Album Review: Restless Spirit - Blood of the Old Gods
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings
A combination of crushing fuzzed up riffage in a doom and stoner vibe; the punk-edged sound of early Clutch, the bone-crunch of Sabbath and the heaviness of The Sword. This is the aural maelstrom that confronts the listener as Restless Spirit race into ‘Judgement and Exile’, the first track proper on their latest album, ‘Blood of the Old Gods.’
Fighting your way to the top table of the stoner/doom genre is a mighty challenge these days. Like any style of metal/rock, the menu is incredibly crowded, with mediocre outfits swamping and suffocating the genuine talent that frantically claws for exposure and recognition.
Restless Spirit have been around New York for a while, with ‘Blood of the Old Gods’ their second full-length following 2019’s debut ‘Lord of the New Depression’. Written in around one month, ‘Blood of the Old Gods’ demonstrates a progression in song writing, with the use of thunderous riffs essential yet not overpowering. The sound is huge, the kind of noise that could fill an aircraft hangar. Over 38 minutes the band cram in more riffs than is polite, ensuring that their ferocity is captured in a semi-controlled method. The wildness is restrained, although the threat of Restless Spirit exploding into chaos and carnage looms over the album like the reaper’s scythe.
Although the album follows the concept of individualism and defiance towards the worst elements of society – greed, excess, manipulation, and deception, the tracks also stand independently. ‘Crooked Timber of Humanity’ for example, is a bone-cruncher, with a sludgy flavour that provides an early Mastodon vibe without straying too far into the superstars’ flight path.
It's very much an album to dive deeply into, with each track bringing something different to the party. Final track ‘Haunted’ summarises the whole album with a punishing eight-minute plus workout that sees the band vary both style and approach throughout. Restless Spirit have managed to deliver a fine record which catapults them towards the top tier. You need to have a big noise these days and Paul Aloisio (vocals, guitars), Jon Gusman (drums) and Marc Morello (bass) bring that with ample amplification. Combined with some brooding cover art by Frank Frazetta, Blood of the Old Gods is an album well worth getting involved with.