Spirit Adrift, Forge Your Future (Century Media Records 2021)

The new EP from Spirit Adrift stokes the flame of perseverance with the rumble of heavy metal.

Spirit Adrift has made the most of the few years the band has been around, releasing four full-length albums since 2016, most recently 2020’s Enlightened In Eternity. The band has built a reputation for reliability and continues to produce straight-ahead rock and roll for the growing and ever-loyal fan base. I saw their live performance at Aftershock in Sacramento a couple years ago and it is certainly one of the most memorable parts of that festival for me. There is a grit and determination in the stage presence you don’t often see. They were there for the music first and foremost and that commitment came through in every note.

There are three songs on the new EP. “Forge Your Future” has a nice doom feel to it with the gentle intro and the heavy riff framing that set up a powerful vocal performance. There is a steady, unimpeded heavy metal force that propels the music forward to its sonic conclusion. “Wake Up” is more active and openly aggressive in posture while still carrying the heavy weight with a guitar-centered attack.

The third tack is “Invisible Enemy,” and it presents an epic attitude and then delivers on that promise. An old school metal structure is the foundation you could rest a battleship on and they use it to set up a big production. Halfway through there is a quiet bridge leading to a renewed energetic charge to the end. This set is another fine addition to the growing catalogue of Spirit Adrift. Recommended.

Forge Your Future is out now, limited to 1,000 units in the physical. There is a digital release as well.

Live photos by Wayne Edwards from Aftershock 2019.

Links.

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

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

Century Media Records, https://centurymedia.store/product/Y4CE419COMBO/spirit-adrift-forge-your-future-black-lp-digital-download

Spirit Adrift, Forge Your Future (Century Media Records 2021)

At The Gates, The Nightmare Of Being (Century Media 2021)

The seventh studio album from At The Gates is a progressive take on the condition of existence.

For more than thirty years the Melodic Death Metal band from Sweden, At The Gates, has been a consistent creator of heavy music. From The Red in the Sky Is Ours (1994) to 2018’s To Drink from the Night Itself, you could always count on them for compelling new metal that rang out in ways you’d never heard before. And here we see that again on the new album, The Nightmare Of Being.

The band – Tomas Lindberg (vocals), Martin Larsson (guitar), Jonas Björler (bass), Adrian Erlandsson (drums), and Jonas Stålhammar (guitar) – expertly executes an expanded palette of composition that embraces progressive metal elements more extensively than fans might have anticipated. An outlying example is “Garden of Cyrus” which features a saxophone – not an instrument you hear on a lot of death metal albums, but one that fits perfectly in this song, complementing gruff vocals and lyrical guitars. Still, it was a surprise to hear it

Not every song is an oddity. Long-time fans and newcomers looking for heavy, crushing metal are going to find it here, too. In most cases, the songs have more than one movement that is reached through effluence or stark shift, each standing in seeming, if not actual, juxtaposition to its neighboring fellows. The complexity of the music is one of its most attractive features.

The new album does sound different in many ways compared to early work of the band. For me it is a fitting addition to the canon of At The Gates and it is a strong sign of the continuing vibrancy of the musicians. Recommended.

The Nightmare Of Being is out now from Century Media in a plethora of versions. You can get it all over.

Links.

Website, http://atthegates.se/

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

Century Media, https://www.centurymedia.com/artist.aspx?IdArtist=729

At The Gates, The Nightmare Of Being (Century Media 2021)

Bewitcher, Cursed Be Thy Kingdom (Century Media 2021)

The third album from Bewitcher is filled with sinister metal mayhem and headbanging kicks.

After releasing a handful of demos in the mid-twenty-teens, Bewitcher put out their first long-player in 2016, Bewitcher. Three years later there was Under The Witching Cross and the new one is a big step up in distribution and availability. This is a good thing for the metal listening public because the band has a style that will definitely appeal to a broad base of fans.

After a brief acoustic intro piece that transitions into the electric, the first song is “Death Returns…” It is a peppy metal positioning, upbeat in the rhythm and hoisting a roughened vocal presentation to tell a cautionary dark fantasy tale. It is goodtime music for bad times.

“Satanic Magic Attack” is another banger in a similar vein and we are getting the feeling that this is going to be a high-energy roll – and that is what you get, one song after another. Highlights include the title track with its short smash and grab attack and “Metal Burner” for a similar reason but at an even higher burn rate. “Valley of the Ravens” sticks in my head as well because it diverges and is more ponderous and has a weightier kind of power.

The out-song is “Sign Of The Wolf” and I think this one will get a lot of play on tour. I sure hope so. It is a great way to wrap up a good metal set, with catchy hooks and a short whirling lead break. I will be playing this album on the long summer road trips ahead. Recommended.

Cursed Be Thy Kingdom is out on Friday, April 16th in all the places you would expect.

Links.

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

Website, https://www.bewitcher.us/

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

Label, https://www.centurymedia.com/artist.aspx?IdArtist=2019

Bewitcher, Cursed Be Thy Kingdom (Century Media 2021)

Eyehategod, A History Of Nomadic Behavior (Century Media 2021)

The first full-length album in seven years from New Orleans legends Eyehategod is a mindbender and an earsmasher.

The last time I saw Eyehategod was at the Earthrocker Festival in 2018. What a lineup. It was Eyehategod, Corrosion of Conformity, and Black Label Society all setting the stage for Clutch in the steaming West Virginia sun at Shiley Acres. This was several years after their self-titled album and I hadn’t seen them since the Take As Needed For Pain era. It was a roar, and no mistake. I have been aching for new music from then since then in a bad way, and now here it is.

The band is Jimmy Bower (guitar), Gary Mader (bass), Mike Williams (vocals), and Aaron Hill (drums). The album is on the sludgy side, and that is a good thing. There are elements and instances of chaos that are sharp stabs, as well as grinding doom lodestone passages pointing you in the right direction.

“High Risk Trigger,” “The Outer Banks,” and “Every Thing, Every Day” are the show stoppers for me, but I can see how any of the tracks could be a favorite. If you are a fan you have probably already heard this album because, at this writing, it has already been out for two days. If you are new to Eyehategod, ideally you would see them live first. The world as it is today, though, you are going to want to grab this new album and start there. Then work your way backwards and listen to it all. You’ll be ready for the real thing that way when the live comes back. Highly recommended.

A History Of Nomadic Behavior is out now. Gather up the vinyl, CD, or digital at the links below.

Links.

Website, https://eyehategod.ee/

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

Century Media, https://www.centurymedia.com/artist.aspx?IdArtist=188

Eyehategod, A History Of Nomadic Behavior (Century Media 2021)