Castrovalva - You’re Not In Hell, You’re In Purgatory My Friend (Brew)

Castrovalva are flippin' loud. The self-proclaimed noise-hop group cart about the intensity of Fall Of Troy, The Mars Volta and Sleigh Bells all melded into one, wielding a penchant for caustic guitars and demonic vocals laced with rabid lunacy. The sounds they make are hellish and violent, a potent concoction of loudness which is a jolt of electricity into the spine of Britain's rock scene. The third effort from the Leeds based screwballs is lengthily titled You're Not In Hell, You're In Purgatory My Friend, and based on the noise emanating from their new record, you might be inclined to disagree with them.

Released Oct 8th, 2012 via Brew / By Larry Day
Castrovalva - You’re Not In Hell, You’re In Purgatory My Friend (Brew) 'Best Friends Go To Purgatory' invades the airwaves with it's deranged opening, something which is akin to the soundtrack of an exorcism – it's short-lived however, as metal-infused drums and guitar rudely interrupt, bringing a torrent of screamed rap – think Blood Brothers – with them. 'In Our Prime' swiftly follows, a swaggering middle finger to absolutely everyone in earshot, with a sizeable dollop of electro-punk and some truly inspiring lyrics: “Don't be a pussy,” is a particularly rousing refrain. 'Donut' is the same standard sonic seizure seeping through the speakers, but shaken up with a – believe it or not – fairly aggressive dubstep breakdown. The grimy staccato synths pierce warped bass, and D&B-cum-metal percussion sort of flippantly smashes underneath the whole shebang.

In Castrovalva's more electronic moments, Hadouken! bleed through – it's that British bravado feeling familiar; a smirking arrogance mixed with ASBO anger and doused in synth-metal. Despite the comparisons to other bands, Castrovalva don't really sound like anything out there at the moment – yes, the bear similarities to other groups, but as a whole they have achieved a true state of originality with their acidic rock. This isn't accidental music – they've pieced together a sound which aggravates the senses and amps up the adrenaline purposefully, turning everything you know about rock, metal and grime on it's head. Would you expect any less from a band who name themselves after an M.C. Escher painting?

'The Cavalry' struts in, stuffed with marching beats and yelps of manic scream-rap (scrap?), it is one of the more coherent tracks on the record, a welcome respite from the otherwise unending racket. But don't worry, it's still plenty loud. 'A Vulture's Eyes' is a mostly a cappella number. The echoing vocals feel paranoid, untrusting and desperate – despite the lack of instruments it still sounds wild, thanks to choppy sampling. It does eventually drop into the mould of Castrovalva though, after getting a solid drenching from some synths.

More often than not the band resist definition; just as you begin to think you know what to expect they whip the carpet from under you, adding a genre-breaking twist or just chucking out the rule book altogether. Clearly, this intense sound won't appeal to everyone – it is undoubtedly loud, it's raucous and it's abrasive, not by any stretch of the imagination slick Top 40 pop. Though they may not dominate the radio with their music, this is still a phenomenal LP packed with talent and outside-the-box sounds. Even if you don't like it, you should still be able to appreciate it.