Asthma Castle’s debut record Mount Crushmore feels like it’s name might suggest, burying the listener under an avalanche of a brutally heavy, sprawling rocking metal hybrid. Above the utterly genre-defying noise, one aspect of the situation is clear — these guys are hyped, and the overwhelming, immersive energy is infectious. You can not escape that impact when turning on the record, making for a strikingly unique experience in the context of a heavy, sludgy album. They’ve taken some existing threads in music and pulled them to dramatic extremes, coming up with this sonically and at times even emotionally oppressive material that thanks to some strange alignment in the universe makes you want to get up and move around.
That energy proves monstrous rather than landing anywhere near a conventional, swaggering rock album. The band utilize the thickness of heavy, brooding sludge and doom metal but often speed the mixture up substantially, adding in some extra sonic twists and turns along the way. They’ve given a face to the mountain that doom and sludge metallers let fall on your back, allowing some new monster to spring forth in the process.
At least some explanation of the foreboding beast might rest with at least a couple of the band members’ backgrounds. Drummer Adam Jarvis plays in the project along with contributing his talents to the grindcore trailblazers in Pig Destroyer and the long-running death metallers in Misery Index, while guitars are handled jointly by hardcore torchbearers’ Integrity’s touring guitarist Justin Ethem and Cameron Smith, who performs with Passage Between and Crawler. They’re joined in the band by vocalist Zach Westphal, who’s formerly of J Roddy Walston And The Business, and bassist Jeff Davis, of Damnation Audio effects pedals.
The combination of all these musicians’ diverse talents into Mount Crushmore lets the record shine as a monument of dirty mayhem, getting its hands grimier than one might be prepared for. There’s a feeling that they’re essentially holding nothing back — at all — and this metal band have claimed the stage at some dirty, almost forgotten venue located perhaps out in the countryside and are not going to stop playing until they put the place, themselves, and most importantly their music on the map. The gale-force music hits the listener that hard when they press play on this expert heavy metal, serving as a refreshing reminder of just how far that heavy music and its listeners can go. One of their tracks tells the story of partying during an alien invasion — and the music truly encapsulates the feeling of well, why the fuck wouldn’t we party?
Listen below via Bandcamp. The full album drops March 15.