The Casket Lottery

Real Fear

Written by: TL on 25/02/2013 21:47:24

Admittedly, despite my eager dabbling in 90's emo, and despite them being a side-project of Coalesce bassist Nathan Ellis, who uses this band to get away from his regular bass duties and sing and play guitar instead; The Casket Lottery is not a name that I had heard before recently. From what little of their early material that I've had time to check out, the band originally played an emo/punk-rock reminiscent of Sunny Day Real Estate and Saves The Day, yet their 2012 effort "Real Fear" - their fifth overall - is their first full length release since 2003's "Possiblies And Maybes", and not surprisingly, things are a bit different.

Following the theme of both bandname, artwork and album title, "Real Fear" dives into an immersive, eerie atmosphere, that strikes me as a gloomy mix of Thursday and The Cure, playing with thick, threatening bass rhythms, chilly melodies and high pitched guitar noises that will make you think of Hitchcock's famous 'shower scene' (see "Pamina" for instance). Song titles like "Blood On The Handle", "Poor Dorian", "In The Branches" and "Ghost Whiskey" help drive home the point that this is an intentionally horror-themed album, and as such, it feels a quite thought-through and unique listen.

Saying that and saying that it's a very engaging and exhilariting listen are two distinctly separate things in my opinion. I appreciate how highly characteristic a sound the band has built, and I enjoy how they explore various corners of it, sometimes launching into riffs that sound so monumentally heavy that you almost think they borrowed them from Black Sabbath's most doomy, gloomy moments. I just think the songs go so uncompromisingly for squeezing into this niche of the band's (and prowling around in the darkness of the cavern beyond perhaps), that it becomes a little too much. Ellis' vocal style still clearly comes from 90's emo, as does the overall analogue feel of the record's production, but I get the feeling that the spooky theatricality of the horror theme, clashes with the immediacy and urgency that is the very power of oldschool emo.

It could be that, or it could be that the songs just aren't all that captivating in their own power. And maybe it's an intentional choice on the band's behalf, to sacrifice 'hit-potential' (for lack of a better term) for the overall feeling they were trying to create with the album. Either way, I think "Real Fear" is an intriguing album, albeit one I think has a very narrow appeal, and a somewhat questionable staying power, but if you're in that kind of mood where you want to hear something that's quite different from most genre-combinations you can otherwise find in the music scene these days, this could still do the trick for a while.

Download: Radiation Bells, In The Branches
For The Fans Of: An eerie mix of Thursday, The Cure and maybe Sunny Day Real Estate and Far?

Release Date 06.11.2012
No Sleep Records

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