Castle - Electric Wolves (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Electric Wolves (2006)


It just so happens that outside right now, it's a rainy and miserable scene. A dark and gloomy Wednesday afternoon, where barely a ray of light is able to seep into my window. From my speakers pulses a slow, powerful, and rhythmic assault. Devoid of melody, Castle offer instead a pulverizing assault even more bleak than the scene outside my window.

Relying far more on the aforementioned rhythm than any sort of vocal inclusion, Castle focus heavily on creating a fluid, but heavy sound that as weird as it may seem -- is almost relaxing. The entrancing riffs call waves to mind, crashing harder and harder into the rocky shoreline. But on the cliffs up above, all that's known are the sounds of the sea, the smack of the water on the shore. It seems far less violent than it actually is, and that's exactly the way Electric Wolves operates.

The vocals offered by both bassist Mike Hutchins and guitarist Jeff Truckenmiller are deep and raspy, adding an extremely volatile element to a record that otherwise has none. Every sound is loud, and every song is punishing, but the fact of the matter is that the band could get away with not even having those two vocalists. They do add a different element to the music, and their delivery is extremely strong and fitting to the music below it, but there's a few moments on the record where terrific instrumental momentum was built up, only to become somewhat stagnated by the vocals coming in.

"Violate" comes the closest of the three songs to achieving just the right mix. Beginning with some raspy screams over the top of some slowly building riffs, the song quickly moves into a more fast-paced section without those screams -- and that's when things really pick up. The riffs tower before plunging back down into the depths, only to once again begin a slow, churning ascent. Pounding ever louder, the song finally culminates with a few well-placed screams to carry the track to a close.

One of the few heavy records where I'd actually advise less concentration on vocals, Electric Wolves is still a supremely hard-hitting album that shows as much power as potential. The foundation is already a strong one, so any layer added on after will just help to keep those waves in check.