Spirit Adrift – Chained to Oblivion (Prosthetic)Tuesday, 26th July 2016
Apparently, Nate Garrett never received the memo that if you’re going to do a one-man project, it has to be black metal. Seriously, the vast majority of single dude outfits is black metal and it’s not even close. But hey, splitting hairs here. For Mr. Garrett, Spirit Adrift serves as a necessary creative and mental outlet, putting his combined talents on display first, with this year’s Behind-Beyond EP, and now a proper full-length in the form of Chained to Oblivion.
Caught somewhere between the slow-cooked Southern Sabbath swag of Corrosion of Conformity (think Deliverance), Thin Lizzy, and dragged-out doom, Spirit Adrift get to work with five songs here, each of which, of course, are long. But nevertheless, it’s Garrett’s vocals that are the deciding factor. He sings clean, which is great, and can regularly find the necessary haunting, emotive angle, like on “Psychic Tide” and “Form and Force.” Trouble is, he’s often confined to the same pitch and key, causing his phrasing to feel a bit similar throughout. A little shade and variation could go a long for Garrett in this department.
Even with the vocal bumps in the road, Chained to Oblivion builds up enough momentum to become engaging. Garrett’s guitar work—heavy on harmonies, mind you—gets the nod as the most appealing aspect of Spirit Adrift, especially when he’s working them in between stoic doom riffs. This prompts this scribe to make the connection to 40 Watt Sun, a band of similar conviction, although Patrick Walker certainly has the upper hand vocally. Never the matter, on Chained to Oblivion, Spirit Adrift proves itself to be a welcome addition to the small, but vital impassioned doom throng.