Castle – “Under Siege” (Ván Records)
Castle are back! The husband / wife duo made up of guitarist Mat Davis and bassist / vocalist Elizabeth Blackwell who earned a Juno Award for their debut “Blacklands” are back with their 3rd album following two years of solid back to back touring! Castle take their inspiration from 70s doom bands like the mighty Sabbath but equally from early 80s Maiden and more importantly Mercyful Fate, especially with the occult angle, albeit from a California perspective with a slightly more laid back groove. This is reflected in Davis’s guitar work, using dark heavy metal riffing as its solid base before a witches brew of licks and solos spew forth on songs like ‘Be My Ghost’, ‘Pyramid Lake’ and ‘Labyrinth Of Death’. But the real star is Blackwell, backed by her deep brooding bass lines, it’s that haunting voice that owes more to the 60s that lends a real air of the macabre to the musty magic being concocted in the cauldron of this castle. Compared to their fearsome underground debut “Under Siege” is a tad lighter with subtly more catchy songs gained from their relentless touring, however, it definitely harnesses all that onstage power brilliantly captured by Billy Anderson’s (Neurosis, Eyehategod) production – so prepare yourself for eight electric witch hymns of death and doom!