"Empyrean Atrophy"

by El Chief

There's an old saying, "Jack of all trades, master of none," that essentially means the more diverse someone tries to be, the more they will fail to solidly grasp the nuances of any one particular skillset. In the upcoming EP, "Empyrean Atrophy," extreme metal group Cast the Stone boldly try to prove the exception to that saying…and they (mostly) succeed.

Like the band itself, "Empyrean Atrophy" is a collection of disparate parts. In the short-plays first two tracks (which include the already released single "As the Dead Lie), Cast the Stone do their best Bring Me the Horizon impersonation. And while the tunes have weight to them, they somehow fail to find the upper groove that makes progressive metal standout. I still like them, and will continually listen to them, but I won't be able to feel that transcendence that comes when bands like Beyond Creation and Ion Dissonance hit their stride.
The progress that Cast the Stone does make in those opening tracks is thoroughly wasted with an out-of-place and out-of-ideas acoustic instrumental "Standing in the Shadows." That track's singular purpose may be to provide the listener a chance to prepare for the shift in metal genres that comes with "A Plague of Light." Here, Cast the Stone begin to castoff any notion that this is a band that cares one bit about making your soul fly. Instead, the grooves harden just as vocalist Andrew Huskey bellows "a smoldering sky, a smoldering discontent.” It's a fitting portent for the final two tracks on "Empyrean Atrophy," which find the band merging Dying Fetus with Cannibal Corpse. 

It's unclear what future plans Cast the Stone has, given that the musicians hail from more established acts such as Cattle Decapitation and Misery Index. I hope that this EP won't also serve as their swan song because the more Cast the Stone can play together, the more likely they are to stop mimicking other bands and come up with their own original stamp on extreme metal.