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Caskets – ‘Lost Souls’

When it comes to covering everything that’s happened with Leeds band Caskets in the two years since their debut EP release, it’s hard to know where to begin. Their enforced name change from Captives, following a dispute with an Australian band of the same name, is maybe the obvious choice – although their ability to […]

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When it comes to covering everything that’s happened with Leeds band Caskets in the two years since their debut EP release, it’s hard to know where to begin. Their enforced name change from Captives, following a dispute with an Australian band of the same name, is maybe the obvious choice – although their ability to bounce back from this difficult series of events made it feel like little more than the smallest of bumps on the road to better things. And what of their other achievements? Pre-covid appearances at tours and festivals around Europe, millions of song streams, global radio play, joining one of the most exciting label rosters in the world with SharpTone Records… For a band who only came into existence at the end of 2018, Caskets have had one hell of a ride already.

All this leads us to what is now a very long-awaited release in the form of debut album ‘Lost Souls’, a collection of 11 songs that feel like a reintroduction to the band we came to know through 2019’s ‘Ghost Like You’. That said, the distinctive sound they honed on their debut release is still on show here, and we’re brought into the world of ‘Lost Souls’ by singles ‘The Only Ones’ and ‘Glass Heart’, both of which bear a comforting familiarity in their post-hardcore/metalcore crossover approach. They act as a smooth transition, but even so, it’s still clear how much this band have grown. To say there is more depth to this sound feels like a bit of an understatement, and by the time third track ‘Hold Me Now’ comes along, it’s easy to find yourself utterly immersed in this rich soundscape.

At least some of that new depth comes from the addition of more synth and electronic sounds, and though by no means a unique approach in alternative music right now, Caskets manage to carefully weave these new elements into their music without overwhelming their unique identity. It contributes to a beautifully layered sound that builds the atmosphere they were clearly striving for in their debut – single and fourth track ‘Lost In Echoes’ is a perfect example, with an almost 80s feel on the intro that leads into a haunting backdrop of tones, while later ‘One More Time’ balances traditional sounds with modern for a suspenseful few minutes that beg to be blasted at full volume.

It’s around the middle of the album that you can sense Caskets starting to relish taking the listener by surprise, and they begin to truly stretch their wings – from divine strings on the outro of introspective heavy hitter ‘Clarity’  to the swirling frustration and chaotic pace of ‘Lose Myself’, this full length album is exactly the opportunity they needed to show the full scope of their abilities, and they’re not wasting it.

It’s also right in the centre that we find an unexpected gem in the form of mellower track ‘Hopes & Dreams’ – and though it takes a few moments to get going, when it does, it reveals itself in resplendent, cinematic colours, soaring and swirling with heartrending ease. The final few moments also set the stage perfectly for ‘Drowned In Emotion’, picking the pace back up in a track that contains one of their most anthemic choruses to date and makes phenomenal use of front man Matt Flood’s diverse vocal abilities. On top of considerable melodic heft, this is a tune that will also thoroughly satisfy anyone with a taste for more metal – aside from the obvious (and, frankly, absolutely delicious) breakdowns, guitarists Benji Wilson and Craig Robinson fill every moment with magic throughout, and this is one that’s sure to ignite the room when Caskets can finally return to the stage.

Amongst all these musical treats, there’s another side to ‘Lost Souls’ – and when it comes to the lyrics, it truly would be difficult to overstate the emotional weight of this record. This isn’t unfamiliar territory for Caskets; their previous releases have touched on mental health issues, deftly revealing both vulnerabilities and inner strength, but their growth allows them to pack an even more significant punch in this full length. Nowhere is this more true than on the deeply personal ‘The Final Say’, and although laced with defiance, there are moments when this anger is stripped away to reveal soft piano that delicately symbolises the heartache and pain hidden beneath a hardened, battle-worn exterior. This thoughtful approach to songwriting is another demonstration of how much Caskets are continuing to flourish, and as the album closes with the emphatic ‘Nothing To Hide’ (stay closely tuned for that breakdown, and prepare for your jaw to drop), there can be no doubt that this is the beginning of something wonderful.

Caskets set themselves a high bar with debut EP ‘Ghost Like You’, but in ‘Lost Souls’, they have far exceeded all expectations – their ability to seamlessly meld metal sensibilities and riffs with high octane melodies is thoroughly addictive, and there’s not a single moment on this record that feels wasted. If you’re looking for the next big thing in British alternative music, there’s really no need to look any further than this; powerful, dynamic, and full of passion, ‘Lost Souls’ is a debut album to get seriously excited about.

GEM ROGERS

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