Castillion -
Pieces Of A Shattered Me

(CD 2012, 52:02, Independent)

The tracks:
  1- Cruel Sands Of Time
  2- When Reality Distracts
  3- Out Of Reach
  4- Into The Lion's Den
  5- Rust On The Razor
  6- Departure
  7- Whispers Turn Into Cries
  8- House Of Cards
  9- Fragments
10- With A Clouded Mind
11- Hollow
12- Shattered

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To be honest, I wasn't familiar with the Swedish progressive metal band Castillion until I received the CD Pieces Of A Shattered Me for a review. In the overwhelming amount of releases in recent years, it's easy to overlook an album every now and then. Castillion were founded in 2002 by guitarists Ulf Sörman and Robert Örnesved, drummer Johannes Berg and bass player Magnus Stenberg. Pieces Of A Shattered Me is their second album. On their first demo the band had some guest singers, but guitarist Sörman took up the challenge to become the band's lead vocalist as well. In 2007 the band released their debut album Triumph And Tragedy

After a few spins, I think the label progressive rock isn't quite suitable for the music Castillion recorded. Listen for instance to Rust On The Razor which sounds like power metal in the vein of Metallica and other power rock bands of the eighties. Not bad at all, but just a bit outdated with powerful drums, twin guitars and with a Helloween /Gammy Ray touch. The songs When Reality Distracts and Fragments are closer to a band like Fates Warning. Here the vocals are high-pitched and a major part of these compositions are more melodic. Songs like Whispers Turn Into Cries, House Of Cards and Hollow sound very retro in which the strong drumming keep the guitar riffs on the right track. Time to relax with the ballad With A Clouded Mind containing acoustic guitar play and soft orchestrations, while the power ballad Departure has been built up quite nicely and well-balanced. The final song Shattered is based on heavy power metal, twin guitars and propelling bass play. Here they sound as a very heavy version of Tiles, which gives them a progressive edge after all. This song made the biggest impression on me and therefore it's my album's favourite.

As I said before, 'progressive rock' isn't a proper term for the music Castillion make; in my opinion 'retro power metal' is more appropriate. I think 'mediocre' and'average' are the right words for this album which applies both for the vocals and the compositions. I liked the overall sound of the band, but they didn't grab me by the throat like some other bands do. If you like the aforementioned bands then Pieces Of A Shattered Me is a fine album, although it lacks 'colour' and inspiration, which means that I get a sense of redundancy.

*** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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