Thursday, April 06, 2017

Castle- Welcome to the Graveyard

Ván Records

Castle (who should not be confused with the sludge/doom metal band from Minnesota) is a heavy metal/doom metal whose members hail from San Francisco, California  and Toronto, Ontario. Along with vocalist/bassist Elizabeth Blackwell and guitarist Mat Davis, Castle features Al McCartney, drummer of the defunct Canadian thrash metal band Nosferatu . This 2016 release is the forth full-length album from this three piece band and it casts one hell of a spooky spell on the listener! Up front the best part of this band (and ultimately this particular recording) has to be their lead singer. All at once sensual and sinister, bassist Elizabeth Blackwell's voice makes me think of my teen years when I would be glued to the TV watching old vampire films from Hammer. There was always something special about the female vampires in these films. They presented a scenario where seduction and death were separated by a paper-thin veil. When I listen to Castle's front-woman I can feel the allure of this strange place all over again and it makes "Welcome to the Graveyard" that much more profound. For those of you who might not share my appreciation of those old Hammer classic, Castle could also be seen as a mash up of vintage heavy metal, occult rock, doom metal, gothic metal, and dark metal. The band leans more towards heavy/doom metal with some dark metal flourishes, but if you listen long enough then everything comes into focus. Since this is my taste of Castle I honestly cannot say if this release is an improved for the band or not. All I know is what I hear now. As a standalone release, "Welcome to the Graveyard" thrills me with it's spooky vine and heavy narrative. The album works on so many levels and it makes me want to track down the group's other recordings. That last part is always a good thing for a band so I would argue that (one way or another) Castle succeeds with their latest recording. 

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