Dark Castle, Spirited Migration

Though the album itself is old, as I was compiling the “best of” list for this last year, Dark Castle’s Spirited Migration came in so high that I felt obligated to review their album as well as a of theirs performance back in July.

Then I realized this album came out in 2009.

This past summer I had bought tickets to see Zoroaster, but, as Dark Castle was opening, I bought their album and spend many nights listening to it. (Fun fact: it’s the most played metal album on my iTunes.)

When the show came, Dark Castle only played 20 minutes, and guitarist/ vocalist Stevie had some trouble with her Gibson flying V and had to take a few minutes to borrow a new guitar, but wow… once they started, Spirited Migration manifest itself to those in attendance to had the Ears to hear it.

As for the album, Spirited Migration, it haunts me. (Perhaps why it’s been played so much.)

Upon initially hearing it I didn’t like it at all. I only persevered because I hate standing around at concerts, not knowing what the fuck is going on with the opening bands; even if I didn’t like the music, I wanted to be familiar with it for the show.

And as with most complex music, the more I heard it, the more interesting it became. Part of the reason, I’ve come to suspect, is because of what I’m calling the “riffs,” for lack of something better to call them. See, they’re not exactly riffs, in the Iron Man/ Dopethrone/ Bury Me in Smoke sorta way– they’re more spacey, more like full chords (rather than simply notes or fifth chords, if you know whutta mean) that somehow manage to sound sinister and thick, rather than like something a guy with a hackey-sack would play on a guitar in the quad. Their myspace page mentions Hungarian and Japanese scales.

The point is, even after having played guitar for 25 years, and been playing music even longer, I’m not sure what they’re doing, how they make those sounds– and I love that.

On top of that, the songs (rightly called “gloom metal” in some reviews) are hauntingly beautiful and sometimes catchy. Give them a chance. Start with “Awake in Sleep” or “Into the Past” (they’re both on the myspace page). Let them sink in. I think you’ll find you’ll want more.

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