Spirit Adrift – “Divided By Darkness” (20 Buck Spin)
Battle Helm Rating
Oh wow, if you were impressed by Spirit Adrift’s prior releases, then be prepared to be blown away on this 3rd album! Formed by Gatecreeper guitarist Nate Garrett, who does everything from lead and harmony vocals to all the guitar work, “Divided By Darkness” is yet another leap into a higher dimension, veering more into classic hard rock and epic heavy metal rather than following the doomy path of its predecessors. That’s not to say the darkness is amiss however, but that the down tuned fuzz is now mixed with Slayer-esque warbles, instantly addictive Thin Lizzy guitar melodies, genteel ambience, psych prog trimmings and most of all, tons of anthemic choruses! I mean, I heard this dude was super competitive (with himself) but Garrett actually quit smoking and started running so he could become a better vocalist for this release (!), and along with playing guitar for 12 hours a day (!!), has truly created something quite magnificent on the 8 superb tracks here, resplendent with bountiful amounts of passion matching the excellent musicianship throughout as aided by Marcus Bryant (drums), the synth and wurlitzer of Preston Bryant and Kayla Dixon’s choral vocals. With plenty of droning riffs and pounding drums on ‘Living Light’, it doesn’t take long before the shimmering guitar melodies, moving acoustics and multi layered soulful vocals bring in their bliss, not mention emotional reach, to powerfully contrast the massive headbanging heaviness of the song to incredible effect. Rich with its abundant guitar work, ‘Tortured By Time’ is driven by both heart gripping melodies, fuzz drenched riffs and wailing solos dexterously weaved into the fabric of this epic number, touched by Garrett’s melancholic vocals as it slowly but powerfully builds on you to make it unforgettable. Speaking bounds about Spirit Adrift’s potential to become massive is the title track ‘Divided By Darkness’ with its ultra catchy sludge groove reminiscent of Crowbar and ghostly vocals that evolve into an ambient-ish passage of spanish guitar and flowing neo classical metal solos – an amazing contrast and attesting to Garrett’s composing and arrangements, not to mention musicianship once more. Completed by Sanford Parker’s (Darkthrone, Eyehategod, Tombs) studio mastery and Joe Petagno’s cover artwork, “Divided By Darkness”, might be inspired by the socio-political disunity of a nation, but in actuality ranks as one of the tightest and most professional releases this year.