Spirit Adrift – Curse of Conception (2017) REVIEW

The latest from this unassuming Arizona based doom metal band is one of the biggest surprises of the year. To think that the same band that put out the modest, heavy psych-tinged ‘Chained to Oblivion’ in 2016 is already back for a bigger, better, bolder take in 2017 is inspiring. Their previous sound was certainly inspired and thoughtful but in the cluttered world of retro doom, stoner doom their debut didn’t stand tall. With a general presence of proto-doom 70’s revival hanging thick in the air Spirit Adrift instead pulls inspiration from the burly mid-80’s heavy metal movement. If you bothered to follow Candlemass after the triumph that was ‘Nightfall’ the rest of the 80’s had them exploring thrash influenced epics; this is the most comfortable stylistic comparison I’d make to this renewal. ‘Curse of Conception’ carries an alluring and accessible handle on the riff without ever feeling like a note-for-note tribute to the masters.

Don’t get it twisted, though, you’re not literally going to get ‘Master of Puppets’-but-doom instead the album plays more like contemporaries Pallbearer with a touch of Lord Vicar‘s ‘stoner confidant’ appeal. The fog of gloom never inspires the listener to lift their head but the heavy metal breaks of tracks like “Starless Age (Enshrined)” offer unparalleled muscular shoves to fully resist the monotony that comes with the plodding excess of modern doom metal. It should serve as inspiration to future doom metal generations that a Bay Area riff or two could elevate their interest above your average Electric Wizard-alike, if only for wider appeal.

‘Curse of Conception’ is brilliantly arranged like a classic heavy metal record; it introduces itself in grand form and each track finds a new way to use the powerful production sound to give emotional timbre to the performances. By the time the haunting release that is “Spectral Savior” unfurls itself as a major point of interest, I’m sold on listening to the whole album again. Within a genre that often stumbles upon itself when creating dynamic experiences this is perhaps one of the best examples of a sub-genre offering depth rather than limitation to said experience. Spirit Adrift are still perhaps too melodramatic for many listeners but I’d argue you’d be remiss to ignore this sort of ‘leap’ in vision and quality that eludes so many heavy metal groups. I can only offer my highest compliment: I bought a t-shirt.


Artist Spirit Adrift
Type Album
Released October 6, 2017
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Our tomb, an asteroid. 4.5/5.0