Spirit Adrift – Enlightened in Eternity Review

Look up “prolific” in the dictionary, and there’s a good chance you’ll see Nate Garrett’s name somewhere in there. Besides spending time in doom/death merchants Gatecreeper, Garrett’s also tirelessly spent energy and time with his main project, Spirit Adrift, having released three acclaimed albums in the span of four years. However, with 2020 being the year that it is, Garrett felt the need to do some massive soul-searching, choosing to focus on the more positive aspects in ourselves, and decided a massive upheaval was necessary in order to survive, let alone succeed. In doing so, he’s stepped down from the ‘creeper and put all of his energy back into his main gig. With renewed focus and a change of attitude, Enlightened in Eternity, the fourth album in five years, is upon us.

Thankfully, the trend of good albums from Spirit Adrift continues. With an opening riff that recalls AC/DC trading blows with Dark Tranquillity, “Ride into the Light” charges forth like a bat out of the 70’s, marrying the retro-stylings of yesteryear with the flashiness of modern-day guitar heroics. Speaking of, Garrett’s stepped up his guitar playing, which has always been a joy to listen to, and his leads on “Astral Levitation” and “Cosmic Conquest” soar with the same bravado and ear-worming euphoria that classic Iron Maiden and Judas Priest are known and loved for. Factor in the best performances by drummer Marcus Bryant so far, and you’ve got a compelling case for a strong modern heavy metal album.

That’s the good news. Sadly, the front half of Enlightened outshines the back half in terms of songwriting strengths. “Battle High” dips into classic Grand Magus territory, but doesn’t quite flesh things out enough to leave a lasting impression. Elsewhere, “Harmony of the Spheres” bounces all over the place between classic heavy metal, “boots-and-pants” boogie, and Gothenburg-flavored D-beatdowns with a disrupted flow. Finally, in what’s meant to be a throwback to their earlier doom days, closer “Reunited in the Void” pulls things down a bit too far with its greatly slowed pace, Garrett’s warbling voice when he’s trying to sustain a word, and an abruptly upbeat and somewhat booty-shaking ending that feels so out of place compared to the rest of the song.

But “Reunited in the Void” offers a compelling look at Garrett’s influences. During the song’s middle portion, Garrett’s love of classic country music and folk rears its head, and it’s a magnificent, ear-grabbing, and soulful tribute to the sounds of his upbringing. Sure, Garrett has pulled influences from far and wide to make a sound of his own over the last few years, but this sudden (and welcome) infusion just sounds and feels organic, and I wouldn’t mind hearing it explored more, whether it’s on a future Spirit Adrift album or even if he were to do a solo album of Americana-infused music. It just seems like such a natural fit for Garrett, and I’m intrigued to see where he goes with it.

So again, I’m not knocking Enlightened in Eternity. It’s still a good album with some great songs and moments. It’s just a frustratingly good album. That said, given all Garrett’s gone through this year on his own, and what we’re all going through this year as a collective whole, I’m just glad Garrett hasn’t thrown in the towel on Spirit Adrift or life in general. Any Spirit Adrift is welcome these days. Besides, we could all use some positivity right now, and there are far, far worse places to get it from.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Labels: 20 Buck Spin (North America) | Century Media Records (Rest of the World)
Websites: spiritadrift.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/SpiritAdrift
Releases Worldwide: October 16th, 2020

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