Review: Casket Robbery – The Ascension EP
Written by Brett Kihlmire
Back in 2016 Wisconsin death groove outfit Casket Robbery burst onto the scene with their debut full length, Evolution of Evil. Powered by the crushing riffs of Cory Scheider and unreal vocals of front man Dustin Foesch the band was an instant hit. Taking aim on the USA, they crossed their homeland with their companions Disappearance until struggling down an unfortunate road that would see the band break with the entire lineup, save for Scheider. Fortunately for Casket die hards, Scheider refused to let the band wither and die. Casket returns in 2017 with The Ascension.
‘The Ascension’ kicks things off with a deep, dark style that we’ve come to expect from the likes of Casket Robbery. Charging riffs, chugging bass and bone crunching beats start things off with a distinctively death metal sound. A hypnotic mini-solo opens the gate to the gnarly death growls of new vocalist Megan Orvold and what a change this is. As much as I loved Foesch on vocals, Orvold brings a whole new level of evil to the band – the ability to growl your highs gets my horns up high. All in all, this one is a real head banger. It’s brutally heavy but has enough groove and atmosphere to cross over into the realm of black metal making for one hell of a good start. And though the song has a great fadeout with the lead guitar screeching over the echo of church bells I felt like something was missing.
After the haunting beatdown that was ‘The Ascension’ I was revved up for more and ‘Lilith’ doesn’t disappoint. This is a death metal ass kicking! Fast and loud drum beats echo in your ear, especially the charging assault of the bass drum. The nonstop barrage of heavy and I mean heavy riffs gets my head banging and then there’s the lead guitar. Good god is this head spinning! Not only does the lead guitar continue the haunting atmosphere of ‘The Ascension’ there is a supremely shreddy solo thrown seamlessly into the fray – things just got serious! And then there’s the vocals – as much as I miss Foesch, Orvold is unbelievable as a death metal front woman. She’s got the rage, the depth and the power of the best death metal vocalists and that’s no lie. This chick can growl!
Finishing off this extended play is ‘Pockets.’ Though not the battle anthem that was ‘Lilith’ this track keeps the adrenaline pumping and my fists in the air. Cory Scheider’s signature death groove is ever present in his riffs and shrieking of the lead guitar adds so much to the band’s sound. What really rocks this tune alone is the expert use of synths. Though they’re only prominent at the beginning and the end, they can be heard subtly though out the track adding a nice touch of atmosphere. And then there’s that brief but haunting use of a choir to give this song just a tinge of black metal. All in all, this was a great way to end Casket Robbery’s first official release with their new lineup.
I’ve been a fan of Casket Robbery since first meeting Cory Scheider during his time in Mercy Isle. Every time I saw them play they rocked the house and blew the headliner out of the water. Evolution of Evil was a groundbreaking album for modern American death metal and The Ascension is a worthy successor. Though the band has replaced nearly all of their “Evolution” lineup the band has reemerged stronger and more brutal than ever. My only complaint is that it’s only three tracks. Hopefully Scheider and company crank out a full length quickly. 9.5/10
Casket Robbery is:
Megan Orvold – Vocals
Cory Scheider – Guitar
Troy Powell – Guitar
Derek Silloway – Bass
Derek Bonn – Drums