Those who’ve read my Metal Sirens feature are already familiar with Castle, who released their second album Blacklands on German label Ván records on April 28. However, the label has zero distribution in the U.S., and I haven’t been able to get a copy myself in the three months since its release. Congratulations to the San Francisco female-lead doomsters on finally getting signed to a good label. Fans of Witch Mountain and Alunah (who’s excellent sophomore album White Hoarhound comes out next week) should be chuffed for this.
From Metal Sirens: A doom band from San Francisco and Canada, Castle are relatively underrated on the scene, with their strong debut In Witch Order (2011) having gone mostly unnoticed in a stellar year for metal. The band even had to go to a German label to release their album. Perhaps Germany was better prepared to appreciate the talents of bassist/vocalist Elizabeth Blackwell, as a lot of fans still worship Doro Pesch from 80s metal band Warlock. She has a good range going from sultry to nasty (in a Lemmy kind of way, not Kelis), sometimes even remind me of Donita Sparks of L7. The songs were written and demoed by Mat Davis (guitar, vocals) several years previously, but had trouble putting together a band until he met Blackwell in 2009. They eventually married, and recruited drummer Al McCartney from Toronto. They quickly followed up their debut withBlacklands, due out on April 28. It was produced by the great Billy Anderson (Sleep, Cathedral), and done relatively quickly to capture the live essence of their self-described “witch thrash.” It features impressive cover art by Russian artist Denis Forkas, entitled “Monstrous Goat Cauldron.” Blacklands shows Blackwell’s growth as an expressive vocalist, the band keeping up the progress with a truly awesome arsenal of wicked riffs and subtle complexity that you don’t always hear in a doom band. In “Storm Below,” they insert some testosterone with some gutteral vocals from Davis. “Curses Priests” hits hard with machine-gun delivery, but then takes off with a lightly soaring outro. At just 8 songs and under 36 minutes, it’s a concise album that allows for no filler. Contrary to the trend lately of doom bands stetching out into long songs, only “Dying Breed” (also the album-closer, which absolutely slays) surpasses the six minute mark. This serves well for Castle as every cut is distinct and memorable, and holds up to repeated listens. The band have been touring Europe with great success. Now they’re long overdue for some love from their homeland.
Thrash-inspired doom metallers CASTLE will release their second album,“Blacklands”, on September 11 via their new North American label Prosthetic Records. The CD — which was produced by Billy Anderson (CATHEDRAL, SLEEP, EYEHATEGOD, NEUROSIS) — was described by Metal Hammer as “charged with arcane mysticism.”
Commented the band: “We are proud to announce that CASTLE‘s dark vision has found a home with Prosthetic Records in North America. They are a label that looms large in metal and are as diverse and committed as we are to bringing original great music to legions of metal fans everywhere. With their help we look forward to doing just that with ‘Blacklands’.”
The “Blacklands” album artwork was created by Russian symbolist painter Denis Forkas Kostromitin (HORSEBACK, WRATHPRAYER, DEAD REPTILE SHRINE).
CASTLE‘s music video for the track “Corpse Candles” was directed by David Hall (Handshake Inc.) and can be seen below.
CASTLE was formed in 2009 and released its debut album, “In Witch Order”, via the German label Van Records (THE DEVIL’S BLOOD) in the spring of 2011. The album brought light to the newly formed band and gained them the title of Metal Hammer Norway’s album of the year as well as Roadburn Festival‘s “Newcomer of the Year.” The band has played with the likes of BLOOD CEREMONY, WITCH MOUNTAIN, and will perform later this month with HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE and GATES OF SLUMBER.
CASTLE consists of Elizabeth Blackwell on vocals/bass, Mat Davis on guitars/vocals and Al McCartney on drums.
Source | Blabbermouth