The Seven Questions Spirit Adrift Must Answer After Selling Out
Only a year and a half away from their first release, Spirit Adrift has become one of the first bands I reference when talking about modern doom. Its raw emotion and singular vision took me by surprise and has captivated me ever since, but as with all things I love, I accidentally have neglected Chained to Oblivion for a bit. With Curse of Conception coming out this week, I figure now is as good a time as any to revisit one of my top albums of last year and see what has changed with the band.
To my unfortunate surprise, a TON has changed. Seriously, what are these new sounds coming out of my headphones? This isn’t what I signed up for at all. I have some questions that need answering:
1. What’s With the Band, Bro!?
Nate Garrett decided to actually make some friends instead of playing by himself and bottling up his emotions into a microphone. Joining forces with members of his other gig (you may have heard some of the buzz around Gatecreeper earlier this year), Nate has some fantastic musicians on his side this time around. The skills they added to the recording definitely tightened things up a bit, but in doing so, changed the band totally. Did they make you change your sound, Nate? Blink 666 times if yes. Friends aren’t kvtl.
2. Why Did You Learn How To Sing Good?!
The faltering voice in Chained to Oblivion was one of its most endearing qualities and one that is sorely missing from Curse. There’s so much control added power this time around. From the first belted note on “Earthbound”, you can tell something has changed. Did 20 Buck Spin chain you down and make you do 300 takes for every verse until your voice was perfect? Tap the beat of “War Pigs” with your left foot if yes.
3. Production!? Why?!
Chained to Oblivion was a little crackly and fuzzy, but not in an offensive way. It warmed the soul with its a-little-too-crisp tone and slightly muddled drums. Curse is crystal clear; every instrument is perfectly leveled, the range is DEEP, and the doom crunch shakes your core. There’s no easier way to sell out than by booking studio time with a producer and then sending the recordings out to master.
4. Who Told You to Shorten Your Songs!?
While songs averaged near ten minutes on Chained, there are only two that hardly crack seven on this new record. What are you trying to do here Nate, get on the radio or something? Doom is all about those 7-8 minute tracks with riffs that don’t end, repeat too many times, and then include at least a 3-minute nap time. Stop trying to improve the genre.
5. Why Did You Let Other Influences into Your Music?!
Spirit Adrift’s doom was never pure doom, but more and more things keep creeping in and ruining the purity of our sacred genre. There’s a lot of just straight up heavy metal, progressive melodies, and even a bunch of Tom G Warrior “UGHs” on the S/T track.
6. Finger Shredding Solos!?
You were never shy about including solos in your songs, but this is ridiculous. The end of “Starless Age” far surpassed my ability to count the notes per second, which shouldn’t be allowed in doom.
7. You Gained Success With Your Debut, Why Are You Still Taking Chances?!
This one may seem counter-intuitive, and it is, but hear me out. Once bands find their sound, they are supposed to lock in and play the same thing forever. Think of your fans! They won’t all change with you. The last half of “Spectral Savor” is odd. The entirety of “Wakien” is odd. You’re taking too many chances. Plateau ASAP!
Despite these MANY MANY faults, Curse of Conception is an excellent record. It’s different, and I am sure many loyal fans of the band’s first releases might be tepid, but fear not. Spin this once, twice, four times, and I’m sure you’ll see it as a cleaner evolution that doesn’t lose its emotional punch. It changes direction all over the place, doesn’t care about labels, and never even considers being boring.