Spiral Architect - _A Sceptic's Universe_
by: Brian Meloon (
Being a fan of these guys from way back [CoC #9, #11], I had expected their long-awaited debut album to really blow my socks off. Unfortunately, I was quite disappointed. Whereas their demo showed a band with an original take on the progmetal genre, this album comes off sounding a lot like Psychotic Waltz's _A Social Grace_ (especially the vocals) and Watchtower, with some Fates Warning (_Perfect Symmetry_) and Cynic thrown in. The music is very complex and technical, often causing a disjointed feel to the music. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, they aren't consistent with it. At times, they begin to develop sections and then rapidly switch to a completely different style, with no apparent connection. This kills any flow that they were starting to create for the song. The playing is excellent, however: very tight, even when each of the band members are playing completely separate parts. The parts of the individual musicians are usually very technical. The production is clear, but the separation of the instruments is a little too much for my taste. The bass has a very compressed tone (similar to Sean Malone's on _Focus_), which -- while making the bass easily audible -- also tends to split the music apart. A richer, fuller tone would've created a more coherent sound. Ultimately, there's a lot of good music on this CD, and fans of technical and progressive metal should enjoy it, but I think that these guys are capable of a lot more than they showed on this disc.
(article published 12/8/2000)
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