Cast Aside – Cast Aside Recordings

Cast Aside
Cast Aside Recordings

There was a time a few years ago when I sought out every band on Deep Elm’s Emo Diaries compilation. After the recent edition, there was one band that I had to hear more of, and that band was Cast Aside. This upstate New York band has taken a completely fresh approach to the genres of hardcore, post-hardcore, and metal, merging them effortlessly into something that sounds raw and yet irresistibly powerful. This tape, not actually an album but some of the band’s first recordings, is probably my favorite collection of songs right now.
If I had to sum up why I love this band so much with just one feature, it would be that they have both male and female vocalists. At times they sing together or separately, at times one screams while the other sings, and at times both scream. I’ve never heard such a combination of singing and screaming work so well. You’ll get singing, screaming, and combinations of both all in one song. And this is the kind of screaming I love, where you can still understand it, rather than getting incoherent, throat-ripping blasts of sound. And the songs themselves run the gambit from an old-school emo textured rock to melodic emo to powerful and driving hardcore to almost metal. The percussion and bass are thick and powerful, the guitar textured and able to go from melodic one moment to off-the-hook power chords the next.
Right from the start, I knew I was going to love this, as “Composition” kicks off with some of the coolest mellow bass lines, before the vocals come in, turning into an upbeat and even bouncy track. The guitars blaze away beneath the vocals, and then the screaming starts, and while at first it seems to contrast the singing, it suddenly fits in beautifully. And after a period of bass and silence, it explodes with screams, passionate yet coherent and chugging guitar, and then the singing comes back in. And in “Elm Street” you get female vocals, sung so prettily, while the male vocalist speaks in the background over some incredible old-school emo guitar. Then both start screaming, and even on this less-than-perfect recording, you can still understand both singers.
“Music of the Spheres” changes things up, starting off with punk-rock style drumming and frantic guitar, driving and blaring. This one really shows off the band’s hardcore side, but it mellows down with a cool emo breakdown and picks up with metal-like guitar chords. Singing and screaming mix again. “Dancing Off Beat” starts so mellow and pretty, and suddenly blazing guitars and screams come in. It goes back and forth between soft and hard, with some of the best melodic guitar filling moments of silence with a heartwrenching mood. It mellows, with some sampled monk style singing, and suddenly goes metal, with driving guitars and those thick, guttural screams, but it also has singing, and it ends so sweet.
“Iratel” starts off with those fantastic female vocals and a kick-ass beat, and as it gets heavier, the guitar line continues throughout, definitely lending the song a fantastic groove that picks up into an almost punk-rock sound. And the ending of this song, with a throbbing, powerful beat, blazing guitars, and screamed vocals, you get the sense that the band is pouring everything out, completely. Few bands can pull this off that well. Finally, “8th Symphony” finishes off this batch of songs. Kicking off with melodic guitar and thick bass, the vocals come in this time echoed, with a booming bass drum. Moody big time. And while the song takes on a heavier tone, several people screaming over driving guitars, there maintains a sense of that melody and that power. And the way it ends, with the vocalists trading off lines over blazing, in-your-face guitar, and that echoed singing again…wow…
Ok, I’ve definitely ranted more about this band than I have about any other in a while. They’re, frankly, that good. They have everything I love about mid-90’s emo and modern hardcore, and they throw in the best elements of emo, punk, and even metal. All with those fantastic vocals, male and female, sung and spoken and shouted, screamed and wrenched out. The songs blaze with passion and break down into almost silence. These songs are incredible. Contact the band, and let them share their songs with you.