Exploring Entertainment in Florida's 850 & Beyond
The boundary breaking two-piece doom outfit Dark Castle is one of those bands that needs to be on every metal fans ‘must see list’. A Dark Castle show is comparable to a mystical experience – you feel transported, everything fades to the background except for the pounding music.
I am proud to be able to say that Dark Castle is from our sunshine state. After all, who would associate such ear-splitting doom with a state famed for Disney and beach vacations.
What further makes Dark Castle a rarity is that they have a frontwoman – and unfortunately woman aren’t common in the realm of metal; heck they aren’t even common in hard rock. Being a two piece band means that Stevie takes on the vocal duties as well as guitar – and Rob is the drummer extraordinaire. (For a 2010 show he also supplied supporting vocals, but he didn’t when we caught them again in 2011.)
With each song, Stevie howls and growls distorted vocals that put many top-tier male vocalists to shame. All while she is blasting a mix of doom and sludge on her guitar. And Rob may simply be the most powerful drummer I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. He shreds through drum sticks like they are made out of balsa wood. He alternates between sitting and standing, putting the full force of his upper body into drum hits.
Dark Castle’s sound is a little hard to put into words. There is this inherent openness, these pauses in the music that really puts giant exclamation points on just how loud they are. It gives a moment where you can feel the reverberations of the music bouncing from wall to wall, hear the ringing in your ears, and dig your feet in for the next part of the song. There is also a wonderful cohesiveness to their sound. Each song feels like it is part of a greater whole, and they sonically fit together end to end.
It is especially fun to watch the crowd: The standoffish, jaded metal lovers that have yet to experience the force of Dark Castle live becoming full converts by set’s end. The doubters that a chick fronted metal band can be musically relevant becoming full-blown Stevie fans. To the Dark Castle devotees ready for another hallowed experience.
I’ve said before that one thing I admire about bands is when you can tell they love what they are doing – and that is evident in Dark Castle. The duo gets lost in their sludgy grooves, and you feel like you are transcending to some special place with them. Both Dark Castle shows I’ve had the pleasure to going to left me with that feeling; the sensation that I disappeared into their layers of distortion.
I hope that the cards will play out for another Dark Castle show in 2012. I would like to strongly encourage anyone who has the tiniest interest in metal to jump on the chance to see them live if they make it around you, and I’ll do my best to let those in the 850 know if the chance should arrive.