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


Spiral Architect


Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.69 | 141 ratings

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Andy Webb
Special Collaborator
Retired 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.

Andy Webb | 3/5 |


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