At A Loss Recordings
Civic pride alert! I’m fucking tickled to see St. Augustine-by-way-of-Jacksonville doom duo Dark Castle forging a singular and forlorn path — and getting some national attention in the bargain. The tandem of Stevie Floyd on guitar and Rob Shaffer on drums/vocals creates doom metal injected with a dirty needle full of psychedelic purple mourning and nonlinear thrash chaos. Shaffer’s vocals are a deep vomit dying down to a harsh hiss, barreling through a clawed spiderweb of fuzzed-out clubfoot guitar riffs, indulging in thrashy, doomy collapses and proggy ellipses. Shaffer’s octopus-armed drumming fills all available spaces with stumbling double bass runs, snare fills, and shattered cymbals. Spirited Migration reminds me of Trouble, Saint Vitus, and Eyehategod, along with the likes of Pestilence, Hawkwind, and Death.
Dark Castle avoids the mantric unichord drone of Boris and the punkisms of Melvins for a bleary, red-eyed tumble into Steve Ditko nightmarescapes — spirals, wisps, repeating figures, portals, and paths that weren’t there a mere moment ago. The songs are brief and concisely structured for an album so steeped in psychedelic inspiration (check out the album cover). Thrashy riffs slow to a crawl, dipped in syrup, then twist into spiral staircases of pure phase sadness, before coalescing into these frightening post-rock riff workouts. And Dark Castle keeps it weird with spoken word inserts, a classical guitar interlude, and dreamlike ambiance. Imagine an acid-fried Grief that wasn’t as consumed by utter defeat and too impatient for downers. They’re on the cusp…
At A Loss: www.atalossrecordings.com