OLD SPIRIT “Burning In Heaven”

By Dr. Abner Mality

There is something really liberating in listening to a guy just jam out and rock whatever the hell he feels like. That’s the feeling I get listening to OLD SPIRIT, the creation of one Jason Hartman, a guitarist for JEX THOTH and VANISHING KIDS who hails from the Doctor’s neck of the woods. It is impossible to put a stamp on this guy and as a result, OLD SPIRIT should appeal to many kinds of rock and metal fans.

The music is quite heavy for the most part, with a very earthy and organic feel. There’s a lot of basic straight up metal riffing, like the opening of the title track and “Angel Blood”, but also some doom influence and even a kind of CELTIC FROST/HELLHAMMER kind of raw and dirty groove. Hartman goes crazy with guitar effects throughout the album, reaching its apex on the aptly named “In Disarray”, where it sounds like he uses every pedal in existence. The psychedelic and krautrock vibe manifests itself in strange acidic guitar solos, weird little flourishes and Hartman’s gonzo vocals, which range from evil rasps to falsetto croons and almost spoken word mumblings.

That’s to say nothing of the synth and keyboard explorations, like the angry krautish synth that kicks off “Ash”, which incidentally gets my vote for best tune. Organ pops up on “In Disarray” while “When The Spirit Slips Away” is a glacial synth instrumental that could almost be dungeon-esque. The record delightfully lurches from tune to tune, utterly unpredictable and completely rocking...usually each track itself wanders across multiple landscapes, like the bass-driven “Bleak Chapel” or the lumbering “Fallacy”.

This shit should fly off the handle and zoom into the universe without a tether of any kind, yet it comes across completely coherent and even seems well-planned in its craziness, if that makes any sense. The PR sheet says OLD SPIRIT draws from CELTIC FROST, MERCYFUL FATE, ARTHUR BROWN, TROUBLE and HAWKWIND. Incredibly, it is correct...this is something that has to be experienced, maybe under the influence of chemicals. A wild ride for sure!