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Cassle - 2011 Cassle

ARTIST: Cassle
ALBUM: Cassle
LABEL: Shadow Kingdom Records
YEAR: 2011


LINEUP: Scott Parker - guitars * Michael Terry - keyboards, bass * Brett Hollomon, Baron Knight, Rob Boldt - vocals * Steve Seiberlich, Ricky Agudelo - bass * Ed Roberts, Jeff Smith, Joe Gima - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Midnight Fantasy * 02 My New Flame * 03 Power Drive Revenge (Cassle Walls) * 04 Someone Stole My Love Tonight * 05 Second Hand Eyes * 06 The Ringmaster * 07 Back To Beyond * 08 Magick * 09 Midnight Fantasy (Original) * 10 Ernie Anderson V.O.



Archive stuff can be hit and miss but here's one of the better offerings I've heard in recent months. Cassle hailed from Southern California and originally played in a pseudo gothic progressive rock style while later in their career borrowed from the upstart New Wave of British Heavy Metal and very much looked the part. Formed in the magical summer of 1979 by keyboardist Michael Terry and guitarist Scott Parker; the band went through a series of line-up changes while playing live and writing an incredible amount of material. A one-sided picture disc single was released on the tiny Azra label in 1983 and a four song EP was set to follow but never materialized. That EP finally saw the light of day in 1997 as a mini-pressing of 100 copies, predictably becoming a rare as heck collectable. Thanks to the good folks at Shadow Kingdom Records, an imprint specializing in cool hard rock and metal rarities; the luckless Cassle have finally been given their due with this nicely presented compilation.

The Songs
The elusive EP is up first and the vibe is moody and very atmospheric on 'Midnight Fantasy' which was the aforementioned single in longer form. Drawing from all sorts of influences including Uriah Heep and Rainbow as well as a few doomy bits courtesy of Black Sabbath; it's pretty good really and while the plagiaristic re-write of Boston's 'More Than A Feeling' on the intro of 'My New Flame' is just plain silly, Scott Parker's blazing guitar soloing saves the day. 'Revenge (Cassle Walls)' is the best of the lot, very prog and a nice blending of Renaissance and heavier Styx while 'Power Drive' is the polar opposite; a hard rocker with little to recommend. Of the previously unreleased studio tracks 'Someone Stole My Love Tonight' comes up aces as superb classically influenced balladry but I don't care for the vocals on the raucous 'Second Hand Eyes' which sound frantic, almost punkish against the galloping heavy prog backdrop. Nor am I thrilled with the pompy 'The Ringmaster', again the affected vocals killing it for me although apparently Cassle were a white hot live band based on 'Back To beyond' and 'Magick'; both sharing Saxon and White Spirit's driving heaviness. Closing out with the original version of 'Midnight Fantasy' is a cool bonus and the legendary narrator Ernie Anderson's voice over work for Cassle's 1983 demo tape is a fun bit 'o nostalgia for anyone who watched American television in the 1970's.

In Summary
A nice package overall, including a full colour booklet dipping further in Cassle's history and while nothing here will knock your socks off, kudos to Shadow Kingdom for pulling this material out of the murky depths of obscurity and into the clear light of day.

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