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Spiral The Capital In Ruins album cover
2.62 | 9 ratings | 2 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Beyond The Edge Of Time (10:54)
2. The Art Of Our Dwellings (5:52)
3. The Capital In Ruins (22:58)
4. The Memories Speak (Senda's Song) (11:54)
5. Without Others (20:53)

Total Time 72:31

Line-up / Musicians

- Chris Boat / keyboards, bass, guitar, voices
- Aaron Frale / guitar, voices

- Senda Shallow / voices
- Denzel Thompson / voices
- Casey Mraz / lead guitar

Releases information

Self-Released (2011)

Thanks to DamoXt7942 for the addition
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SPIRAL The Capital In Ruins ratings distribution

(9 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (44%)
Collectors/fans only (22%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SPIRAL The Capital In Ruins reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Part 1 of a sobering Sci-Fi Trilogy

"The Capital in Ruins" is the first installment of an ambitious trilogy by the New Mexico band called Spiral. As I understand the storyline the tale is something of a twist on the 19th century short story "Rip Van Winkle" by Washington Irving. In the original Rip was a rather lazy old guy who fled up a hill to escape his nagging wife, only to fall asleep for 20 years leading to shock when he returned to his village to discover all the changes which had taken place. In the Spiral version Rip is a scientist who using nano-technology discovers a way to conquer disease at the molecular level and give immortality. He tested himself first with good results but the process was painful and unpleasant. So he tinkered with the procedure to make it more comfortable and easier to go through. After achieving this feat he began to inoculate his fellow citizens, eventually giving his gift to everyone. A few years later everyone began to die off due to a problem with the changes he had made. His initial treatment worked due to the strength, but by lowering the dosages for comfort he inadvertently screwed it up, causing the host immune system to reject it leading to death for everyone. Rip's nano-machines shut down as a defensive reaction putting him in a long sleep-like state. He awoke one day to dead and lifeless planet, all alone. This sets up all kinds of cool story lines.

"....he was a scientist that really wanted to help his people but ended up killing them. We loved the idea that the nano-machines would keep him alive forever, but since there were no humans left on the planet, he would be alone. I feel the music in Capital really captures the loneliness he feels. We decided to give the album a happy ending. He finds a copy of his daughter's DNA and clones her." -Aaron Frale from our PA interview

"The Capital in Ruins" feels like a major shift from the first three albums. I adore the first three recordings, in fact I prefer them to Ruins, yet there is no doubt they upped the ante here. The sound has changed also with much more emphasis on guitars while earlier works seemed more keyboard/electronics laden. Guest guitarist Casey Mraz was brought in to bolster the guitar side of the sound and he doesn't disappoint. A jazz guitarist by trade Mraz would become a contributor as his schedule allowed. Everything about the album feels somewhat epic, from the ambitious storytelling to the dramatic titles to the size and scope of the songs. The five prog-sized pieces total 73 minutes including two 20-plus minute monsters.

It begins with "Beyond the Edge of Time" which lives up to the rather lofty name. Brooding drone effects swirl around to set the mood, soon followed by a cool sequence of guitar chords. It picks up steam with Neil Young/Crazy Horse styled electric guitars and drums as the story described above is told. After a lengthy jam-band vibed solo over scrunchy rhythm guitars we get another coda of lovely acoustic guitar winding down.

"The Art of our Dwellings" is wonderful. Ominous and heavy, this is the sound of Rip realizing he is alone. Nature reclaims her throne as the cities are now empty of humankind, our architecture now the lone representative of who we were. Vocals here are manipulated by various techniques to express fear and horrid loneliness over a repeating riff, occasionally broken with organ or electric guitar. Chris Boat has been working this way since his teenage days when he was more interested in creating sound and recording than being a guitar hero. You can hear him playing with the feel of the vocals here.

At 23 minutes the title track makes it clear that this is not the album for those who want the quick kill. Rather than giving you a nice melody and on your way, Capital takes its sweet time to set up atmosphere and mood, and even then it lays back and explores it from different angles, tries variation, lumbers on. Time is needed to convey the moment when Rip finally awakens from the long slumber. Now awake, he is alone. Everyone is dead except the plants and animals as he deals with the realization and tries to recognize his old surroundings which are overgrown. There are many beautiful guitar oriented sections and some superb vocals from guest Denzel Thompson, who is Chris' step-father and the man who turned him onto music decades earlier. My favorite moment though is an out-of-the-blue drone section which drops at about 4 minutes in and lasts for quite a spell. It's hard to explain, but my mind is almost put on pause when this section hits, I am mesmerized. After being charmed by the music suddenly it all falls away and you're left in this drone section which I believe represents Rip standing alone, looking around, and hearing only the birds. No traffic, no people, no human related sound. Just imagine.

In "The Memories Speak" we are introduced to Rip's wife, or at least to her memory. Somehow Rip's obsession, sitting alone is his old home haunted by memories, has trapped his wife's spirit and prevented her from moving on. She pleads with him to be released. Rip's wife is given a voice courtesy of guest Senda Shallow whose lovely vocal is backed by a softer trippy guitar and welling keyboard, then another section where a more distorted guitar and drums kick in.

"Without Others" is another epic 20 minute giant to close the album. Here Rip finds a bit of his daughters DNA from some previous experimentation and has the idea to clone her. Like him, she would be immortal once inoculated with the machines. Whatever ethical considerations he may have had about bringing back his daughter to an empty world could not compete with the sentence of being alone forever. The musical journey is another mid paced guitar marathon. I'm not sure if Mraz has all of these leads or if Chris and Aaron are jamming along here but the intertwining lead and rhythm parts are enjoyable and inspired. While listening to these jams I thought they conveyed the feelings of his conflicted excitement quite well.

In summary "The Capital in Ruins" is an ambitious beginning to a wonderfully interesting story. Usually I couldn't give a rip (no pun) about song lyrics as I'm primarily a music guy, but with Spiral the stories actually have me reading the lyrics. That is rare for this listener. It's a good album without question but as far as my personal rating that's as high as I can go. There was something missing for me on this one. I enjoyed Jensen and Machine much more, and my initial spins of Traveler tell me I prefer that one over Capital as well. But every Spiral album is different so don't be surprised if you like this one better than my favorites! The band remains my favorite discovery in quite some time.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars For their fourth full-length release the New Mexico-based duo decided to take their sound to another level, the one related to long epic compositions.Additionally a concept around an almost mad scientist named Rip was developed by Chris Boat and Aaron Frale.Rip invented a machine able to change organic material, theoretically solving the problem of immortality.Rip was the first to be injected with a strong dosage and several people over the years were injected with smaller dosages.The result was the whole humanity to be sampled by his machine, but all of them were finally dead except Rip, who tried the strongest of all dosages.For the first time Frale does not appear as a vocalist and Senda Shallow/Denzel Thompson help the duo on vocals along with Casey Mraz on lead guitars.The album ''The capital in ruins'' was released in May 2011.

A pair of 10-min. epics and another pair of over 20-min. ones along with a shorter track complete for over 70 minutes of Psychedelic/Progressive Rock music, full of obscure atmospheres, stretched guitar textures and lyrical passages.The sound of Spiral is still based in an excessive deegree on mono- or dual electric guitars with atmospheric moves, extended solos and long, scratching riffs and the main problem remains the generally one-dimensional sound.Keyboards are used only sporadically and the best moments come from Boat's very good lyrical performance and the fair amount of haunting moods created by the sharp electric guitars.However the overall feeling is that most tracks are overstretched without any particular reason and a length close to their previous albums would have been definitely more convincing.Some acidic soundscapes with minimalistic effects apparently help the flow of the concept's story like on the long self-titled composition, which is basically built around these soundscapes, some basic riffs and Boat's expressive voice.The atmosphere relies on psychedelic lines strengthened by some heavier guitar-based tempos, although there are no high gears in a rather downtempo work.The last, melancholic track ''Without others'' is definitely the best of all.Very emotional lyrics, strong early-70's PINK FLOYD influences, light psychedelic grooves, total absence of fillers and a grandiose ending section with orchestral keyboards and powerful guitars show again what was already known: The potential for Spiral is still around.

''The capital in ruins'' suffers from the basic problems regarding Spiral's style: over the top guitar-based soundscapes with few variations beyond this familiar path.Following the story line will help the listener appreciate the release more and thus the album seems like a decent recommendation for fans of modern, atmospheric Rock...2.5 stars.

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