Castevet Break Up

Castevet split on Monday. If you missed it, you weren’t alone. There wasn’t a press release or an elaborate eulogy, just a simple message on their homepage:

Castevet is no more. There is no single reason or event driving this decision; it is based on the need of each individual involved to continue to develop their vision within new and existing projects. To put it simply, it is time to move on. Thank you to all who have supported Castevet since our inception in 2006.

And with that, Castevet can now be reappraised.

It’s weird typing that — borderline heartless — but it’s how things will play out. To an extent, Castevet’s creative life-cycle has just begun. Metal has always treated its acts better in death than in life. Perhaps it’s because we fear active bands will eventually hurt us by doing something selfish like not growing with us. As anyone with a 25-year-old Metallica tattoo can tell you, no one enjoys being on the wrong side of history. So we remain guarded until there’s an acknowledged end. The end also provides a little bit of truth — a definable lifespan — which is something art can frustratingly lack when it’s in the moment. That and finality is the great legitimizer, not because we suddenly realize what we had, but for the relief of knowing things won’t fluctuate. . . until the inevitable reformation.

Castevet are set up well for their afterlife. Their two full-lengths, Mounds of Ash and Obsian, were packed with knotty compositions that took time to unravel. Obsian, in particular, didn’t top a lot of 2013 best-of lists, but there was a feeling it might top 2013 best-of lists written in 2016. Sure, Castevet had their share of surface pleasures which netted an impressive fanbase for music with a high degree of difficulty. But the gold lay behind dense compositional foliage requiring multiple spins to hack through. Now people have time. With a beginning and end, we’ll see how many passive listeners decide it’s safe to take the plunge.

Granted, that’s not a given. Or, at least, it won’t happen overnight. Castevet are reminiscent of Rune, another band which seemingly had boundless potential. Rune’s tech-death swansong The End of Nothing was inventive and progressive, but always felt like a road to somewhere else instead of the final destination. Though occasionally brilliant, The End of Nothing hasn’t been reappraised, known mostly to the few who picked it up upon its release in 2003. Will the same fate befall Obsian? Last year, Obsian too felt like it primed Castevet to take the next big leap. And part of Obsian’s appeal was the restless energy expended by a band butting up against walls they wanted to smash through. However, now Obsian is a closeout of a career. How does its impact change when it becomes the last stop? In the short term, who knows? Though, the farther we move from Monday’s announcement, the closer we come to a time when someone will.

Worst case, Castevet will live on as an ‘ex-band’ descriptor for the players’ “new and existing projects.” There are a lot. Singer/guitarist Andrew Hock has Psalm Zero and Disparish. Bassist Nicholas McMaster, who joined in 2012, has Astomatous, Bloody Panda, Geryon, and Krallice. Skilled drummer and Castevet secret weapon Ian Jacyszyn will definitely land on both feet. So this phase of their life may be over, but they’ll always be linked together. And the records they made will last for as long as people remember.

— Ian Chainey