20 Centuries Gone
Released: August 19, 2022
Traditional metal royalty, Spirit Adrift, return bearing beautiful gifts.
In my opinion, one of the great modern heavy metal groups, Spirit Adrift, can do no wrong. Then again, I am an absolute sucker for that ageless traditional metal sound. Always have been, from back when those sounds ruled the airwaves, to today, and into the future. I doubt a day will ever come when I’ve had my share of traditional heavy metal – and if it ever does, I hope I drop dead moments later.
Despite four decades of musicians churning out album after album, there is still so much that can be done within the limits of this style of music. Bands like Spirit Adrift, and contemporary peers such as Haunt, Wytch Hazel and Night Demon prove this fact every single time they hit the recording studio.
Atop the heap though, is Spirit Adrift; who instead of releasing a few new tracks, as they did on 2021 with Forge Your Future, have opted to release two new songs, and six more that are cover songs from artists that are influential to the group. Brilliant! Spirit Adrift put their trademark swagger on classics from Type O Negative, Pantera, Metallica, Thin Lizzy, ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Perhaps not the sort of tracks you might expect, given the lack of names like Iron Maiden, Def Leopard or Saxon.
See Also: Night Demon “Year Of The Demon” Review
With Sorcerer’s Fate, the records debut single (included below), Spirit Adrift continue where they left off on Forge Your Future and thankfully so. Although that was just a three-song EP, it showed a lot of promise – and despite just two new songs again here on 20 Centuries Gone, the transgression is readily visible. Sorcerer’s Fate is undeniably a Spirt Adrift song. It has the signature hooks and dynamics that fans of the band will instantly pick up on. Nothing really new or innovative, but a well honed version of themselves. When something works, there’s no real need to tinker with it.
On Mass Formation Psychosis, Spirit Adrift slow the pace and get heavy on the groove, seemingly borrowing from the sludge scene a tad. A splash of Crowbar, a hint of Mastodon – blend it up, simmer and serve. Fantastically blistering guitar solos and darker than usual lyrics, almost gives the impression that the boys were trying to meld their way into the first of the six cover songs that follow it up.
Up first, is a cover of Type O Negative’s Everything Dies, and to be blatantly honest here, I would have rather Spirit Adrift bend the song around their own style over shaping themselves into the song itself. It is well executed, no doubting that – but this is not a style we’ve come to expect from Spirit Adrift and it stands out. Nate Garrett does a formidable job emulating the vocals of Pete Steele – amazingly similar, in fact. I’d rather here Spirit Adrift play their take on it though. I own the complete Type O Negative discography – if I wanted to hear that, the turn table is a few steps away.
Hearing Spirit Adrift play Pantera’s Hollow feels more par for the course, and for some reason Garrett doesn’t go to extremes to sound like Phillip H. Anselmo the way he did Steele. The band remains faithful to the original composition again, with slight nuances here and there – emulating the late, great Dimebag Darrell is huge task to undertake. Metallica’s Escape is also a fairly paint-by-numbers version of the classic cut.
The final three tracks aren’t by metal bands, which makes matters a little more interesting. Garrett does his best Phil Lynott imitation on Thin Lizzy’s Waiting For An Alibi – and does well. Seems like Garrett really wanted to challenge himself with these choices. Tackling classic cuts from ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd is again a huge task to undertake.
“I always thought it would be a cool experience to record some songs by bands that are foundational to the DNA of Spirit Adrift“, explains Garrett. “These choices are obvious and on the nose to me, but maybe unexpected to the fans. That made the whole thing a lot of fun. A band like Lynyrd Skynyrd might not be the first thing you think of when considering Spirit Adrift’s influences, so the task for me became figuring out how to honor these great songs, but in the distinct Spirit Adrift style. To make the whole thing even more special, I channeled these influences and wrote a couple of new songs to kick things off.”
Pre-orders of 20 Centuries Gone are ready to be pre-ordered over at the Century Media website. Vinyl aficionados act quick – there are but two colors available right now, black, and transparent sun yellow! Compact discs are available too.
For Fans Of: Haunt, Night Demon, Wytch Hazel
01. Sorcerer’s Fate
02. Mass Formation Psychosis
03. Everything Dies (Type O Negative cover)
04. Hollow (Pantera cover)
05. Escape (Metallica cover)
06. Waiting For An Alibi (Thin Lizzy cover)
07. Nasty Dogs And Funky Kings (ZZ Top cover)
08. Poison Whiskey (Lynyrd Skynyrd cover)