ALBUM: Castrovalva – You’re Not In Hell, You’re In Purgatory My Friend

Release Date: October 1st, 2012
Label: Brew Records


If the end of the world really is coming, it won’t be the ending of the Mayan calendar that triggers it. With synths that make it sound like there’s a black-hole forming in your speaker, Castrovalva‘s manic second album, ‘You’re Not In Hell, You’re In Purgatory My Friend’ drags itself kicking and screaming through dark matter and still manages to keep its grip on your ears with some killer hooks.

The Leeds noise rock trio are driven by a slab of drums and bass, with madcap howls and more videogame-friendly synths than those black-hole makers filling out the higher frequencies, all combining to slam your ear drums about with no intention of ever apologising.

From the frankly disturbing wails and ominous drawl that stirs the album to life, it’s hard to know what is going to happen over the next 28 minutes. That feeling won’t depart, even after a fistful of listens. The devilish bass that comes with ‘Best Friends Go To Purgatory’, alongside a hefty thump of drums, rolls into a thrasher of a bassline and lyrics that fire out of nowhere, both of which signal the arrival of ‘In Our Prime’, which does what it says. Blending grime, hardcore and straight-up rock with a unabashed tenacity, it sums up the band up pretty well. Or so you’d think.

Another turn of the track numbers throws up another curve ball. ‘I Am The Golden Widow’ again features relentless drums and bass (and also a wonderful chorus that sounds innocent compared to the rest of the song), but they’re joined by a’capella sections that could rival The Flying Pickets. It’s utter madness, but in the twisted purgatory that Castrovalva have created, it works.

The album jolts in other directions elsewhere, such as in the aptly-titled ‘Donut’ (where dub is the jam and hardcore the dough), but after working through its first half, you come into the second half a little wiser and a little more in sync with the madness. ‘The Blood Of An Englishman (Fe Fi Fo Fum)’ is a radio-fiendishly catchy number, while ‘A Vulture’s Eyes’ sees the album out with an equally as disturbing manner as it was ushered in with.

‘YNIH,YINPMF’ isn’t the easiest of listens, but it’s not meant to be. It’s one that keeps the listener guessing and brings a massive number of influences together into one quick burst of noise that is frightening yet compelling and downright brilliant fun.

Written by Ryan Williams