Sweden is a pretty consistent breeding ground for quality progressive metal acts, and Castillion may be the country's next prog metal export to keep your eye on. Pieces of a Shattered Me is the band's second full-length album, and it was self-released in 2011. Although Castillion may currently be without a label, I have no doubt that they will be signed (if they choose to, of course) in the near future after releasing such a strong effort. Pieces of a Shattered Me is not faultless, but it's a very competent observation that all fans of heavy-edged prog metal should enjoy quite a bit.
As I mentioned in the beginning of my review, Castillion is from Sweden. Despite their regional location, however, Castillion seldom sounds like your typical Swedish progressive metal act. They have a lot of influences from classic heavy metal like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, as well as more progressive acts like Fates Warning and Psychotic Waltz. I also hear a few dashes of heavy-edged U.S. power metal bands like Metal Church and Savatage.
Castillion may not be the sport the most original progressive/power metal sound in the world, but they execute the style with class and precision on this album. The riffs are all heavy and powerful, the musicianship is professional, and the production is very sleek and effective. Pieces of a Shattered Me also lacks a bit of distinction between each of the tracks - some of them do seem blend together mainly due to the similar guitar driven arrangements in every song. The distinction is made clearer with repeat spins, but the songs with acoustic portions are the ones that initially stand out the most; and even on repeat spins, they still tend to be the most memorable. "With a Clouded Mind" is my favorite song here - an absolutely spectacular track that showcases Castillion's true capabilities as strong melodic songwriters. "Shattered" is another great (and much heavier) prog metal tune.
Even though Pieces of a Shattered Me may not be the most unique or memorable release you'll hear this year, Castillion knows their craft pretty damn well and have delivered a hard-hitting and powerful effort this time around. Fans of heavy, rough, and rugged progressive metal should be sure to check out this promising Swedish band! Pieces of a Shattered Me is a highly recommended purchase for those who enjoy old school progressive metal, and as such is very worthy of 3.5 stars. People who enjoy progressive metal with a firm root in classic heavy metal and power metal should find plenty to like on this promising sophomore effort.
1. Cruel Sands of Time
2. When Reality Distracts
3. Out of Reach
4. Into the Lion's Den
5. Rust on the Razor
7. Whispers Turn Into Cries
8. House of Cards
10. With a Clouded Mind