Like, woah dude. This bass-and-drums duo may hail from Leeds (home to many other wonderful experimental rock acts like Bilge Pump, That F***ing Tank and big-new-things in waiting Pulled Apart By Horses), but it’s the sounds of the American underground that Castrovalva pay homage to on their debut mini-album. Using the sonic arsenal of Lightning Bolt to power Melvins-esque sludge riffing, in under half an hour Castrovalva manage to conjure up the sound of the Earth’s bowels loosening in terror: short, sharp noise bursts like “Bison Scissor Kick” and “Triceratops” boast a primeval stomp whose visceral impact most certainly isn’t for the faint hearted. Although there is a tendency for the tracks to blur into one mass of stampeding sonics (only the mercifully short ambient interlude “London Kills Me” and Leemun Smith’s insane wailing over “Bellhausen” alter the formula at all), for a record of this length it’s hardly an issue – and frankly, when it’s a sound this powerful, it’s not much of a complaint to begin with. With a full-length due later in the year and a variety of support slots lined up (including one with doom-gaze maestros Nadja), 2009 looks set to be a good year for Castrovalva, and this mini-album starts things off very un-nicely indeed.
Review by Mark Corcoran-Lettice