“I don’t remember pain,” Nate Garrett sings over the stomping guitar riff that opens “Screaming from Beyond,” the newest song from the upcoming Spirit Adrift upcoming album, Enlightened in Eternity. It’s a somewhat ironic lyric, considering that the band’s new LP often reflects on the pain of mortal existence. The song and its accompanying video are premiering right here at Heavy Consequence.
“Screaming from Beyond” features an anthemic chorus and pristine melodic vocals, evoking the supernatural and stadium-ready sounds of perennial metal gods like Mercyful Fate, Dio, and Ozzy Osbourne. Close your eyes and it almost sounds like a band that could have opened one of the “Clash of the Titans” tours. But its contemplative and esoteric lyrical approach is modern, and 100-percent indicative of Garrett’s strengths as a songwriter.
Spirit Adrift have reached for a timeless musical quality from the start. Their debut album, 2016’s Chained to Oblivion played with Black Sabbath’s template, ratcheting up harmonic complexity to a level that might have impressed Phil Spector. The band’s sound only grew catchier as its themes grew more dire on their third album, 2019’s Divided by Darkness. In contrast, Enlightened in Eternity is leaner, meaner, and most of all more fun — as Garrett explains in our interview, he wouldn’t have made the record without having a good time, and its triumphant tone is infectious.
Garrett is a veteran musician, having cut his teeth in Arkansas before making a name for himself nationally with bands like Take Over and Destroy and Gatecreeper. Spirit Adrift is his most personal project — it reflects his inner musings on psychology and spirituality while representing his influences as a guitarist and singer.
Enlightened in Eternity arrives on October 16th, and can be pre-ordered here. Watch the “Screaming from Beyond” video and read Garrett’s stories about his prolific musical career, experimenting with chaos magic, and choosing to spread joy on Enlightened in Eternity, below.
On “Screaming from Beyond”
The fourth songs on our albums, I always pay special attention to them. I didn’t want to put any clean guitar on this album, but I think the only clean guitar track is at the very end of “Screaming from Beyond”, and it’s just for a second. Rather than doing a ballad for track four this time around, I wanted to do something really catchy that would have a sound that’s very classic and timeless sounding. I had this idea of coping with death and framed that idea around a ghost story. The concept of the album is life and death and trying to figure out how to deal with a reality that is constantly trying to kill you or get you to kill yourself. So, the song “Screaming from Beyond” is about being haunted, literally and figuratively. Maybe being haunted by a ghost is a fantastical take on being haunted by trauma or being haunted by the pain of losing a loved one, not being able to move on and being stuck in this quagmire of suffering and sadness.
On his prolific career as a musician
I started Spirit Adrift before I was in Gatecreeper and at first the bands were completely separate, but we gelled together as musicians and as friends — we cross-pollinated as was required for different tours and such. I crunched some numbers recently. Gatecreeper was the most recent band that I’ve been in, and that’s band number 29 since 8th grade — I’m only counting bands that played a live show in front of an audience or recorded something that was released in some capacity. I’ve been in 29 bands. It’s just what I do. Music has saved my life many different times, and it’s given me purpose, even as a fan. I want to make people feel good — because there’s already shit to make people feel bad right now. I want to try to counteract that. The way that I’ve been given the ability to counteract that is music. It’s my purpose in life.
On the occult, and its influence on his music
When I was living in Arkansas there was this period of time when I was living in this haunted house on 33 acres. We were doing a lot of psychedelics. That’s when I first discovered Robert Anton Wilson and [Aleister] Crowley. I was messing around with chaos magic and I kind of f**ked my life up and the lives of other people, so I stopped doing that for a long time. And then around the time that I was writing Divided by Darkness, I was listening to Led Zeppelin, the song “In the Light.” I was listening to how crazy that song is, and I thought Jimmy Page really stepped into something when he got into Crowley. So, I decided to get back into it just to make that album. I was also running a lot, and really f**king myself up physically on purpose, torturing myself every day, because I wanted that album to have some real hatred, violence and negativity in it. I pushed every single limit that I had as far as I could. The cool thing about that is that it wound up improving me permanently in a lot of those areas. My guitar playing improved permanently. My singing improved permanently. So, I didn’t have to torture myself on the new album. I was singing and playing well out of the gate. You need to stick with the light side is what I found out. It’s Enlightened in Eternity vs. Divided by Darkness.
I’m not really a spooky hoo-ha person. I’ve read Crowley, I have done some eastern spiritual practices, but I don’t really get into any of them I don’t really believe in any of them. I don’t have any beliefs, I don’t think, other than experiences I have had with psychedelics about the oneness of life and the universe. But I will say objectively there were forces at work beyond my control that forced me to make this album. Ever since I started doing Spirit Adrift there’s been something there that wasn’t there before that isn’t me. Black Sabbath talk about how when the original four guys get together there is a ‘fifth member’ that’s invisible, and powerful, and works through them. Like I said, I don’t cling to any philosophy or spiritual practice tightly, but I know what they’re talking about. There’s something else that’s become a part of my life that is intangible and pretty powerful.
On making Enlightened in Eternity
[Divided by Darkness] was not fun to make, at all. It was hard and brutal. So, I was going to take a break, I didn’t mean to write a new record — in fact I actively wanted to not make a new record. But every time I picked up a guitar, I would write a riff or a song that felt like some of my best work. I came to realize that there was a new album being written wither I liked it or not. Very early on in the process, I said that the only way I will make it through the process this time is if it’s fun. It had to be fun. Because the last process was so shitty. I don’t know if people that I work with directly really understand or comprehend what it does to me to make a Spirit Adrift album. Every time I make one, I can kiss the next year or two years of my personal life goodbye. Even when I’m home I’m not really there — I’m thinking about other things, working on ideas. Mentally I am a ghost to my wife for the whole time — that’s something I am getting better at. So, for Enlightened in Eternity I said I would not put me or my wife through that again — this time it would need to be fun. That was the only role, it was the first rule, and it informed the whole approach to this album.
On the timeless power of classic metal
All the best metal albums — let’s pick Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sabotage by Black Sabbath, Screaming for Vengeance and Defenders of the Faith by Judas Priest, and Powerslave and Somewhere in Time by Iron Maiden — there’s heavy subject matter and they’re baring their souls, but they just make me feel so good, and that’s the kind of album I wanted to make. I wanted something that would make someone want to jump through a window and destroy everything that stands in their way.
On giving people something positive
I wrote [Enlightened in Eternity] at a time in my life when I was emotionally and spiritually capable of peace, joy and triumph, because as it turns out that’s what we need right now. I’m grateful that I was able to capitalize on a short window of opportunity in my life when I was feeling really good. I did what I always do: write music that is a really honest, genuine reflection of how I am feeling, and when I wrote this, I was feeling powerful and happy and triumphant, so the material reflects that. I’m glad I didn’t try to phone in some half-assed pissed-off evil bullshit, because A) there’s just too much of that in the world already, it’s boring, and B) that’s not people need right now. We need a little bit of hope, love and empowerment. [Enlightened in Eternity] still ponders heavy themes like death, pain and misery, but I’m trying to focus on the solutions and not just the problems.