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Spirit Adrift : Divided By Darkness

US band Spirit Adrift are relative newcomers, having only been formed in 2015, but they have now crafted three exceptional full-lengths of Doom-influenced Heavy Metal.

I'll admit, I've had this on my plate for a long time but in my defence I was having problems starting this without being a total gushing fanboy. Having seen them live before being presented with the opportunity to review their new disc I knew I was gonna have to take a step back and try to be more objective. It wasn't easy though, no matter how I looked at it all I knew was that "yeah… I like this… I like this a lot".

If the excellent 'Curse of Conception' was equal parts Doom and Traditional Metal then 'Divided by Darkness' definitely moves it closer to Heavy Metal. The pace is generally mid tempo and ,though the atmosphere perhaps a tad somber in places, has this fist pumping pulse through most of it that very much lies in the Heavy Metal category. Layered with a strong sense of melody, hooks , and harmonies this is the complete package. I dare you not to get 'Tortured by Time' stuck in your head. I DARE YOU!

The actual arrangements are very lean. The fat has been trimmed and all the strengths that Spirit Adrift have as a band are pushed right to the front.The whole thing has been crafted with such respect to the genre that it's hard to find any faults in it. The guitars are handled perfectly. There are no moments where the solo or harmony seem to be there just for show but rather to enhance the composition naturally. I love it! This is a guitar player's dream for many craving more than just aimless sweeps and pointless doodles. Harmonized flourishes and heavy riffs? What more do you want?

As good as the band is the strength of these songs often come from the vocals. Nate Garrett isn't often doing anything really complicated but finds plenty of time to add hooks in just the right places that make these tunes something you can keep coming back too. I almost always have to repeat 'We Will Not Die' and more than a few others based on his strengths as a vocalist. The production has him just back enough where he melds perfectly with the heavy riffage. Oh, and that's another thing! This whole thing is big and heavy without losing the tightness that these tunes require. Not dry at all! There's a lovely reverb on much of whats going on here and it never gets in the way of the song. I'd say thats a win in the production department!

I keep thinking to myself that everything sounds so natural which is a huge bonus for a band playing this style of music. It's not like they sat down and said "oh hey, lets play traditional metal, it's what I like": Spirit Adrift evolved into this naturally and it clearly shows. There is a massive difference between a band setting out to play some Traditional Metal and a band letting their songwriting take them there. In Traditional Metal, perhaps more so than any other style of Metal, this is a massive requirement. You can tell if they are faking it and Spirit Adrift definitely are not.

It's hard to find something to fault… or even to find a highlight since the whole thing flows and fits together so well. I will say that I always get goose bumps with how it ends; 'The Way of the Return' has this AWESOME '80s synth part that eventually fades into the band taking over and just crushing it with an insanely catchy riff. This may not be purely Doom but anyone who likes the traditional side of things should find something to like here.If the guitar break in 'Angel & Abyss' doesn't make you wanna headbang nothing will. Highly recommended.

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Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
1. We Will Not Die
2. Divided By Darkness
3. Born Into Fire
4. Angel & Abyss
5. Tortured By Time
6. Hear Her
7. Living Light
8. The Way Of Return

Duration : Approx. 42 minutes

Visit the Spirit Adrift bandpage.

Reviewed on 2020-02-24 by Eli Elliott
Thermal Mass
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