Trying to pioneer a new genre is one of the biggest challenges a band can put itself up to. That’s precisely what the Phoenix duo Tigerface attempts to do on their latest EP Castlecore Part One.
So what is Castlecore? As near as I can tell, it takes melodic, heavy post-punk hooks and makes them sound enormously epic with an army of synthesized sounds and keyboards.
If you can get past the feeling of being on a critical mission for the fate of humanity every time you hear Tigerface, you’ll discover that the layered, electronic sound of the EP is quite well done and the epic sound that hammers throughout will quickly grow on you.
When it comes to mighty, blood-pumping songs there’s few with a sound as huge as the opener of Castlecore Part One, “Dawn Follows Massacre.” A synthesized symphony of horns, strings and keys makes the solid, thumping base of the song. Meanwhile, enticing guitar melodies swoon among the synthesizer, and at one point create a fantastic Led Zeppelin “Cashmere”-style breakdown. If there’s one song on the EP that truly establishes Castlecore as a viable genre, it’s “Dawn Follows Massacre.”
Later, Tigerface has more success with their epic synthesizer symphony on “Day Of The Gnome.” If the sound of these two tracks is just too over-blown for you (personally I think there’s no such thing as too big when it comes to Castlecore), Castlecore Part One does feature some tracks that back off the synthesizer and stick more to standard keyboard melodies.
Songs like “Silence Is A Killer” and “Europa” are still epic, but sound closer to standard rock thanks to Ari Epstein’s powerful vocals and the guitar soloing of Chris Ertz that replaces many of the synthesized melodies on other tracks.
However, these tracks still have a definite electronic flair to them that makes them flow with Tigerface’s unique sound.
Castlecore Part One successfully introduces the listener to a new genre. At times it may be laughably theatric, but Tigerface will still get even the most cynical rock listeners to play along thanks to their undeniably ground-shaking melodies.
April 20, 2009