Divided by Darkness is the latest full-length by Arizona metal band Spirit Adrift. A mix of classic and doom metal with bits of folk and stoner rock thrown in, the band’s third album is sure to be a hit with fans of bands like Mastodon or The Sword. I can’t say Spirit Adrift held my complete attention for the entirety of Divided by Darkness, but I really enjoyed their brand of heavy metal.
The album kicks off with “We Will Not Die,” a five-minute homage to the classic metal and stoner bands from yesteryear. The tune’s marching beat and guitar harmonies throughout make it a real headbanger despite the colour-by-number rhyme scheme that the vocals follow. Things really get going with the album’s title track. The guitarmonies are still there, but this time they’re followed up by some more rhythmically complex riffing and an incredibly sombre repeating chord progression that you could hear on any modern black metal release. Some other standout moments on Divided by Darkness include the sludgy as hell “Born Into Fire” or the over the top, doomy closing track “The Way of Return.” This album has a lot going for it, the musicianship and riffs are top notch and the vocals, albeit not the most diverse, fit the project well and tie the songs together nicely.
It’s pretty clear after the first few songs that Spirit Adrift are going for an epic sound. While I do feel they achieved that at times, some of the songs on Divided by Darkness could be trimmed back. The song “Divided by Darkness” would have easily been my favourite of the release were it not for the tacked on ending that starts right around the 3-minute mark. The tail end of the song isn’t bad, it just comes out of nowhere, following a dead stop, and doesn’t take the song anywhere. “Angel & Abyss” is another one that I felt could’ve been cut back significantly. The clean sound of the song is a nice change at first, but it didn’t keep my attention much past the first few minutes. Knowing that the song ends on a fade out rather than building to anything makes repeat listens of the song a challenge.
All in all, Divided by Darkness is a killer metal record. Spirit Adrift have a great sound that’s familiar but still innovative. Had some of these tunes been cut back, I might have loved this release. That said, the band’s newest album is definitely worth checking out either as a long-time fan or as a starting point.
Written by Justin Bruce
*edited by Mike Milito