Spirit Adrift is a majestic force of heavy metal. Though there’s no shortage of doom metal acts descended from the lineage of Black Sabbath that dive into heavy distortion and atmospheres reeking of dread, Spirit Adrift—spearheaded by multi-instrumentalist Nate Garrett—take a more cosmic approach to melody. This quality has been present since the band’s debut LP Chained to Oblivion, which has only progressed in ambition and musicianship, taking their biggest leap with 2019’s Divided by Darkness.
One year later, Spirit Adrift return with fourth album Enlightened in Eternity and a hell of a lot more kick. Surging with heavy metal adrenaline, Enlighted in Eternity is a journey brimming with powerful instrumentation and insightful lyricism. From the launch of opening track “Ride into the Light,” the record is a nonstop rush. Backed by Marcus Bryant on drums, Garrett builds up fret-burning riffs, explosive melodies and the occasional well-timed moment of tranquility. The groove throughout these songs is infectious, capable of stirring one to movement (and headbanging!). Garrett shouts with bravado over an electrifying rhythm, the chorus section ascending to let loose a killer melodic sequence. “Astral Levitation” takes a step back on tempo, but only slightly, never losing an ounce of its ferocity.
In just these first two tracks, Spirit Adrift put forth an overwhelming, positive energy. Enlightened In Eternity is lyrically rich with an aura of empowerment—fueling a spirit of joy and adventure through lines like, “There is nowhere that can’t be seen/ If you let yourself be free/ There is nothing that can’t be done/ If you let it come to be.” The band take their heavier take on classic metal down various paths, pulling from the well-seasoned sounds of ’70s and ’80s metal on each of the album’s impeccably performed tracks. “Cosmic Conquest” reads like a spiritual take on Motley Crüe, whereas “Harmony of the Spheres” pulls from the powerful appeal of Judas Priest. One can sense these inspirational touches, but each take feels unique. It’s more that Spirit Adrift honors the music of the past while making something of their own out of it.
This trip through a more vintage heavy metal aesthetic is lighter on the doom elements they’ve employed in the past. They’re still here, but they come across more in the melodic spirit of the music, less so in droning and moody atmosphere. The big exception to this is the record’s closing track, “Reunited in the Void,” which makes for a massive return to those doom-like qualities. It’s not as tense as on similar moments on previous records, but the droning presence exudes emotion. And even in this progression, the band still maintain a hopeful outlook, offering a fresh take on a genre known for overwhelming darkness—a much needed sense of escape and light in a world in disarray. Enlightened to Eternity is both an energizing and moving experience, Spirit Adrift’s best album to date and one of the most exhilarating records of the year.
Label: 20 Buck Spin
A graduate of Columbia College Chicago's Creative Writing Program, Michael Pementel is a published music journalist, specializing in metal and its numerous subgenres. Along with his work for Treble and Bloody Disgusting, he has also written for Consequence of Sound, Metal Injection, Dread Central, Electronic Gaming Monthly and the Funimation blog.