The genre now commonly known as Post-Metal (bands like NEUROSIS and ISIS) certainly is an interesting one. It already takes many progressive cues, longer songs, typically instrumental, and an important sense of atmosphere, in heavy and soft. DARK CASTLE’s latest, and first full-length, “Spirited Migration”, is clearly a Doom Metal album, a slow and dark one, but there is a certain sense of a Post-Metal atmosphere and direction, whether intentional or not, that makes the album particularly endearing.
One of the first things that will stick out about the album is the use of atmosphere. There aren’t a whole lot of quiet parts (like ISIS, for example), but instead varied percussion and blazing distorted guitars help to create a wonderful wall of sound atmosphere, perhaps similar to Funeral Doom at time. The song “Weather The Storm”, though only three and a half minutes, never actually uses percussion and is pure atmosphere. Sections like this are done through out the album and really help add to the overall dark sense within the overall work and are just overall really well done.
Another interesting note about this album is the incredibly low amount of vocals used. I didn’t quite notice on the first listen, but repeat plays revealed that the majority of this album, all in the middle, is completely instrumental. While I’m not trying to give this album a sense of a Progressive feel, the arranging and musicality really works, and the fact that the album holds up just fine without vocals should be a good sign.
For those who like their Doom Metal slower and darker (like WARNING, not REVEREND BIZARRE), yet not quite Funeral, with a varied use of vocals and percussion and atmosphere, will find an incredibly interesting album in DARK CASTLE’s first full effort, and I for one look forward to hearing more from this promising band.
(Online June 16, 2009)