Castleumbra – Cthulu Wgah’nagl Fntagn

castleumbra - coverRemember Onward to Golgotha? The sepulchral production? Craig Pillard’s vile, moldering growls? The deeper than subterranean riffs and twisted song structures? The underground death metal scene remembers, and it’s etched its reminders onto hundreds of thousands of slabs of vinyl and plastic to make sure YOU don’t forget. It’s a common enough phenomenon that “Incantation clone” has become regular vocabulary in the language of forums and blogs all across the internet.

Remember Towards the Megalith? The most well known of these abysmal monstrosities, featuring Craig Pillard himself on vocals? On Towards the Megalith, Disma adopted Incantation’s early, cavernous style and sickeningly interbred it with just enough Finnish weird and Swedish speed to drag me howling back into the mostly overdone Bosch-esque hellscape of filth and ruin. Castleumbra remembers, and it’s etched a reminder onto a thousand CDs and three hundred 12”s to make sure YOU don’t forget about… an album that was released 2 years ago.

I’m certain that I could play any of the 3 main tracks that make up Cthulu Wgah Nagl Fntagn and convince you that they were new Disma tracks with no effort whatsoever. Every ingredient is present from the Cyclopean, concrete grinding production to the non-euclidean riff geometry and bowel churning descents into abyssal deeps. The grime-vomiting, blood-coughing, life-devouring vocals are a near-perfect imitation of Craig Pillard. Honestly, the degree to which Castleumbra has reproduced the putrid sound of Towards the Megalith is impressive in some odd way, but that’s half a compliment and half a discredit to the band.

It should be said that in spite of their complete lack (or disregard, as the case may be) of originality, Castleumbra has the skill to pull it off in a way. The tentacular riffcraft in particular is possessed of an eldritch horror that rarely feels boring or merely functional. Lovecraftian themes were a wise choice, as they fit obviously into the suffocating and obdurate darkness that pervades the album, although the Cthulhu summoning chant of track 4 comes across as more comical than atmospheric. Still overall, there’s little to complain about in the overall execution of the songs. They don’t quite have the maturity of songwriting to reach the unfathomable depths of Disma at their best (Chasm of Oceanus…), but Cthulu Wgah Nagl Fntagn isn’t a forgettable trudge to the tombworld either. How you feel about this one is going to be predicated on your tolerance for a well-done rehash of a rehash. For myself, it’s hard to imagine why a band with this much obvious talent would spend it retreading the paths of others. -Jake

Nuclear Winter Records

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~ by jakemoran on July 31, 2013.

One Response to “Castleumbra – Cthulu Wgah’nagl Fntagn”

  1. Well written review. I don’t mind a bit of well-done rehash though. Name a death metal trope that hasn’t been done before by now, it’s quality over originality in most cases IMHO. If a record reminds me of Onward to Golgotha in a good way it’s high praise. Disma, fantastic indeed. Check out Funebrarum if you haven’t already, they share two bandmembers with Disma.

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