What enticed Nuclear Blast - well simply a damn fine album of melodic death metal. On the first listen it has enough elements to capture the imagination - and on subsequent spins it reveals much, much more.
The pairing of 'The Clouds of Damnation' and 'Cross The Bridge To Eternity' would stand proud on many an iconic black/death metal acts releases.
And, 'The Great Mortality' has an icy insistence that recalls some of their epic Scandinavian predecessors.
Therein lies the key - The Spirit have studied hard their influences. They have not slavishly copied them; rather they have plucked the elements they love and given them a twist.
The one niggle is who the fuck are they? The accompanying blurb has them identified the members only by initials, yet enigmatically says they are young but "by means inexperienced band". Well 'MT's vocals and guitar majesty with 'AK' is well executed, and 'AT' (bass) and 'MS' (Drums) clearly know what they are about, no matter who they are.
While throughout there is tremendous musicianship what stands out is there understanding of what they are about. Instrumental passages aren't mere things to showcase in a "look at us" manner their accomplished playing, but are integral to each songs structure.
Equally when solos are used they match the mood and power of the songs - deployed when necessary but not over-used.
The whole mysticism and icy tales from the lyrics may be a bit samey, but they're hardly going to call for revolution...
Previously The Spirit created a buzz in some fanzines and online 'underground' sites - with the re-release of 'Sounds From The Vortex' they will gain a wider audience and a platform for their next release - maybe by then they'll be able to tell us who the fuck they are!
Review by Jonathan Traynor
Sounds From The Vortex is released on Nuclear Blast on August 10th