I admit it took seeing Castle live for me to finally understand what a great band they are. Their well-honed live show exudes danger and ferocity, with singer/bass player Elizabeth Blackwell controlling the audience like a sorceress. The problem is that their recorded output, while certainly promising just hasn’t held the same sort of energy.
That changes on Welcome to the Graveyard, just released on German label Ván Records. On this release, Castle’s street tough mixture of doom and hard rock is as arresting as their live shows. Between Blackwell's magically foreboding wail and guitarist Mat Davis' shredding, Welcome to the Graveyard sounds like a lost hard rock classic, one that wouldn’t be out of place among ‘70s-era Scorpions, Judas Priest or Blue Öyster Cult.
Skulking like wraiths in a blackened landscape, the band charges through eight fairly short songs (only one squeaks past the five-minute mark) that grab you, rough you up and leave you battered and bruised. The band is at its best on "Flash of the Pentagram," with Blackwell and Davis chanting the vocals together, and "Down in the Cauldron Bog," which showcases Blackwell at her most soulful and a particularly searing lead from Davis.