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On disc: Castle

In Witch Order - Lars Bjrn - 6 stars
Blacklands - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars


(Vn Records - 2012)

The trio Castle is coming from San Francisco and with Blacklands they present their 2nd album. Musically Castle is based in 70's rock and they also use the sound of that time.

The opener Ever Hunter shows the musical direction - a heavy, metallic version of 70's occult rock. The memorable riffing of Mat Davis will drag you into the sonic world of Castle. Bassist and singer Elizabeth Blackwell shows different facets on Blacklands, but also the songs differ, so is Corpse Candles much heavier and riff-based than the opener - more metal, so to speak. At Storm Below The Mountain guitarist Mat Davis is taking over the mic and sharing vocal duties opens a new sound dimension in the Castle universe. After the title track they speed up a bit, the riff-based rocker Curses Of The Priests still has this doom feel at times, but it's more based on the heaviness. Mat Davis vocals and shouts represent the heavy side of Castle while Elizabeth Blackwell is representing the rock sound, but they manage to combine this in one song. Actually at Curses Of The Priests Davis vocals seem to fit better... But at Venus Pentagram the female vocals are perfect. Every song on Blacklands demonstrate that Mat Davis' guitar play is essential for Castle's sound. Towards the end of the album the songs seem to get heavier... The closer Dying Breed combine heavy riffs, memorable guitar lines with Elizabeth's varying vocals. For me the closer is the strongest track at Blacklands and I hope they have more songs like this next time!

8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


In Witch Order

In Witch Order
(Vn Records - 2011)

Castle is a new band from San Francisco who are now releasing their debut album, an interesting peace from the 3-man band. Guitarist Mat Davis do the songwriting, and Elisabeth Blackwell handles the vocals on these 11 songs that has made it to the debut CD. Everybody has to start somewhere, find their style of play, mixing good songs, try to take away weaker songs, and maybe Castle needs a couple of albums to do that, sometimes they sound like an inexperienced school band performing in the local high school, and on other songs they lay out more ambitious songs with harder, darker rhythm that gives evidence of professionalism.

Fire In The Sky is an example of good rock ideas, but Elisabeth Blackwell is holding back the voices like she is not into it completely. Lost Queen have a dark guitar sound, but oozes of high school band that has been put together. Slaves Of The Pharao stands for thunderous sharp massive darkness from the Castle trio, so they have it in them anyway. Total Betrayal is hard rhythm with furious guitar riffs, good aspects of dark metal. Another good song is Butcher Of Los Angeles, here we get a speedy dark outburst to rise the musical value of this album.

But come again, and show us the metal style you want to play in....

6 stars

Lars Bjrn


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