Premiere: Sydney grunge newcomers Death Castle unveil their first single, Crash Landing
Death Castle is a newly-minted project from Bill Johnston and Rollo Anderson, favourites with years worth of experience across Sydney acts.
While you might've not heard the band name Death Castle before, there's a strong chance you've listened to something the band's two members - Bill Johnston and Rollo Anderson - have been involved with. Over the years, the pairing have made an imprint across New South Wales' live music world both on-stage and behind-the-scenes, with Death Castle - a collaborative project for the pair - being a place their creativity and musicianship can thrive without any external control.
It's a project that has been building away for a while now, but this week, it officially makes its entrance with its debut single Crash Landing, which premieres today on Pilerats. It's an exciting introduction for the duo, taking everything they've taken away from their respective work and distilling it down into a punchy three-minutes-45 of aching. rough-around-the-edges grunge rock. It's one hell of a time too, capturing the nostalgia of the bands that defined their early years - The Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer, Nirvana - but in a way that doesn't feel like Death Castle copying what's already out there, instead bringing these sounds forward to 2021.
As such, the end result is this jagged alt-rock-meets-grunge epic, crunchy in its instrumentation but potent and rather urgent with its songwriting; songwriting that Death Castle aims to emphasise within their work, with Crash Landing being a red-hot example of that. "Crash Landing came about at the time of Australia's recent catastrophic bushfires, but takes the view that these were just another example of the ever-increasing distress of the planet," the duo say on the single. "It's often said that every generation believes it'll be the last, but truly does feel; rough these days feeling like we're looking down the barrel of serious existential threat.
"The song takes a fairly resigned approach to this atmosphere, cynically suggested 'we'll shoot the rich up towards the stars to have another go at it', and we should 'save (our) tears for next year's drought'; it asks whether every civilisation that blossoms in the universe ends up destroying itself?"
The single premieres this morning alongside an official video clip, produced by Death Castle themselves along with Drew Norley of Shadow Cut Films. The video builds into the single's themes, reigniting the urgency of the single's lyricism and the darkness that kind-of sits underneath it all. "[The film clip] re-iterates this idea, by moving through distinct time periods of the Twentieth Century through the lens of television, and intercuts advertising, war, bullshit, sport and music as though the viewer is flicking through the channels of recent human history," the duo explain.
"Laced throughout it is the 'film-clip' of Crash Landing, as though it were made first in the late Fifties, then the Nineties, and then now. While it is overall a pretty dark vision, having the live performance in the clip at least posits that if we're gonna go down, we're gonna go down rocking our heads off."
Crash Landing is one hell of a song that introduces one hell of a band, and you can take a dive into it below, as it premieres on Pilerats today. Watch it now, and stay tuned for more to come:
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