Every so often, I hear an album that I immediately get addicted to and subsequently jump down the rabbit hole with that band's discography. I've spent much of the past month or so listening to Divided By Darkness, the new album by Spirit Adrift and I'm truly annoyed at myself for not getting into this band earlier. While featuring two members of Gatecreeper, there is really no sonic connection between the two projects. Although having early access to the digital release, I rushed to my local record store earlier today to grab the vinyl so I can get the full sonic experience.
I hilariously forgot to change my turntable speed from 45rpm back down to 33rpm and momentarily heard album opener "We Will Not Die"as an uptempo, Iron Maiden-esque barrage of guitar harmonies. After repeated listens to the album, I'm really drawn to the classical heavy metal vibes found throughout the 42 minutes. Growing up and getting into shit like Metallica, my first exposure was Ride The Lightning, and I can respect some of the parallel characteristics found on Divided By Darkness, whether intentional or not. The clean guitar tones and ominous first half of "Angels & Abyss" is reminiscent of Fade To Black, the album closer is an instrumental AND the record consists of eight tracks, which was a staple of both Ride and Master Of Puppets.
The melding of heavy metal with rock and doom elements yields a fantastic listening experience for fans of all heavy genres. The band's liner notes outline their music being "Lazily labelled Doom by some" and I wholeheartedly agree in this modern climate of reliance on sub-genres to describe a band's sound. Simply having powerful clean, melodic vocals on top of down tuned distorted guitars doesn't slap it into the doom category.
Title track "Divided By Darkness" opens with some catchy guitar harmonies while the rhythm section builds momentum before kicking into a heavy verse riff. The vocals of frontman/guitarist Nate Garrett are a highlight on the record, and I catch little hints of Ozzy here and there. I can picture a crowd banging their heads off to the intro riff in "Born Into Fire" and pumping their fists while screaming the lyrics during the chorus.
"Tortured By Time" is a slower tempo rocker with soaring vocal harmonies and equally powerful acrobatic guitar harmonies. The song builds into an epic crescendo that segues into the more upbeat but equally aggressive "Hear Her" which features a sick bass heavy bridge section. Closer "The Way Of Return" goes in some interesting directions with a delay soaked solo before slowing down into a clean section. A wall of 80's-esque synth take over during the midpoint of the track before building back into a guitar duel that rocks into a fadeout.
I love this fucking album and I cannot wait to catch these guys at Saint Vitus on their upcoming tour. Pending on when you read this, Divided By Darkness is out Friday via 20 Buck Spin. Check out the lyric video for "Angel's & Abyss" at the top of this review.