6. Spirit Adrift, Curse of Conception (20 Buck Spin)
A strong sense of history informs Spirit Adrift’s revelatory second album, whose sublime melodies echo King Crimson’s Red, the classic doom of Trouble, the more melancholy side of Metallica, and Judas Priest’s masterpiece Stained Class. Where singer/guitarist/songwriter Nate Garrett and producer Sanford Parker succeed so greatly is how the album utilizes those influences yet creates something singular. A result of Garrett’s maturity as a songwriter, that balance of discipline and adventurousness is a rare feat. This kimd of leap forward is something I always crave from metal bands, but for any number of reasons (mainly a very low bar set by successful yet far less talented bands) it so rarely happens anymore. When I first heard what Spirit Adrift had in store on Curse of Conception, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. As described above it is structurally indebted to some very key influences, but hearing this record so assuredly forge its own identity almost had me dumbfounded. This feat is so rare. Garrett is in full command from start to finish, and the way doom, classic heavy metal, and progressive rock find such a pristine balance is remarkable: the heavy moments feel crushing, the more aggressive passages are laced with strong melodies, and Garrett’s own vocal melodies ditch conventionality, reminding me a lot of how Baroness had to learn how to grow into their sound. At the rate Garrett and Spirit Adrift are going, I fully expect them to continue to evolve in a similar fashion. as marvellous as this album is, there’s the inescapable feeling that this is only the beginning. Big things are in store.