August 12, 2016 marks the second release by Spirit Adrift this year. Earlier in the year, Behind-Beyond was released and, to my error, I passed it by. It was not until I started listening to Take Over and Destroy that I started connecting the dots, and revisited Behind-Beyond. Nate Garrett, formerly of Take Over and Destroy, as well as the highly anticipated new release from Gatecreeper, channels his aura of healing musical ability into his solo project Spirit Adrift. This doom metal massif is as heavy as the Himalayas, and the passion involved is second to none.
At only five songs, but well over 45 minutes, Chained to Oblivion takes the strong attributes from the EP Behind-Beyond and capitalizes on them. With doom metal bands, many characteristics for the genre are borrowed and passed around. Too many times I will be sampling some doom, and it's evident that the slow riffs, the guitar effects, the tempos, and the heavy slow drumming simply became an easy crutch for musicians. Songwriting gets lost, and only the genre-defining characteristics remain (the same can be said for many distinguishable subgenres as well). This may hold true for first impressions of Spirit Adrift, but after some active listening, the depth is clearly seen after the dispersing mud has settled from the thick riffs and monolithic beats. A strong spiritual voice carries a deeper emotion, a melodic riff is precisely placed, or a complex drum fill slinks by, and a larger body of soul inspired music begins to show its silhouette.
"Psychic Tide" is an excellent opener, one of the more classic sounding doom songs. Its consistent bass is churned numerous times as the backbone of the song is thickly slathered over exactly 10 minutes of higher paced activity. Skipping to track three. "Form and Force" seems to have gained a more mature composure, opening up a more complex view and is almost experimental turning into a melodic anthem. The title track, "Chained to Oblivion", marks the emotional and sober climax. This song is my personal favorite. A sorrowful and mournful vocal epilogue trickles its way through the slowest track on the album. Part of the beauty, though, is that there's a redeeming and satisfying mood that cuts through all the heavy and somber elements. It does not clash, but instead complements itself in a molding of opposites that is difficult to combine.
It is typically hard to keep my attention when doom is being played. I really have to be in the right mood and have no distractions. So when Spirit Adrift manages to not only maintain its depth and consistency, but also continually entertain and rejuvenate my soul, it continues to appear on my daily playlist. The accessibility is also much higher than most other bands with similar values and characteristics. So if you're undecided on a purchase, and enjoy the songs available, you're only experiencing a glimpse of what the album as a whole has to offer. Let the flow take your spirit adrift.