Castle‘s fifth album, Deal Thy Fate is here, dealing out 36-minutes-or-so of epic, classic doom metal. Recorded live in the studio, the album carries with it a real sense of stripped down, almost-live immediacy.
Deal Thy Fate is a really interesting ride that at times feels like a giant collection of riffs. That’s not exactly a problem, as everything is really well-written. The arrangements eloquently avoid repetition with plenty of changes – both subtle and obvious – in such short songs. Throughout the album, with possibly the exception of opener “Can’t Escape the Evil” and the appropriately titled and brief “Prelude,” you’re taken on a ride full of slightly unusual structuring. Songs rarely lean on typically voiced or spacious choruses, but rather slithering guitar/bass interplay and dark, haunting vocals. Mat Davis’ guitar work has no shortage of inventiveness either, thanks to interesting use of minor fifths, dissonant chords, and melodic interludes that add a richness that becomes more apparent with each listen.
Despite feeling at times like Davis’ riff box, there are some songs on Deal Thy Fate that stand out as catchier fare. “Skull in the Woods” sticks out with especially good storytelling, both between the song’s structure and singer/bassist Liz Blackwell’s versatile vocal delivery. “Red Phantom” is another strong example of Blackwell’s ability to tastefully mirror the melody of the riffs while taking front and center when things step back to ring out a bit more. All in all, this is an album that will stick with you over time, and it pulls that off without leaning much on the instant gratification of quick hooks and catchy choruses.
Castle‘s Deal Thy Fate will be available on October 19 courtesy of Ripple Music. You can get the new album here.