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Cassle

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Album Review

It took Los Angeles' Cassle over 30 years to progress from overlooked unsigned demo band to official historic relic worthy of official unearthing by the Shadow Kingdom label, whose roster often resembles a dingy and cobwebbed museum built to house all things obscure and underground in heavy metal history. Rather uniquely in this case, however, we find in Cassle a highfalutin' progressive rock group that only fully embraced overt heavy metal tendencies during the later stages of its unheralded career. Indeed, with the exception of an all too cliché-ridden hard rocker named "Power Drive," the four songs exhumed from the quartet's self-financed 1983 EP, Midnight Fantasy, boast much grander ambitions, extended ruminations, and frequent soft rock passages reminiscent of classic ‘70s prog rock (albeit of the budget-line variety) — plus a blatant rewrite of Boston's "More Than a Feeling" in "My New Flame." Things didn't get much better with subsequent efforts like the lukewarm "Second Hand Eyes," "Back to Beyond" (both of them nondescript blue-collar rockers), and "Someone Stole My Love Tonight" (a soupy ballad not fit for the resident lounge band at a Topeka Holiday Inn). But there is a certain naïve charm about the longwinded prog epic "The Ringmaster" and much to love about the tightly orchestrated interaction between guitar and organ (courtesy of founding bandmembers guitarist Scott Parker and keyboardist Mike Terry) on "Magick." If anything here shows promise of a future breakthrough that never came for Cassle, it's these two last-mentioned tracks, but the God's honest truth is that they were utterly outmatched in such a competitive music metropolis, and it's no wonder their efforts came to naught at the time. Still, there's got to be a small feeling of self-satisfaction — if not quite vindication — for the musicians involved to see those long-lost artifacts dusted off for belated public viewing, even if only a modest number of musical archaeologists will care to buy admission into this very sparsely attended museum/Cassle.

Cassle, Cassle
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  • $18.99
  • Genres: Metal, Music, Rock
  • Released: 15 March 2011

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