Cassetta may be a new name in the hardcore/metalcore space, but it has members who have been involved in several other bands throughout the years (including bigger names like Scars of Tomorrow and Suicide Silence). With an emphasis on combining different elements of heavy genres and capturing the intensity and darker tones of the early 2000s, Cassetta has released their first two songs as a stand-alone single available digitally and on cassette, which feels appropriate given their band name. They may still be at a fairly early stage and have room to expand upon these varying influences further, but there’s plenty to like about what this group has to offer.
Both “Swallow the Sun” and “Thin Blue Crime” are short affairs at under three minutes, but I appreciate that Cassetta isn’t padding out the length with too many breakdowns or unnecessary filler. Instead, the focus here is on hitting hard and doing so through a range of metal and hardcore styles. “Swallow the Sun” is an effective first song to present to listeners, as it showcases what the band can do in terms of speed and aggression. With only a quick hit of the crash cymbal kicking things off, the band quickly launches into faster chugging and blasting drums that lean a bit more into the deathcore/death metal side of things before switching over to a more beatdown hardcore break. “Thin Blue Crime” goes for the opposite approach, beginning with the extremely slow chugs and breakdowns and then moving into faster territory where the deathcore elements really pop out. The tonality is appropriately low and Cassetta nails that darker, grittier sound that’s somewhere between early 2000’s metalcore and mid to late 2000’s deathcore. Admittedly both tracks do tread some similar ground, just with different orders in how they go from slow to fast, but they still draw you back thanks to the heavy factor and some catchy riffs. Moving forward, I’d like to see even more variation and use of the different elements of metalcore, hardcore, and deathcore, as a few unexpected transitions could really go a long way in helping them stand out from the pack.
Vocalist Conor Eaton has a lower scream/growl that helps to fill out the low end alongside the instrumentals, and there’s the right amount of intensity to his performance that helps to take things up a notch. It’s not quite as guttural as a lot of the deathcore out there these days, though there are a few moments where Eaton heads into that territory. Instead, the pitch reminds me more of metalcore’s earlier days where some of that hardcore energy was mixed in with the more abrasive and raspy screaming style of metal. This approach works well, and the performance is fairly varied, avoiding the repetition that you sometimes run into with bands of this type. On “Swallow the Sun” Cassetta brought in guest singer Cameron Miller, and he has a slightly raspier scream which switches things up even further. Overall, everything here is familiar, but it’s done well and gives Cassetta that same type of grit and fire that a lot of earlier metalcore has.
It's always cool when members who are in a bunch of other bands form a new one like this, as even at the early stages there’s a sense of cohesion and polish that’s sometimes missing from brand new projects. Cassetta already seems to have a good feel for the influences they’re pulling on and the type of bludgeoning and aggressive riffs they want to hit listeners with these two songs, and with a bit more development and variation I could see an EP or album gaining real traction. Based on recent interviews, it shouldn’t be too long before more music is released, so here’s hoping for 2024 to bring even more from this new band.
-Review by Chris Dahlberg