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SPIRAL ARCHITECT

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Norway


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Spiral Architect biography
SPIRAL ARCHITECT is a five members progressive metal band from Norway. These guys play more notes in the space of 30 seconds than some rock bands play in their entire career. The riffs are intricate and layered, often with guitar harmonies. The sound is a mixture of guitar-based melodic, technical metal to the extreme and classic prog vocals. The music reminds me almost like if heavy metal was crossed with improve jazz with a power metal singer in the front. The vocals are densely layered and harmonized in the style of YES. There are so much and refreshing you can do with this style that there's no reason to stop the evolution at DREAM THEATER and FATES WARNING.

After several years of anticipation, SPIRAL ARCHITECT CD "A Sceptic's Universe" emerged in early 2000. This release placed them firmly a top progressive metal, with writing and playing superior to all other non-instrumental progressive metal bands. Overall, the music is very original and captivating. If you like this you'll probably enjoy ANDROMEDA, GORDIAN KNOT, and most definatly FATES WARNING. Its definitely not for everybody. A "Sceptic's Universe" sets the standard for technical metal.

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Sceptic's UniverseSceptic's Universe
Sensory Records 2000
Audio CD$76.88
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SPIRAL ARCHITECT discography


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SPIRAL ARCHITECT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.54 | 118 ratings
A Sceptic's Universe
2000

SPIRAL ARCHITECT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SPIRAL ARCHITECT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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SPIRAL ARCHITECT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
95 demo
1995

SPIRAL ARCHITECT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 A Sceptic's Universe by SPIRAL ARCHITECT album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.54 | 118 ratings

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A Sceptic's Universe
Spiral Architect Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by AgostinoScafidi

5 stars I love this album! I just had to write a review about it. I was surprised to see so many reviews teetering on either side of the spectrum, love or hate, 1 star or 5 star along with many 3 star!

Wow, it's true though. This is THAT kind of album. It's uncompromising. It's special. It's unique and all these things make it truly essential for any progressive metal fan!

This has to be one of my very favourite albums in this genre and it will always stand as a shining beacon of what this genre could produce when the music and only the music is catered to.

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 A Sceptic's Universe by SPIRAL ARCHITECT album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.54 | 118 ratings

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A Sceptic's Universe
Spiral Architect Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by ScorchedFirth

3 stars (5/10)

I'm not sure I'll ever be able to properly make my mind up about this one. My opinion can vary wildly even during a listen, so I'll go somewhere in the middle. The reason is that "A Sceptic's Universe" is pretty much an unremitting maelstrom of technical metal. To call Spiral Architect a 'challenging' band to listen to doesn't even begin to cover it.

Right from the start we get a onslaught of complicated time signatures, which never really lets up, never really lets you get a hold on any song for too long. To me, it sounds like a technical jazz metal extension of Fates Warning/Watchtower, something further emphasised by the vocals. I also have the version of this album with the bonus track, a cover of the early FW classic "Prelude To Ruin", which I think is absolutely brilliant. Maybe because I already know and love the song I can get a handle on it more easily. Its also the only song I can actually remember anything about once it's over.

Obviously the musicianship is outstanding, and this extends to every instrument. The bass in particular is really high in the mix, and a good addition to the sound. It bounces around weirdly with just as much of a technical flourish as the guitar. All the instruments are insanely complicated though. Did these guys ever manage to play this stuff live? God knows how that would have been possible.

At times though, I'm not sure what I'm really getting out of it. The songs can sometimes not even feel like songs, just formless technicality. I'm not sure if it's meant to sound chaotic, or if it's just so complexly structured that I can't decipher what is going on, but either way I am completely lost for large portions of the 'songs'.

In conclusion... I think I like it? Everyone should hear this, at least. Even if you end up hating it (which I can foresee many a typical prog fan doing) then you'll probably have a morbid fascination with the music. If however, you are a fan of Watchtower, Fates Warning, or any Jarzombek or Malone projects, then seek this out right away.

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 A Sceptic's Universe by SPIRAL ARCHITECT album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.54 | 118 ratings

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A Sceptic's Universe
Spiral Architect Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

3 stars Is that a solo or a tornado?

Spiral Architect is an interesting band. They emerged like a small flame in the intense heat of the mid 90s' "jazz metal" frenzy, where bands like Death, Atheist and Cynic were releasing revolutionary music with the interesting fusion of jazz and technical death metal. Spiral Architect has a very similar style to Elements era Atheist, with an intensely fast and speed driven jazz fusion esque bass and guitar lines, this time with more melodic vocals. The band released a single album, A Skeptic's Universe, in 2000 before disintegrating into oblivion. The band, even with just one, obscure album, has succeeded in leaving a significant mark on the progressive metal world with their interpretation of a brief musical movement.

The album's musical makeup is very similar to much of the jazz metal of the era, with a bit more thrash metal, melodic vocal pieces, and a slightly dissonant guitar feel at points. Although they have obvious influence in the likes of Atheist and Death, the band is still able to break away with a slightly more unique style, fusing more traditional progressive metal, jazz, and thrash metal to make an interesting view on the jazz metal scene. The songs have some really superb points, but others seem like essentially every other jazz metal band of the time period ? fast, intense, technical metal manias with ample shredding and hard post-bop influenced bass lines. Although the music at times seems like nothing special with the slew of bands just like it, it does have a slight attractive quality that makes the cold lines of intense music appealing.

One think I'm really bent on is whether to say I really love the incredible audible, intense bass lines, or say that they're unnecessary. Although I absolutely love the fact that they are on the same aural level as the hissing guitars, some part of me thinks their over-technicality adds some kind of a frigid, inaccessible quality to the music. Although they are "necessary" to make the music have that "jazz" feel, at times they just aren't right for the music. However, I must commend the band for their incredible skill of adding an odd harmony between the tornado off bass lines and the crunching, technical guitar lines. Although at times the crazy frenzy is a little scary, overall the band has done a superb job of crafting a very interesting technical metal album.

Overall, this album, all together, is a very balanced display of technical metal. The band manages to balance being like every other tech metal of the age with having a unique and defining sound, making for a good, but not overly remarkable album. This technical monstrosity has its genius moments, its "that was unnecessary" moments, its moments of almost ironic melodic grace, and its moments of "this is just like every other tech metal band ever," equaling out to a good, but non-essential album. One can find more pleasure with bands like Death, Cynic (especially Cynic), and Atheist. Although this album is in no way bad (it is quite good, in fact), it is no essential addition to a collection, unless the listener wants a more inclusive tech metal collection. 3+ stars.

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 A Sceptic's Universe by SPIRAL ARCHITECT album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.54 | 118 ratings

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A Sceptic's Universe
Spiral Architect Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Ovidiu

5 stars I have only some simple and direct ideas about this exceptional album! Geniality is mostly not understood! Some people are living before their time and age! This is an album made to prove that technical metal,Prog or whatever can produce pure msuical masterpieces! A sceptic's universe is the ultimate ultra technical metal masterpiece!! This album is the most technical album ever made!Something unbelieveble at what level of musicianship some maniacs of technique can achieve their capacities and abilities!It's simply breathtaking from the first note to the last one!Neil Kernon brings,as producer,a note of perfection to an album already perfect from the technical point of view!Sometimes I think that this album deserves at least the status of Cult, as the sensational and unique CONTROL AND RESISTANCE-WATCHTOWER!And it's twice more dangerous than the Watchtower's album!!! Even in 5-10-25...100 years this album will be a refference...AN ICON! I gave 2 times 5 stars to an historical album!10 Stars!! PURE MASTERPIECE FOR ETERNITY!!!

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 A Sceptic's Universe by SPIRAL ARCHITECT album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.54 | 118 ratings

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A Sceptic's Universe
Spiral Architect Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Spiral Architect is one of the most intristing bands ever from progressive metal. I don't think that they are Tech/Extreme Prog Metal only prog metal, at least to my ears. I know this album since he was released almost 10 years befor. I must confess this was and at some point still is one of the most intristing and captivating albums ever from my collection. The album released in 2000 named very explicit A sceptic universe is one of the most complex albums I ever heared, in top 10 for sure for the highly complex compositions. Now, I saw that for some this album is a masterpiece for others is a waist of time, because of their unique manner of composing and arrangements, pieces are so complex that sometimes hearts my ears, but overall is a pleasenty album for sure. I like this kind of prog metal, to be complex, maybe some parts are to sophisticated and for that reason they are a little boring, but only in places. Melodicity on this album is almost none, or better said is but in their view, as Spiral Architect want to be, that gives to the album a unpleasent aura for most of the listneres. All pieces are good, two of them are highly recommended : opening track Spinning and Insects, two of the most elaborated in manner of composing and musicaly speaking pieces I ever heared, this guys are simply crazy. Sometimes they reminf me of Watchtower or Fates Warning. The jazzy elements of bass lines interplays simply amazing with the drum chops made by Asgeir Mickelson, great drumer. So, a very good progressive metal album in my view a 3.5 rounded to 4, still not a masterpiece in my ears but worth investigated.

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 A Sceptic's Universe by SPIRAL ARCHITECT album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.54 | 118 ratings

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A Sceptic's Universe
Spiral Architect Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by FruMp
Prog Reviewer

1 stars What's the point really?

I should preface this review by saying technical metal is one of my favourite genres. Atheist, Cynic, Watchtower, Coroner and Voivod rank among some of my favourite bands. So it is not due to any kind of unfamiliarity that I base my judgements.

This album is a crime against technical metal. It is the definition of what people do wrong in the genre if I were ever asked to describe the bad aspects of technical metal I would simply point out this album. For good bands technicality is a means to an end. Bands like Atheist use technicality as a device to convey their musical message - and as they showed on their Elements album they don't particularly need it to make good music. For Spiral Architect though, the AIM is technicality - it isn't used as any kind of device for making good songs. There are no riffs you can hang onto, there are no parts that stand out or sound good, it's pure chaotic nonsense. Even bands on the higher end of the technicality spectrum such as Behold ...The Arctopus and Spastic Ink have riffs, hooks and catchy parts that make you enjoy a song and want to listen to it again.

I'm not sure why this album was created, surely at some point the people that made this cacophonous mess must have had a point of self-realisation (why the hell are we doing this, does it even sound good?) or perhaps it's just an elaborate practical joke. Regardless if you like avant-garde experiments which seek to be intentionally unlistenable give this a listen, if you like good tech and good song writing then don't even waste a download on it.

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 A Sceptic's Universe by SPIRAL ARCHITECT album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.54 | 118 ratings

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A Sceptic's Universe
Spiral Architect Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is one of those reviews I coudn't wait to write because i'm so excited about this album. I was really surprised to see how low this was rated but my faith was restored when I saw UMUR's 5 star review. He's the Tech / Metal expert on this site as far as i'm concerned. Anyway the vocals on this album are like a cross between Arch and Lackey (Graves) while the music also reminded me more of FATES WARNING and PSYCHOTIC WALTZ than anyone else. That complex precision of the latter and the grinding guitars and melody from the former. In the liner notes they thank the great Ron Jarzombek and Sean Malone among others. The latter also guests on one track with his Stick. Man Norway has given us so many amazing bands but this one might be at the top of the heap.

"Spinning" is such an impressive opener. So technical and complex. The vocals come in quickly and check out the drumming ! Killer bass 2 minutes in followed by some blistering guitar. A great intense section follows to end it. "Excessit" is intricate with more amazing bass as those grinding guitars come in. I like when it settles a minute in then the grinding guitars return again. Great bass ! I'll be saying that a lot in this review. Check out the guitar after 3 1/2 minutes ! "Moving Spirit" opens with vocals and crisp drumming as the guitars comes in. Some incredible guitar before 2 minutes. Great tune. "Occam's Razor" is a 1 1/2 minute instrumental. Some atmosphere early then Malone come in late with his Stick.

"Insect" is complex yet melodic early. Check out the bass ! Vocals come in and then it gets heavier as it slows down some. A ripping guitar solo before 2 1/2 minutes. A thunderous soundscape before 5 minutes. "Cloud Constructor" has such a good bass / drum intro then it kicks in with a powerful yet slower soundscape with vocals. A calm before 3 1/2 minutes. This is great ! It kicks back in a minute later. So impressive ! "Conjuring Collapse" opens with some nice drumming as the guitar comes grinding in joined by bass. Killer track. The vocal melodies 5 minutes in recall Arch. Great ending too. "Adaptability" is heavy with some outstanding bass as grinding guitars come and go. Riffs 2 minutes in as it settles down and the vocals are almost spoken. It kicks back in with power as the guitar lights it up. "Fountainhead" is the closing track and my favourite. Just an awesome sound before a minute. This is incredible ! Vocals 2 minutes in. Fantastic soundscape here. It settles 4 minutes in with some nice bass then it kicks back in a minute later.

UMUR recommended to me a band called TWISTED INTO FORM which features Kaj one of the lead guitarists on this one. I just checked out a song sample on this site and was promptly blown away. It's on my "to get" list.

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 A Sceptic's Universe by SPIRAL ARCHITECT album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.54 | 118 ratings

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A Sceptic's Universe
Spiral Architect Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by pepato

2 stars I was quite disappointed by this album. A technical monstrousity, really: a stormy chasm of virtuosisms which cut your breath out, really. But how cold! The songs are the most intricate, the sound is heavy, pulsing, dark. Every instrument plays as if driven by madness. All of this is good, but the result is just a cold patchwork of chaotic elements which don't make out an attractive work. The impression is that the band tried to follow the Cynic's lesson, succeeding from a technical point of view, but failing from an artistic one. The sound of the bass pulses over anything, the guitars are just cold as backward sounds. A particular notice needs to be written about the voice: the tone is cold, quite monotone, but the vocal lines followed are very strange and original. This sounds very odd, and makes the record very hard to appreciate, but this mark of extreme originality and audacity is a good thing. I point at two good tracks: Fountainhead and Occam's razor, which features Sean Malone on bass.

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 A Sceptic's Universe by SPIRAL ARCHITECT album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.54 | 118 ratings

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A Sceptic's Universe
Spiral Architect Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by ProgBagel
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Spiral Architect - 'A Sceptic's Universe' 3.5 stars

A technical monstrosity.

So far, out of the all music I have ever heard in my life, this is probably the most technical. Each member of this band is certainly a master of their craft but things go a little overboard with the technicality. There is a constant change of time signatures, tempo's and the like, but sometimes it just gets questionable as why too much.

The best performance by far is the bass work or Lars Norberg. Any fan of the instrument will surely appreciate his work. The bass playing sounds like an improvisation, and the listener can be sure to notice it because he is very loud in the mix, which would make a lot of sense due to his stand out product. Even though the musicians that play on the album are as proficient as can get, the bass playing of Lars Norberg still stands out.

What did not stand out were the melodies. I feel that sometimes they lack the sensibility of playing along the same lines and they let things go out of whack, a result of the technicality just going a bit too far for technical sake. The singer, Oyvind Haegeland, is reminiscent of Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson, except being able to obtain a higher pitch in his voice. Much like the instruments, there is only so much of his voice one can take as well.

This release is something that a technical metal fan would love to the fullest. An opposing player to the genre will find nothing but unhappiness. I tend to think that this is a great album, but the instruments start growing apart from each other so much that it becomes too much for the ear. I think Behold.the Arctopus can do the opposite of this. Go crazy and retaining the melodies is what they can achieve with ease. Sadly, this band does not. I would recommend Twisted into Form, co-created by the guitarist from this band, if you indeed loved this release.

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 A Sceptic's Universe by SPIRAL ARCHITECT album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.54 | 118 ratings

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A Sceptic's Universe
Spiral Architect Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Ok,here we have the most classic example of a love or hate band...Most of the reviewers have rated this album with 5 or 2 stars...My opinion is that the truth always lies somewhere in the middle...SPIRAL ARCHITECT play extra technical prog/jazz metal...and the first influence that comes to my mind is PSYCHOTIC WALTZ at their most technical moments...This exact thought is also supported by the vocals of Oyvind Haegeland who must be a fan of the main vocalist of PSYCHOTIC WALTZ, Buddy Lackey...Of course such bands is almost impossible not to be influenced by the legendary WATCHTOWER which was the first band to play and sound as a jazz metal band...A more technical side of early SIEGES EVEN also come to mind while listening to this disc...

...And it is reasonable that many progheads don't like that kind of music...because what is the whole point of music? In my opinion music -and especially progressive rock which is the one we have chosen- must create feelings and emotions to the demanding listener...And this is not the album to start with if you want feelings,melodies and emotions...By that sense no album of that genre could be considerd as a masterpiece and that is mostly true...On the other hand this is not a disc to simply drop in the ban...These talented musicians have created a music piece where they push their skills and creativity to the upper limits and that's something that can't be passed by...Sure,there are no melodies but after all they have composed songs that anyone can listen to,it's not simply a matter of complexity and showing skills...

I think a 3 star rating is the appropiriate one...Not a masterpice for sure, but an excellent piece for those who like technique,complexity and want to learn something more about the human music skills...Highly recommended for fans of PSYCHOTIC WALTZ and WATCHTOWER, recommended also for prog metal fans in general and some jazz/fusion fans too...Anyone who's in love with the 70's prog rock sound should simply pass by...

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