Not since last year’s modern classic by Khemmis have I been blown away by a doom record (sorry Pallbearer fans). Much like Khemmis, Spirit Adrift produce a lot of music very quickly, as this is their second full-length in two years, and time has helped the respective bands really nail down a sonic vision. No longer are Spirit Adrift content to wallow solely in the murky doom waters, Curse of Conception is so much more than their debut, and that’s what makes it so special. Honestly, this feels much more like a classic heavy metal record with doom and thrash elements than anything else. Dual guitar leads, lengthy guitar solos that will make retro metalheads’ eyes well up with glee, and riffs that work for the benefit of the individual songs more than as a focal point. You can hear the 60s, 70s, and 80s in here; these are real students of the game. Curse of Conception is more Maiden and Priest than Sabbath at this point; in truth, they seem most indebted to Trouble, as far as doom influences go.
Really though, pinpointing influences (and noticing them on record) isn’t what makes Spirit Adrift’s sophomore record so outstanding. No, the reason that Curse of Conception is the next retro-fueled classic is because of the way it makes you feel. The soul of the music and the members’ joy at playing these classic-style tunes is why your spine will tingle and you’ll have to come up with an explanation of why you are teary-eyed on a flight to Detroit (don’t judge). By shortening the song lengths (and tightening their songwriting), Spirit Adrift have become masters of their craft. This is transcendent music that takes you to a different place (even, if like me, you don’t do drugs), just like classic metal can do.
The only things holding back the record from utter perfection are that Nate Garrett’s voice may be a tough sell for some; his passion and aching are apparent, and I think it works great with the music, but Garrett’s style is certainly raw. Also, the record should have ended after “Wakien”, as “Onward, Inward”, while fine, doesn’t feel like an appropriate ending. “Starless Age (Enshrined)”, with arguably the best second half shift in recent memory would have been a more fitting closer. Either way, it’s clear that Spirit Adrift have taken the leap. This is no longer a promising project. No, with a modern doom rock classic in tow, Spirit Adrift are primed to become a real force for a long time.