Monday, 5 November 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Castle, “Deal Thy Fate”

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 19/10/2018
Label: Ripple Music

Castle remain unique and mix up the sounds and approaches of many of your favourite bands to create a superlative heavy metal record

“Deal Thy Fate” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Can’t Escape the Evil
2). Skull in the Woods
3). Prelude
4). Hexenring
5). Wait For Dark
6). Deal Thy Fate
7). Haunted
8). Red Phantom
9). Firewind

The Review:

Castle have been on quite the prolific run since 2011; this is their fourth full length. 2016's “Welcome To The Graveyard” was a great, great album and my favourite of theirs to date. Is “Deal Thy Fate” a step forward, sideways or back? Either read on or go and listen to it to find out...

The band remain with a foot/other body part in several different camps. It's not doom, it's not trad, it's not thrash, it's not rock. In fact, it's all those things mixed together. The band have a spooky vibe and veer towards the doom rock of Pentagram at times, but there are many riffs here which lean towards, or even heavily on, Slayer for reference. From the opener of “Can't Escape the Evil” and into  Skull in the Woods”, you can only assume that Castle have summoned Jeff Hanneman's spirit and he has communicated what he would have played from beyond the grave, leading Mat Davis to oblige. That's not to take away from the material, it's a fresh angle for the band and they work it well.

Over the course of the eight tracks and one interlude here, Castle have added to their sound and built solidly on their previous three records. “Hexenring” could have nestled very comfortably into “WTTGY” and the vocals of Liz Blackwell are as stellar as ever. “Wait For Dark” is dramatic and evil in delivery and riffage and shows the band have retained an endearing rawness to their approach. My digitally provided copy has a few glitches here and there- it is hard to ignore at times with a couple of jumps in this track and others.

Digital issues aside, the sound of the album and the title track are reassuringly analogue. The evil and dark vibes continue and work really well with Blackwell's schizophrenic vocals. Once again, Castle are hard to pigeon-hole; the title track could be out of the Angel Witch NWOBHM play book, while “Haunted” goes much further towards hard rock. There may be nothing as immediate as “Flash of the Pentagram” here, but the songs throughout are uniformly strong and the production is perfect for the band.

The melting pot of hard rock and Slayer-esque riffing continues with “Red Phantom” and it delivers a storming and hard rocking penultimate track for this confident album. For the closing “Firewind”, Castle slow things down and offer up a track which starts effectively as a maudlin ballad and then gets heavier. Hey, if it's good enough for 70's era Priest... it's good enough for anybody. Castle deliver a surprisingly emotional final statement and close out the album with strength and purpose. The band have progressed here, no doubt, and they have set themselves up for a broader sound on their next album- should they wish to deliver such a thing. Castle remain unique and mix up the sounds and approaches of many of your favourite bands to create superlative heavy metal and hard rock. Excellent.

Order “Deal Thy Fate” direct from the band HERE and via Ripple Music HERE.

Band info: bandcamp || facebook