SPIRIT ADRIFT – Ghost At The Gallows (2023)

SPIRIT ADRIFT - Ghost At The Gallows (2023) - full

Led by vocalist, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nate Garrett, Texas-based psychedelic/doom metal troupe SPIRIT ADRIFT have only been around since 2015. That’s not stopped them from putting out an impressive amount of rewardingly characteristic records, though, which have placed them at the top of their field.
And that field is classic ’80s heavy metal. Add to that some late Seventies hard rock groove and you have the band’s upcoming album “Ghost at the Gallows“. The record is an infinitely appealing collection of songs packed with some of the band’s catchiest, trickiest, and most headbangin’ material.
This is classic metal. Just listen to opener “Give Her to the River,” which lures you in with introductory rainfall and gently downtrodden guitar work before erupting into a lively cavalry of vintage heavy metal riffs and rhythms. Although it’s feisty and intricate, the instrumentation is also immensely hooky, and thankfully, Garrett’s gruffly empowered declarations are just as investing lyrically and melodically (especially the post-choruses).

Later, Osbourne-esque epic tracks “I Shall Return” and “Death Won’t Stop Me” harness similar energies and sentiments (“If I leave, I shall return / No need to grieve, I shall return”). The former track is particularly notable for its emphasis on hauntingly rustic vocal harmonies (which, to be fair, permeate much of the collection), whereas the comparably coarse latter tune exudes grit and tenacity.
Both are alluring testaments to triumphing over adversity and misfortune, and true to Garrett’s intentions, they’re undoubtedly therapeutic for listeners who’ve gone through similar hardships.

The rest of the LP demonstrates the group’s expanding stylistic diversity. Sure, there’s the old-school sludge riffs of “Barn Burner” and early ‘80s NWOBHM vehemence of “Hanged Man’s Revenge” to uphold the quartet’s prevailing roughness.
Yet, there’s also the beautifully acoustic introspection at the heart of “These Two Hands,” as well as the progressive metal tendencies of “Siren of the South” and the multifaceted culminations of the closing title track.
While some similarities exist across the sequence, each piece of the puzzle has its own irresistible identity.

”Ghost at the Gallows” is a great entry into Spirit Adrift’s music. Embodying the best of what the genre(s) can do musically and emotionally, it’s a terrific illustration of mastermind Garrett’s ability to maintain quality and ambition despite being astonishingly prolific.
In other words, Spirit Adrift never sacrifices quality for quantity, and with its heartfelt songwriting and dynamic arrangements, ”Ghost at the Gallows” is likely the best example yet of that achievement.
Highly Recommended


01 – Give Her to the River
02 – Barn Burner
03 – Hanged Man’s Revenge
04 – These Two Hands
05 – Death Won’t Stop Me
06 – I Shall Return
07 – Siren of the South
08 – Ghost at the Gallows

Nate Garrett – vocals, rhythm & lead guitar, bass, percussion
Michael Arellano – drums
Tom Draper – lead guitar


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