Spirit Adrift, 20 Centuries Gone (Century Media 2022)

Texas metal band Sprit Adrift reflects on days gone by with 20 Centuries Gone.

Springing up from Austin in 2015, Spirit Adrift began on the doom side of the field and moved quickly toward full-force, straight-ahead heavy metal. Loaded with unforgettable riffs and stunning lead guitar work, the music they play will make them one of your favorite acts the first time you hear them. Their flawless live performances ensure their place as a big draw at festivals and as a must-see for any tour they are on.

There are two new songs on the latest EP and six covers. The first original is “Sorcerer’s Fate.” It starts out steady with a hook that does the trick and draws you in. A charging chop follows and then we hear Nate Garrett’s solid-as-a-rock vocals. A bridge leads us to a different perspective on this dark fantasy journey, and off we walk into the distance. “Mass Formation Psychosis” follows, opening with cautious acoustic strums that break for dramatic electrical instigations. The song settles into a feisty doom posture and we are thenceforth entranced. It is a superlative heavy track that goes out on a rugged, heady riff.

The songs Spirit Adrift chooses to cover are mostly lesser-known tunes from seminal artists in metal and rock. I like this approach very much as it draws attention to work that fans might not be as familiar with, even if they are fans of the band in question. The songs are “Everything Dies” (Type O Negative), “Hollow” (Pantera), “Escape” (Metallica), “Waiting For An Alibi” (Thin Lizzy), “Nasty Dogs and Funky Kings” (ZZ Top), and “Poison Whiskey” (Lynyrd Skynyrd). Quite a selection, huh?

The variety of musical types and formations across the cover tunes is formidable. The gothic saturation of the Type O Negative song paired with the solemn sorrow of Pantera’s “Sorrow” and then on to the more rambunctious attitude of “Escape” is a conjuror’s amalgamation. Any time a Thin Lizzy song plays, original or cover, my soul brightens, and “Waiting For An Alibi” is a fantastic track. Goddamn I miss Thin Lizzy, even after all this time. Spirit Adrift captures the ZZ Top fuzz just right, and that Lynyrd Skynyrd cover might be the most recognizable of the bunch to a broad audience. I like everything about this record. Set all else aside and listen to it right now. Highly recommended.

20 Centuries Gone is out now on digital. Find it through the band’s website (link below). Spirit Adrift still has a couple of tour dates with Crowbar, then they will be back out again later this year. They are an exceptional live band – make sure you see them whenever you get a chance.

Photos by Wayne Edwards taken at Piere’s Entertainment Center in 2022.


Spirit Adrift website, https://www.spiritadrift.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/SpiritAdrift/

Century Media, https://www.centurymedia.com/artist/spirit-adrift

© Wayne Edwards

Spirit Adrift, 20 Centuries Gone (Century Media 2022)

Greenbeard, Variant (Sailor Records 2022)

Greenbeard gives us Variant, a bluesy album with heavy desert grooves and many unexpected turns.

From Austin, Texas, Greenbeard is Chance Parker (guitar, vocals), Buddy Hachar (drums), Pat Seals (bass), and Joe Samson (guitar). They have been stalking the stage for a few years now and have released several albums, including 2014’s self-titled EP, Stoned At The Throne (2015), Lödarödböl (2016), and then another EP, Onward Pillager (2018). The new set covers quite a bit of ground, and showcases both the songwriting and performance talents of the band.

Let’s track-by-track this one, shall we? “Creatures of the Night” charges right at you with a groovy hard psych attitude that is almost like a fuzzy surf version of acid rock. It cooks, and the lead breaks are a joy to hear. “Burns Like Basketweave” is spacier than the opener, with a pushing, buzzy throb. The dream sequence just past the center is a tribute to psychic exploration. “Get in the car. No time to explain.” Now this is a driving song, and I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise given the title. There is a slow, catchy vamp in the middle that goes bluesy and walks back that driving-down-the-road feel in exchange for a whole different vibe. The backing vocals will give you chills.

“Diamond in the Devil’s Grinder” is a slow heavy blues number. A beautiful song with amazing guitar segments and an unforgettable saxophone. The tempo gets whipped up in the final third for a big finish. “Sanitario de la Soul” sends you on a long, deep path of self-reflection. “Exodus” brings back the push and the heavy roll. The buzz in the guitar is on the roar again. It has a great climbing chorus that sets up a blistering lead guitar break-out.

The last song is “Bare Bones.” It starts with a clang and rings on with high energy riffs that sound amazing even when lights come back on. Put me down for a “hell yes” on Greenbeard. This album is excellent. Recommended.

Variant emerges April 9th through Sailor Records in the US and Kozmik Artifactz in Europe.

Band photo by Dave Creaney.

Bandcamp, https://greenbeardtheband.bandcamp.com/

Greenbeard website, http://www.greenbeardtheband.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/greenbeardtheband

Sailor Records, https://www.sailorrecords.com/

© Wayne Edwards.

Greenbeard, Variant (Sailor Records 2022)

High Desert Queen, Secrets of the Black Moon (Ripple Music 2021)

Groovy, fuzzy, and ever soulful, High Desert Queen brings its music to the masses with Secrets of the Black Moon.

Austin, Texas desert rockers High Desert Queen are fairly new to the scene but have already landed a firm position in the melee. Mystery surrounds the band with only sparse photographic evidence and in-person experience to speak on their essence. Setting aside the who, what, and when, listening to their music is what really pays off.

There are seven songs and a quirky element on Secrets of the Black Moon. First up: “Heads Will Roll.” Confident riffs greet you along with a general fuzziness and a welcoming vocal entreaty – you gotta roll my head, it says. All right then. “The Mountain Vs. The Quake” is the story of achievement and “As We Roam” echoes a secret without revealing it completely. All of this is wrapped in an irresistible package of hypnotic guitar rhythm and lead. It is hard rock, indeed, and desert rock, for sure, and you might find there is a state-altering component too if you listen for it.

Side two road a little harder on me, and I liked it. “Skyscraper” offers up a very heavy riff at the start paired with gentle, coaxing vocals. “The Wheel” has the swing of doom, broadcasting as it does a deep and somber tone and vocal melancholia. “Bury The Queen,” an ode, churns slowly like the purposefully roiling of the primordial ocean, manifesting a formless creation to the endless wonder of a newly interested universe. The music can be thought provoking if you want to take it that way, or you can just ride along and let it be part of you. The choice is yours and there are no wrong answers. Recommended.

Secrets of the Black Moon is out now through Ripple Music. You can snag your copy from the label’s Big Cartel site or through the ever-ready Bandcamp.


Bandcamp, https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/secrets-of-the-black-moon

High Desert Queen website, https://highdesertqueen.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/highdesertqueen/

Ripple Music, https://ripplemusic.bigcartel.com/product/high-desert-queen-secrets-of-the-black-moon-deluxe-vinyl-editions

High Desert Queen, Secrets of the Black Moon (Ripple Music 2021)

Band of Bastards, Delete. Repeat. (Redacted Records / SilverDoor Music 2021)

Texas-style hardcore/punk unit Band of Bastards throws down a big sound in a tight package.

Based in Austin, this new operation is peopled by stage-worn emissaries bearing ferocious tidings. The band is Jason Reece (vocals), Andrew Leeper (guitar), Sam Rich (drums), and Erick Sanger (bass).

Most of the dozen songs included on the album are less than two minutes long with a couple on the bubble and only a rare excursion past 180 seconds. High energy and high speed is what you can expect. “False Idols” is a little bit of a downshift in the tempo area while still being very clippy so there aren’t any breaks in the whole set. Full tilt all the way.

Every song is a clap on the back and I wouldn’t skip any of them, even the second time through or the third. This music gets under your skin and when it does you are glad to have it there. This is on the conversational edge of hardcore, the broad side. There is a lot of crossover potential here. Recommended.

Delete. Repeat. is out on Friday July 23rd. Get in line now.


Pre-save, https://backl.ink/147339121

SilverDoor Music, http://www.silverdoormusic.com/

Website, https://www.bandofbastardstx.com/

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG-tqDUjsvisj-xKFpEGXng

Band of Bastards, Delete. Repeat. (Redacted Records / SilverDoor Music 2021)