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Spiral Architect - A Sceptic's Universe CD (album) cover

A SCEPTIC'S UNIVERSE

Spiral Architect

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.56 | 112 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars (Between 1 and 5 stars really)

Yes, I don't have any idea what rating to give to this album by ultra-technical prog- metal band Spiral Architect. I don't have a clue because there's two completely different point of views from which you can judge this record, both of them valid, yet completely opposite and that's what I will try to decide in this review: is it a 0, is it a 5??

Pro-5 arguments:

- In this album you'll probably hear to some of THE FINEST technical playing in the prog- metal realm... every musician here plays at the highest level of profficiency with his instrument: the drummer is an octopuss, the guitar players have like 7 fingers in each hand, the bass player has fingers made off rubber....amazing...

- how do we know the players are so good? Because they SHOW IT. If there ever was a showing-off album, this is it. Every song has like 30000 notes (more than a hundred per square measure), the guitar lines are absolutely high-flying, 20 scales-per-second wonder...the bass lines are so fast you will rarely catch them... the drums: impossible, so many rhythm changes, so many different patterns, great hi-hat use ala fates Warning, only more difficult, thrilling fills....

- not only there's speed: there are so many riff changes, so many odd time signature sections, so complex structures in the songs....

-also, we have quite a few (really A FEW) moments of melody here... the middle, acoustic section in Insect being one.... one....now, this leads me to the other side of the river....

Pro-0 arguments:

- let's start with what I was saying: there are a few moments of melody... A FEW... TOO FEW.... let's tell the truth: there's almost NO melody in this album... not one I can remember at least....it's pure madness...

- pure madness...yes... I said this is a showing-of record...but showing-off for the sake of showing-off? At times it seems so: there;s so many notes per second, so many rhythm changes that it's hard, if not impossible, to keep track of the songs....songs... then,

- ...SONGS. Where are the songs? Where? With no coherent structures, no choruses, no discernible solos (everything sounds like a giant, whole-band solo) I just can't tell one track from the other... Again, maybe Insect is the highlight, if only for the acoustic part...

- The singer is not up to par with the rest of the crew: if all others can play so technically complex music, the singer should be able to sing like a master of the vocals...but not, he's only a slightly better Fates-Warning-style of singer...that means a screaming, every-verse-the-same kind of singer....awful. This one is better than FW's Alder, but just a bit...

- It's technical...but: is playing 3000 notes per second really the mark of a good musician? I would say a rotund, gigantic NO: playing the most notes per second does not make you a great musician, playing the RIGHT notes is actually better.... and CHOOSING the right notes to play is better still.....

-In the end, there's not much MUSIC.

Now don't get me wrong: this is better than bands like Cynic (the founder of this style).... it's better than bands like Zero Hour because if that band tried to impress you but didn't do it, at least this norwish guys really DO impress. But it's the musical side that is lacking....

This band, with a more centered focus in MUSIC, with the help of some tranquilizers if needed, could be really great. They have it in their fingers...now if they only had it in their minds....

Final verdict:

I CANNOT give this band just 1 star: it's impossible, it would be so unfair to such talented musicians....

I CANNOT give such a melody-killing-monstruosity a 5. Man, we're not here for the noise!

So, at the end, I still don't have an idea. What rating definition suits the best?

Essential, a masterpiece? NOT. It's not essential, much less a masterpiece Poor? NOT. Try find anyone that says this kind of playing is poor...they're crazy. Excellent addition to your collection? NOT. I mean, there are better things to buy first. Good, not essential? NOT. I mean, It's just difficult to call melody-less music Good. Collectors/fans only? Now this is the one! If you want every piece of prog-rock around, every prog-metal album you can find....if you collect rare music, you can't not have this one.

But let's add half an star for...I still don't know.

The T | 2/5 |

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