Rating:
7.5
Castillion - Pieces Of A Shattered Me
2011


01. Cruel Sands Of Time
02. When Reality Distracts
03. Out Of Reach
04. Into The Lion's Den
05. Rust On The Razor
06. Departure
07. Whispers Turn Into Cries
08. House Of Cards
09. Fragments
10. With A Clouded Mind
11. Hollow
12. Shattered


Castillion are an unsigned foursome from Sweden and this is their second full-length, described in their bio as an attempt to add heavy and progressive elements to melodic power metal. Now, when bands are labelled as power gone prog, it's usually either merely dark and quirky (like recent turns of Sonata Arctica and Kamelot), or the dude in charge of the description forgot to mention that he considers everything with a 10+ minute song and "smart" lyrics to be a progressive album. This is not the case with Castillion who play power metal with substance heavily tinged with real progressive metal (or vice versa?) which lands them somewhere in the territory of Symphony X and Pagan's Mind.

Castillion are a remarkably professional-sounding unsigned act. No wonder, considering this release is mastered by Jens Bogren (known for working with the likes of Katatonia and Pain Of Salvation). Despite their age, the musicians of Castillion sound very experienced. Their vocalist (and rhythm guitarist) is quite an attention-grabber, sounding as Wolverine's Stefan Zell trying to emulate Timo Kotipelto. He's guilty of trying to make his vocals pop more than necessary, but those moments are in most cases well supported by the music, so the singing works like a charm. The shining star of the album is certainly the lead guitarist, playing for the delight of all us aliens who still care about guitar solos. While there is such a thing as too much guitar-bragging, it's improbable he could cross the line from modesty to wankery, therefore he should get out there as much as possible, because the guitar work is very enjoyable on this release.

Elements of influential prog bands such as Dream Theater or Redemption can be heard here, as well as some of Symphony X's vocal harmonies. There are elements coming from heavier backgrounds than your ordinary prog such as some hints of In Flames, scoring Castillion a nice amount of genre diversity points. The music is based on riffs and guitar harmonies which are rather headbang-inducing, accompanied by nice rhythm arrangements, though the drummer should avoid sitting on one idea for too long, plus the bass sound could be more prominent. The band is partial to pauses and some unnecessary repetitions, but overall the songs are pretty re-playable.

A peculiar aspect of this release is the non-prog lengths of the songs (there are a couple under four minutes long and few over five minutes), which is good, for it doesn't allow the band to meander too much. Pieces Of A Shattered Me is a nice little closet prog™ album - the kind you can play when your friends not interested in the genre come over. I'd go to their show and maybe throw a teddy bear or two on the stage when they play "Out Of Reach" or "Hollow".

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8


 



Written on 06.11.2011 by
Milena
A part of the team since December 2011, writes about the progressive, the sad and the melodic. She's nice until she's not.
More reviews by Milena ››



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Ag Fox - 06.11.2011 at 15:35  
Nice feminine touch in the review (now where's my teddy bear?)
Milena - 06.11.2011 at 15:41  
Written by Ag Fox on 06.11.2011 at 15:35

Nice feminine touch in the review (now where's my teddy bear?)

Wow, I was considering to write 'bra', but that's only for the extraordinary bands so, here's a virtual teddy *hands over*
Ag Fox - 06.11.2011 at 15:57  
Haha, thanks ^.^
Kuroboshi - 07.11.2011 at 12:52  
Hmm, what's so feminine about it (except that a lady wrote it)?

Anyhow, seems like a really nice album, I'll check it out! Thanks for the tip and a nice review.
Milena - 07.11.2011 at 16:03  
Written by Kuroboshi on 07.11.2011 at 12:52

Hmm, what's so feminine about it (except that a lady wrote it)?

Well I get that a lot and I'm not so sure, especially in this review, it ended up getting a bit dry in my "post-production" phase.

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