Castle Post “Red Phantom” Video; Wrapping West Coast Tour

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 30th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

castle

Of course, if you’re going to make a video for a song called ‘Red Phantom,’ it’s going to be red. In that regard, Castle live up to blood-hued expectation, melding horror-creeper imagery, thrashy riffs and footage of the band rocking out to give a primal showcase of what their new album and Ripple debut, Deal Thy Fate (review here), is all about. Castle are currently on the road as they so often are, finishing up a West Coast run supporting the record. More touring will naturally follow next year, along with what will no doubt be a wide smattering of festival appearances and other whathaveyou. In the meantime, the band have never been shy about engaging visual media one way or another, and “Red Phantom” finds them once again working with director Jaan Slimberg of Pistoltrixx in Toronto.

I don’t know how many ways to say it or whether I even need to at this point, but Castle continue to kick ass, and their vision of worshiping at the altar of classic metal by reinventing it to their own purposes holds a singular appeal in the heavy underground. “Red Phantom” is right on in its hook and its tone, and with the band’s well-established collaboration with producer Billy Anderson, the angularity of their rhythmic shifts isn’t lost in the depth of their sound or the darkness — in this case, dark redness — of their atmosphere. As guitarist Mat Davis explains, the track works on a theme centered around the Zodiac killer, but as they do with their sound overall, they twist that story to suit the needs of the song itself. It appears in the second half of Deal Thy Fate, and so highlighting “Red Phantom” with a video seems all the more a worthy cause to make sure it isn’t swallowed by the surrounding material on side B. The focus is more than well earned.

Seems likely this will be the last we hear from Castle before 2019 hits, though I wouldn’t necessarily put it past them to sneak in a couple December shows, but they never stay dormant for long. Still, if you can see them in California or Arizona as they wrap this tour — or whenever you can catch them — you should. It is not a decision you’ll regret.

PR wire info follows. Enjoy the video:

Castle, “Red Phantom” official video

Directed by long-time collaborator Jaan Silmberg of Pistoltrixx – who also worked with the band on previous videos, Blacklands and Hammer and the Cross, Red Phantom was recently shot in Toronto, Ontario between tours of Canada and Europe.

Elaborates guitarist Mat Davis,”The lyrics for Red Phantom are based on Zodiac as seen through the lens of his adopted persona from Poe’s Masque Of The Red Death. For the video we projected visuals from the 1907 film version ‘Le Spectre Rouge’ in reference to one of the main Zodiac suspects, Rick Marshall – who was a film projectionist in the Bay Area and had an obsession with the movie.”

Recorded by Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis) at Hallowed Halls in Portland, Oregon this past spring Deal Thy Fate is currently available at https://heavycastle.bandcamp.com/ and http://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com.

CASTLE is currently on a U.S. West Coast tour. The trek, which kicked off November 23 continues through to next month, wrapping up in Ventura on December 7. Expect a full US Tour to be announced early in the new year.

11/30 Sacramento, CA – Blue Lamp
12/01 San Jose, CA – Caravan
12/04 Phoenix, AZ – Yucca Tap
12/05 Los Angeles, CA – Resident
12/06 San Diego, CA – Tower Bar
12/07 Ventura, CA – The Garage

Castle, Deal Thy Fate (2018)

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Castle, Deal Thy Fate: Can’t Escape the Evil

Posted in Reviews on November 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

castle deal thy fate

All Castle do is kick ass. That’s their whole thing, and they do not veer from that central purpose. They’ve been at it for nearly a decade. Deal Thy Fate is their fifth album in that time as well as their first for Ripple Music after releasing 2016’s Welcome to the Graveyard (review here) as a return to Ván Records out of Germany, which also released their debut in 2011, and the latest work continues to highlight the point of just how brutally underappreciated they are. It is nine songs — eight and a “Prelude” leading to “Hexenring” on side A — and runs a clean 36 minutes recorded live at least in its basic tracks with the core duo of bassist/vocalist Liz Blackwell and guitarist Mat Davis joined by touring drummer Chase Manhattan in Hallowed Halls Studio with Billy Anderson at the helm. That is not a new band/producer collaboration. Castle have worked with Anderson on the three albums since 2012’s Blacklands, that being 2014’s Under Siege and the aforementioned 2016 outing.

And as far as capturing their sound goes, it’s not by any means a broken system. Easily parsed into two vinyl sides, Deal Thy Fate captures eerie vibes and classically metal tones with a natural underpinning born of the developed instrumental chemistry between Blackwell and Davis, who in the band’s time have relocated first from Toronto to San Francisco and, for this album, from San Francisco to the Mojave Desert, where they wrote the songs. Perhaps though where they ultimately reside is moot, since they spend so much time on tour anyway. One way or the other, their sound is defined more by their own pursuit of truth in heavy metal rather than geography — that is, they didn’t move to the desert and start making desert rock. They’re still Castle, which for the steadily growing cult following they’ve amassed by delivering their sharp, thrash-informed riffing to listeners one gig at a time, should only be a relief. If you’ll pardon me for saying so, that cult should probably be bigger — hence “underappreciated” above.

The reasons to take that position run from the hooks of opener “Can’t Escape the Evil,” “Wait for Dark,” and “Haunted” to the eerie atmosphere that “Prelude” sets for “Hexenring” and the sharp turns later in “Red Phantom” ahead of the dynamic and spacious closer “Firewind.” To look at the tracklisting, with only “Hexenring” hitting five minutes long, its intro at 32 seconds and everything else somewhere in the four-minute range, Deal Thy Fate is deceptive, because while the runtimes are similar, what Castle does in each changes. Structures are largely straightforward, but as “Skull in the Woods” unfolds its central riff that seems to be trying to run away from itself after the brash moshfodder of “Can’t Escape the Evil,” a subtle sense of breadth begins to take hold. Davis by then has already tossed off however many pro-shop solos, and Blackwell‘s vocals have arrived in deftly-arranged layers, so the stage is well set, but the atmosphere continues to deepen as the album plays out subsequent to that, and in that way, Castle reveal perhaps their most distinguishing factor.

castle

Blackwell is nothing short of a metal hero as frontwoman, and Davis plays the quiet conjurer well, leading the way through tight, headbang-ready grooves that not only remind of when denim and leather brought people together, but also of the many seasons spent in the abyss. But what they bring by working so much in concert as they do — and especially with Manhattan, a real live drummer able to drive forward each of the album’s varied progressions — is a spirit of creepy-worship that goes beyond skulls in the woods, hauntings and phantoms. It goes beyond horror themes to the very core of the band itself, and in that, it’s difficult to pinpoint but all the more enticing for that. There’s something dark in their work that comes through almost on a subconscious level, and I’m not exaggerating. As familiar as some of their sonic elements inherently are — thrash isn’t new, and classic metal, by its very nature, is a known commodity — there’s a twisted layer of the psychological beneath. Something in the personality of the band that’s as intangible as it is grim.

It runs deeper than the busy iconography of the Patrick Zoller cover art, though perhaps that speaks as well to the complexity of the message across Deal Thy Fate. “Wait for Dark” rolls out a fist-pumper nod after the mostly-mid-paced mini-epic “Hexenring” and soon gives way to the title-track opening side B. From there, “Haunted,” “Red Phantom” and “Firewind” only affirm the fierce grip Castle have on their approach and their raw, unpretentious take on what metal should be and could have become. Maybe that’s it. Think of Castle not as a vision of what heavy metal is, but as a vision of what heavy metal could have become. It’s not about splitting into subgenres of subgenres, though one could tag any number of them to Deal Thy Fate, and hey, that’s fun, I won’t argue with it. But if you take the totality of what their work over the last decade does and more crucially what this album does, with the “Looks that Kill” riff of “Haunted” and the quiet start of “Firewind,” the razor’s-edge guitar slices in “Skull in the Woods” and the determined sweaty push of “Deal Thy Fate” itself, it does for metal what so much heavy rock does in providing an alternate modern interpretation of those classic forms.

Castle are outliers. They’re not retro thrash. They’re not trying to revisit the NWOBHM. They’re not strictly doom. They’re metal. And the metal they play isn’t about joining a side to the exclusion of all else, but about celebrating what brings — or could bring — it all together. Their metal is encompassing, and in that, it provides an alternative look at what might’ve happened had the development of metal — the umbrella-genre of it — grown to take everything in rather than splinter into various extremities. Is that their conscious intention? I have no idea. But it’s how Deal Thy Fate plays out. It’s the album’s fate. And we know from their past work as well as their current that Castle are nothing if not self-determined, so take it as you will.

More important even than their lack of pretense or the natural state from which their material seems to arise — that is, they’ve never sounded overly showy or dramatic about what they do and they don’t here either — is the fact that Castle are happening right now. It’s 2018, they’ve got five records out, and they’re the kind of band who, whenever they actually call it a day, are going to be more missed than people know. They’re reaped critical acclaim for a long time, and have worked hard to translate that into audience appreciation to the degree they have, but Castle deserve to be heard by as many ears as possible, and until the next one arrives, Deal Thy Fate is the best way to go about it. Young or old, their metal should be your metal.

Castle, “Deal Thy Fate” official video

Castle, Deal Thy Fate (2018)

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Castle Stream “Wait for Dark” Lyric Video; More Touring Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

castle

I’d like to sit here and pretend and say, ‘Oh, well, I haven’t heard the new Castle or anything, but…’ and then start talking about the album which I’ve very much heard, but the truth is, I haven’t heard it. The moved-to-the-desert outfit in preparation for making what’s been dubbed Deal Thy Fate and will serve as their Ripple Music debut upon its Oct. 19 release, and whether or that that will affect the ultimate sound of the thing remains to be seen, even with the lyric video playing below for the track “Wait for Dark.”One never knows where they might go with a full collection of songs.

As it happens, where they’re going is Europe. Castle have already been confirmed for Desertfest Belgium 2018 and, as one might expect for a band who are basically nomadic, that’s just one of many shows they’re playing.

Album info and more comes courtesy of the PR wire:

castle deal thy fate

Castle Debuts New Song “Wait for Dark”; Cover Art and Track Listing for New LP, ‘Deal Thy Fate’ Unveiled

Bay Area Doom Rock Duo to Drop Fifth Full-length LP this Fall; Canadian and European Tour Dates Announced

Heavy metal doomsters CASTLE have announced the release of their new album, ‘Deal Thy Fate’, via Ripple Music on October 19. Recorded at Hallowed Halls Studio in Portland, OR by longtime producer Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis), ‘Deal Thy Fate’ is Castle’s fifth album and follows 2016’s critically-lauded Welcome To The Graveyard.

Building on the stripped-down sound of its predecessor, Deal Thy Fate sees Castle continue to push the envelope of classic heavy metal, crafting epic and memorable songs that hearken back to fuzzier times while keeping the pedal down on their own hard-edged, modern sound. Guitarist Mat Davis’ penchant for riffs that worm their way into your brain and singer/bassist Liz Blackwell’s haunted melodies soar out of the depths across the album’s 36 fist-banging minutes.

Written over the last year in the band’s current Mojave Desert location of Joshua Tree, CA, Deal Thy Fate’s 9 tracks are woven with tales of folklore, dark Americana, serial killers and cult leaders, while the album’s striking cover art, inked by Patrick Zoller, reflects the title track’s no compromise, choose-your-own destiny rally cry. The striking album art and full track listing can both be viewed below.

Commenting on the writing and recording of Deal Thy Fate, which was rounded out on drums by previous touring member Chase Manhattan, Blackwell adds, “We were able to spend a couple months in a jam room honing these songs and for the first time, record the entire album live in the studio – it definitely shows in its energy and intensity and sounds more like live CASTLE than anything else we’ve ever done.”

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

Castle tour dates:

September 27 Toronto, ON Coalition
September 28 Ottawa, ON House Of Targ
September 29 Moncton, NB The Caveau
September 30 Halifax, NS Gus’ Pub
October 1 Fredericton, NB Capital Complex
October 2 Quebec City, PQ Le Bateau de Nuit
October 3 MontreaL, PQ L’Escogriffe
October 4 London, ON Call The Office
October 14 Antwerp, BE Desertfest Belgium (w/ Enslaved, YOB, Crowbar)
October 15 Frankfurt, DE dasBett (w/ The Skull)
October 16 Munich, DE Backstage (w/ The Skull)
October 17 Freiburg, DE Slow Club (w/ The Skull)
October 18 Cologne, DE Sonic Ballroom (w/ The Skull)
October 19 Siggiewi, MT Malta Doom Fest
October 20 Cottbus, DE Blue Moon Fest
October 22 Gottingen, DE Freihafen
October 24 Dresden, DE Chemiefabrik
October 25 Osnabruck, DE Bastard Club
October 27 Vallet, FR Westhill Music Fest
November 2 Karlsruhe, DE KoHi
November 3 Siegen, DE Vortex
November 4 Hamburg, DE Bambi Galore
November 7 Furstenwalde, DE Parkclub
November 8 Berlin, DE Tief
November 9 Leipzig, DE Black Label
November 10 Vienna, AT Doom Over Vienna Fest
November 24 Rotterdam, NL Dutch Doom Days

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Castle, “Wait for Dark” official lyric video

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Castle Sign to Ripple Music; Deal Thy Fate Due Oct. 19

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Nomadic heavy metallers Castle have signed to Ripple Music to release their upcoming fifth album, Deal Thy Fate, on Sept. 22. The announcement of the Billy Anderson-recorded new long-player and the follow-up to 2016’s Welcome to the Graveyard (review here) comes even as Castle live up to their always-on-the-road ethic by touring their way to Maryland Doom Fest this coming weekend. This, of course, is just the beginning of what will be a cycle of tours that will go on for at least a year and then some because — and here’s the thing — Castle never really have album cycles. They just keep touring, then I think they take like a week off to record an album, touring up to the studio and back, of course, and then they go back out on tour. I’m pretty sure this band can’t even go grocery shopping without playing a show on the way to the store.

Their aligning with Ripple Music brings them to one of the heavy underground’s most potent lineups, and while we’re speaking about lineups, Castle will be part of many in Europe’s busy Fall festival season. Dates for the current US tour and subsequent trip abroad follow word of the new album, which you’ll find below, capped off at the end by a trailer streaming at the bottom of the post.

Have at you:

castle

CASTLE ANNOUNCE SIGNING WITH RIPPLE MUSIC, NEW ALBUM DETAILS REVEALED, TEASER VIDEO RELEASED

Ripple Music is thrilled to announce the signing of heavy metal doomsters, CASTLE to a world-wide album deal!

CASTLE’s fifth album — and first for California-based Ripple Music– “Deal Thy Fate,” follows 2016’s critically-lauded Welcome To The Graveyard, which was recorded by Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis) and described by Metal Hammer UK as “epic, heroic, tastefully melodic”. Look for the new album, Deal Thy Fate to hit the streets October 19th, on vinyl, limited edition vinyl, CD and all digital services.

About the new album, Liz Blackwell says “We’re ecstatic to forge forces with Ripple Music to bring you the release of our fifth record, ‘Deal Thy Fate’. We can’t wait to unleash this no compromise, fist banging companion to our fans, present and future. Get ready to Deal Thy Fate!!”

Check out the title track, ‘Deal Thy Fate’ Teaser Video https://youtu.be/va2_ERYpNPs

CASTLE have also announced a run of shows with The Skull and several upcoming festival appearances in Europe to coincide with the album’s release, including; Desertfest Belgium (Oct 14), Malta Doom Metal Fest (Oct 19), Doom Over Vienna (Nov 10) and Dutch Doom Days (Nov 24). Expect a full European tour along with North American dates to announced soon.

10/14 Antwerp, BE – Desertfest Belgium
10/15 Frankfurt, DE – dasBett w/ The Skull
10/16 Munich, DE – Backstage w/ The Skull
10/17 Freiburg, DE – Slow Club w/ The Skull
10/18 Cologne, DE – Sonic Ballroom w/ The Skull
10/19 Siggiewi, MT – Malta Doom Fest
11/10 Vienna, AT – Doom Over Vienna Fest
11/24 Rotterdam, NL – Dutch Doom Days

CASTLE was forged in San Francisco in 2009 and released their debut full-length, In Witch Order, on Germany’s Ván Records in 2011. The album brought light to the newly-formed band and earned them “Album Of The Year” honors from Metal Hammer Norway. Shortly thereafter, the band joined the Prosthetic Records roster in North America and released both their critically-acclaimed sophomore album Blacklands, which led to a Canadian JUNO nomination for “Metal/Hard Music Album Of The Year”, and 2014’s influential follow-up, Under Siege.

Since the release of their first album, CASTLE, which consists of vocalist/bassist Elizabeth Blackwell, guitarist/vocalist Mat Davis and various touring and recording drummers, have maintained a relentless tour schedule, performing over six-hundred shows worldwide alongside the likes of The Sword, Conan, Intronaut, and Pentagram among many others as well as appearances at some of the underground’s largest fests including Roadburn, and the London and Berlin Desertfests and the band’s first ever tour of Japan last year.

heavycastle.com
facebook.com/CastleSF
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https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

Castle, Deal Thy Fate album teaser

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