Behind - Beyond
Prosthetic Records/Rocket Distribution
Reviewed By Chris Gibbs
Spirit Adrift plays a form of desert wandering, psychedelic, and melodic doom that is I suppose at times reminiscent of the excellent Pallbearer, but nowhere near as good. I will of course cut them some serious slack as we’re talking about a band that only formed somewhere in 2015 and barely has 200 Facebook likes. I’m actually struggling to discover much else about them, with the exception that they are just about to drop their debut release in the form of an EP entitled Behind – Beyond, courtesy of the good folks at Prosthetic Records.
Consisting of only two, albeit rather lengthy, compositions with a combined total running time of 28-minutes, this should come as no surprise for anyone familiar with the aforementioned genre and similar bands that travel the path of creating such art. The first taste of this Arizona-based trio comes in the form of “Specter of Ruin” and clocking in at just over 12-minutes in length, this song showcases the slightly softer, lighter, and melancholic shades of Spirit Adrift. It creates a bleak and haunting atmosphere, and dare I say the surprising melodic lead vocals of vocalist/guitarist JK bring to mind Michael Stipe of R.E.M.
“Perpetual Passage” is definitely the heavier and longer of the two, coming in just shy of 16-minutes. At around 3:52 the tempo shifts up a few gears and takes on a vibe not dissimilar to the faster moments of High on Fire, ripping guitar solos and all, but not as heavy. They do change up the song structure enough to not bore you with incessant repetition as some purveyors oft do, not getting too hung up on specific riff, but a little more self-editing might still not be a bad idea as some aspects are repetitive nonetheless.
There is no doubt Spirit Adrift are heavily influenced by Black Sabbath as far as the writing of riffs are concerned. Vocalist/guitarist JK does possess an underlying, more aggressive nature at times that appears briefly on “Specter of Ruin” and comes forth more during “Perpetual Passage”, almost similar to High on Fire’s Matt Pike. I hope they choose to explore this a little further when it comes time to record their full length release. They don’t require an entire song worth or in the guttural vein of Daniel Droste from Ahab, but just enough angst to complement the heavier moments that they’ve hinted at on this debut release.
There is definitely potential here, however they also aren’t breaking any new ground. You could quite easily thrust your fist into the collective boiling pot of doom and remove a handful of bands all doing the same thing and be satisfied you aren’t missing out on something unique. While Behind – Beyond is pretty good, I don’t believe there is enough attraction to draw me back and I am concerned this EP may sadly find itself collecting digital dust.