With merely one song on their Spotify, Cast Down are doing pretty alright! The Melbourne hardcore band won the coveted Triple J Unearthed spot on the inaugral Download Festival, and have also shown up on tours with scene heavyweights like Justice For The Damned, Being As An Ocean, Stick To Your Guns, Honest Crooks, Antagonist A.D, and Polaris.
Cast Down have been praised by the lords of Australian metal themselves, Parkway Drive, with the band saying “I love what they’re doing with heavy music. It’s abrasive, it’s passionate and it’s adrenaline fueled. The mix of the grittier edge and the industrial touch they bring is really, really good.”
Cast Down also copped a.. pretty graphic Unearthed review from The Racket’s Lochlan Watt, who didn’t hold back in his enthusiastic praise: “This is so lit that my pubes just spontaneously combusted and now my genitals are bald.”
Lifting the veil of hardcore defense to understand what drives Cast Down, vocalist Jack McDonald agreed to share his inspiration with us. We asked who was ‘The Band’ for him. “It’d be Slipknot”, Jack says, thinking back to when he was a kid and when heavier music came into his life. “I remember having a burnt CD from a friend in primary school full of bands like System Of A Down/Metallica/Slipknot that I discovered heaps of awesome bands through. I remember being told Metallica’s cover of “Stone Cold Crazy” by Queen was a SOAD song and believing it for ages.”
“But I can vividly recall having a USB loaded with Slipknot music videos that I’d watch and think it was just the craziest shit ever.” A pivotal moment was sitting at his grandparents’ house after school and watching videos like “Spit It Out” and “Left Behind”. Remembering it ‘as clear as day’, Jack was left both amused and amazed from the experience.
Like many fans, it was Slipknot’s masks that intrigued Jack, as well as their sound. He says “I’d seen and heard so many bands, but never one that wore scary masks and whose music was just straight up hard as fuck. I think Slipknot really became the perfect ‘gateway’ band for a lot of kids in my age demographic and it’s amazing to think about how popular they are considering the vein of their music.”
Forming in 1995, the Iowa based band have released five studio albums, as well as live albums and compilations. For Jack, their third album Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) was a stand-out. “Vol. 3’s always been my favourite. I worked a delivery driving job for about 18 months and I’m fairly confident that Vol. 3 was on repeat in car throughout at least 50% of that.”
When it comes to Slipknot singles, Jack is most fond of the ‘rage fueling’ “Disasterpiece”; the blistering third track from 2001 album Iowa.
As a musician himself, Jack shares that frontman Corey Taylor’s lyricism has impacted his own writing with Cast Down. Slipknot copped criticism for using profanity in the lyrics for the band’s self-titled album as well as Iowa, implying that the band were relying upon it (and the subsequent parental advisory sticker) for their popularity and success. With this in mind, Slipknot released Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses); a virtually profanity free album, which satisfyingly earned the band Grammy award nominations (and a win for Best Metal Performance for “Before I Forget”), even without a parental advisory sticker.
Jack feels his writing style and vocabulary has benefited from this, recognising how Corey Taylor proved himself as a legitimate artist in the process of directly going against the criticism. He says “I think it’s really important to get a point across without finding swear words necessary and want to be able to do that myself.” It seems like he’s on the right track with lyrics like “A lucid dream engulfs the visions I will never conceive / An endless cycle of torment without a reprieve”, and we’re keen for more from Cast Down when it releases.
The five piece of Jack McDonald, Pat Kearney, Jared King, Todd Tombleson, and Christopher Ryan are set to bring their industrial aggression flavoured hardcore to Brisbane with the Bigsound Festival. Bigsound attendees can catch one of Cast Down’s two showcases at either The Zoo, Wed 5th September 10:30pm, or 256 Wickham, Thurs 6th September 8:00pm. For Bigsound tickets, festival lineup, conference details, head to: https://www.bigsound.org.au/
[Image courtesy of Brooke Harley @ Deadlights’ ‘Mesma Tour’, The Reverence Hotel ]