Album Review: Under Siege by Castle
Posted by RiffRaff
Thirty minutes. That’s all it took for Castle to come in, make their siege, and completely conquer anything else I had planned on listening to for the past week. In thirty minutes, Castle delivers one of the most concise, beefy, and enjoyable records I have heard this year. And due to its quick run time and incredibly catchy songs it makes for a record that I just want to listen to over and over again. The clichèd saying ‘all killer; no filler’ rings incredibly true here.
Following up 2012’s outstanding Blacklands (which landed on my list of favorite albums of 2012), Castle have taken their doom metal laden hard rock style to the grinding wheel and polished out one hell of a diamond. Infusing a bit more of a traditional heavy metal feel with their groovy and slightly quirky riffs and an even better sounding vocal performance by Liz Blackwell each track on this record is so well done any of them could easily work as a lead single.
Throughout the record you will hear some heavy influence to classic metal bands like Black Sabbath, Manilla Road, Candlemass, and Iron Maiden, yet through some great songwriting and top-notch production nothing feels verbatim nor just another retro band that can’t stop worshiping the bands of days yore. Songs like the opener ‘Distant Attack’ deliver a direct assault of galloped riffing and barrages of solos as the unique and sultry voice of Ms. Blackwell is constantly delivering catchy vocal hook over catchy vocal hook. And then you have tracks like ‘Pyramid Lake’ and ‘Powersigns’ where mood and direction is always in flux while never meandering away from their intended purpose of rocking your fucking socks off.
I really have to commend the massive step in lyric writing on this offering. While not incredibly poetic, each track excels in the story-telling department. The words really add a nice punch to the music as they work in tandem to create some detailed and moody settings. This especially rings true on what is easily my favorite track on the album, ‘Labyrinth of Death’. Here the strut of the rhythm section, the winding of the guitars, and the lyrics about, well… a labyrinth of death, really work to suck you into an inevitable bout with the Minotaur. And it all comes to a culmination as the mood takes a darker turn as the chase nears its end.
I can not speak highly enough of this record nor stop listening to it. Concise, catchy, outstanding performances, incredible songwriting, and overall a damn good feel; what else more could one ask for. Go grab this album now, you can thank me later. 5/5
You can stream Under Siege here courtesy of Terrorizer.