal Mystery" and the last song "Dark Paths To The Ancient Thrones", which is simply said two good songs with fast guitars and good melodies. The last songs melody (especially in the beginning when Cornelius starts to sing) reminds me strongly of some other song but I can't put my finger on which. The closest I get is that it's some Black metal bands song. Also the instrumental song "The Essence Of The Past Still Haunts Us" is very good and full of feelings. The band uses only guitar on that song and it has a very medieval feeling.
This is a clear improvement from their debut album and if they continue in the same way I'm not surprised if they will soon be discovered by a larger audience. (Janne)
Boros Szabolcs, Függetlenség str. 50/7, 4150 Székelyudvarhely, Hargita, Románia
CASTRUM - "Mysterious Yet Unwearied" promo (Bloodbucket Productions) Rating: 8.5/10
A Mysterious Yet Unwearied egy új CASTRUM lemez, amit 2002 októberében fog megjelentetni a kanadai Bloodbucket Productions. Tíz új szám hallható a lemezen 45 perc játékidő alatt, és már az első hangoknál feltűnik, hogy jóval halkabb az új CD, mint a Hatenourisher, lehet, hogy csak az én promo példányom ilyen, de tény, hogy tényleg halkabban szól, mint az előző. Remélem, hogy az eredeti CD-kel nem lesz semmi gond, és kiküszöbölik ezt a hangzásbeli hátrányt, mivel a zene megérdemli a kitüntetett figyelmet. Alapvető változás, hogy az új dalok sokkal komplexebbek, és egyben sokkal dallamosabbak is. Sok hallgatást igényel amíg ráérzünk az új dalok hangulatára, nekem például először nem nagyon tetszett, de minél többet hallgatom annál inkább kezdik a dalok megmutatni valódi értéküket. Három instrumentális szám is helyet kapott az új albumon, amikben szintetizátoron is játszik Cornelius, mind a három nagyon kellemes, és kissé "space"-es hangulatot áraszt (kivéve az Unrestrained Power-t). A zenészek teljesítménye ismét lenyűgöző, ötletes riffek, jól felépített dalok jellemzik az új CASTRUM lemezt, hallatszik az összeszokottság és a dalírói tehetség. Az előző lemez szövegei a középkor sötet boszorkányos dolgaival foglalkozott, addig az új lemez szövegvilága sokkal misztikusabb, és elvontabb (legalábbis amit sikerült a számcímekből és a dalokból kihámoznom). A fő zeneszerző ismét Cornelius volt aki nem igazán szenved ötlet hiányban, a szövegeket meg egy Innominandus nevezetű fickó követte el. Nótákat nem érdemes kiemelni, hiszen mindegyik egyformán jó. Zárásként csak annyit, hogy aki szerette a CASTRUM-ot az most is nagyon sokat fogja hallgatni őket, viszont egy jobb kiadóval egy szélesebb réteget is maguk mellé tudnának állítani ezzel az érdekes, számos zenei stílust vegyítő egyéni, CASTRUM módra értelmezett death metáljukkal. (Mirgilus)
Federico Marongiu
CASTRUM - "Mysterious Yet Unwearied" (Bloodbucket Productions)
CASTRUM comes directly from Ukraine and as most of the Bloodbucket Productions catalogue they deliver one of the most bestial death metal on Earth. But they combine this brutality with a lot of technical riffs and classical sounds that add a different dimension to the band's music. Each of the compositions here have multiple parts, tempo changes and rhythmic variations. Plus, these guys know how to put some twisted melodies within their riffs to give the exact dose of melody that their music needs to be even more extreme. I have to remark that the mix is raw but at the same time makes the band sound extremely tight. I liked a lot the solos and the guitar arrangements that are the essence of CASTRUM's music. This is one of the best combinations of brutality and great arrangements in death metal. Favorite tracks: "The Gate of the Universal Mystery", "Unrestrained Power" and "Invisible Force of Fear".
c/o Anders Peter Jørgensen, Østerbro 70, 3. TV, DK-9000 Aalborg, Denmark
CASTRUM - "Mysterious Yet Unwearied" (Bloodbucket Productions) Rating: 7/10
Yet another release from the past has reached the bowels of Nocturnal Horde, this time from the Ukrainian band CASTRUM, which by the way hasn't released anything since this full length in 2002, but should be ready with a new album soon.
The band delivers a slight chaotic form for death metal with influences from black metal. Death metal compositions, blasting away, like there were no tomorrow, spiced up with melodic guitar leads. The screamed growl is on top of the music and sounds very frustrated and is full of despair. The vocals seem a bit odd at first, but when one has gotten used to it, it compliments the music really good.
My first thought when I listened to the music of CASTRUM, was KATAKLYSM, at times the band comes close to the sound the Canadians had in their early days. Fast, melodic and chaotic, yet gripping compositions. Even though the music at first seems pretty chaotic at first, there are heads and tails to the madness, and the more one listen to the album, the better it gets, it is a grower. Much of the blistering guitar work is great, noisy and loud, but still a bit catchy, the leads hooks on and gives a lot of atmosphere to the tracks. The drumming is insane, very fast most of the time and at other times used as percussion, though the blasting is the dominant part of the game.
This album takes a while to get into, but then it turns out to be pretty good. Despite the rather thin sound and bad production, the music kicks some ass and is a good example of atmospheric death metal, with many nuances. In between the blasting and hellbound tracks, there are 3 instrumental intermezzos, they work really well, and brings a nice and atmospheric break from the usual blasting from CASTRUM. This album has turned out to be a good and interesting acquaintance and it will be great to hear more from the band. (Anders)
CASTRUM - "Mysterious Yet Unwearied" (Bloodbucket Productions) Rating: 8/10
Egy évvel az első CASTRUM anyag után itt a második. Egyszerre kaptam meg a két nagylemezt, így van friss összehasonlítási alapom. A fejlődés füllel hallható, kézzel tapintható. Az egyéni stílus kialakításában újabb lépcsőfokot lépett előre az ukrajnai magyarok zenekara. A Hatenourisher legnagyobb gondja a hangzás volt, amely csorbát most részben kiköszörülték, bár a stúdió ugyanaz, és a hangmérnök is, de a tapasztalat nagyobb, így hát a lábdobok úgy dohognak ahogy kell, a keverés tiszta arányos, szépen szól a bőgő. Most már csak a gitár lehetne kicsit súlyosabb harapósabb, meg érdekes hogy a két lábdob a jobb-, illetve a baloldalon kapott helyet, ami kicsit zavaró, hiszen az egy lábgépes részeknél csak baloldalról szól, a duplázásoknál meg felváltva (fülhallgatóban idegesítő is egy kicsit). Majd legközelebb...
A zene azonban most is minőségi, mindenképpen túllépték az első lemez színvonalát ezek a számok. Főleg az előző lemez címadójának vonalát viszik tovább, de ha annál a Dismembert lehetett felhozni, most mindenképpen a másik "dis"-es svéd zsenik gyülekezete, a Dissection az említendő. A számok és az egész lemez felépítése a The Somberlain klasszikust idézi. A csatazajos, szélfúvásos nyitány után szélvészként rohan végig az emberen a The Gate Of The Universal Mystery. Ez címéhez méltóan jóval misztikusabb az eddig megismert CASTRUM számoknál, és ez a sötét hangulat már-már a black metal oldalára vezeti stílusukat. Hangulatos a keleties téma a refrén előtti részben! Az említett északi alapműhöz hasonlóan a lemez pusztító intenzitását hangulatos, akusztikus instrumentalitások szakítják meg, amelyek közül a The Undiscovered Dimension napokig fejemben visszhangzott egyből megkapó szívbemarkoló kozmikus dallamával, ez egyszerűen zseniális és gyönyörű. A Sinister Omens ebből a hangulatból úszik ki, és vezetődik át egy gyorsabb pusztításba, szintén a Dissection vonalán. Szintén nagyszerűen felépített szám! Akármennyire is emlegetem a svéd mestereket, meg kell jegyeznem, hogy a dallamvilág egyes elemei nagyon is sajátos Kelet-Európai ízzel rendelkeznek, de mondhatnék CASTRUMosat is, mert máshol ilyesmit nem nagyon éreztem. A Suffocating Thugs szólókezdése a magyar Art Of Butchery-t juttatja eszembe, és szintén nagyszerű az utána következő szinte Mardukra ütő blackes rész, valamint az utána lévő az első In Flames lemez sötét, folkos hangulatát idéző dallam, amely értékéből sajnos Cornelius túlzásba vitt sikolyai néha levonnak. Az Unrestrained Power instrumentalizmusa annyira nem maradt meg bennem, de az ezt követő Desert Of Darkness a legnagyobb kedvencem a lemezről. Szavakkal leírhatatlan hangulatos, dinamikus, brutalitás néhol akusztikus részekkel, már-már dallamos énekbe hajló szavalással. A másik kedvencem a gyönyörű szólódallammal nyitó Invisible Force Of Fear, ami szinte My Dying Bride-osan szomorú kezdése után, nagyon bevadul és fel a távoli, sötét északra repít. Kevesen tudják ezt ilyen érzéssel játszani. A The Essence Of The Past... barokkos akusztikus témája pedig szinte egyértelmű utalás a Dissection debütlemezre.
A lemeznek kurtán-furcsán vet véget a Dark Paths To The Ancient Thrones, de legalább nem a megszokott levezető outro vár a hallgatóra, hanem megmaradhatunk egyfajta feszültségben.
Cornieliusék mintha csak meghallották volna az előző lemez kapcsán a kritikusabb megjegyzéseimet és a most jóval magasabb tónusú ének jóval ritmizáltabb lett, főleg az album fajsúlyosabb tételeiben (bár azért még lehetne csiszolni), a dobrészek pedig most igazán okosan és lendületesen a kifejezni kívánt hangulathoz lettek igazítva.
Mivel végül az előző lemez hibáit kijavították, ezért sokat gondolkodtam milyen pontszámot adjak erre az abszolút jól átgondolt, sötét, komor atmoszférában sem szűkölködő, jóval komolyabb anyagra. Aztán meghallgattam jó párszor, és az volt az érzésem, hogy most meg valami olyasmi hiányzik, ami az előzőnek erénye volt: az intenzitás nőtt ugyan de néha belehal a zene, pl. a The Art Of Homicide-ban, illetve az utolsó számban, amik nekem nem annyira jönnek be. Az időtartam nőtt (43 perc) ezek miatt a dalok miatt és ráadásul ez erősen érződik is, így egy kicsit hosszúnak tűnik ebben a stílusban, ezért ismét... (Tóth Balázs)
c/o Vincent Eldefors, Rydsvägen 260 A.40, S-584 34 Linköping, Sweden
CASTRUM - "Mysterious Yet Unwearied" (Bloodbucket Productions, 2002)
A couple of years ago the Ukrainian death metal band CASTRUM released their debut album. Now they are back again with "Mysterious Yet Unwearied", an album that follows naturally upon its predecessor with their exciting mixture of atmospheric death metal and medieval imagery. These ten tracks are very diverse in their structure. We get to bang our heads to intense and melodic tracks where sometimes thrashier influences shine through, making it more vivid and dynamic. The technical skills of the guitarist and band leader Cornelius are quite impressive when he shreds through the more complex fractions. The songs are well composed and I am actually quite puzzled why no bigger labels have shown interest and picked up such a talented and interesting band as CASTRUM. Having been active since 1994 this is one of the oldest extreme metal acts in Eastern Europe who are still around. The many years of experience and practice pays off on this album because this is a very good album that should appeal mostly to fans of the technical American death metal bands from the early and mid 90s. CASTRUM may be too extreme for mainstream metal fans but they definitely deserve more attention. Yet another good album from one of Eastern Europe's few interesting death metal bands and those of you who enjoyed their debut album will not be disappointed. CASTRUM are currently working on their third album which will be a concept album. (7/10)
c/o Alex & Valerie Melzer, 71 Martinview Crescent N.E., Calgary, AB, Canada, T3J 2S5
CASTRUM - "Mysterious Yet Unwearied" (Bloodbucket Productions)
After the debut "Hatenourisher" had met rather split reactions, Ukraine's CASTRUM set out for the second time to convert us to their Death Metal. The debut had been a mix of melodic Death and the traditional form, but always watching out for variety, musically as rhythmically, nothing ground breaking, but for a debut pretty ok still.
"Mysterious Yet Unwearied" now continues the tradition of their demos with classical covers (with classical I mean that the style is more aimed at the masters of the past centuries than the regular Metal covers), what that has to do with the a bit weird title, is beyond my grasp, but looks good, just a bit grainy as if the original had been a bit too small and was blown up to the right size, yet losing some of its quality through this. Or it just might be a bit rougher canvas and a real painting after all! But that only on the side, let's come to the music and here we can hear right away that the gentlemen have beefed up their skills quite a bit, especially guitarist Kornel Kontros has to be mentioned here, the guy can play. And that also shows in the compositions of CASTRUM, which compared to "Hatenourisher" have turned out to be a bit more technical. Opener "The Gate Of The Universal Mystery" sweeps through the room, mostly in the up tempo, but not neglecting speed changes and also with a very melodic middle part, to elude the one dimensionality of pure heaviness. The only thing that I do not really like is the high Death Metal voice, which at least to me sounds a bit too uncontrolled at times.
This "problem" is taken care of on following "The Undiscovered Dimension", as it is an instrumental, short, but very melodic, building a good counterpart to the pretty heavy music, which compared to the predecessor is leaning a bit more towards the American school of Death Metal, but thankfully has no reservations about experimenting a bit with Death Metal untypical rhythms or as on "Suffocating Thugs" to bring in a light Indian/oriental touch in the guitar runs and even using a sitar, embedded into a mostly very fast song and again very good guitar work, also the slowly starting "Invisible Force Of Fear", before turning into a fast, but structured Death Metal inferno sounds really good.
Altogether we get three instrumentals, so to say breathers in the midst of the Death Metal attack, which makes sense due to the intensity of the offered music. As CASTRUM already has been around since 1993, they are one of the oldest Death Metal bands of Eastern Europe that seems to slowly find its own sound. Fans of the American school of Death Metal, but with more melody and a lot of variety should note down the name of this Ukrainian trio, very well played, good song writing, has got something! (Online January 24, 2003) Alexander Melzer (7/10)
P.O. Box 12023, Knoxville TN 37912, USA
CASTRUM - "Mysterious Yet Unwearied" (Bloodbucket Productions)
Combining skilled musicianship with barbaric black metal artistry, CASTRUM unleash a vicious attack on the senses. Inhuman screams of pain layered on top of fierce blasting drums and slightly melodic guitars are crafted together in a fashion unique from their peers.
Ricardo Mouwen, Kapittelhof 34, 4841 GX Prinsenbeek, Holland
CASTRUM - "Mysterious Yet Unwearied" (Bloodbucket Productions)
And the story of CASTRUM continues. After the decent "Hatenourisher", the band quite rapidly follows up with their new album, so let's see how "Mysterious Yet Unwearied" picks up where the previous album ended.
On this "Mysterious Yet Unwearied" album from 2002 the band has expanded the style of the previous album with a large dose of Black Metal. This is not only riff-wise, but also the vocals are grimmer than the rather standard Death Metal shrieks of "Hatenourisher". This makes the overall appearance of the album a bit heavier than its predecessor, and also a tad more diverse. Remarkable is that the production seems to be a bit softer than the previous recording, although the instruments do seem more evened out than before. Even more often the band chooses for calmer melodic riffs, times where the double bass play and drums in general are allowed to excel. The absence of a second guitar player is a burden however, as the more melodic solos sound a bit empty. This is not the case in instrumentals "The Undiscovered Dimension", "Unrestrained Power" and "The Essence Of The Past Still Haunts Us", but more in the regular tracks. A track like "Sinister Omens" is the perfect template for the newer CASTRUM formula, with a blackened intro, followed by the DEATH-inspired riffs that were also on "Hatenourisher", but I think each of these tracks shows how the band improved in between the both albums. Still I don't really have the idea the band would be all that renewing for an already crowded genre, but at least they shake off a large portion of their competition.
The improvements that were made on "Mysterious Yet Unwearied" are very promising. If the band can expand their musical formula on the next album like they did on this album, then we're dealing with a band that's on the verge of conquering the masses! (Reviewed by Vincent on January 30, 2003)