Castle Bravo - Castle Bravo (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Castle Bravo

Castle Bravo (2012)


Castle Bravo hail from Perth in Western Australia and this is the debut release by the band. It features seven tracks of melodic punk rock, with varying results in terms of the quality of tracks. To me, I get influences of bands like Thrice and A Wilhelm Scream within the music and the production is quite clean, which at times tends to squeeze some life out of the recording.

The opening salvo is provided by "Self Hatred," a track which although not entirely gripping does have its moments and definitely provides evidence of the Thrice / A Wilhelm Scream comparisons made above with some good vocals over a thick sound. This is followed by a more impressive effort with "Finish Song," which displays a bit more pace accompanied by a snappier drum sound, giving an overall improved feel to the whole track.

Unfortunately, "Life as a Figure" doesn't do much for me due to it coming across as too sanitised in its sound – it crosses the line where the production/mix just cleanses the whole thing up too much for its own good. In fact it's not until the fifth track, "Australian Genocide," that Castle Bravo get back on track and it's good to see the band raising the issue of how the indigenous population of Australia were (are?) oppressed and marginalised as the white population grew. "Higher" has a good intro and once again a quicker tempo on the whole with a fairly simple musical basis, but here it's probably the weaker vocal performance that detracts from the song. "Honorary Member of the First High Society" is a strong ending, despite the generic hardcore sound with the odd group vocal thrown in.

On the first few listens this lacked any major impact and it had me considering how the tracks would come across in a live setting as that might actually give them the boost they need to prick up my consciousness. However, having had a period of time in which I've not listened to the release, it sounds better on returning to it but that's still not enough to raise this release up overly high in my estimation, although it benefits from a good vocal performance and some good musicianship, which are two positives.

EDUCATIONAL END NOTE: Castle Bravo was the name of the most powerful nuclear device ever detonated by the United States, in March 1954.