Moldy Castle – The Farce Is Played

2 out of 5

Label: Adult Fantasy Records

Produced by: Kenny Pugh

I do like to think that I’m generally capable of standing back from stuff that’s not of a genre I enjoy and assessing it – to the best of my ability – in relation to its peers. And if I’m really not capable of doing even that, I try to come clean? I think?

Moldy Castle’s shtick touches on a couple things that are tricky for me – throwback metal, and comedy music. I do listen to a fair amount of throwback metal, so I feel somewhat equipped to rate that (and that’s where most of my criticism is going to come from), but comedy music… not so much. Like, I get a moderate giggle from the shtick Moldy Castle’s members were employing – alternate identities, led by “Vlaada Volko,” who has “fingerbanged a lot of occultists” and sees the band as a “jingle advertising the heat death of your universe” – and the overall sound of the beer-and-cigarette soaked and croaked vocals – but unless this is put towards quality music, I have a hard time getting on board.

And MC’s members can definitely play, shredding their way through a fuzzy mash of Stones and thrash and glam and barroom-brawl style rawk, but the ten tracks here never feel very cohesive, either in crafting the identity of the band, or as an album. Tracks occasionally break out impressively – opener Two Hearts in the Astral Lovepit goes on for too long but rips; almost every track has a killer solo and cool time change around that – but that latter bit is kind of telling: despite covering the different styles mentioned, each song feels like it has a very, very similar structure, and we never really evolve past the shtick, which makes the album just seem like a string of covers. (…Two of them are covers, by the way.)

It’s recorded and played well, but it’s nothing new. Add to that the kind of offhand vibe of the whole thing – like it’s a lark, something that happens on random nights – and it tends to get kinda boring, with even the giggle effect wearing off quick.