Spirit Adrift – Curse of Conception (20 Buck Spin)

Friday, 20th October 2017
Rating: 8/10

Spirit Adrift’s 2016 Chained to Oblivion was marked by its unabashed use of twin guitar harmonies and stoic brand of doom. The product of Gatecreeper live member Nate Garrett, Spirit Adrift emerged as one of those rare doom do-it-yourself products. And while it didn’t appear Garrett needed additional assistance, Chained to Oblivion wasn’t quite the fully-formed entity it could have been. The band’s sophomore Curse of Conception is, however, showcasing realized, well-rounded songs, complemented throughout by sterling guitar harmonies, the type that push the album over the top.

Still some wobbles and bumps in the vocal department for Garrett, who can appear impassioned at certain points (“To Fly on Broken Wings”) but also takes the easy way out with his cadences (“Spectral Savior”). Since he’s of the singing-while-I-shout variety, Garrett, obviously, has only so much to work with vocally. Once you’re totally in the thick of the album, it’s clear this remains the only sticking point with Spirit Adrift.

But, man, those guitar harmonies are stocked, locked and loaded, Garrett unleashing them whenever he can, channeling a doom-sized Thin Lizzy to benefit his often big and barreling riffs. There’s plenty to mine from on the opening “Earthbound” as well as album highlight “Starless Age (Enshrined),” a cut that in this particular realm, would pass as an honest-to-goodness ballad based on its soulfulness and sweet, clean leads. (Not surprisingly, the cut also features Garrett’s best vocal performance.)

A noticeable step above Chained to Oblivion, Curse of Conception is sure to hearten the old doom guard. If anything else, it moves Spirit Adrift ever closer to the top rung of the American doom circuit, a place currently occupied by Khemmis and Pallbearer.