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Dark Castle
Spirited Migration

Company: At A Loss Recordings
Release: 2009
Genre: Doom, sludge
Reviewer: Raising Iron

  • Well worth the time vested



  • Crawling forth from the most primeval of Florida's swamps is Dark Castle, whose blueprint for sludge-lathered doom was on full display with 2007's Flight of Pegasus. Now, in 2009, the framework for their bog-infested fortress has been erected via their first full-length, entitled Spirited Migration. What kind of migration is taking place is anyone's guess, but the fact that it IS spirited is not up for debate, and therein lies the charm of this essentially two-person outfit.

    For those who dare to traverse the murky depths of one of metal's most coagulated and prohibitive of genres - that being doom/drone/sludge – there are treasures to be unearthed, but damned if you don't have to work for it. This is where Dark Castle have already set themselves above and somewhat apart from their peers as they churn with plenty of up-tempo moments and afford the listener a slightly more accessible experience than most other bands lurking far below the surface of this befuddled and muddied brood. The eight songs here afford plenty of spacious troughs for the instruments to foment, which offers a nice contrast to the density of the guitars and drums, and this is displayed no better than on the fifth (and incidentally instrumental) track, "Weather the Storm" and the title track, which roots itself in a bassy, acoustic blur of attitudes as it crescendos into the follow-up track, "Growing Slow" (indeed!).

    As is characteristic of this breed of metal, there is an oppressive monotony that seeks to rear its horrid head; but Dark Castle, using plenty of dynamic tempos and the occasional *gasp* melodic riff (?!) coupled with the mercifully short running time of thirty-seven minutes, avoid falling prey to its devices. On a final note, the vocals are a bit buried, guttural, and garbled as all get-out (just the way we like it?!), and the production is thick and claustrophobic, purposefully so I'd presume.

    Letting one self sit with eyes closed and absorbing the dissonance of such an affair as Dark Castle's Spirited Migration can be quite cathartic, and well worth the time vested, just remember to allow yourself a preservative, lest you get swallowed.


    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: DARK CASTLE
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Spirited MigrationDark Castle
    2009
    Raising Iron8/12/2009


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: DARK CASTLE

    No Summary reviews currently exist for them.


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