"Blacklands" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US doom/traditional heavy metal act Castle. The album was released through Prosthetic Records/Ván Records in April 2012. It´s been less than a year since Castle released their debut full-length studio album "In Witch Order" in May 2011, so it´s safe to say this is a busy trio of musicians.
The music on "Blacklands" is female led traditional heavy metal with a traditional doom metal edge. Lead vocalist/bassist Elizabeth Blackwell has a rough voice and a personal delivery. At times the vocals are slightly more extreme in nature (I suspect a man is singing on those sections), but this is otherwise retro sounding through and through.
The quality of the material is strong throughout, the musicianship is solid and the sound production features an organic sound quality. "Blacklands" is in other words a recommendable and in every respect quality release to fans of the genre. While Castle are often labelled doom metal the music is generally not that slow. Most of the time the music is actually mid-paced and more traditional metal sounding. The lyrical themes are pretty much given away by occult sounding song titles like "Corpse Candles" and "Venus Pentragram". They also give an indication of the dark atmosphere of the album. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is warranted.