CD Review

Virgil – “Dark Hollow”

By Marcus Pan

Dark HollowI’m not sure if Dark Hollow is an actual movie, but it attempts to be the soundtrack to one whether it exists or not. Virgil moves away from the clowns this time into more ambient territory, utilizing wind controllers, theremin and moog synths behind moodily droning piano scores done in an almost jazz-fusion style of heavy flats and near rhythmless movements.

Voices From Beyond for example use a heavily played piano while windy backgrounds permeate the soundscape. The piano moves along in a manner of dark melancholy, rhythmless and otherworldly with no place to go. After a while the lack of direction might get a bit droning. The use of very minimal instrumation and no percussive movement will lead to a mired sound, your ears longing to move ahead while the track stays behind.

Lair of the Unknown is similar territory. It too doesn’t have anywhere to go. I’m looking for a climax to the sounds…imagery…something that would designate we’ve achieved something but instead it’s a bit languishing. Misery Resides Here finally takes on a rhythm, but uses the piano itself as the lead on it. String backgrounds add a more purposeful sound to this track overall. But it has a deja-vu feeling for me, as if I’ve heard it before on the myriad of Nox Arcanna or Midnight Syndicate albums. It’s also somewhat long to me, regardless of rhythm still missing that climactic dirge I’m looking for.

Sacrifices opens with what appears to be a ritual chanting that, strangely, sounds like the toga chant from Animal House at the outset. Buried Memories is distant and extremely surreal – interesting in its own way. The child reciting nursery rhymes behind the veil of theremin movements has adds a frightening aspect. The stronger symphonic movements of Silent Killer adds more than most tracks here on Dark Hollow, but the progression is predictable and stays in one place.

Virgil Franklin’s Dark Hollow ends up coming off a bit flat. It’s very laid back and lacks destination, foundering in its own swamp of mood. It’s certainly a background, but more could have been done with it even if it’s a background collection. Not badly played, but lacking in completion, Dark Hollow just seems to be missing its ending.

Contact Information:
Post: R4 Box 2325, Linton, IN, 47441, USA