Sunday, September 2, 2012

Review of "Blacklands" by Castle

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Buy this album

1. Ever Hunter
2. Corpse Candles
3. Storm Below the Mountain
4. Blacklands
5. Curses of the Priests
6. Venus Pentagram
7. Alcatraz
8. Dying Breed

“Thrash-infused doom act CASTLE will release their second album “Blacklands” on September 11th on their new North American label PROSTHETIC RECORDS.“Blacklands” – which was produced by Billy Anderson (Cathedral, Sleep, Eyehategod, Neurosis) – was described by Metal Hammer UK as being “charged with arcane mysticism." CASTLE were formed in 2009 and released their 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. The band consists of Elizabeth Blackwell on Vocals/Bass, Mat Davis on Guitars/Vocals and Al McCartney on Drums.”

Continuing the doomy month of releases, we have Castle with their upcoming release “Blacklands.” Starting us off with catchy thrashy old school doom guitar, is the first track “Ever Hunter.” The lead half way is really awesome and I really like the vocalist. For some reasons doom metal female vocalists really appeal to me, as seen in Royal Thunder which I’ve been listening to as of lately. The chug bit with the technical part on the end in the next song, “Corpse Candles,” is perfect. I could listen to this vocalist all day, she is really talented. About three quarters of the way through is a great lead and rhythm chug, which great to head bang to.

The male vocals in “Storm Below the Mountain” were surprising, I wasn’t expecting them at all. Either way, they fit well and the guitars seem to get heavier when he is doing vocals. The riffs are great and the solos are even more so. This song is really old school with its whole style. Back to the female vocals we have the self-titled track. Castle really knows how to switch between the two as the guitars seem more in tune with the different vocal tones and style. When the riffs get old school heavy metal and somewhat technical it sounds so amazing.

“Curses of the Priests” starts off with a little eerie sounding riff. When everything comes together it does even more so but goes right into a great short solo. I should have known by the heaviness the male vocalist would return, they really do know how to transition. The female bit leading back to the male was nice and the harmonization bit half way through was nice, as well as the mellow bit near the end. Very catchy guitars on the next track “Venus Pentagram.” A little short but they do pack a lot of epic into three minutes. The solo half way through was a nice touch, especially the way the rhythm guitar flowed with it. The doom beginning into thrash, at the beginning of “Alcatraz,” was great. The mix between the two genres on this track is very well done. The guitars on “Alcatraz” are very catchy and the vocals are really trance inducing with how amazing she sounds. It’s a perfect way to end the album. The lead guitar parts really well done and I didn’t even mind the feedback that played over top and ended the album.

Castle’s album, “Blacklands,” is definitely my favourite doom album that is coming out this month and there is a ton of them. Their mix of male and female vocals are amazing and there guitars are as well with the fluid mixture of thrash and doom. I definitely recommend this album the most of the many doom album that release this month.

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