Arizona based doom metal outfit Spirit Adrift are back with another dense slice of their trademark gloomy grooves. Returning for their 2nd full-length release, after being elevated from front man Nate Garrett’s solo project to a full band, Spirit Adrift bring 42 minutes of melodious doom and gloom in the form of “Divided by Darkness." A follow-up to 2017’s fantastic “Curse of Conception,” this release is a clear image of the bands continuing sonic refinement and shows that they can evolve their sound in new and impressive ways.
The band’s doom-and-heavy-metal inspired sound is seamlessly blended across 8 tracks. The old-school heavy metal influence is much more obvious on this effort than on their previous albums, often shining through in Garrett’s improved songwriting skills. Verses and choruses pour in over chunky riffs, and each song gives the listener plenty of sonic ground to explore.
Tracks “Hear Her” and “Angel & Abyss” show that the band doesn’t shy away from traditional heavy metal palm mutes, fluid and melodious solo leads, while the titular track “Divided by Darkness” and “Tortured by Time” bring in sludgy doom metal riffs and yearning, mournful vocals sure to satisfy any doom aficionado.
Contributing to this album’s success, the production is rock-solid, giving the drums powerful kicks and crisp cymbal crashes while allowing the guitars plenty of room to churn and chug with thick, open-ended tone. The vocals are especially polished, sounding full and high in the mix. The synths take a backseat in most songs this time around, but they swirl with rich, psychedelic fervor that compliments the heavy guitar fuzz well.
The albums massive production is matched only by its musical showmanship. Each element of the band is in total sync here, and together they produce a complex blend of instrumentality, never overstepping their respective boundaries. The bass lays down a solid framework for the lead and rhythm guitars, and the drumming hammers up into a frenzy when needed. Garrett’s haunting vocal performance is more expressive and dynamic than on “Curse of Conception,” and he does not shy away from powerful choruses that worm their way into the listeners ears.
His skill has taken a great leap since his previous effort, demonstrated in his expanded range and Ozzy-esque croons. The band is also unafraid to experiment with new ideas on this record. “Living Light” has an excellent major-key chorus and haunting organ notes that seep out like a funeral dirge, and “The Way of Return” features tense, vibrant synth lines reminiscent of popular 80’s horror soundtracks.
“Divided by Darkness” is a solid record and shows that Spirit Adrift have earned a rightful spot on any listener’s shelf. Impressive new steps keep the record fresh and listenable while retaining plenty of the tried-and-true doom elements that propelled them to success in the first place. The chemistry between members and rich, complex songs are impossible to digest after only one listen. This album demands repeated listening to fully appreciate all the details stuffed in each dense track. 4.5/5