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Spiral Key biography
Formed in Swindon, UK in 2012

SPIRAL KEY was formed by David MCCABE and Ken WYNNE, two experienced performers and writers of rock music eager to express a common love of progressive music, turning years of simmering ideas and songs into the coherent whole that is SPIRAL KEY - a fully independent progressive rock/progressive metal band with symphonic overtones.

Their full length debut album 'PERFECT MACHINE', released in early 2013, consists of seven thematically involved pieces of music that move in weird and wonderful ways, allowing both musicians to express themselves in their playing, writing, and arranging alike; it is an offering that has something to say and somewhere to be. This is music for grown-ups! With a penchant and love for both music of greater complexity (anything from BORODIN to DREAM THEATER) and eloquent song writing (RUSH, STEVEN WILSON, RIVERSIDE), Ken and David have combined their abilities to create words and music intended to stimulate both emotionally and intellectually. Heart-felt, brain-fed and gut-delivered; modern, electric, eclectic, layered, sensitive, subtle, searching, beautiful, and loud - 'PERFECT MACHINE' has a destination, and is eager to get on towards it.

A second album is already being conceived; and an EP of new songs is currently being put together and planned to be released either later this year or early next; but that's a whole other story. Watch this space!

Biography provided by the artist and used with permission

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SPIRAL KEY discography

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

3.81 | 13 ratings
Perfect Machine
3.80 | 56 ratings
An Error Of Judgement

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 An Error Of Judgement by SPIRAL KEY album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.80 | 56 ratings

An Error Of Judgement
Spiral Key Crossover Prog

Review by Steve Conrad

4 stars Brilliant heavy progressive/progressive metal album:

Spiral Key created eight searing tracks featuring crisp, seamless, rich progressive music coupled with provocative, sometimes apocalyptic lyrics.

'An Error of Judgement' is their second release.

Spiral Key:

Spiral Key is David McCabe (guitar, vocals, orchestral arrangements) and Ken Wynne (bass guitar, vocals). Spiral Key are joined on this album with the amazing Chris Allan on drums who performs all drumming on the album and along with Dan Carter make up the band when playing live.

In addition, several guests provide other musical contributions.

Not really concept album, yet certainly conceptual'

Lyrics focus on some of the stark events of the times- and some that seem sadly almost timeless, like religious bigotry, closed-minded smug self-certainty, and mindless trust in those who don't deserve it.

There's a strong call to use of reason, and staying true to self in spite of many pressures to follow destructive paths.

My current favorite track, Possessive, along with Sanctimonious, embodies much of these lyrical themes, and also moves into the kind of musical grandeur and energy that makes this album, and Spiral Key, so engaging.

But the MUSIC:

I suppose if the lyrics were sheer blather, it might change my mind a little, but it's hard to argue with the compositions and musicianship.

Tight ensemble playing, lush keyboard work, searing and soaring guitars, thunderous bass, and crisp precise drumming, topped by supple, lithe vocals, and too infrequently, wondrous harmonies.

If there was one factor I'd change, it might be more of those harmonies, and more variation in the vocal textures.

I was especially taken by the way lyrics and instrumentation worked together, in a near-cinematic or operatic manner. There might be rugged riffs one moment, then orchestration that called to mind symphonic music.

What a satisfying musical feast!

My rating:

Four out of Five pristine pearls.

 An Error Of Judgement by SPIRAL KEY album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.80 | 56 ratings

An Error Of Judgement
Spiral Key Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars It's early in 2018, yet Spiral key have already put a stake in the ground for progressive metal album of the year: it is going to take something quite special to be better than this. Formed in 2012, this is the second release by the band, but their first for Pride & Joy. The band features the distinctive voice and intricate guitarwork of David McCabe and the bass of Ken Wynne (Cut the Wire). After a short hiatus following on from their debut, they brought in drummer Chris Allan (ex-Malefice, now session/independent) and guitarist Dan Carter (Belial), and hit the stage in 2016 supporting a number of bands across the spectrum including Kingcrow and Votum. Back in the studio they brought in guests John Mitchell (Frost*, It Bites, Arena) who contributes a guitar solo to the track "Dark Path", vocalist Miguel Espinoza (Persefone) on "Possessive", while Dan Carter displays his inimitable style on the track "Sanctimonious". Interestingly there is no mention of who provides keyboards, which are an important part of the overall sound.

When I first started playing this my immediate thought was Threshold, and each time I played it I came to the same conclusion. But, that is more to do with the music and the style being performed, as when it comes to the vocal melodies they are undoubtedly quite different. But given how long Threshold have been at the peak of the prog metal scene in the UK it isn't surprising that another band from the same country has been influenced by them. The songs are hard, heavy, and always incredibly melodic and I found myself continuously being drawn back to this album. It is interesting to see John Mitchell being involved, as it shows just how much melody that the band are providing as his name isn't one that would normally come to mind when discussing this style of music.

This is something that those into prog metal really need to seek out.

 Perfect Machine by SPIRAL KEY album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.81 | 13 ratings

Perfect Machine
Spiral Key Crossover Prog

Review by lucas
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Perfect blend of prog-metal and neo-prog

Spiral Key are a prog-metal band with echoes of neo-prog. Only two persons are involved in the project, but every instrument is played professionnally and despite being programmed, drums have enough twists to sound like played for real. Lead vocals are passionate - somewhere between Jon Anderson (Yes) and Aluisio Maggini (Clepsydra) - they are accompanied by more frail ones (more akin to Roger McGuinn (The Byrds)) on two of the seven tracks, the contrast between the two voices adding some spice to the whole.

On the opening track, "At Sixes and Sevens", buzzing guitars and keyboards cover syncopated drums all along and provide a threatening feel. In-between those buzzing passages, extinguishing guitars accompany the pleading theatrical voice, a short dreamy passage reminds the softer moments in neo-prog act Clepsydra, and a pompous keyboard solo brings to mind the uplifting soloing of Kevin Moore at the time he was with Dream Theater.

"Colder than Heaven" is a melancholic balad. Orchestral keyboards share the space with imploring voice and regular cheerful piano touches, while drums move with care. The awakening guitar and passionate vocals in the chorus are like keys to the door that opens to Hope. However, a passage with prudent drums, eerie keyboards and low voice signal that the road to Hope has not come to end yet. Alarming guitar/piano interplay is like the sign that the opening of the door to Hope is imminent. Guitar and drums move then more confident, together with more prominent piano, like excited at the sight of the opening gate. The voice gains in assurance and is backed by more upbeat orchestrated keyboards.

"Love Is" starts in a folk-pop way with Jon Anderson inflections in the voice, throbbing acoustic guitar and swirling piano. It morphs into more intricate territories with complex drumming, tortuous and possessed vocals, backed by frail vocals, that will nevertheless take over the lyrics when the mood calms down, first backed by "pointillistic" Hammond and aquatic bass, then by innocent acoustic guitar. A mid-tempo hard rock section, with pompous keyboards adding a dancing pulse, concludes the song. This is the first song to feature both vocals, and the contrast between the eccentric vocals and the more introspective ones works perfectly fine.

"I, Parts 1 and 2" starts with the frenetic Dream Theater's theme in the overture to the closing section of "Learning To Live" on 'Images And Words'. Then some atmospheric keyboards and aerial guitar soothe the air. The guitar turns somewhat dissident when the mesmerizing solo bursts, keyboards then go into a panic. Drums follow the movement with their faster pace. A "marching" passage with majestic keyboards marks the transition to the sung part of this epic track. Vocals are pleading, and interspersed with the majestic thread theme. A happy grandiose ending with a last wink to Dream Theater's theme from "Learning To Live" closes the song.

"Eyes Open Wide" starts with repetitive keyboard touches like in a Clepsydra song, interspersed with orchestral keyboards and cheerful voices. The song takes a thrilling turn when guitars and drums, soon followed by bass and keyboards sound all very excited, as if a great news just dropped. It ends with prudently moving forward guitars and drums, together with exaggeratly high- pitched voice.

In "People are People", the frail voice returns, backed by the passionate high-pitched voice. The pace is slow and the guitar layers, extending to infinite without apparent focus, together with short dubious keyboard touches, give a haunting feel to the song as well as a questioning on the direction the song should take (this is even matched by the lyrics: "middle-West, middle-East?").

"Words are Never Enough" is an upbeat song with angry chant, orchestral keyboards and daring guitars. The anger gives up in when the light keyboard touches and the cheerful guitar licks take over.

Spiral Key's 'Perfect machine' is a great example of a band that manages to bring together the enchanting keyboards and expressive voice of neo-prog acts like Clepsydra and the harsher and more complex side of prog-metal bands like Dream Theater.

Thanks to kev rowland for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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