It’s funny how when I meet and speak with musicians, I end up discussing bands they’re not in more than the band they’re in currently, and the bands that come up in conversation are surprising sometimes until they themselves take the stage. That’s when it all comes together and makes sense.
Smoke Wizzard began things with a short set of humorous, harmless stoner metal. Think Primus and Sleep getting together for munchies after a few hours in a hookah bar.
Then it was on. Bassist Liz Blackwell galloped onto the stage, wielding her chosen weapon with demonic cunning, her and her two bandmates whipping out songs such as “The Hammer and The Cross,” “Red Phantom,” “Flash of the Pentagram,” and the title track of their newest album (and one of last year’s best) Deal Thy Fate
as if they were Molotov cocktails. Hypnotic, intelligent, raw, hip-shaking, and deadly, Castle’s late weeknight stand was a small inferno of British metal by way of North America. And we were left wanting so much more. Solos and riffs from outlaw Mat Davis filled the joint with holes.
Castle have a deep enough catalog and too much good material to be playing in bars in front of a few dozen patrons. Be it by luck, an unexpected hit or a stint on a tour with a major headliner of an act, may 2019 be the year this dangerously cool occult triad of tricky doom experiences a breakthrough, their otherworldly fusion of male and female energy being too engrossing to ignore.