German efficiency with a Scandinavian flavour: there really is no other way to sum these guys up.
In a world where bands are worrying about their style, their genre, how they sound, what holes their pigeons will fill, it was inevitable that we would get bands trying harder and harder to set themselves apart with more and more genre bending and defying antics.
Then in 2015 came The Spirit with their “Sounds From The Vortex”, proverbially kicking in the door unannounced, playing their no frills, no bullshit, melodic brand of deathy-black-extreme metal and promptly fucking off before caring about what you have to say in under 40 minutes.
For a German band, there’s an incredibly distinct Swedish flavor off these guys, like finding Ikea meatballs on your bratwurst; ‘tis a surprise to sure but a welcome one.
If you are in any way with the work of bands such as Sweden’s Dissection or Dawn or even Norway’s Acarash, then you’ll have half an idea of what these guys are dealing in.
Despite being a refreshing 38 minutes, the band somehow found room for a 2 and a half minute long intro track consisting of tom-thumping drums and mood setting distorted guitars before setting blasters to…well…blast with ‘Cosmic Fear’ without room for let up.
“The Clouds of Damnation” is a peak moment in this moment and although has some stunningly creative breakneck melodies, the band are not afraid to change things up tempo wise.
With a track that strong, it’s very easy to expect some of the weight to be let off and while ‘Crossing The Bridge To Eternity’ does offer some respite with it’s soft spoken intro and mid tempo thumping, it doesn’t last too long before the song blows up with some nimble tremolo riffs, relentless in it’s stomping rhythm.
Although the rest of the album doesn’t offer much in the way of great variation from what precedes it, it manages to do a good job of keeping the plates spinning with it’s established flavor of inventive drumming, tempo-switcharoos and interestingly confident riffs.
Production wise, this is a very crisp and frosty sounding album.
This does well to compliment to raspy vocals which remain loftily in the upper register for this style and pairs very well with the dense, heavy music.
I would have personally preferred some dipping into the lower end of the spectrum vocal wise but maybe that’s just sheer greediness on my part.
I’m not going to lie and say that this is the most original and creative album ever. You’ve heard this kind of stuff 100 times before and probably better in some instances but when all is said and done, this as safe and dependable as you’re going to get in this corner of the metal spectrum.
The Spirit haven’t exactly reinvented the wheel but they’ve most definitely given it a damn good polishing.
4 / 5 – Doc Morgan ::: 08/08/18