LOUDER REVIEWS: 'Curse of Conception (Re-issue)' - Spirit Adrift
Taking mysticism and adventure as their starting point for writing conceptual music, Spirit Adrift continue to prove a fact that fans of that style of have known for a long time. That being that force of creativity, talent, and ambition alone means you can garner a dedicated following who embrace the scope and storytelling of your music. Their sheer commitment to taking creative risks, mixed with the efforts of those who relentlessly scream their praises, has made more and more heads turn with time. Now with a potential fourth full-length album on the horizon, and with these musicians still surrounded by the flurry of adoration that ‘Divided by Darkness’ garnered in 2019, the time is right to delve deeper, into the newly reissued ‘Curse of Conception’. Originally released in 2017, this will be the first time many have experienced the album. The first aspects you may notice are ethereal yet dazzling quality of the artwork or the spindly acoustics which provide the first note. There’s a certain intrigue to how the music on display determined the sound of their latest work, and the affecting quality shall resound, many years into the act's existence.
‘Earthbound’ begins on a sorrowful though stirring classical guitar before those familiar elevated electrics are allowed to rise. In retrospect, these are identifiable as the hallmarks of an inimitable sound – poignantly though, the facets of exploration and investigation lather the anthem. From the tentative way, the instrumentals become part of a chorale akin to the way strings and brass traditionally might, to the exploratory instincts at play, there’s a visible attempt to scrupulously explore a multitude of avenues and galaxies on display. Despite that, there’s so much cohesion in the intention to bring together primeval boldness, with the ambitious symphony. ‘Curse of Conception’ shows Garret adopting a villainous persona with his vocals, as the guitars and percussion crash and surround, creating that sense of enrapturing wickedness. On quite another feel, ‘To Fly on Broken Wings’ has a seizing atmosphere in the way the echoes and sonic amalgamations create a vivid vibrancy, entangling the listener in strange though cerebral sensations, while further intriguing them.
Certainly, a notable distinction that the next album would make would be the amplified focus on adventure, exemplified by the experiential production, and glorious melodies, which lent flight to the writing. Those coming to this later will certainly have honed in on the ominous, shadowy elements, which surround even the dramatic moments. ‘Starless Age (Enshrined)’ exudes a bleak beauty, in the weeping lead work, and the absorbed tempo, accentuated by our narrators aching refrains and the piercing thud of the bass. In the final stand, the track rears into a dazzling vivacity, proving that their propensity for commanding mood existed even then! ‘Graveside Invocation’ becomes one of the most imperious pieces throughout. Starting on an absolutely ferocious air, we dash from dynamic riff to sinuous solo, not pausing to think of when the piece will inevitably change course. Indeed, when the transition into the brooding, ritualised closing section, there’s a distinct disquiet present. ‘Spectral Saviour’ is versatile in the twisting and tempestuous nature; Beginning on an imposing march, oftentimes psychedelic, occasionally elusive, and ending on an inspirational note, there’s’ a simultaneous dislocation and cohesion at work, relishing in experimentation.
‘Waiken’ is an exploratory instrumental, offset by intriguing oriental textures, where delicately played stringed instruments, interact with capricious percussion. That's of course, preceding a ceremonial swelling into that galactic theatricality that has come to delineate and course through the work of these artists. ‘Onward, Inward’ is the mammoth closing piece, which anyone listening, even casually, knew to expect. Bearing that macerating, journeying sensation, there's a resolve present which ties all of the shreds and dashes of the record together into a piece that plays to the qualities of allure and emotion, rather than chaos or forcefulness.
With the perspective of retrospection, there's a constellation running through Spirit Adrift’s discography. It was present on the first album when they took the visceral elements which existed throughout metal music and contributed layers of determination and originality. We witness it throughout ‘Curse of Conception’ as the musicianship retains an even more potent commitment to driving forward the genre while remaining grounded in a set of well-chosen influences. Finally, as their more recent creations prove they can continue to make themselves an authoritative voice. Only time will tell how they transmit the ideas from this album and the last one into future voyages.
The Reissue of ‘Curse of Conception’ is available now, released via Century Media Records
Check out the video for 'Curse of Conception' below: