Whether Castrovalva took their name from the Escher lithograph or the Doctor Who series is unclear. What is certain is that this band’s output, which sounds like it’s been brewed up in Satan’s oily tar pits to bubble out through one of BP’s catastrophes, is as murky as hell.

“We Are A Unit” is a bizarre mix of metal roaring and riffing, Bee Gees style falsetto and hip hop. It frequently sounds like a stoned, uncontrolled jam that’s as unfocused as a mind filled with THC. And yet there’s something bizarrely captivating about this album (which is why I’ve returned to review well over a month after its release).

The distorted bass constantly surges and amazes with its driving relentlessness. The band’s sound is largely characterised by the brilliant interplay between this instrument and the lead singer, who is in himself wildly entertaining.  When he screams, “I robbed your brother’s Pokémon, yeah, and I robbed his Pogs” on “Hooliganz R Us” it will have you in stitches – it is a rare thing for a metal band to be so comedic.

Coming in at under thirty minutes, it’s a short album too. This is a positive thing. Castrovalva know how not to over the fine hand they’ve been dealt.

In all this is a fascinating listen. Not something I would ordinarily listen to, but I can appreciate quality when I hear it, and Castrovalva have it in spades.

Release Date 12/04/2010 (Brew Records)

Chris Gilliver

I started out writing for the Manchester Evening News as a freelance journalist back in 2008. The idea that I would be given free access to music and gigs seemed somehow miraculous to me, and I proceeded to take full advantage of the situation. When the M.E.N. decided to constrict its coverage to only the very biggest bands, Simon Poole approached me with a plan to make sure that all the very talented musicians of this world that pass through and/or live in Manchester would not go unnoticed. As the New Releases editor here at Silent Radio Towers, it remains my proud duty to cast a critical eye over the music and reviews that come my way in a manner that is both supportive and fair. Above all, I strive to write as entertainingly possible. Favourite musicians include the Pixies, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Mercury Rev, Os Mutantes, The Knife, Beach House etc etc. I'm a firm believer that all genres (except nu-metal) contain music of great quality...