Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 12/08/2016
Label: Prosthetic Records
This album is elegantly forged from beginning to end, and has no definable weak chinks in its armour. Overall, this is likely to be an AOTY candidate for me, and one I have found myself returning to again and again in a variety of moods.
“Chained to Oblivion” CD//DD//LP track listing:
1. Psychic Tide
3. Form and Force
4. Chained To Oblivion
5. The Hum of Our Existence
For a subgenre associated with minimalist compositional structure, dirge-like chords and glacial meter, doom these days seems awfully susceptible to disruptive innovation. Powerful incumbents like Pallbearer and Yob are matched by the epic-level bulldozer of bands like Khemmis, whose debut “Absolution” cut deep furrows of new fandom across metaldom in 2015. This year, I believe the star of doom has risen anew yet again, and its name is Spirit Adrift.
To be fair, there are few plaudits and accolades that the superlative “Chained to Oblivion” has not already received since its August release. And the almost universal acclaim it has received is, to my mind, well deserved. This album is elegantly forged from beginning to end, and has no definable weak chinks in its armour. However, one of the things I found most surprising about this album is how emotionally moving I found certain passages and tracks. There is a deeply melodic sorrow that underpins the motifs on the album that fuses seamlessly with the heaviness.
Right from opener “Psychic Tide”, the listener is carried immediately into a slow but relentless (tidal, even) movement which is hypnotically accented by Nate Garrett's superb vocal harmonies. The highlight of an album of top-notch tracks is almost certainly the title track, however. There is a feeling of hearing something timeless and destined-to-be-classic when listening to this song; it is something that resonates long after the track has ended. In a genre replete with embarrassing lyrics, Nate has given us some gifted poetic observances, and ones that are elegantly matched to the death of seasons that is Autumn. Overall, this is likely to be an AOTY candidate for me, and one I have found myself returning to again and again in a variety of moods.
For anyone who enjoys this album, I strongly, strongly recommend listening to the “Behind-Beyond” EP Nate released in February, which includes the haunting “Specter of Ruin” and the uncharacteristically aggressive “Perpetual Passage”. While neither track fits “Chained to Oblivion” (the choice to release separately was definitely the right one), the EP is definitely a worthy listen.
“Chained to Oblivion” is available here
FFO: Khemmis, Pallbearer, Baroness, High on Fire