Bio: Castillion is a prog metal quartet from Sweden. The original line-up still stands: Ulf (Vocals and guitar), Robert (guitar), Johannes (Drums) and Magnus (bass).
The band is unsigned, but has released two full-length albums; Triumph and Tragedy and Pieces of a Shattered Me. Both are available for download and streaming at all the usual sites.
Genre: The band was initially playing power metal but we began to infuse prog elements quite early.
It’s not like we had a thought-through prog agenda, it just kind of happened, gradually and naturally. At some point between Triumph and Tragedy and the latest album, we decided to put more emphasis on the ideas with prog undertones. Right now, Castillion is prog metal, no doubt about it, but we still haven’t got a set plan. Come what may, come what will!
Evolution of the initial musical and thematic elements: Initially it was decided that the band would skip thematic lyrics and I guess the same idea stands today. We’re not interested being a band that repeat themes, there are plenty of bands out there doing that already. Although one of our albums might have a strong lyrical theme or a concept of some kind, the next one might differ a lot. If we were to limit ourselves to a specific theme, where would progression fit in?
Ideas about the album: Pieces of a Shattered Me is our first big production and we are really proud of it. It sounds awesome to our ears and we think the mix between melodic power metal and interesting rhythms and other prog elements works out quite well. We like the heavier side blending with the Latin grooves and jazzy/bluesy modes. Perhaps we didn’t aim at making a prog album, but that kind of ideas just kept coming and we have loads of them left. The next album will be different in many ways, but emphasis will as always be on melodies and groove, rather than nailing a genre. We don’t know exactly what the end result of the next full-length will be, but there are already ideas including much softer parts and prog rock, as well as more intricate rhythms and very heavy metal. You could say we are expanding in every direction. We would also like to explore unusual vocal harmony arrangements further and incorporate more complex rhythms, but at the same time still try to keep the overall feeling of the compositions apprehensible. We’re in uncharted waters right now, but I’m sure we’ll arrive with a spectacular album.
Reception: The critics have taken a liking in the album and we usually score high in the reviews.
Pieces of a Shattered Me and the three videos Shattered, Fragments and When Reality Distracts has been featured in several webzines, radio, web radio, interviews and blogs. The only thing missing is a label or publisher offering to release and promote it more widely.
Lyrics, themes and concepts: The themes and concepts for the next album are extra super top secret. But if you attend one of our concerts we usually test a new song or two and you might be able to pick up what the next album has to offer in terms of lyrical theme and tone.
Preference; live or studio: Personally, I love having the songs recorded and available for people to hear, but hate the recording process itself. Recording always include annoying technical difficulties, retakes and absolute concentration. I prefer the natural flow of live shows and rehearsing to recording any given day. The groove and dynamics of a live performance is hard to nail with the rec button on. That red light flashing sets off a series of reactions, such as playing in the wrong key(if in any), playing out of rhythm or just sucking in general. I do not know why this is, but it is a fact that it messes with you and simply screws things up.
Composers: I write all lyrics and most of the music, but we collaborate and try variations of the compositions and arrangements and we change many parts before anything finished. A good idea for a rhythm, riff or melody usually grows better with each new perspective. The band is greater than the sum of its members, as it should be with every band.
Preference; cater to the audience or music for its own sake: Sometimes we stop to wonder; is this too weird for the people listening? Sure, we want to play proggy metal, but at the same time, we want to reach a wider audience than just other musicians and prog nerds. Most times, we do land in the metal head-friendly zone, bringing metal-with-a-twist and not weird-shit-with-a-scent-of-music. I promise we’ll back off when people stop tapping their feet. We want people to listen with their heart, not their brain. Well actually, they listen with their ears, but you get my point.