By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Founded nearly a decade ago in San Francisco by husband/wife team Elizabeth Blackwell (bass/vocals) and Mat Davis (guitar/vocals), metal band Castle has built a sizable global following with its relentless touring schedule and string of solid, old-school headbanging albums.
Taking a sonic approach that nodded as much to classic Black Sabbath and Judas Priest as it did to more contemporary doom metal, Castle released its debut In Witch Order in 2011 through German imprint Van Records. While Castle would cycle through a number of drummers — including initial collaborator Al McCartney and, at one point, Death Angel drummer Will Carroll — the band would refine it sound that highlighted Blackwell’s gruff, soulful vocals and Davis’ knack for writing catchy riffs that echoed the hook-heavy ’80s metal anthems of Dio and early Motley Crue on subsequent efforts Blacklands (which was nominated for a 2013 Canadian Juno award for Best Metal Album) and Under Siege.
The group’s 2016 album Welcome to the Graveyard further established Castle’s maturing songwriting chops and status as leading lights of the Bay Area’s metal scene. Earlier this year, the band announced that it would be partnering with rising Bay Area stoner/doom imprint Ripple Music to put out Castle’s fifth album, Deal Thy Fate. Recorded with regular studio collaborator Billy Anderson (who has produced and/or engineered a host of metal, punk and doom luminaries including High on Fire, Acid King, Jawbreaker, Sleep and Pallbearer), the new recording finds Davis dealing out some of the most corrosive riffs of his career, at times echoing the malevolent six-string work of late Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman on the band’s seminal albums Reign in Blood and South of Heaven.
Fresh from a European tour that included several festival appearances and dates with iconic Chicago doom outfit the Skull, Castle celebrates the recent album release with a pair of Bay Area shows this week at the Elbo Room in Oakland and the Caravan Lounge in San Jose. The East Bay concert presented by longtime local promoters Lucifer’s Hammer will also feature like-minded SF metal favorites Slough Feg and Oakland-based heavy trio Owl, while the free South Bay gig includes Ripple Music label mates War Cloud, San Jose doom merchants Kook and Santa Cruz proto metal act Winter Wind.
Thursday, Nov. 29, 9 p.m. $10-$12
Elbo Room Jack London
Saturday, Dec. 1, 9 p.m. FREE