Castle - In Witch Order

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Castle are an American doom power trio which initially started life as a solo project for former-M.A.D. guitarist Mat Davis, whose compositions were three years in the making before he added Elizabeth Blackwell on vocals/bass and Al McCartney on drums. The best analogy to draw regarding Castle's style is a female-fronted Pentagram. Opening brace Descent of Man and Fire In The Sky even sound more like classic Pentagram than the new Pentagram album Last Rites does. On some tracks attempts at harsher vocals don't really work too well. Vocalist/bassist Elizabeth Blackwell's attempt to make sure these parts remain intelligible that she doesn't sound harsh enough, and in the worst moments she sounds like an evil female character from an '80s sci-fi b-movie. Guitarist Davis' attempts are a little better, offering more of a contrast to Blackwell's clean voice, but still aren't wholly convincing. Indeed Blackwell sounds far better in her Bobby Liebling mode, and returns to that on video single Total Betrayal after two songs trying the harsher stuff. Although conveying a very clear doom feel for most of the album, Castle don't really do slow. Most of the songs are a more complex variation on the faster kind of doom started by Pentagram and adopted later by Candlemass and Cathedral, among obviously many others, sometimes even incorporating some classic metal sounds and some old psych-rock riffs. They are comfortably at their best on tracks list Descent of Man, Shaman Wars, closer Devil Castle and Sleeping Giant (Candlemass-meets-Blood Ceremony) when they're going for full-throttle traditional doom. Some of the other deviations don't come off so well.

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2011, Albums, Doom Metal, Quick.Play Reviews,

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