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Metal for metal's sake - 79%

CarcassBOMB, June 8th, 2019

It's stated Spirit Adrift are doom but there's a lighter melodic metal approach to it that's very nice. A lot of older inspirations from early doom/heavy metal and early melodeath in the vocals and build ups. It's not the typical expectation from the genre tag and I enjoy that, it's refreshing and uses some forgotten styles of the early 2000's. It's not associated with modern doom in any way that I can see, so it feels a little out of place among the current wave of bands, it's more vintage.

It's a blender of experiences, I particularly love the inclusion of the doom ballad in the middle of the album, the track Angel & Abyss, it really calls back to the days of Iced Earth and Witchfinder General. But even that ballad gives way completely to an Ozzy Osbourne fueled rhythm guitar under a series of soaring lead licks. There's a compulsion to show off that mostly works due to talent but can interrupt some of the slower moments. The vocalist is clearly very good, with a varied singing background but never takes it deep or dark, basically choir singing when not doing the old heavy metal wide singing. I would have liked to have heard a darker side even on just one track because sometimes it feels like the instruments are setting up for that level of heavy payoff but ultimately doesn't, instead choosing to bleed off into a different melodic direction.
 
They certainly end the album nicely with a longer track that spent more time on each progression and new sound introduced, building up into a flurry of battling guitars. There's a lot to enjoy overall as a metal fan but in terms of releases this year, Divided By Darkness is lacking in an engaging theme. The lyrics are quite basic and call to mind most of power metal, even Demons & Wizards. It's pretty formula driven or at least mixed for mainstream consideration. Something that's clearly working for their current popularity and for relisting, but doesn't speak to me much. If there is a concept here I just wasn't able to access it. it's at least an easy listen.

I got onto this one on Bandcamp because of the album cover. It's pretty awesome and something I noticed is that there's the artist signature at the bottom, there's a good idea for you cover artists frustrated by bands or labels not giving credit on promo and bandcamp. This one is done by Joe Petagno. He's done other Spirit Adrift records as well. This artwork brings to mind Dark Souls but most things do, it's a condition. I like how he's filled wherever space would be with some kind of dangerous creature or symbol. There's a lot going.

It's a bit vapid but it should service the average headbanger well.


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