Casket Robbery – The Ascension (2017)

There’s two ways that I could review this new EP release from Wisconsin’s Casket Robbery. I could go to hardcore heavy metal elitist route and consider this “too modernist” to be metal, or I could go the more accessible route and discuss the album as a rather catchy and brutal affair, quite similar to acts like Otep, Crisis and other hefty female-fronted metal outfits. The album is described as having quite a bit of chunk, which it certainly displayed, though it is absolutely littered with breadowns and the broken-glass in the throat vocal approach from Megan Orvold. There isn’t really enough here to chew as far as the band’s direction, but it seems to be a more straightforward and less inventive style than Evolution Of Evil, which I greatly enjoyed. It seems to be classed into the brutal death metal genre, but I’m not hearing BDM as much as I’m hearing what sounds like a more death-metalized version of hardcore, albeit with some memorable riffs and a thrashier moment in album closer “Lilith.” It feels like an appetizer and doesn’t come off very memorable in itself, which worries me a little for the band’s next outing. They’ve definitely gone a more accessible route, have sold completely out of their limited edition bundles and on that note, should be attaining some level of fanbase. We could be hearing the next Otep without the use of clean vocal singing or disturbed poetry readings, but I don’t think that the mainstream industry really cares enough to lift Casket Robbery to this level. Metal is going fast underground, and accessibility will no longer be the name of the game. Radio stations will continue to play the same nineties heyday material, going much in the vein of classic rock and that guy who calls up the local radio station every Saturday night to request Whitesnake.

That being said, we do have a good sign of what accessible metal would look like these days and that can without a doubt, be found here. I don’t think that this one is anywhere near the level of quality that Evolution Of Evil had (and I just checked my old review to see that it was, as I said; an extremely positive review for said release) but it shows that the Wisconsin quartet are not calling it quits anytime soon, and that’s great to hear. I would definitely be interested in hearing their next album, but hope that it would not suffer from quite so much of a strip down as this one has. Perhaps the fact that this EP was only released a few months after the 2016 debut, is one of the reasons why the disc wasn’t as powerful as the last – but I’m sure that Casket Robbery have much more in store and apprently they put on some very brutal shows which could help them cement a good image in the scene, entirely regardless of the current mainstream direction. Definitely give the album a listen if this sounds like something you’d be interested in.

(3 Tracks, 10:00)

7/10

https://casketrobbery.bandcamp.com

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