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Castle - Welcome To The Graveyard

Welcome To The Graveyard
by Lauren Fonto at 30 August 2016, 2:22 PM

CASTLE has released their fourth full-length album, which is the follow-up to 2014's "Under Siege". The band combines Doom Metal riffs with punchy 70s rock, and manages to fit a whole lot into just 35 minutes. However, nothing feels rushed. The songwriting comes across as confident, and takes the listener on a delightfully creepy journey.

“Black Widow” opens the album with simple, yet effective guitar riffs, and a passionate vocal performance from Elizabeth Blackwell. The chorus is really engaging, and drew me into the album. “Hammer and the Cross” carries on the motif of simple riffs, but this time pays tribute to BLACK SABBATH. Blackwell switches to ominous on this track, and her declaration of “I am the hammer” is 100% convincing. She’s a versatile vocalist, and spreads her wings into softer territory on “Natural Parallel”. She also brings a rich, earthy bass tone to the proceedings.

While Mat Davis isn’t a flashy guitarist for the most part, he creates riffs which stick in your head long after listening. His riffs are mostly understated, but repeated listens reveal the depth of his work. He has a knack for crafting riffs which fit well around Blackwell’s vocals. These two are a potent musical combination, and it shows on every track. Davis brings out some interesting solos on the back end of the album. His solo on “Traitors Rune”, for example, echoes the melancholy feel of the track. He certainly comes to the fore on “Natural Parallel”, with a solo that displayed technical prowess without coming off as being technical for the sake of it.

Multiple listens also reveal the interesting little drum fills inserted here and there by Al McCartney. He brings the galloping, makes-you-want-to-rock out rhythms on “Flash of the Pentagram” and “Down in the Cauldron Bog”. The latter track is a haunting, dark ballad with some rapid-fire drumming in the chorus providing an interesting contrast to Blackwell’s soaring, harmonized vocals. And he brings the slow, doomy heaviness on “Traitors Rune”.

“Welcome to the Graveyard” is an album that shows signs of the band having stuck to their original musical aesthetics, but without sounding stale. While the classic elements that first drew me to the band are there, they appear willing to explore their sound. The retro-Doom scene is crowded, but CASTLE have managed to carve their own niche within it.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Black Widow
2. Hammer and the Cross
3. Welcome to the Graveyard
4. Veil of Death
5. Flash of the Pentagram
6. Traitors Rune
7. Down in the Cauldron Bog
8. Natural Parallel
Mat Davis – Guitars / Vocals
Liz Blackwell – Vocals / Bass
Al McCartney – Drums
Record Label: Ván Records


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