A lot has changed since Hour of 13’s last album, 333, came out in 2012. The project is now a one-man affair with bandleader/multi-instrumentalist Chad Davis playing all the parts himself, including vocals with Phil Swanson long out of the picture. That nine-year gap also saw a minor genre tug ‘o’ war take place as singles and EPs were torn between the Traditional Doom of albums past and Samhain-style Deathrock, often determined by whether the 13 was retained as a number or spelled out. With this somewhat convoluted frame in mind, it’s a relief to see the former style win out on their fourth full-length, Black Magick Rites (Shadow Kingdom Records).
Mourn the Light – Suffer, Then We’re Gone
Mourn The Light offers Traditional Doom Metal with a few twists on their first full-length album. It doesn’t quite hit the full operatic scope of Epic Doom or reach the speeds of Classic Metal, but influences from both at work throughout Suffer, Then We’re Gone (Argonauta Records). The riffs and song structures are in line with the busy nature of Psalm 9-era Trouble while the vocals offer a husky but theatrical bellow, drawing further comparisons to groups like Altar Of Oblivion and Argus.Continue reading
As if torn from the comic book origins I obsessed over as a child, Spirit Adrift’s past, like their members identities are shrouded deep in mystery. I didn’t know much about these newly signed to Prosthetic Records purveyors of the finest psychedelic doom we have heard in a long time, going in. But what I can tell you with certainty: with just two songs this band is ready to knock the US doom scene flat on its ass.
Comprised of the cryptically named JK on guitar and vocals, UB on drums, and DD on bass, and ascribing to the ancient philosophy of “Musica Universalis”, the band is as ambitious with songwriting, especially as they are secretive. obviously wishing to just suck you into their tractor beam with only the music, these songs are immense feeling. Behind Beyond clocks in at a nearly 28 minutes combined. Every note, trilled guitar riff, swooping bass glide, or crashing cymbal hit is deliberate, but very loose sounding too. ‘Specter of Ruin’ leads off with a contemplative plucked riff and an almost nautical feel, before the riffs smash your ears apart. JK’s otherworldly singing voice and harmonies are excellent. I actually wonder what the band will do live, since these vocals are crucial to the sound. After a chilled out mid-section it advances to a marching waltz cadence, and some more amazing riffs. The major key and the epic sounding drums are downright sunny and uplifting.
‘Perpetual Passage’ is even more obtuse and eerie. A very somber opening is more in the vein of trad doom influences. JK’s lead playing is the icing on the cake for the entire release. Just close your eyes and soak in the glory. suddenly the band jumps a few more decades ahead flavor-wise, praying to the altar of Matt Pike, the Jehovah of all jammage. Fully formed, the song is as big as the celestial bodies the band references. The end of the track swells and recedes over and over in your head like a mantra.
If this is just the start of what Spirit Adrift is going to offer us, I cannot wait for their full-length to arrive later this year.
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