Spirit Division bassist/vocalist Chris Latta is not only a musician but also a seasoned and well respected writer/reviewer of all things metal shaped at Indy Metal Vault, something that makes reviewing his bands latest offering a daunting yet enjoyable task for Desert Psychlist.
Latta, along with guitarist/vocalist Andy Bowerman and drummer Jace Epple, have been pounding the stages of their native Indianapolis, and further afield, since their formation in 2013 and in that time have released two well received albums in the shape of 2015's "Spirit Division" and 2016's "No Rapture". The band have been busy having lives and following their own projects of late but have reconvened this year to present us with their latest collection of psych laced doomic tomes "Forgotten Planet".(Releases 31st August 2018)
Spirit Division pride themselves as being more from the school of "classic doom" than the gnarly, demonic version of the genre that has become the norm over recent years, the band jamming a groove that has more in common with Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus than it does with say Thou or Conan. This is not to say that Spirit Division do not infuse into their dark, dank grooves elements of a more extreme nature just that they tend to lean towards a more traditional doomic sound ,albeit laced with a healthy sprinkling of lysergic flavouring. This lysergic element becomes evident right from the get go with the albums title track hitting a Floydian groove that in places nods its head towards Waters & co's much lauded instrumental (from "Meddle"), "One Of These Days" and it is this psychedelic colouring and textured layering, blended with the bands penchant for old school doomic bluster, that informs most of "Forgotten Planet's" nine songs. Bowerman's swirling, swooping guitar solo's and crunching riffs weave themselves around Latta's deep throbbing basslines and Epples busy mix of thunderous and intricate percussion and combine with the distinctive mix of lead and harmonised vocals to take songs like "Seeking The Crow Witch" and "King of Scars" into the darkest depths of doomic splendour. Spirit Division however are not just all about "the doom" and they prove this by occasionally veering off into unexpected territories most notable of which are the off-kilter alt-rocker "Behemoth", and the lounge like jazzy doom of "Half Hearted". The band also pay tribute to their heroes by throwing in a nicely executed version of Black Sabbath's "Solitude" giving it a spacy folkish spin that sits nicely on the ears.
If you come to Spirit Division's "Forgotten Planet" expecting another "No Rapture" there is a good chance you may come away a little shell shocked and confused, however you will not be disappointed. Latta, Bowerman and Epple are taking classic doom into places it has never been before, places that might seem a little uncomfortable for the blinkered doom purist but being stoic, determined and brave these guys are taking it there anyway, and more power to them for doing that.
Check it out ….
© 2018 Frazer Jones
Big thanks to Leanne Ridgeway at Mettle Media PR for providing the promo.