Restless Spirit Stream Blood of the Old Gods in Full

Restless Spirit (Photo by Wyatt Terwilliger)

Tomorrow marks the release date for Restless Spirit‘s second full-length, Blood of the Old Gods. It is the follow-up to the Long Island-based trio’s 2019 debut, Lord of the New Depression, and it brings guitarist/vocalist Paul Aloisio, bassist Marc Morello and drummer Jon Gusman into conversation with its titular deities, channeling 38 minutes of vibes drawing from the likes of Black Sabbath and Type O Negative, building on a foundation of weighted doom rock that, from “Judgement and Exile” onward, is big on tone and groove alike. Aloisio‘s vocal approach, laced with echo as it is, will ring familiar as a source (acknowledged by the band) of that Type O Negative comparison, but there’s more happening melodically and instrumentally throughout than just that one thing. With each half of the album given its own intro — opener “The Betrayer” and tracklist-centerpiece “The Reclaimer,” respectively — Blood of the Old Gods touches on a progressive vision of doom that seems to be too unpretentious to call itself progressive. That suits me just fine.

“Judgement and Exile” and the subsequent “Crooked Timber of Humanity” are duly brash — the latter shorter and more directly riff-based than the former — and to coincide with the largesse is a Restless Spirit Blood of the Old Godsspaciousness that comes through the lead work as much as the nod that fills it. Restless Spirit‘s dynamic is locked in, and the sound of Blood of the Old Gods feels purposeful throughout the seven included songs, but neither are they interested in doing the same thing all the time, and that’s no less true in the noisy “The Reclaimer” answering the sweeter acoustics of “The Betrayer” than the metallic chug of “Cascade Immolator” seeming to hit even harder than did “Crooked Timber of Humanity” earlier, while also upping the tempo in its first moments. That sense of mounting intensity is a thread woven throughout Blood of the Old Gods — at least one of those gods played thrash — but it’s worth noting how modern the hook of the title-track feels, not just compared to “Crooked Timber of Humanity” with its blend of acoustic and electrics in its midsection and so on, but in its impact and presence alike, it’s right on the line between metal and doom, and draws from a varied (checkered?) past in a range of styles, the last acoustic stretch reminiscent of mid-period Opeth without sticking around long enough to overstate the point.

Same could be said of Blood of the Old Gods as a whole, but they reserve the most fitting summary of their aesthetic and to-this-point progression for the eight-minute capper “Haunted,” which twists around its guitar line with a sense of confrontation that’s as true to New York as was that rat dragging a slice of pizza, but is more methodical in its presentation and how it unfolds, layers of guitar finding expression in a soaring solo section as the track approaches the six-minute mark, thoughtful in its construction but still exciting in the delivery enough to elicit a “fucking a” when they bring it to a head and move into the final minute’s ending section, crashing out with a lumbering stomp that at last rumbles and feedbacks into a quick fade. It is apparent in listening to Blood of the Old Gods what Restless Spirit are building for themselves in terms of sound, and coming off of Lord of the New Depression, the refinement that’s underway in their approach feels on the verge of the next stage of its realization. That is to say, the accomplishments of this sophomore long-player may in time serve just as much as the ground from which they move forward for a third. Potential, even manifest in what they craft here, remains significant.

It’s my pleasure to host the album stream on the day before the release. Find it below, followed by words from the band, and please enjoy.

Restless Spirit on Blood of the Old Gods:

BLOOD OF THE OLD GODS, our second full length, was written in rapid fire succession over the course of a single month. The album came together organically – nothing felt forced or strained. While our previous full length LORD OF THE NEW DEPRESSION is by no means a “bad” album, we felt that it did not fully represent the sound of the band. On BLOOD, it was decided that if we were going to compromise or do anything we weren’t fully satisfied with, we weren’t going to do it at all. No second album, no more EPs, no more band. In essence, this record saved Restless Spirit.

Lyrically, the album follows the central character of The Betrayer. It is a concept album focused around the idea of going against the status quo and defying a society built around gratification through excess, manipulation, and deception. The realization that your heroes, your friends, your family can sometimes be the worst perpetrators of the things you despise.. It relates the struggle of simply doing what you feel is right, and while we are told that this is an easy task, it simply is not always true. This world is due for a change – as destructive as the path forward may be.

Musically, we looked to the past for inspiration. Black Sabbath, of course, and to a large degree Led Zeppelin IV. Their use of acoustics and those huge, natural sounding drums, along with the power of the vocals and the strength of the electric guitar on that album is unmatched. As always, the haunting reverb and ambience of Type O Negative’s entire discography was a huge influence for us.

Recorded and mixed by Evan Perini at Shellshock Audio
Mastered by Bill Henderson at Azimuth
Layout by Marc Christoforidis
Released by Lifesblood Records

Paul Aloisio – Vocals, Guitars
Jon Gusman – Drums
Marc Morello – Bass

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