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Spiral - Anomaly CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.91 | 3 ratings

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5 stars Spiral is a Psychedelic/Space rock band from the US that was formed in the late 2000s. They have released 14 full length albums since the year 2010 to 2019, their 14th album was released in June of 2019 and is called "Anomaly".

Those of you who are fans of this band know that "Anomaly" is the name of the daughter of a man named Rip. This album is the last of a trilogy of records put out by the band that is based on quite a complex story. The first part of the trilogy is featured on their 2011 album "The Capital in Ruins". This band felt this album could be improved upon, so they re-recorded it and released the new version in 2017 and named it simply "Ruins". The second part of the trilogy is the subject of their 2012 album "The Traveler". Finally, the 3rd part has been released and it concludes the story.

In a nutshell, the story goes that Anomaly is the daughter of scientist Rip, who is known as The Traveler. He has the power to gift Anomaly immortal life, so he does. However, she has the desire to experience the pain of death, so she devotes her life in trying to know what it is like to die, yet she can't, so she develops her own death cult. To make a long story short, her father dies and then she experiences the sorrow of death, so she wants to go to a distant planet where her father now resides in death and travels there, but then realizes what a great gift immorality is, so she finally decides to accept that. I know that is quite a condensed version of the story, but I only wanted to give you an idea of the story, it's up to you if you want to explore it further.

The album "Anomaly" has tracks on it that were originally written back in 2011 when the first part of the trilogy was released. The band thought the songs were so excellent, that they put them in storage to be used later, and a few of them are now seeing the light in this album. The album consists of 5 tracks with a total run time of 41 minutes, 3 of the tracks being over 10 minutes. The current line up for the band are Bill Hatfield on guitar and keyboard, Aaron Frale on guitar, Chris Boat on keyboards, bass, vocals and guitar, Denzel Thompson on vocals and Senda Linaugh on vocals. The album is available digitally.

The album begins with the shortest track (about 5 minutes) called "The Space Shaman". The psychedelic leanings are obvious right away with the echoing guitar and processed vocals as it starts ominously quiet, but a sudden outburst increases the heaviness and the vocals become harsh and fuzzy giving the music the stoner/space rock feel. The music follows the soft to heavy sound with a very solid ending. "Dreams of the Next Life" begins with a heavy bass line and solid drums and the layers of heavy guitars and near screaming vocals. The madcap vocal technique is fitting for the story, and used as such. Organ and guitars cool things off before the 2 minute mark, but everything stays dark and foreboding, letting you know that things can change quickly. A nice rolling bass line carries the song forward and the organ builds back the steam accompanied by fuzzy guitar. It's a great sound, heavy enough to appeal to progressive metal lovers, yet with the stoner aspect that lovers of Queens of the Stone Age will enjoy. The keyboards later develop a nice riff that keep the music robust and exciting. Later, more madness ensues in the vocals as psychotic screaming and ranting continues. Some might be turned off by this, but I find it quite necessary in this instance.

"Anomaly's Death Trip" is the first of the next 3 tracks that land around the 10 minute mark. The song starts softly with dark chords, a strummed guitar and female vocals that are quite airy and soft, even vulnerable sounding. There is a slight gothic undertone to the music here. But the music soon takes on a nice softly moving track as percussion comes in and the organ give you memories of early organ led tracks from Pink Floyd, that also gives the track a nice smooth feeling as it rolls forward. The vocals are absolutely beautiful as the character describes her feelings. The more minimal sound of the beginning of the track returns as the lyrics become more important and the attention is given to them until after the 4 minute mark. The singing stops, but the organ and the dark chords keep things soft and ominous. Soft guitar notes play supported by the organ as the song moves slowly and dreamily onward. At 7 minutes, the ticking of a cymbal and the eventual addition of hesitant percussion breathes some more forward momentum in the track. A steady rhythm is reached just after the 8 minute mark and the guitars drive the music into heavier territory and a more space rock vibe that increases in intensity until the end.

"Death Cult" floats along in the beginning but soon develops its rhythm with a thumping bass line and drums while one guitar plays an arpeggiated pattern and the other guitar builds and builds until the music becomes hard and quite rock solid. Again, that metal mentality is there with the rough stoner vibe which mixes quite well together. Shaky vocals begin, again with a level of madness, but less screaming. I love this sound. The theme develops even more as it nears the middle, then at 5 minutes, the music resets itself and becomes more space rock with buzzing synth effects and fuzzy guitars. The synth takes over with an excellent solo of arpeggio patterns as cymbals crash. This ends and the bass pounds its way along until heavy guitars take over again. Then plucked guitar notes add a new texture to everything and then this morphs into an improvised solo with the guitar. This will get your heart pounding as the tension builds to a climactic scene complete with crowd noises.

"Anomally Dreams" starts much more serenely with strummed guitar. Male vocals, not heavy this time, and more sane, sing along with the guitar. A lovely melody becomes apparent. Soon, the band comes in with a nice, flowing sound emphasized by the organ and a heavy background. Soon, a lovely guitar solo begins, again similar to some of the best Pink Floyd songs, and develops quite nicely as it goes. Before 4 minutes, the music calms to just an organ playing. Soon percussion kicks in again, and now we get a "Procol Harem" style sound. The fuzzy guitars echo the melody established by the organ as the song builds. The music has so much depth now, and you can actually feel the heart and soul that went into the sound of this album. A sudden change in rhythm at 6 minutes gives the track a different direction as the beat gets more solid. Again the organ starts to stir new emotions as it builds and things get heavier. Then, the tension is released as the music reaches a plateau and everything levels out, but continues to be somewhat loud. Guitars guarantee that the album will end with a solid feeling, and you actually feel sad when it all fades away at the end, because you just want it to continue.

Wow. Another great album in 2019. The overall sound is heavy with a lot of darkness and solid music to make lovers of dark metal and space rock happy, plus dynamics and surprises that will keep lovers of progressive music happy also. This is another highlight of the year so far. The music is so well developed, the themes and characters also well thought out. There is a lot of heart in this album, and you can tell that a lot of time went into this music, but at the same time, it has the rough edges that space rock lovers crave, and doesn't sound polished either, but sounds authentic. Highly recommended.

TCat | 5/5 |


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