Dark Castle - Spirited Migration Review
by Mark Hensch
As an album, Spirited Migration is abrasive, beautiful and mesmerizing. The doom metal duo behind it - St. Augustine, Florida's Dark Castle - has refracted oldschool death metal into shimmering waves of brutal sound. Incredibly vast, the band's titanic style also contains majesty well beyond a first album. Poignant yet paranoid, Spirited Migration captures the intensity of life in eight songs, each more heart-wrenching than the last.
Kicking things off is "Awake in Sleep," its fuzzy intro quickly trod under plodding riffs. Though unmistakably dense, such guitar passages are also ethereal, often morphing into multiple kaleidoscopic tones. In keeping with this, the drumming is hypnotic and fluid, an ever-weaving tapestry behind caustic howls and driving chords.
"Into the Past" switches gears, opening with a phantasmal guitar passage soon consumed by twisting percussion and a hailstorm of thick guitar tones. Melodies stab out of this morass with slow, patient precision, sounding like math metal at doom speeds. As the tempo gradually speeds, the end result is metal feverish and hazy, moody and magical.
Up next is the title track, a short interlude of elegant but sinister Spanish guitar runs. Quiet and spooky, it makes the eventual beatdown of "Growing Slow" all the more devastating. "Slow" walks cautiously through passages of wavering ambience, at times pausing for flurries of frantic drumming and bitter shrieks. Not unlike early Mastodon on Quaaludes, it stomps its way through darkened caverns of sound out into open skies.
Once there, Spirited Migration truly takes flight. "Weather the Storm," for example, hovers softly over a void of twinkling melodies. As the guitar desperately ascends higher and higher, gravity pulls it back into the bowels of darkest drone, never to return.
"Flight Beyond," is the album's crown jewel, shifting through radiant washes of sound with all the grit and fluidity of quicksand. Low-end chugs collide with high-end guitar sparkles, the end result an exhausting but satisfying tug-of-war in one's ears. Gripping yet graceful, "Beyond" promises a bright future for this young band.
The cloudy "Grasping the Awe," meanwhile, jumps from soft to heavy in a heartbeat. At first, shoegazing riffs sway in the empty air alongside quiet but labyrinthine drumming. A gust of massive doom sweeps all away, leaving the sparse, eventual climax all the more resonate.
Last but not least, "A Depth Returns" hums with eerie amplifier tricks before exploding into the band's more typical doom/death. Such colossal metal is interspersed with shadowy psychedelia, ending the album with an auditory dance between light and darkness well worth hearing.
Dynamic in its depth, Spirited Migration is a satisfying record which lurks in the darker regions of one's mind long after it has ended. This hallucinogenic album is well worth the trip - for doom so slow, this is Spirited music indeed.
Awake in Sleep
Into the Past
Weather the Storm
Grasping the Awe
A Depth Returns
CD Info and Links
Dark Castle - Spirited Migration
Preview and Purchase This CD Online
Visit the official homepage
More articles for this artist
tell a friend about this review
Thrash Worthy Link