Review: Dark Castle – Surrender to All Life Beyond Form

Rated:

1.5/5

Surrender to All Life Beyond Form is the second full-length album from Florida co-ed doom-metal duo Dark Castle, and it’s an exercise in gloomy cacophony and failed experimentation. Dark Castle attempt an eerie tone of hopelessness throughout the record by blending droning sludge riffage with noise rock, black metal, and industrial metal, but the mix is mostly uneven. After the genuinely eerie, distorted grooves on “Stare into the Absence,” the band transitions into a classical guitar piece on “Create an Impulse,” which is inexplicably–and distractingly–recorded over the sound of thunder. The chants on “Spirit Ritual” and industrial synth tones on “To Hide is to Die” also sound jarringly misplaced. All the uneven experimentation only serves to bury the band’s knack for a solid, stoner riffs, as exemplified by the album’s title track and the band’s more stripped-down 2009 debut, Spirited Migration. Overall, however, Surrender to All Life Beyond Form is a jumbled mix of influences that won’t impress any of the different subgenres’ fans. DAVID McKENNA