Artist: Caskets Open
Album: Concrete Realms of Pain
Label: Wise Blood Records & Seeing Red Records, originally Nine Records
Release Date: Digital: 24/02/2021; Pysical: 04/2021; Originally 20/03/2020
We take a look at Caskets Open and their latest full-length album Concrete Realms of Pain, which was re-released digitally on February 24th on Wise Blood Records & Seeing Red Records, with physical copies to come in April. The album was originally released on March 20th 2020 on Nine Records.
The band hail from Helsinki, Finland and formed back in 2007. They play a blend of old school doom, punk and gothic doom. The band is Timo Ketola (bass, vocals), Antti Ronkainen (guitars) and Pyry Ojala (drums). This is the band’s fourth full-length release and follows their 2017 album Follow Nothing. The album was recorded and mixed in 2019 at Tonehaven Recording Studio by Tom Brooke and mastered by James Plotkin (who has mastered multiple albums from Khanate, Conan, Sumac, and Thou).
The second I listened to the album I thought “wow this sounds like if Peter Steele and Glen Danzig had a baby and that child went on to be influenced by old school doom music, but also decided to take a bunch of influences from Peter’s Carnivore days” and then I read the band’s description and found that they were in fact heavily influenced by both bands. Luckily for us the band cherry pick the best elements from each act and combine them in a way that makes them feel unique and fresh. Then there’s those punk influences which can be easily be likened to Peter Steele’s former act Carnivore, which really brings some diversity and raw aggression to the mix. One minute we will be listening to a gothic ballad style segment and next we shift to raw aggression and snarled vocals.
The vocals on the album would have to be the highlight for me. Anyone who knows me well is aware that I’m a huge fan of old man Danzig. I personally love his Jim Morrisonesque vocal style and that means that I also love Timo Ketola’s vocal style. That powerful bluesy tone has such a smoothness and carries so much emotion that I can’t get enough of it. Then when things take a swing to the harsher side, the Peter Steele influences come into play and these are equally as enjoyable. So even if the band was solely just his vocals, I would still love it. Luckily for me (and the rest of you) there is plenty more at play here. Instrumental we have a fantastic blend of styles on the album. You can definitely hear Type-O’s gothic doom influences there; they have that certain level of swagger that you can’t miss. The old school doom influences are also greatly appreciated and play a key role in the mix. Then we have the punk influences and that raw aggression that they bring to the mix, which could easily be out of place on an album like this. However, the band have worked them in seamlessly.
The guitar work on the album is fantastic, not only in tone, but in overall proficiency, as well as how diverse it is overall. The shifts between genres and styles are so natural that you can barely even notice it happening until it already has. As well as the obvious doom, gothic and punk influences, the guitar work carries a bluesy swagger to it that really compliments the vocals on the album. The drunk work is also fantastic and deserves some real praise. It brings so much energy and depth to the album that it wouldn’t be the same without it. Lastly, we have the bass work, which is clearly present in the mix, but takes a bit of a back seat when compared with the energy and force of the guitar and drum work on this one.
Overall, this is a truly killer album. As someone who is open about his love for Danzig and happens to be a Type O and Carnivore fan this ticked a LOT of my boxes. I can see this album getting quite a few spins in the coming months. My only regret is that it took my until now to discover it, so don’t make the same mistake I have and stop sleeping on a killer release.
Listen to and order the album below:
Order the album: