In February Bird Attack Records from Jacksonville, Florida released the brand new album from San Diego's Castoff. Titled First Step To Recovery, the album features ten songs of blistering punk rock music.
First Step To Recovery begins with the song Perception And Honesty. It starts fast and furiously with some big metal (music not material) guitars before the vocals kick in. I instantly thought of another Californian band when the vocals began: the legendary Pennywise. This vocal style, along with the exceptional guitar playing, makes this a song not to ignore. The next track, Revocation, focuses more on the skate punk rather than the metal riffs. The lyrics are delivered in a methodical manner that makes them easy to listen to and ultimately sing along with. The song then finishes with some "aaahhs" that Bad Religion would be proud of. Third track Selective Memory is one that starts extremely quickly. I liked the metamorphosis that happens throughout the song; starting with a fast pounding rhythm before slowing turning into a more melodic sounding punk song. One thing is for certain after listening to the first three songs, Castoff are definitely masters of their instruments! The fourth song is the title track, First Step To Recovery. There is a lyric I really love in the song that goes "We've Come To Grips With Where We Are Today, We Must Admit That We Have Lost Our Way". This sets up the whole meaning of the song perfectly. It's about coming to the realisation that something isn't quite right about yourself and that's the "First Step To Recovery". Second Chance Realities is a track that jumps between skate punk and metal music, who would have thought the two styles would blend together so well. Combining the two styles stops the track becoming too samey and offers up a lot of different and interesting routes for the band to go down with their music.
Capitalize is the title of the sixth song on First Step To Recovery. With its extended introduction the opening riffs of the track really got my head nodding and my toes tapping before some the start of vocals that made me really want to throw my fists in the air in unity with the band. The intro of the next track, Haterz Gonna Mate, threw in a real curve ball. The song begins with some elevator style music before some of the hardest music the album has to offer really gets the track going. This is a track that I imagine would be really get a pit going strong. Haterz Gonna Mate is a ferocious piece of music. Forget Real Life reminded me of the darker side of Lagwagon when I first heard it. There is no messing around with the intro on this song; it just gets going straight away. The vocals really take control of the melody in the song and they are brilliant backed up with some great harmonies. This is one of the stand-out tracks on the album in my opinion. The penultimate song on First Step To Recovery is named Promote Irrational Thought. Starting out with a long and progressive guitar intro, before exploding into life, it has vocals that feel a little more restrained and some guitars that really take the song by the scruff of the neck and carry it forward. The final track on the album is titled Certain As The Sun and it follows along the same sound as the rest of the album, combining metal and skate punk to fantastic effect. For me the tempo of the song during the vocal segments could have been upped but that doesn't take away from the quality of the musicianship throughout the song.
First Step To Recovery took me a bit by surprise on my first listen to it. It took me back to the 90's, the finest era of skate punk and then took me back further to the days when metal music was good. Fast and furious are the best words I can think of to describe this album.
Stream and download First Step To Recovery here: https://birdattackrecords.bandcamp.com/album/first-step-to-recovery
Like Castoff here: https://www.facebook.com/CastOffmusic/