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Review: Castle - Blacklands

Label: Van Records
Year released: 2012
Duration: 35:44
Tracks: 8
Genre: Doom Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: September 23, 2012
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Readers Rating

Rated 3.42/5 (68.42%) (19 Votes)

I really enjoyed the debut release from Castle, and it's bloody great to see that they've outdone themselves with their sophomore effort Blacklands. The band have come back with a darker, more involving release which does a fantastic job in creating an atmosphere that bleeds through the stellar album artwork.

The first thing that led me to enjoying this album more than the debut would have to be the guitar riffs, which are a good deal more energetic as well as further varied. The production gives the album a sultry feel, and each note really sticks to your skin, oozing from head to toe, ensnaring the listener into Castle's sound. Whilst Blacklands is a little shorter than the debut it isn't really a bad thing, and actually makes me more inclined to put this straight back on after the closing notes.

The lyrics are cool and dark, with singer/ bassist Elizabeth Blackwell sounding eerie and mystic throughout. Guitarist Mat Davis also lends some gruff vocals here and there which are well done and help the dynamic of the album. Performances are spot on across the board, with heavy-handed drumming courtesy of resident sticksman Al McCartney ringing out as both tasteful and energetic with a great, natural sound. As I said before the riffs are quality, and Mat conjures up some particularly cool leads to match the riffs throughout, the band function well as a power trio and Elizabeth's bass is a vital aspect of the Castle sound, adding further depth to the riffs.

Castle are a seriously cool act, and they could show a good amount of the female-fronted doom bands – who seem to be bleeding out from every crevice around the world – what for. Castle deliver on every level and I can't stress how much of an ace underground act the band are. Heavy and doom metal fans should place an order for this without hesitation, and I personally hope to see Castle leap from strength to strength over the rest of their career.

Other related information on the site
Review: Blacklands (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: In Witch Order (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: In Witch Order (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Welcome to the Graveyard (reviewed by MetalMike)
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