“Few bands in the punk/alternative/grunge realm are as exciting as Castle Black. With each subsequent release- and there are many- these New Yorkers only get more interesting, more unconventional and more dynamic in their approach.”
“Yet this female-fronted trio offers three powerful tunes here, combining psychedelic garage-rock and grunge. It's loud, noisy, angry, and subversively, almost unexpectedly rocking, managing to sound dirty and dark and dangerous.”
“In 2019, a year during which pop princess Ariana Grande headlined Lollapalooza, Castle Black frontperson Leigh Celent is a welcome breath of fresh indie-rock air. Celent and Castle Black have created a new sound of uncompromised work that have drawn comparisons to nearly every type of underground rock from the last four decades. To say the singer-songwriter is a star in the making would be a severe understatement, and she has only just begun to scratch the surface.”
“We’re always on the search for new music here at TNF HQ, and if there’s anything we’re really excited to introduce you to, it’s bands with only 3 members. The iconic power trio, as it were, always seems to put out intriguing music – and Brooklyn alt-rock/post-punk band Castle Black is no exception. The bands plays an interesting style of alt-rock that draws from Sonic Youth and L7, so if riot grrl bands are your thing (they should be!), this band might be right up your alley.”
"Over the last couple of years, power trio Castle Black have put out a series of ferociously smart, edgy short albums. Watching the group develop from a promising, messy punk band into a sleek, relentlessly dark, complicated beast has been one of the real feel-good stories in the ever-shrinking New York rock scene."
"The title track is a creepy, sabretoothed masterpiece ... " "It’s one of the half-dozen best songs of 2019 so far ... "
“Know, Me Anyway, the beautiful Evanescence-like melody beckons eerily, almost dreamlike … It’s a powerful track … defiantly different.”
“Performing older songs, as well as a few from their latest EP, Castle Black gave an amazing performance and no doubt made some new fans this evening.”
“People have said through time that music has a way of moving someone. Without a doubt, if the subconscious has not moved your head by this point in the album, well . . you may be a lost cause. The energy embodied within this 5 track, 22 minute EP from Castle Black is a force which will withstand critiques from even the harshest outcry – that goes without saying. The vibe, the groove, everything about this record makes everyday colors just a little brighter in the world.”
“Celent’s distantly anguished vocals over delicious, grimly catchy chords blend with bass swoops and a galloping art-rock interlude in the album’s most ornately gorgeous song, Linen. Castle Black aren’t particularly retro, but songs like these remind how musically talented and outside the box those first-wave punk bands were. In that sense, Castle Black do justice to their ancestors without imitating them.”
“With their grungy, post-punk sound, the trio rocked the stage in a swirl of energy. Front woman/guitarist Leigh Celent commanded the stage with her aggressive vocals and drummer Joey Russo, who also drums for Bear Bones, was a bundle of energy behind his drum kit! They are an incredibly fun live band and it was clear that the crowd was having a great time!”
"Castle Black delivered a powerful performance. The intimate venue ... proved to be the perfect setting for an introduction to the band’s sonic assault. And we mean that in the best way possible, this band rocks. Hard. " "The small space meant there was no distance between fans and the band, just pure unadulterated musical angst and exuberance. Looking back, it’s difficult to fathom that so much sound came out of the 3-member band ... " "The band performed some cuts off their fourth studio release, the gods that adored you, which blends some heavy hitting riffs coupled with Celent’s rousing vocals."
"Five tunes from one of the best bands that exists today certainly isn’t enough, but Castle Black make the most of this quick listen as they find a unique spot between grunge, punk and New Wave. Each song here highlights something different about their extensive talent, from atmosphere and rhythm to driving, charged, melodic intensity and even a ballad of sorts with bursts of abrupt fury. Imagine an updated, more refined version of Babes In Toyland who grew up on The Jesus And Mary Chain’s Psychocandy and you’ll get some idea of how imperative these Brooklynite’s work is."
"All five songs this time around are amazing, and we can’t get enough of any of them, especially 'Linen.' As we said last year, 'Hop on the bandwagon now cause this band is going places.' We stand by that analysis."
"I’m pretty sure that no vegetables were harmed as part of the production of this collection of five songs and it is soon obvious that this roughhouse high octane blend of guitar led rock meets punk American style was designed to do structural damage and provide the soundtrack to accompany reprobate behaviour. It’s not just volume though – although turning it right up does seem the right thing to do – as there is a story sitting behind these songs and this story, if not quite one of rebellion, is at least one that rejects current day corporate conformity and, unusually, injects unexpected elements of spirituality into the mix."
"Closing with Linen, Castle Black extend the length to over five and a half minutes and they use the space to lay down a compelling riff and excellent vocal that builds layer upon layer to craft a song that has been played on repeat here as it burrows into your very soul.
Castle Black are attracting a great deal of attention and this release will do no harm to their fast-growing reputation."
"Debuting their fourth studio EP, the gods that adored you, the band not only showcases their signature grunge hooks, but explores new sonic elements and challenges societal norms. More than just an album, the trio meticulously created a work that is reflected within the album title — a lack of capitalization. Castle Black characterizes this album as that: a lack of capitalization, for an improper format is to express their non-conformity to irrational standards.
"The five-track Michael Abiuso-recorded affair (The Venetia Fair, Kiss Kiss, The Gay Blades) once again highlights the band’s female vocal attack and punk/alt-rock blend, a mighty mixture as evidenced by Castle Black’s ongoing success and energetic live shows.
With additional mixing and production perfection from none other than Mark Plati (David Bowie, Prince, Spookey Ruben, The Cure) and mastering by way of Jamal Ruhe, the names attached to this album alone are enough to warrant your time. Factor in the trio’s actual post-punk prowess and it’s a no-brainer. "
"Brooklyn-based indie alternative rock band Castle Black are on the musical attack on their potent new EP the gods that adored you, which alternates between dynamic, emotive rock and softer reflection, usually within the same song. Post-punk, indie rock, and alt-rock styles merge together on the EP, with perceptive and pointed lyrics and passionate vocals rising above it all."
"Infused with grungey moments, ‘the gods that adored you’ melodically draws on rough and ready riffs and drums that give the songs pops of energy that work so well together."
"The vocals on this record in moments are delicate and then packed with fury. ‘A Cigarette, Saved’ is a good example of how this band use that range to the fullest using delicate tones and then combining the power with big melodies that make for one of the stand out tracks on the EP."
"An EP that from the moment it begins highlights fantastic melodies and even better vocals, ‘the gods that adored you’ keeps giving until the very end of the record."
"Castle Black have got spunk, with lots of attitude to follow suit of course ... "
"An 80's inspired mania of punky new-wave goodness fuels this Brooklyn based reincarnation of concentrated grunge, a fourth extended play stamps a long term brand onto every stage they play on. David Bowie's one time producer, Mark Plati, lends his fingers for a mix just to make sure we pay attention."
"'I see you!' the singer calls throughout the chorus, amidst passionate instrument hits, creating so much energy that Castle Black almost materializes in front of me as I find myself shaking and chanting in unison with the words. Sierra is a song to dance to in the dark, and one could have as much fun head banging alone in the living room as out at the concert hall flouncing with friends."
"Not many artists give so selflessly to the causes they claim to promote but, this band is quite different. It is important to support artists who have a great message and a great heart."
"This is a slow/fast/slow/fast eruption feeling like life itself. Tumultuous, uncontrollable and merciless. Like a non-stop roller coaster with jubilant ups and depressive downs, balancing between disillusionment, hope and joy. I guess we’ll never know when this troubled planet will become a livable place for everyone regardless gender, colour or religion. ‘Sierra‘ is a significant sonic reflection of our modern struggle for life. Find out why right here, right now… "
"In a world that lives in a bubble of unspeakable acts and in a time that few artists speak through music for social issues comes CASTLE BLACK with ‘Sierra’. Taking to issue all of the tremors that are shaking the world today with the punk and tone strong voices can only make, you feel the entirety of the pain felt by many and more than you can imagine.”
"... creating head-smashing music ... "
"Broken Bright Star sounds like it could be on Marilyn Manson's album Eat Me, Drink Me. It is equal parts creepy and intriguing. This band can definitely make it."
"NYC’s Castle Black have a lot more going for them than just a great band name and clever EP titles; the trio seamlessly blend ’80s punk with the heyday of grunge across powerful tunes that roar with a gritty melody."
"While the early part of the listen channels a less manic version of Babes In Toyland, by mid EP we’re closer to post-punk (think Slant 6-ish), before the hypnotic, dynamic rock of the closing tunes. Imagine if Bikini Kill were on Sub Pop records in 1993 and you’ll understand how 4 songs is just not enough here."
"Castle Black’s weighty fuzz tones and rough life anecdotes define New York indie grit."
"The [Seeing in Blue] video is a perfect depiction of the Brooklyn trio’s atmospheric vibe and powerful sonic-packed sound."
About the EP: "Layers of reverb guitars flickering and roaring through the shadows, Leigh Celent’s power trio put out the best short rock album of 2017."
About the show: "Not even the sonic interference from the adjacent labyrinth of rehearsal rooms could silence this beast."
About Broken Bright Star: "Guitarist Leigh Celent’s evil, spare icepick intro kicks off this slowly marauding anthem that eventually explodes in a fireball of reverb."
From Fatter, Older: Very Short Review - Castle Black's Trapped Under All You Know
"Trapped Under All You Know‘s best track is “Blind Curtain,” a four-and-a-half minute argument that Castle Black could be the dirtbag Sleater-Kinney that I didn’t realize I’ve been looking for."
"The song’s biggest weapon is groove."
"It drives without pounding, it moves smoothly. It creates a place. It sounds like a car ride with someone attractive in a leather jacket who will likely screw you over. You will see it coming and stick around anyway. At its best, Castle Black makes you want to stay.
From Subversive Zine: Review of Blind Curtain
"Every great brand of alternative mixes with punk to create the ultimate addictive song of the summer. A reminder of what dominating guitar riffs, melodic basslines, booming drums and a powerful singer with rock prowess can do."
"Their music will fill your head with energy and well-crafted lyrics while the beat fills your ears with musical nirvana and keeps your toes tapping. These songs belong on radio and in your favorite television shows. We only wish there were more than four songs to enjoy. We will definitely be keeping our eyes open for the next installment from this band that is destined for greater things."
"Hop on the bandwagon now cause this band is going places. Rush out and get this EP now!"
"NYC band Castle Black have released their new EP Trapped Under All You Know. Whilst pulling inspiration from raw 70s punk, 90s grunge and alternative, the 4-song record is an unapologetic and powerful sonic hitting packed with sheer force, gliding throughout the raw rock spectrum."
"If you run a music blog, it’s especially validating to watch an artist or an act deliver on the promise of their early days."
"It was impossible to tell was coming next, except that it was bound to be loud and hard and intense – and catchy."
"Celent is really cutting loose on the mic now too. She finally unleashed that wounded wail in all its vengeful glory in the night’s best song, in fact one of the year’s best songs, Broken Bright Star, through all sorts of permutations."
"Armed with a couple of vintage Fenders, guitarist/frontwoman Leigh Celent has grown into a powerful and distinctive player equally at home with noise and melody. Bassist Lisa Low anchors the music with a looming ominousness while drummer Matt Bronner ranges from rapidfire four-on-the-floor punk to doomy metal to the occasional departure into unorthodox meters, holding the beast to the rails."
"Broken Bright Star is one of the half-dozen best songs of 2017, hands down."
"Brief as this is, you’ll see this album on the best of 2017 page here in December if we’re still all here."
"From the first song 'Seeing In Blue' the band set out to ensure the new EP 'Trapped Under All You Know' doesn't disappoint. The mixture of frenetic punk orientated pieces alongside some hook laden grunge keeps the four song collection powerful and pleasing throughout."
"Brooklyn-based rock trio, Castle Black are coming in with their music full force, and packing a huge rock punch."
"Raw vocals, and well-thought out bass and guitar-hook keep your ears tuned into the last tune."
"The Big Takeover is excited to premiere the dynamically rousing and gritty number 'Seeing In Blue' off Castle Black’s forthcoming EP. As the jagged edge guitar grinds, the bass line holds down the low end, and the drums pummel a kinetic tattoo, Leigh Celent and Lisa Low shout out the vivid lyrics."
"Castle Black’s new single, 'Blind Curtain' comes off the line heavy as a stone slab. The guitars are deep and distorted, not heavy metal, not doom and gloom, but still forceful. As the rest of the instruments arrive the song gallops along into a driving pace. Guitarist and vocalist Leigh Celent comes in as the music articulates into a song form, unfolding some vocal melodies along the way."
"The guitars buzz, the melody is repetitive yet infectious and the whole thing has a grubby, dirty air about it."
"Delivering eclectic and thunderous heavy rock sounds, powerful vocals and dark, dystopian lyrics, Brooklyn hard rock trio Castle Black’s new cinematic video – “Dark Light: A Plague Revisited” – is something to behold as far as music videos go."
"Castle Black’s sound is an inventive and stimulating mixture of genres, including classic rock, alt. rock, punk, post punk and grunge. The infusion of various genres also makes Castle Black’s style one of a kind."
“Premonition is a perfect example of the band’s genre-bending talents. On this track, the band morphs into an indie pop/post-punk outfit, ripping out a hookalicious, melody-laden summertime track ... "
"They’ve got two excellent ep’s out, along with a killer video shot at Fort Tilden ... It’s the rare video that holds your attention all the way through to see what finally happens, a mystery story in images with a ferocious soundtrack."
"Sabotage has a mighty oldschool Britpunk feel, it’s catchy, and anthemic, and pissed off, and like a lot of this band’s songs, is packed with unexpected tempo shifts, counterintuitive major/minor changes and catchy hooks. Premonition, by contrast, is a lot more straightforward, a bitter, vivid late-summer reminiscence. The jangle/crunch dichotomy in Celent’s guitar overdubs brings to mind the Distillers."
"Bronner’s menacing rumble undpins the wickedly catchy, minor-key Secret Hideaway, part dark garage rock, part X, part Thalia Zedek."
"Leave It kicks off like a swaying, midtempo Buzzcocks ballad and then hits a burning doublespeed punk drive, like peak-era Sleater-Kinney but with better vocals. The album winds up with its best song, the hauntingly epic, doomed Dark Light, built around Celent’s menacing, opening cliffhanger riff: it’s this band’s Last Rockers."
"Doesn’t it feel great when you stumble on an up-and-coming band who end up fulfilling their promise, and them some? Castle Black‘s sizzling set Friday night at Basement Bar in Bushwick had the fearlessness and outside-the-box creativity of classic punk rock ... Castle Black delivered that kind of defiantly individualistic energy with equal parts guitar-fueled savagery and sardonic humor."
"It’s amazing how tight this band has become over the past six months: constant gigging will do that to you. And yet, their music hasn’t lost its raw edge, or persistent unease, or outright menace. And they’re a lot of fun to watch live."
"The band opened with the skronky postpunk of Doing Time Pass. Celent is an interesting guitarist: she likes catchy hooks, but just when things might get predictable, she veers off into noise. There was a little Andy Gill, or maybe Arto Lindsay in her jagged lines, but mostly it was just her. The band roared their way into Leave It with a slow, stalking groove, like a vintage Buzzcocks epic that they suddenly took doublespeed into anthemic Avengers territory, then back again."
"Back at the Paper Box there was hard-rockin’ trio Castle Black with a gritty and aggressive female ‘tude."
"Last year the big apple saw the inception of Brooklyn founded Castle Black, a Punk/Grunge trio capturing the NY sound with a subdued, crunchy Garage-band sound with a slight L7-esque edge to their own concoction."
"Taking elements of Post-Punk, Grunge and New Wave, with a dab of surf-riffage for flavour, I can easily see myself in the pit during a Castle Black set."
"Castle Black are the kind of band you want to catch on the way up. Right now, the power trio are running on inspiration. They’re pushing the limits of their chops, careening through a bunch of styles – old school punk, abrasive post-Bush Tetras post-punk and noisy later-period Sleater-Kinney indie aggro, to name a few – on their way to really crystallizing a sound of their own."
"There’s Premonition, which has a sludgy country feel and then picks up steam; the epic Dark Light: A Plague Revisited, with the eerie foreshadowing of its opening hook, to a series of unexpected up-and-down tempo shifts; The Next Thing, with its trippy, oscillating white noise and mashup of stoner metal riffage and viciously chugging old school punk rumble."
"The opening bars of the EP will tear you away from what you are doing to listen. The aggressive female vocals and hard hitting beats are reminiscent of Hole’s best songs, and the dirty garage sound of the guitars on ‘Psychic Surgery’ will have you air guitaring along in no time. The vocals on this song are high pitched and hard hitting – everything a female lead rock singer should be."
“First thing that comes to my mind when hearing "The Next Thing" is rock music similar to Sleater-Kinney. Eighties rock fast forwards into the year 2015 ..and you have the sound of Castle Black. I envision being in a secluded downtown NY bar.... that only fits about 100 people in the room and everyone watching the band with eager eyes.
"Now I know nobody's going to agree with me on this but to me they remind me of Evanescence meets The Distillers. Castle Black is a three piece female fronted band, and I think probably the most apt genre they can be described as is alt rock. Basically if you enjoy good old-fashioned alt rock, these guys should be your staple. I love their sound, it's simple and clean. Well, not really simple because actually they're doing a lot of little, subtle, complex things, but you get the idea. There's no bullshit to their music. It's just good. It all fits perfectly, it's clean."
From Josh Hershkovitzat Speak Into My Good Eye: Live Review: Big D and the Kids Table, Teenage Halloween, Counterpunch, Doped Up Dollies & Castle Black Played Brighton Bar
"I got there early enough to catch the openers, one of which I had never seen. Castle Black was an interesting addition to the lineup and unfortunately I only saw a few of their songs. I was treated to some gritty, aggressive female vocals."
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