Spirit Adrift // Ghost At The Gallows // Album Review
Spirit Adrift are back once again, keeping heavy metal alive & well.
Since forming the band in 2015 frontman & main songwriter Nate Garrett has been creating some of the best metal albums in the current metal landscape.
From the bands early output in “Chained to Oblivion” & “Curse of Conception” showcased Garrett’s doom metal influence. Then crafted phenomenal heavy metal, blues & all round badass album “Divided by Darkness”.
The band’s last album “Enlightened in Eternity” from 2020 was the largest & more expansive album in the band’s arsenal. An album that quickly joined the ranks of my own favourite albums of all time, And giving the band the well-deserved rise in ranks within the scene, Turning many heads carving out their name in a genre that might be lacking in 2023.
Now with their sixth album soon to be released, “Ghost At The Gallows” might just be the best yet from the band.
Opening with “Give Her To The River”, a haunting yet beautiful echoing clean guitar puts you in with its lullaby-like melody before the back builds to a mighty opening. As soon as they began this intro gave me shivers! And that’s a rare occurrence. Right at the outset the album feels like the tightest the band has ever been, Now with a new lineup that has been cemented for the past three years on the band’s touring cycles. Featuring guitarist Tom Draper, bassist Sonny DeCarlo & drummer Mike Arellano.
Again bringing that very chunky riff style but still keeping the groove, Garrett’s songwriting keeps the track engaging, always in motion & the ability to convey emotion through a guitar hook. If this track is a preview of the album’s quality then we’re in for a ride.
As the second track “Barn Burner” begins we are already hooked. Flashy but not arrogant lead guitar hooks real you in for the monstrous riff that drives the song and pulls you along for the ride. Garrett’s vocal delivery on this track & the whole album is his best to date. The guy has the most solid & consistent pipes in the game right now. Be it a low, aggressive tone or his high, projective classic rock style the guy has it all. Creating vocal melodies that quickly become earworms & after the first line you are singing along as the second chorus repeats. The ability Spirit Adrift has like no other band now is to capture you on that first listen. In a world of a million bands & millions of albums being released a day, Spirit Adrift has the power to grab you with both hands, pull you in & keep your attention from start to finish.
At the midway point “These Two Hands” feels like the most personal & introspective track on the album. As a whole the album talks about dealing & living with grief & loss. But this track handles it so delicately & perfectly. The first few minutes are peaceful & tranquil. The acoustic guitar & Garrett’s beautiful voices paint a gorgeous image of the aftermath of loss.
Then at the climax the whole band builds the piece & delivers only what i can say feels like the band’s “Nothing Else Matters”. Now as a whole “Ghost At The Gallows” feels like Spirit Adrift’s “Black” album. The level of songwriting, the overall sonic sound that was helped by recording from Sanford Parker and Jeff Henson with the legendary Zeuss (Queensryche, Hatebreed) handling mixing and mastering has created an album that I really feel will last the ages.
Now with an album that has eight tracks that are full-on amazing it’s hard to choose a standout, but for me “Death Won’t Stop Me” feels like the band’s heaviest & best track they have collectively created to date.
Using this track as the lead single really shows just how great it is & the power it. A track that is anthemic, imposes self-worth & basically makes you feel like a badass every time you listen to it. It’s also a perfect example of the level of musicians that now round out Spirit Adrift. The drum & bass performance on this track is outstanding. Thick, unrelenting & powerful. Arellano & DeCarlo help build a solid bass & backbone to the album’s power that does not once falter.
The closing & title track “Ghost At The Gallows” feels like a perfect bookend to the album. Mixing heavy sections with the slower, clean guitar moments this track is the final step in a perfect heavy metal album. The use of subtle vocal effects on Garrett’s singing really helps elevate the track, giving it that soundtrack-like feel. The perfect backdrop to a badass Western film.
In the track’s last few moments just turned that atmosphere dial to the max & helps the album’s sonic journey end in the most lustrous & elegant way.
Spirit Adrift has created the perfect metal album within “Ghost At The Gallows”. Bending genres to craft a true experience for the listener. A sonic journey with the most beautiful payoff & truly their best album to date. A true new modern classic album has been born.
Ghost At The Gallows is out via Century Media on 18th August 2023