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Spirit Adrift – Forge Your Future Award winner

Spirit Adrift
Forge Your Future
by Gary Hernandez at 18 September 2021, 9:40 PM

SPIRIT ADRIFT has a lot of songs dealing with journeys—of mind, of spirit, of self. Their latest EP, “Forge Your Future,” is possibly the most overt and didactic amongst them. It also further marks their own journey from Doom Metal outfit to NWOBHM resurrectionists. Since their beginnings in 2016, the duo has traversed a lot of ground across four full-length albums, one split, and three EPs. From their early material as heavy and sludgy as cold molasses on through to their cover material which is as far flung as Rory Ericson to Dick Burnett all the way to the present with their center lane Heavy Metal, SPIRIT ADRIFT has been on a trajectory that has pleased a wide range of fans. “Forge Your Future” will no doubt please former fans and win new ones.

“Forge Your Future,” released in August 2021 on Century Media, comprises three tracks spanning a little less than twenty minutes. That’s north of five minutes but south of eight per song. If you’re thinking that affords little room for Doom tangents or Prog romps, you’d be right. This album is more about hooky riffs, polished vocals, and remonstrative lyrics. It's a blessing for fans of DIO and Ozzy and an anathema to extreme metalists. With that said, “Forge Your Future” is still a very good EP and one that’ll find its way on to a lot of metalhead playlists. The riffs and the solos are excellent throughout and the rhythm section is as tight as you’d expect from a band of this caliber. Nate’s vocals continue to expand album after album and are all clean while retaining a bit of an edge.

Part of the band’s journey, of course, has been the trek from underground label Prosthetic to major label Century Media. With that you get access to better marketing and arguably better production. What you might lose, though, is some of the ‘hungry wolf’ mentality that fueled the band in the earlier days. And in the metal world we often look down on polished music, believing it is the mark of over commercialization; and we look up to raw music, believing it’s more authentic. Somewhere between the two is the fine line between kowtowing to the label’s whims and holding true to the band’s vision. One can only hope that it’s possible to ‘buy in’ and not ‘sell out.’

With three tracks it seems senseless to talk about standout tracks, so instead I’ll stack the songs in preferential order. “Invisible Enemy” is my favorite track on the album, featuring the most compositional variation; “Forge Your Future” is a solid assault, with punchy and insistent vocals; and “Wake Up” is a bit derivative, with riffs too reminiscent of some Ozzy standards and a chorus that eventually becomes preachy.

I should say here that I really like SPIRIT ADRIFT. I have their entire catalogue, from their Doom-laden early years to their later NWOBHM-laced released. My favorites, btw, are the eclectic covers which range from Appalachian hymns to Sabbath behemoths. The band’s talents are indisputably fantastic. The biggest question is where their next step will take them. In a perfect world, the band would veer back to their underground predilections but at the same time gain more commercial security. Only time will tell.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 7
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1.  Forge Your Future
2.  Wake Up
3.  Invisible Enemy
Lineup:
Nate Garrett – Guitars, vocals, bass
Marcus Bryant – Drums
Preston Bryant – Guitar, studio keyboards
Sonny DeCarlo – Bass
Record Label: Century Media
     


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Edited 16 October 2021
 

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