Castle have quite a few great songs under their belts at this point, from the early oomph of “Shaman Wars” to my still favorite Castle song, the Sab channeling completely evil, labyrinthine darkness of “Pyramid Lake“. Through constant touring and refining of their bluesy witchy minimalist but raw powered thrash these champs of heavy metal bang for your buck have only gotten better with each release. That said, we knew it was gonna be hard to top Under Siege. New album Welcome To The Graveyard is at least as good, if doubling down on the band’s strengths rather than straying too far from their comfort zone.
Honestly, that’s more than fine. This is a band so good at what they do already that I’d love to know I can go to them for a fix of “that” sound. “Veil of Death” has a cool, kind of medieval folky intro before one of the raddest battle charges in the trios history commences. From Cauldron to Electric Citizen to NYC’s awesome Tower to Night Viper, there are a lot of great bands recently mining classic heavy metal or Sabby territory, but Castle are still near the forefront of the pack and just have more of a road worn, rock n roll presence than most without even seeming to try so hard. “Flash Of The Pentagram” could be a biker’s anthem as much as a horror movie theme song or the coolest song you saw performed live at any skull t-shirt infested festival on this charred planet. The “Evil Ways” octave vocals thing between Elizabeth and Mat has really gelled, though the best parts vocally are still when Blackwell lets her inner bluesy siren really cut loose at any given crescendo. The drums are also near perfect for metal in this band, not too showy but right where you need them whoever is on the kit live or in studio.
“Traitors Rune” is kind of the template song for this record, a melody infused mid tempo charge that is kind of the main tempo of a lot of the action this time. If you were going to hear just one song from this beast, I’d pick that one. Fortunately you can soon enjoy all of them (since that isn’t even a single at this point). Great ghostly vocals, some of the best ever payoff riffing from the group , catchy lyrics and a rock solid solo. Just about does it all in one tune. Another highlight is the sure to be fan favorite “Down In The Cauldron Bog” which has an intro that is almost reminiscent of “Hallowed Be They Name” meets “Dream On” by Aerosmith or something. It’s bad ass. Definitely more on the witchy/classic rock side. The inevitable hammer drop of power that comes in sets up the continued verse flow very nicely. The structures are getting more and more sophisticated without losing their direct impact.
This is certainly a must own heavy metal purchase for 2016 and we’re thrilled Castle show no signs of crumbling anytime soon. Follow them on Twitter HERE or on tour like a Deadhead who happens to be scouring the battlefield for trinkets in the wake of a much cooler, conquering rock band.\m/