Spirit Adrift could’ve followed the more accessible bent of 2019’s Divided In Darkness with more of the same but chose to mix things up to an even greater degree with their fourth full-length album. The tug o’ war between Doom and Traditional Metal that has defined their style has turned in the latter’s favor with more songs taking on upbeat tempos. The lyrics have also undergone a noticeable attitude adjustment with a decidedly optimistic outlook and an emphasis on metaphysical galactic imagery. There are enough common denominators to help Enlightened In Eternity (20 Buck Spin/Century Media) fit in with their established trajectory, but it may be their most drastic sound shift thus far.
Going along with that, the songwriting is easily their most varied with the band’s already the expansive pool of influences seemingly getting broader with every release. This is best demonstrated by ‘Screaming From Beyond’ and ‘Battle High,’ the former going into AC/DC territory with its Hard Rock swagger while the latter hints at Blues inspiration with its steady mid-tempo shuffle. Elsewhere, ‘Cosmic Conquest’ grounds its driving verses with a particularly stomping chorus while ‘Harmony Of The Spheres’ dares to go full Power Metal with its more inspiring chugs.
Of course, there are still plenty of familiar elements hanging around for those already acquainted with the band’s signature tropes. ‘Astral Levitation’ wouldn’t have been out of place on their last album with its loose yet anthemic structure being cut from the same cloth as ‘Hear Her’ while the closing ‘Reunited In The Void’ is somewhere between the balladry of ‘Angel & Abyss’ and the drawn-out Doom of their earliest outings. Bandleader Nathan Garrett’s (ex -Gatecreeper) signature wail and fluid guitar work also serve as steady unifiers, though the vocals come with some extra gruff while the harmonies and riffs are more intricate and muscular than ever. It’s also nice to hear some extra bass on ‘Cosmic Conquest’ and ‘Screaming From Beyond.’
I may still prefer Divided By Darkness by a hair, but there’s no denying that Enlightened In Eternity is a pretty great step forward for Spirit Adrift. The more varied songwriting and uplifting themes work well with the predecessor’s accessibility, making for a more in your face listen with even more growing potential. The Hard Rock elements may be a slight shock at first but it’s also easy to imagine them being developed in the future. If Spirit Adrift remains as dedicated to their musical evolution as they are to titling their albums in alphabetical order, they are sure to keep giving us plenty of quality work.
9 / 10