AlbumsAugust 21, 20231,527 views

Spirit Adrift Ghost at the Gallows

Ghost at the Gallows
1. Give Her To The River 2. Barn Burner 3. Hanged Man's Revenge 4. These Two Hands 5. Death Won't Stop Me 6. I Shall Return 7. Siren Of The South 8. Ghost At The Gallows
2023 Century Media Records
Our score 7


Back when Enlightened in Eternity came out in 2020, I thought Spirit Adrift were destined for heavy metal greatness, loosening up with speedier instrumentation and tighter writing. Their blunted, doom style from their earlier years was mostly gone, a faded memory to look back on in either reverence or riddance.


I was on board! It’s hard to beat a good trad/heavy metal album and that was the kind of mode that they seemed poised for. While Ghost At The Gallows is indeed more of that, and it’s good, I can’t help but find it lacking in some key places that weren’t so much an issue in the past.


The album starts strong though. “Give Her to the River” is long, only outdone by the closing track as is tradition, but it’s a full look at Spirit Adrift’s talent. Slow, weighty ramp-ups that careen into nimble, melodic foundations for tracks to reside on for minutes at a time, and back for choruses and bridges. The title track tackles this sort of thing in its own ways, just in a more climactic sense. They’re both feature rich, but not the best the album has to offer.


That arguably goes to “Hanged Man’s Revenge”, the most consistently fast song. Its relatively lean runtime of under five minutes keeps everything tight - guitars from Nate Garrett and Tom Draper are agile, practically dancing across the scales, and the band’s resident timekeeper Mike Arellano masterfully nails everything together with driving rhythms and pounding fills on drums. These are the same things that make “Barn Burner” an equally fun track about reaping what you sow, but it’s a bit more mid-tempo and subtle with its melodic movements. Fine by me!


“These Two Hands” is a bit of a throwback for Spirit Adrift, launching with the calmness an acoustic intro always provides, but as tropey as that is, it’s the payoff in the backend of doom metal goodness that ultimately makes the takeoff worth it. Older fans will take to the pace and weight of it, but guitars still soar high in the mix and melodies quicken between verses to retain their heavy metal heart without incident. It’s also a mournful song fitting of the tonal shift, referring to survivor’s guilt and learning to live after the loss of someone.

Again, Ghost At The Gallows is good, great in some places, but tops out earlier than I’d like. Perhaps worse than that is I don’t know how long it will remain in my rotation after this. I’d much rather go back to favorites from Sumerlands, Green Lung, or Magic Circle for my doom/heavy metal fix, or wait for the upcoming Savage Oath LP that promises to field goal kick my dick off my body. It’s not so much that Spirit Adrift went wrong with this album, it’s just not enough to stand out among an elite pack of bands really carrying the torch of excellent heavy metal.


Bottom line: Ghost At The Gallows is a solid entry by a historically great band, but bars have been raised since Spirit Adrift’s inception. As it stands now, it’s far from over for them - they still have a marked discipline in providing sick riffs and writing, and heavy metal is proving to be a worthy station to house within. There’s still hope they can pull out all stops and shine as bright as they have before.



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anonymous 33 days ago

It's good, but no Zulu. Which got a 9, btw.

anonymous 32 days ago

^ Lol

anonymous 32 days ago

f*cking Zulu rips. Spirit Adrift can Spirit suck my nuts.

anonymous 32 days ago

The guy that wrote this piece of shit review is also piece of shit