To be brutally honest, which of course is the only kind of honest we know how to be at this site, I will confess something at which I’ve only hinted (ever so subtly) in the past: I really have a low tolerance for clean singing in metal.
It seems that most of our other writers are more receptive to clean vocals than I am, but even for them it seems to be more the exception than the rule. Every now and then, something clean will penetrate my own defenses and tickle me in the nether regions, but I bathe more often than that happens, and I don’t bathe except when it gets to the point that plants die as I walk past them.
On the other hand, I just fuckin’ love big meaty riffs that maketh my head to bang, and flesh-scalding solos, and music that sounds evil. So what am I to do about Castle?
They’re from San Francisco and they’re the latest signing by Prosthetic Records, which got me curious enough to watch the video released yesterday for a Castle song called “Corpse Candles”. The track is from their second album (and their Prosthetic debut), Blacklands, which will appear on September 11.
I mean, it started off well enough, with lots of clattering and pounding and a really nice opening riff, and then the thing slowed down and Elizabeth Blackwell started singing, and it came out . . . clean, and I nearly stopped it right there. But I hung in, and at about the 2:50 mark it really started to cook, and then about a minute later it changed gears and started to chug, with a strange guitar lead, before things got messy and dirty again at the finish. And basically, I warmed up to the song, against my first impulses.
I like the video, too, probably even more than I like the song, It was directed by David Hall (Handshake Inc.).
So, to return to the question at hand, what am I to do with Castle? Should I pitch them over the side or should I just suck it up and listen to the rest of the album whenever it finds its way to NCS? What do you think of this music?
And what is going on with this surge of retro, 70s-style, doomy, more or less psychedelic rock/metal bands with occult lyrics, and especially bands like that who are fronted by women? In a post earlier this month, our man BadWolf proclaimed 2012 as “the year of female-driven clean-singing classic rock worship wearing a metal aesthetic”, and I’m not sure he even knew about Castle back then.
I mean, you’ve got Witch Mountain, Blood Ceremony, Royal Thunder, Jex Thoth, Sabbath Assembly, and others I’m sure I’m overlooking because this really isn’t my kind of music. What is up with this? Is this really the next big thing? Is it a thing I need to learn to appreciate?
Castle’s Facebook page can be found here. The wonderful album cover was created by Russian painter Denis Forkas Kostromitin (Horseback, Wrathprayer, Dead Reptile Shrine).