Album: Afterimage

Genre: Doom / Heavy Metal

Release Date: October 6th, 2023

Country: USA

Label: Magnetic Eye Records



I got recommended this recently, and my brain tuna-melted immediately. The music features some alchemical combo of “Ozzy Sabbath” and Mastodon (but only the good parts of Mastodon). However, such a description would be too limiting. Allow me to expound.

The guitars absolutely CRUSH – up, down, all around, and fuck-me-sideways. The tones dialed here are GODLY. Rhythm guitars drive with a rich, thicc™, crunchy distortion that you can sink your teeth into. The leads sit in a sweet-spot – just above rhythm in the mix – with satin, ear-massaging majesty. The bass is both audible, and has enough drive and fuzz to make the total product even more crunch-tastic. String section? Fucking check.

Let’s talk about the drums. Oh, yes: let’s. The groove on this album should be illegal. With a great feel and instinct for pacing, Jon Gusman serves the track – showcasing humility here – rather than overtly showboating. Let’s get real, though – this mutha is a fuckin axe-muderer on the kit: Groove King Deluxe with EXTRA cheese.

The actual BPM pacing on this album is all over the map for a Doom group, and Gusman just brings that heat. Pocket grooves ALL FUCKING DAY – and I love me a pocket groove. Often playin' in a half-time or a double-half-time loop, my boy here throws in lots of tasty licks, and the ghost-note chops to make you wince. He picks up the pace a bit for the 166 BPM DOOM-HEATER “All Furies” (which happens to be my favorite track), and still manages drop burning fill-work, keepin' that pocket SCALDING. However, he still pulls it back when he needs to, in moments where the guitar or vocal have to shine.

Ok, let’s talk about the vocals. Oh, yes: let’s. Paul Aloisio has an unfair advantage, and I’m just gonna drop this one: he has a gorgeous voice. There is a reason why “mellifluous” was in the tag-line of this review – it was literally the first word that came to mind when I heard him croon. His voice’s timbre and sustain all just work, and the sonic location in mix fills out the top end, as Aloisio performs mostly with an upper-register baritone / low tenor. He hits sustains and notes that just leave me woozy, and I’m forced to close my eyes and imbibe.

As for the songwriting: it’s annoying how good it is. Every transition between riffs / sections is effectively flawless. There might be a couple of barely noticeable hiccups here or there, but nothing that effects the song pacing. An immediately noticeable feature is RESTLESS SPIRIT’s expert use of low fret to high fret displacement when riff-writing. The band drive many a chuggy low-end groove, and compliment it with a high fret, melodic-run end-cap. This is expert riff-writing 101. Such choices create a dynamic tension between both tone and sonic relevance – one which leaves the listener fully engaged. Furthermore, the melodic runs, themselves, are so intuitive, sharp, and well-placed it’s like the band is psychically linked. This is great group chemistry, if ever I’ve heard it.

So, there is a lot brilliant stuff happening here. However, I have one complaint: the tracklisting sequence. The overall flow works quite well until we get to track 7, “Hell’s Grasp.” It stops the Doom-Hurricane-Groove-Bullet abruptly, and presents a jolting pace shift from an obvious studio album feel, to a “rehearsal feel.” If it were me, I would have cut it and put it on an EP, because it’s a great number on it’s own. I listened to this album 3 times back-to-back (it is that good), and ran a drop test – skipping immediately from track 6 to track 8. It does, indeed, flow better when skipping track 7.
In the 58 BPM, and 98 BPM double-half-time range, some minor timing issues abound. It’s noticeable, but not enough to be a huge issue. 

Any musician will tell you that playing slow is harder than playing fast. However, I have it on good authority – from one of the members of the band – they didn’t use a click-track when recording this album. Given how astoundingly good everything else is on this work, these minor complaints, do nothing to halt this slab from being a 9+/10 BARN BURNER.

Well, that’s that. This NY power-fuck trio bring the heat: churning grooves, intuitive harmony, an almost psychically scary understanding of melodic runs, CRUSHING guitar tone, and virtually immaculate songwriting skills. RESTLESS SPIRIT have just become a band to watch for me. Color me FUCKING impressed.

Written by Torann from Sol Ether (learn more here)


1. Marrow

2. Shadow Command

3. Of Spirit and Form

4. All Furies

5. Brutalized

6. The Fatalist

7. Hell's Grasp

8. From the Dust Returned


Paul Aloisio - Vocals, Guitars

Jon Gusman - Drums

Marc Morello - Bass