Spirit Adrift’s previous album, Curse of Conception, was one of the best doom metal, if not overall metal albums of 2017. I know it ranked quite highly on my year-end top 10 list – and I definitely wasn’t alone. But now I’ve heard that they’ve switched things up a bit for their latest record. While Curse of Conception was recorded as a full band, Divided by Darkness is largely a one-man effort, with Nate Garrett playing all the instruments except for drums and the occasional synth. Oh yeah, did I mention that there’s synthesizers on this record?
Divided by Darkness starts off with “We Will Not Die,” a five-minute, synth-accented, traditional heavy metal stomp. The opening flourish wouldn’t sound outta place on a power metal album, while the up-tempo verse and soaring chorus are reminiscent of retro metal revivalists Haunt. The title track has a similarly soaring structure, although its chugging, gurgling riffage reminds me more of the likes of Torche or maybe even Kylesa, although its guitar solo is pure heavy metal fury.
“Born Into Fire” is a little more reminiscent of the epic doom of their last album, with a tasty, clean, winding riff that will appeal to fans of Pale Divine or the power/doom of an act like Argus. It’s not quite the Candlemass worship of Curse of Conception, but the closing coda should get your head banging, in any case. “Tortured by Time” also features some solid, heavy, slow-mo riffage, with a plaintive, melodic section that strikes around the four-minute mark. And closing instrumental “The Way of Return” kicks off with some killer melodic shredding before taking on more of a Pink Floyd tone, then ending on a power metal note.
At six and a half minutes, “Angel & Abyss” could be considered an honest-to-Satan power ballad, although its heavy, chugging chorus saves it from being too wimpy. And when they pick up the pace with some Judas Priest style riffage right around the four-minute mark, it’s a welcome (victim of) change.
The end result is closer to Cauldron than Candlemass, but this album is still a solid listen for fans of old-school, melodic heavy metal.
(20 Buck Spin)