Dark Castle - Spirited Migration
At A Loss Recordings
Atmospheric Doom/Sludge
8 songs (37'08")
Release year: 2009
At A Loss Recordings
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

The bass players may become endangered species if more doom/sludge metallers learn that heavy and intense music can be produced without their instrument. St. Augustine, FL duo of Stevie Floyd and Rob Shaffer, known as Dark Castle, prove the premise to an immense degree with their first full-length Spirited Migration on At a Loss Recordings.

The album does traverse the edges of doom, sludge and post-rock. Unlike the more traditional sludge artists, Spirited Migration is not about crusty grime only. On this album Dark Castle possess an interesting, and somewhat unusual in the genre, sense of clarity. This and the addition of very progressive sounding riffs invokes a whole new emotional set, not just that of hopelessness and despair. Dark Castle music is far from static slow molasses. Instead, it shifts and bounces every step of the way. Awake in Sleep and Into the Past are loaded with melodic twists and reflect percussive nature of the music in every cymbal crush. Reflective, pent up energy is stored in the circular motions above the dynamic swirling tar pit in the monster cut Growing Slow.

There is certainly a good deal of post-rocky dreaminess on Spirited Migration. Imagination is needed to grasp fully Weather the Storm and Flight Beyond, although these never dissolve into endless frequency manipulation. A title track is a more to the point flamenco style electroacoustic instrumental, which gives a hint that the Migration itself may be leading us into the land of gypsies, towards the campfire where spirits of the old Roma people gather. These wistful, somewhat psychedelic, moments are interspersed evenly throughout, and if the listener begins to float away, he/she can be jolted back by not overused caged beast vocals by Stevie. Pain and emotion filled, tension building closer A Depth Returns reminds everyone that Dark Castle is still an atmospheric doom outfit, and even more so in the American tradition, where long winded structures are popular (Deadbird, Samothrace, Across Tundras) rather than weepy European melodies.

I heard that the cover of the initial demo Flight of Pegasus was painstakingly handmade. Spirited Migration is done at the printers’ shop, although it still boasts an elaborate art by Stevie who is a renowned tattoo artist in the area. Beautiful cover art only Spirited Migration is not, the first part of the album through Growing Slow proving to be absolutely infectious. I have hard time putting it away and moving on. The vibrancy, rhythm shifts and interesting melodic finds are proving totally addictive.

Killing Songs :
Awake in Sleep, Into the past, Spirited Migration, Growing Slow
Alex quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Dark Castle that we have reviewed:
Dark Castle - Surrender to All Life Beyond Form reviewed by Charles and quoted 80 / 100
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