Review: Restless Spirit ‘Afterimage’

I grew up on Long Island and I wish Restless Spirit was around when I lived there because I would have taken the deep dive into doom metal many years ago! However, I’m grateful to have the band in existence now and absorbing all of Blood Of The Old Gods over the last couple of years, plus seeing them live and talking to guitarist/vocalist Paul Aloisio about all things music (and horror books), it’s great that they’re on the rise with their new album Afterimage.

Restless Spirit 'Afterimage' Artwork
Restless Spirit ‘Afterimage’ Artwork

About their 2021 release, fellow Shaman scribe Martin Williams said in his outstanding review that Blood Of The Old Gods is an immense album on all levels’. With a statement like that, how does Restless Spirit build on their previous work? By speaking from the heart that’s how, as outlined in the press release that their new long-player is ‘Driven by tragedy and personal loss, singer and guitarist Paul Aloisio has put his heart and soul into the album.’

The eight emotionally charged songs that follow are intense on multiple levels. The High on Fire-esque opening of Marrow introduces the album with brutal force. A great choice for an opener, and first single, as it draws you in and leaves you anxiously anticipating the remaining seven tracks.

Restless Spirit do not disappoint with the next two, Shadow Command and Of Spirit And Form, as they keep the epic riffs flowing. The trio of musicians have their music locked in. The core of the band, the aforementioned Aloisio and bassist Marc Morello met when they were 4. It’s that kind of bond that can be heard in Restless Spirit and drummer Jon Gusman brings in his incredible talents to complete this outstanding lineup. I should also add Mike Hill of Tombs lends his growling vocals on Shadow Command that add an extra layer of epicness and contrast with Aloisio‘s soaring vocals.

The opening riff of All Furies reaches incredible speeds and the pummeling drums match that velocity. The song doesn’t let up for a moment and in fact just keeps getting better as the track progresses. This, I imagine, will be absolutely insane live.

After the whirlwind of All Furies, I noticed that Brutalized is less than two minutes long. I was excited for a breather of a track with some airy space sounds. I was wrong and I should have realized by the title. If the band allowed a calm interlude, then the spirits would have a moment to rest and that is not allowed. Brutalized, however, transitions effortlessly into the crescendo of The Fatalist.

As the track unfolds, the band have another trick up their sleeve as they unleash dueling guitar solos between Aloisio and Wino. ‘The idea to trade guitar solos with Wino is a dream come true, and 17-year-old me would be freaking out if he knew about this happening’ said Aloisio. The riff filled track was another excellent single and both solos are as equally epic.

Hells Grasp brings the album one step closer to completion and actually features some clean guitar parts, well, semi clean. The soulful lead accompanying Aloisio‘s vocals is a nice change of pace and the build up back into the bands power is chilling and leads into the fuzzed riffs of closer From The Dust Returned.

It’s hard not to compare music which I try to limit, but the final track draws from my favorite aspects of Corrosion of Conformity and after my recent meeting with Karl Agell, it’s fresh on my mind. From The Dust Returned has the fuzzed bass lines, memorable riffs, pounding drums and powerful vocals that I first heard with COC which catapulted me down the endless music rabbit hole. This epic track closes out an album that will be hard not to reference in future reviews for years to come.

Restless Spirit have created an album of furious intensity but also connecting with fans who are struggling with hard times by letting them know that they are not alone in their feelings and that the doom metal world is truly a community.

Label: Magnetic Eye Records
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Twitter | Instagram

Scribed by: Josh Schneider