REVIEW: Spirit Breaker – Cura Nata [2021]

Artist: Spirit Breaker

Album: Cura Nata

            Every so often, we as music enthusiasts encounter a release that helps us grow—or at the very least, a release that we subconsciously link to emotional, spiritual or physical growth that just happens to be occurring at the same time. We carry these records with us into adulthood imbued in rosy hue—a warm, nostalgic glow that reminds us of the hardships we’ve overcome. Sometimes they stay with us for months—others years, or maybe a life time—all a resounding reminder of our pasts.

            Other records—like Cura Nata—grow with you. Allow me to elaborate.

            When I first had the pleasure of listening to Spirit Breaker’s long awaited 2021 release, it was actually Spirit Breaker’s long awaited 2019 release, albeit in a slightly unfinished form. Here, I was at my own relative crossroads in life—nearing a climactic end to almost two decades of schooling, burdened by the responsibility of figuring out exactly what the fuck I wanted to do with my life. Obviously, Spirit Breaker’s release didn’t go as initially planned—and neither did my own plans, for that matter—but as the months ticked on, Cura Nata was (and is) a poignant, emotional and driving release that pushed me forward. The messages of uncertainty, turmoil and heartache that served as the LP’s first impression grew into driving messages of hope and passion amid tumultuous times. Cura Nata grew with me, taking on new meanings and connecting with me in ways that only immensely powerful and impactful pieces of music are capable of.

            Cura Nata is a maelstrom of metalcore mastery and marvelous emotional complexity. From the subtle, ear-ensnaring tendrils of “Stardust Memory,” through epic anthems like “Hello, Drifter” and “A Cure for Wellness” the band demonstrate a crushing and creative blend of atmospheric post-metal, gnashing and grooving progressive metal and bone-busting metalcore. Whether it’s the fast footwork and unstoppable cadence of “Pure Fury and Wonder” or “Playful Cloud” or the more metered demonstration of aggression on “Flauros,” the band’s percussive element and grooving, winding bass work together in dialectic harmony. Every aspect of Cura Nata’s mesmerizing instrumentation flows fluidly and manages not only to sound carefully composed, but simultaneously remarkably natural. “Playful Cloud” is an incredible example of this; even as the track pushes and pulls at the listener using stuttering kick drum patterns and jarring displays of aggression, Spirit Breaker manage to ebb and flow into atmospheric territory, giving every track a light dusting of spacey, galactic ethereality. This juxtaposition—within each track and within the record as a whole—lends a vivid and immersive dynamic to the record’s musicianship. This is double with consideration of the band’s frantic fretwork, which further amplifies the influences from both progressive and post-metallic stylings. Where “Hello, Drifter” and “Flauros” alongside “A Cure for Wellness” see the band nearing their heaviest, other cuts like “The Mountain Between Us” see the band playing up their ability to effortlessly oscillate between quick, riffy progressive stylings and darker, brooding segments. As a whole, Cura Nata’s instrumentation mirrors the journey that it takes the listener on—one that touches on dark and bright times both, capturing crippling depression and captivating, uplifting optimism.

            Spirit Breaker further set themselves apart from the pack with their vocal element. Those familiar with the band’s previous work are doubtlessly aware of this—as, frankly, the band’s vocals have never really sounded akin to other act’s. Frontman Tre Turner’s range and style touches on everything from shrill screams to burly, full-bodied bellows with pitched singing and screaming scattered hither and to in between. Turner’s ability to be diverse in style while maintaining a uniqueness of pitch and candor makes Spirit Breaker a breath of fresh air—without being too weird to render the band inaccessible. “Hello, Drifter”—the record’s lead single—cements Turner’s style, with a spastic climax that sees him working in new, unfamiliar cadence. Meanwhile, “The Mountain Between Us” and the record’s rip-roaring title track feel like more stand-fare metalcore cuts, with Turner’s voice leading the charge. Spirit Breaker don’t relent there, either: it is not only through their vocal prowess, but also through their steadfast, relatable and riveting lyrical content that they sink their teeth into the listener. Where many bands on metalcore’s progressive spectrum feature lyrics that are either dense and scientific or aloof and hypothetical, Spirit Breaker stay firmly planted in real and tangible emotion and experience that is bound to keep the listener coming back.

            Cura Nata is what I would argue to be a genre-defining record from an act you might have never heard of. While Spirit Breaker are certainly new additions to Solid State Records, they’re old hands and hectic, emotional and progressive metalcore. Finding themselves thrust headfirst into the aether dividing remedy and plague, Cura Nata sees Spirit Breaker creating something immensely ambitious—yet powerful enough to achieve all it attempts to, and so much more.


For Fans Of: Northlane, Silent Planet, Invent Animate, Monuments

By: Connor Welsh