Friday, 4 March 2016

Castle Freak - "Human Hive" EP (Review)

By: Daniel Jackson

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 18/03/2016
Label: Independent


Castle Freak blows every other death metal band in the world away in the fun department right now.  As the band blast their way through thirteen minutes of grimy, horror-loving filth, Andrew Gigan continues to be one of the more unique death metal vocalists going today and with Sebastian Phillips now on drums, his breakneck pace makes Castle Freak an even more manic band than before, which is quite the feat.

‘Human Hive’ CS//DD track listing:
1. Sickening Corpses
2. Matul
3. Human Hive
4. Boneyard (Impetigo cover)
5. Toxic Winds


Castle Freak is:

Andrew Gigan | Guitar/Vocals
Zak Carter | Guitar
Ben Anft | Bass
Sebastian Phillips | Drums

The  Review:

I absolutely raved about Castle Freak’sStill Rotting’ EP from 2014, and with good reason. It was down n’ dirty death metal straight out of 1986, with excessive personality and riffs to spare. It was in such sharp contrast to the glut of caverncore and morose OSDM (which is still very much in vogue), that it was impossible to temper my excitement for something so outside the current day norm. Part of that is because the music itself carries such enthusiasm with it, and that enthusiasm is easily transferred to the listener.

After ‘Still Rotting’ was released the band called it quits for a brief period, only to come back quickly with a revamped line-up, including Sebastian Phillips of Noisem on drums. His presence is felt immediately with a re-worked version of “Sickening Corpses” which also appeared on ‘Still Rotting’. Phillips’ breakneck pace makes Castle Freak an even more manic band than before, which is quite the feat. While there is plenty of variety to the EPs tempo and pacing, Phillips brings a bit more imagination and feel to the older songs, along with doing the same for the new tracks as well.

As Castle Freak blast their way through about thirteen minutes of grimy, horror-loving filth, Andrew Gigan continues to be one of the more unique death metal vocalists going today. In certain ways he’s like a powerviolence vocalist thrown onto an old Repulsion album, though a better description of his performance here might be as a better version of Maniac circa Mayhem’s classic ‘Deathcrush’ EP. It’s his voice that pushes the band’s personality over the top, not unlike the dynamic that Killjoy has in Necrophagia, even if the two sound very different from each other, sonically.

The EP closes with “Toxic Winds” which features the best damned sludge groove I’ve heard on a death metal recording since Murder Squad released their horrendously under-appreciated debut ‘Unsane, Insane and Mentally Deranged’ fifteen years ago. It’s the variety in ideas that sets Castle Freak apart from a death metal scene that is probably taking itself a bit too seriously these days. I’m not always in the mood to research ancient burial practices or listen to another take on fucking Lovecraft. Sometimes I want shitty horror movies and ECW match commentary samples, and Castle Freak blows every other death metal band in the world away in the fun department right now. Now, if you need me I’ll be split-screening “Heatwave ‘98” and ‘Dead Alive’ in my underwear.


You can pick up a digital copy here. Check their Facebook page at the link below for cassette copies closer to release date.

Band info: Facebook

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