Call me old-fashioned, but I enjoy it when bands take their time with their songwriting and recording schedule. Sure, pumping out songs, EPs, and albums with an output rate that would rival most sweatshops (or Vardan) is admirable, but sometimes it’s better to let songs simmer and rest, adding necessary ingredients, or subtracting the fat. My point? Arizona’s Spirit Adrift, a one-man doom machine featuring the talented voice, musicianship, and songwriting of one Nate Garrett, dropped a promising debut last year with Chained to Oblivion. Just a hair over a year later, Garrett returns with a fully fleshed-out band, a slightly altered sound, and a new album in Curse of Conception. And what I mean by “slightly altered sound” is that Garrett and company pulled a Vredehammer on us.

No, Spirit Adrift hasn’t gone full blackened death metal on everybody, so don’t blot your bloomers. Rather, Spirit Adrift took an all-encompassing approach to Curse‘s conception, bringing in different elements from classics gone by, and putting them through their own filter. The result is a tantalizing follow-up that retains what was strong about Chained, but condensed and more impacting. The title track would make the strongest case for the band’s labeling of doom metal, reading from the tomes of Black Sabbath with more than a whiff of Cathedral and an ending that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Pallbearer track. In truth, though, calling Curse a “doom metal” album is both limiting in scale, and a bit damning to the overall scope of the album. In short, parts of this album absolutely rip.

How so? Stand-out track “Starless Age (Enshrined)” opens like a Pantera ballad, with tremendous build-ups and an underlying heft, before the band switches gears entirely and throws in a fierce galloping rhythm section and twin-guitar melodies by Garrett and Jeff Owens that would have Iron Maiden stand up and take notice. Elsewhere, “Spectral Savior” opens with a strong doom metal feel, but closes with a serene, uplifting ending that takes a nod towards Trouble‘s more psychedelic moments. Closer “Onward, Inward,” easily the band’s heaviest song to date with Garrett channeling his inner Hetfield, also closes with beautiful guitar melodies and an uplifting, almost sunny chorus that acts as an incredible come-down from such a captivating album, wrapping up a 47-minute journey on the highest of notes.


Even the Sanford Parker (NachtmystiumVattnet Viskar) production also benefits the album considerably. Chase Mason’s bass possesses heft and sway while Marcus Bryant’s drums sound lively and commanding. The guitars blend beautifully while soaring during the leads (from which there are many throughout Curse). If a nitpick were to be made, it would be with Garrett’s voice at parts. “To Fly on Broken Wings” being a key example, Garrett sounds like he’s straining a bit and comes across as flat as a result. That said, it’s not enough to detract from the overall enjoyment of the album’s powerful songwriting. I’ve not seen a band grow or strengthen their chops as musicians and songwriters as quickly as Spirit Adrift has in the year or so since their debut. In fact, any of the songs on here could make for a great single, all without sacrificing the band’s integrity. That’s the power of a strong album.

So all my worrying was for naught, Curse is anything but cursed. While their debut narrowly missed my Top Ten(ish) of last year, Curse of Conception pretty much guaranteed itself a place on my year-end list. October’s historically been the strongest month for metal music albums, and while this year looks like it will be no exception, Spirit Adrift crafted an excellent follow-up to their debut, as well as an album that holds up well after repeat plays. This is an album to listen, to enjoy, and to absorb. Don’t miss this!


Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: 20 Buck Spin
Websites: spiritadrift.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/spiritadrift
Releases Worldwide: October 6th, 2017

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  • Name’s Dalton

    A Tangerine Dream t-shirt? +.5 points for that alone, especially in a metal band’s promo photo.

    • Spirit Adrift

      Respect.

      • Apple Tree

        this is why the underground metal community is the best thing on earth

        • Nukenado

          Ironically, in no way does Tangerine Dream even come close to “underground metal”…

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        Can you just release it a few hours early for the AMG crowd?
        I need some good chill music NOW!

    • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

      Right on.

    • Innit Bartender

      Damn, beat me to it…

  • GardensTale

    Not to mention some of the best classic style solos I’ve heard in quite a while!

    • Grymm

      The solos are better here than on Chained to Oblivion… and even those solos were incredible!

      • Spirit Adrift

        Thanks!

    • Spirit Adrift

      m/

  • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

    Not familiar with these guys, but I’m liking this. Trouble influences are always a good sign.

    • Spirit Adrift

      What’s your favorite Trouble record? Ours is THE SKULL. Yeah the songs are good but that album title!

      • drug_genosh

        I don’t know man-psalm 9 and selftitled give the skull a run for its money

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        S/T is Trouble’s best.
        The Wolf is incredible.

      • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

        Hard to pick a favorite out of the early stuff, but maybe Psalm 9?

      • Bas

        Difficult.. The old ones are all great but I am more emotionally attached to Manic Frustration and the One for the road EP.

      • Psalm 9 is mighty.

        • HeavyMetalHamster

          Remember when Kory Clarke was in Trouble for about 10 hours? Still wish they’d recorded with him…..

          • I didn’t even know that and I was all about Warrior Soul in the day. That would have been interesting to hear.

          • Bas

            I also love Warrior Soul, but the combination somehow didnt work.. Interesting yes.. But not more.

          • HeavyMetalHamster

            I agree. I could see his voice working well. Apparently he quit because the guys in the band were too Christian lol

      • Grymm

        Manic Frustration was my first, but I love Psalm 9.

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        Run To The Light ain’t no slouch either….

  • Brutalist_Receptacle

    FVCKING SPLOOSH

    • Spirit Adrift

      YOU AGAIN

  • Jonny

    This record has been the sponsored thing on my fb feed for ages. Turns out it’s good

    • Spirit Adrift

      Thank you

  • Tofu muncher

    You guys keep pumping reviews, seriously, my ears need their sleep.

  • Ivan E. Rection

    ROTM for me. Their (his) 27 minute / 2 song EP back in early 2016 was very good too.

    • Yolo Swaggins

      Don’t speak too soon – it’s October 3rd.

    • Nukenado

      Diablo Swing Orchestra has a new album this month. Just sayin.

  • Chris Benadie

    I really liked chained to oblivion, sounds like this one is going to be a treat, can’t wait

  • welyyt

    The embedded song sounds better than anything on the new Pallbearer. Is that a fair comparison? Dunno, but I’ll be checking this out for sure.

  • Outlaw Josey Wales

    Can’t wait to the rest of the album. I’m hearing all sorts of great influences. Trouble, Maiden and Type O. Pre-ordered.

    • Spirit Adrift

      Thank you

  • hallowed

    Those are some of the tastiest riffs and solos I’ve heard this year. Good job.

    • Spirit Adrift

      Thanks

  • Alexandre Barata

    Old-Fashioned. There, you asked for it

    The embedded song sounds pretty cool, gotta check the rest of the album

  • Nukenado

    Album’s amazing, but I miss the cover art of the original.
    Say, where’s the old album on their site?

    • Spirit Adrift

      It’s on the Prosthetic Records bandcamp page now. If you downloaded it before and no longer have access to it, send us an e-mail and we’ll sort it out.

      • Nukenado

        Nah, this post just reminded me to add that to my ever-expanding wishlist. Thanks for still sticking by :3

  • So damn glad I ordered the vinyl.

  • RDP

    I listened to all 3 tracks they’ve released on their Bandcamp. This will definitely be in my top lists this year. Those riffs. I definitely hear alot of those old, classic melodic epic doom riffs in these songs.

    • Spirit Adrift

      hell yeah

  • Bas

    Their previous album somehow didnt grab me, but this sounds great!
    I will need to stop my ‘in the woods’ binge-listening… The new blackfinger didnt manage that!

  • Septic

    What if I already blotted my bloomers?

    • Mollusc

      That’s what bloomers are there for, do not be ashamed.

  • Metal and Hockey

    Missed their first album but checked out the songs on bandcamp last week and immediately pre ordered the new one. Great review looking forward to getting this in the mail was notified today it shipped!

    • Spirit Adrift

      Thank you

  • Luke_22

    I enjoyed the debut but this is on a whole other level. Loving the change of direction. The vocals are very good but like you said he pushes a bit beyond his limitations at times. Still, top 10 contender for me.

  • Andy777

    I loved Chained to Oblivion and I’ve been eagerly awaiting this. One thing I’ve always wondered, I get a HUGE In Solitude vibe from Chained to Oblivion, is that just me?

    • Spirit Adrift

      That band is cool enough but definitely not an influence. I would imagine we share a lot of the same influences though!

  • Moth

    Enjoying this. I wish there was a way of categorising reviews on here, even just by month. Happy to be enlightened if there is a way to do it. Sometimes I read on the fly and don’t get the chance to listen or note albums I really want to hear, or that get mentioned in comments…I miss so much! Not sure there’s a solution other than trying harder myself but if there is, or could be… m/

  • defjam

    Pure metal, excellent work!

    • Spirit Adrift

      Hell yeah, thanks

  • Eli Valcik

    This is good but my ROTMs for october are INCONCESSUS LUX LUCIS, Fire Breather and Affliktor.

    • Master of Muppets

      It’s barely October, you calm down.

      • Eli Valcik

        NEVER! I already have my December ROTM picked out too.

        • There is no December rotm

          • Eli Valcik

            For me there is.

      • Apple Tree

        its been a good 3 days.

    • Nukenado

      Diablo Swing Orchestra all the way!

      • Eli Valcik

        I’m hoping but she’s gonna have some rough competition.

        • Nukenado

          I’m currently soaking up old stuff, but I don’t think anything can kill DSO.
          I’m a bit worried about the vocals, but I’d like to see where they can go.

  • Akira Watts

    I initially had a hard time with Chained to Oblivion. But, after giving it some time, I grew to love it, and it might very well be my favorite album of 2016. Pleased as fuck that the followup looks to be even better. . .

    • Spirit Adrift

      Hey I remember you. Cheers!

      • Akira Watts

        Cheers! Definitely looking forwards to this one.

      • Akira Watts

        You’ve no doubt heard this a lot today but, having heard the new one four times and counting now, it’s damned awesome stuff. You all managed to outdo the last one. Bravo.

        • Spirit Adrift

          Thanks!

  • madhare

    On the embedded track the production sounds a bit odd to me. Like a garage tape. Especially the vocals. And it doesn’t help that he isn’t the best possible singer. Too bad because music-wise it totally rocks. But I can’t imagine myself listening to this more than once.

  • Ta2dlam

    The vocals didn’t do it for me at first but once the song picked up momentum they seemed to fit better. It definitely puts them on my radar for multiple listens with the stop/starts and great guitar work throughout.

  • John Mosley

    Curse of Conception. Child support. The album is about child support payments.

    • Spirit Adrift

      It COULD be about child support payments. It could be about a lot of things that make you wish you never existed.

      • John Mosley

        The wisdom of Silenus!

  • Mollusc

    I thought I detected a bit of Tone Benderishness to the guitar solos on the embedded track. I’m probably wrong, but a good tone nonetheless.

  • Reaper

    Can’t wait to See them with Khemmis in a couple weeks.

    • Levly

      Oh man I would kill to see that lineup. Khemmis is the best Doom band in the world right now and Spirit Adrift just proved how much they rule.

      • Spirit Adrift

        Thanks

      • Reaper

        Yeah, Khemmis has quickly become my favorite Doom band an I have seen them live 3 times already. I wish that they would play longer sets though, When I saw them on their headliner they only played 45 minutes…

    • Spirit Adrift

      See ya there

  • A Feed From Cloud Mountain

    As with most traditional doom it’s not for me, but I gotta say the last couple minutes of guitar work were pretty fantastic.

  • Christopher

    These vocals are too awful for me to look past. :/

  • Lord_Wraith

    Huge fan of Spirit Adrift. These guys and Khemmis are two my favorite bands.

    • Spirit Adrift

      That’s awesome, thank you

  • I don’t know, I think this is very middle of the road stuff. It’s not that they don’t have music talent, it’s just sort of bland. This may be called doom by some, but it just sounds like middle of the road heavy metal to me. The embedded track is pretty dull.

  • AnnieK13

    I like the embedded track but do think they would benefit from better vocals..

  • mxtspanya

    I felt exactly the same surprise & worry when I saw that they had a new album coming out, glad to see it was unwarranted

    • Spirit Adrift

      same

  • Wilhelm

    This sounds like something Dawnbringer should have sounded like after the Into the Lair of the Sungod album (more focused and less DIY). Heavy, doomy, and right up my alley – can’t wait to hear more!

    • Spirit Adrift

      Dawnbringer/Chris Black rules. He definitely inspired the whole idea of Spirit Adrift.

  • SuzyC

    “Old-fashioned” – Like how in the Seventies working bands would write, record, tour, write, record, tour…Typically averaging at least an album a year. Rush did 6 studio albums between ’74 and ’78; Zappa 7 studio albums between ’72 and ’76; Thin Lizzy 7 studio albums between ’71 and ’77…Of course albums back then were only like 38 minutes long.

    • Spirit Adrift

      That shit is real hard and they got paid a whole lot more, but yeah. That’s what we’re going for.

  • Master of Muppets

    Even in passing, every mention of Vredehammer makes the world a better place.

  • The Unicorn

    The three songs I have heard so far are fucking killer. This may be AotY contender. Love it. The Unicorn sings high praises, good review to chum!

    • Spirit Adrift

      Thanks Unicorn

      • The Unicorn

        Thank you for the killer riffs!

  • dumbidiot

    Those vocals have a touch of The Misfits’ wonderfully terrible Famous Monsters. Die Monster Die!

    • Spirit Adrift

      That’s a truly bizarre comparison, but Famous Monsters is a great album.

  • AgonMcDuck

    The embed is REALLY good. I need to check this out when it drops.

    • Spirit Adrift

      Thanks

  • lennymccall

    Chained To Oblivion was definitely in my top ten last year. Really excited for this to finally drop!

  • MITCH TRVBISKY

    I too had the same trepidation with the quick turn around (CtO was my favorite album last year), but I am blown away by the couple of songs released for this album. Show in Denver next week is going to rule.

    • Spirit Adrift

      Hell yeah, thank you

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Purchased
    And
    Awesome

    • Spirit Adrift

      m/

  • Shawn Cypher

    Long winded post incoming.

    So I bought the first album last year, and though I liked it, I never really got a chance to fully digest it. I’m not even sure what else came out around that time period but I clearly got distracted and at the rate I buy albums on iTunes, it got buried.

    That being said when Friday came around and I looked at new releases I thought “That was fast” — and listened to samples. It didn’t really grab me at first… being 0600 while I’m half awake sitting on the shitter scrolling through previews.

    So, in same seating process I flip over to AMG and see this review, see the appreciative response of the band… think, let me go back. I see the album is only $7 (!) and decide to bite the bullet.

    Well I drove to Birmingham for 5 hours this weekend to see Pillorian and Wolves in the Throne Room… and listened to Curse of Conception in it’s entirety twice, and almost a third time.

    I have to say it’s absolutely spectacular and is definitely one of my favorite albums this year. Keep up the good work guys. I hope you tour in the southeast somewhere! Would be great to see you live.

    There’s a new dive bar in Panama City, FL called The Dungeon. (*hint hint*) — Pillorian is actually playing there tonight.

    • Spirit Adrift

      This is the shit I do like. Thank you Shawn. Glad it resonated with you.

  • PretentiousFuckwad

    Damn it’s pretty early in the month for me to say this is my favorite of October, but the probability of another album coming out to top it is probably about 0.05. I just hope Inferi’s album comes out in November so I don’t have to divide by zero and turn my brain into silly putty. My body can only handle so much in one month.

    • Spirit Adrift

      hell yeah

  • DubiousLee

    Riffy as shit. Loving this, man.

    • Spirit Adrift

      Riffs rule