Spiralling Toward Success
An interview with Spiral Architect
by: Brian Meloon
"Spiral Architect is also the title of a Black Sabbath song. The fact that some may assume there's a link also musically was something we took into consideration when deciding to use that name for our band. However, being certain that this illusion will shatter as soon as our music is heard, we didn't -- and still don't -- see this as a problem. We chose that name as we think it visually has a lot of potential, and also in a way gives a good description of the music we perform." -- Lars K. Norberg (bass)

Having formed from the ashes of Anesthesia, Spiral Architect began in early 1993. While Anesthesia was heavily influenced by the likes of Iron Maiden, Helloween, and Metallica, Spiral Architect have taken a more progressive route. Lars cites as their main influence "whatever we consider good music," but says that the band members "share a mutual interest in the more innovative bands of the heavy metal genre." Their influences include Psychotic Waltz, Cynic, WatchTower, Queensryche, Death, Fates Warning, Rush, and Dream Theater. The result is a sound which Lars describes as "some kind of a hard, technical/progressive metal with quite original yet melodic melodies on top. On several occasions we've been told that our music is in an odd way catchy, something I believe to be true, at least after being given time to grow. When written out, however, you'll see that it's fairly complex with key, time and tempo changes all over the place."

Retaining the nucleus of Anesthesia has kept the band's lineup stable for the band's three-year career. Anesthesia members Asgeir Mickelson (drums), Kaj Gornitzka (guitars, vocals), and Lars K. Norberg (bass), along with ex-King's Quest guitarist Steinar Gundersen have been together since the band's inception. However, filling the lead vocalist spot has been a problem for them. As Kaj wrote most of the vocal lines and sang on gigs with Anesthesia, he was given the vocalist spot. However, the band continued to search for a lead vocalist, auditioning many prospective frontmen, and finally settling on Oeyvind Haegeland, formerly of the (now defunct) Norwegian progmetal band Manitou.

As the band was without a permanent vocalist when asked to contribute two songs to the _A Gathering..._ compilation (reviewed in CoC #10), the band called in session vocalist Leif J. Knashaug. Leif was already familiar to the band, as he did the vocals for the two songs Anesthesia contributed to the _Norway Rocks_ compilation in 1988. _A Gathering..._ was released in September, 1995, and the band released their first demo (consisting of the same two tracks) in February, 1996 (reviewed in CoC #9). The songs are the culmination of years of work, as Lars notes that "Purpose" was "written in stages within a time frame of six years! I don't think the average listener will notice, but for us -- being aware of which parts were written at which time -- listening to that song is like taking a journey through the band's progression. Although being a fine tune, we're feeling somewhat alienated towards some of that stuff. 'Fountainhead', on the other hand, was pieced together in a relatively hurried fashion under a lot of strain, which again triggered heated arguments during the rehearsals. Anyway, the end result is something we're quite proud of."

Praise for the band's demo has come from far and wide, as it has garnered rave reviews in zines across the world (including this one). Lars comments that the band is "really encouraged and appreciative of all the great support we've been receiving. We've just recently started promoting our material towards record companies, so we're still waiting for most of them to reply. A couple of offers have come our way nevertheless, and we're now in the process of negotiating a deal with what you may consider a major independent label." (Can you guess which one? ;) )

Never content to rest on their laurels, the band is hoping to release another demo in September, 1996 and a debut album in early 1997, for which they are currently writing material. "Right now, we're working on four new tunes," Lars explains, "and we have ideas for at least another four songs. Obviously there's also some older tunes and hours of idea tapes floating around, but since we've progressed way beyond what's in general the style on these, we'll probably just leave that material to rest in its obscurity." Their sound continues to expand, incorporating elements of technical death metal as well as jazz/fusion. Lars says the band plans to "include these elements to our sound without necessarily excluding others - I mean... that's something we've always been doing, working on and making adjustments to our sound, and I'm certain that this also will be our policy in the future. Whatever the music in the end is labeled as is something we're less concerned about. We'll be happy as long as the music is interesting and enjoyable to play, and our beliefs aren't being compromised with."

Eventually, the band plans to tour Norway, hopefully in the autumn or winter, after their next demo is released. Along with their new material, they plan to play some covers, such as WatchTower's "Mayday In Kiev" (which Lars calls "amusing and fun to play") and Fates Warning's "Anarchy Divine". While Norway is better known for its black metal scene, a prog scene does exist there, as evidenced by the compilation _A Gathering..._. According to Lars, there are "many talented musicians but very few good bands coming out of Norway. Central Europe is the 'hot spot' when it comes to prog metal, or at least that's what we've been told. Nevertheless, if you ask me, all the leading bands of this genre tend to spring out of the USA."

Looking into the future is always a difficult proposition. For now, Lars says that the band "would rather like not to make any predictions, but just keep our focus on making the best of things right here and now." While they're doing that, check out their homepage (see below), listen to the soundclips of their music, and make up your own mind about what their future holds.

Contact: SPIRAL ARCHITECT, Chr. Krohgsgt. 30, N-0186 Oslo, NORWAY

WWW: http://www.gi.no/Spiral/

e-mail: asgeir@gi.no

(article submitted 9/6/1996)

8/12/2000 B Meloon 8.5 Spiral Architect - A Sceptic's Universe
4/18/1996 B Meloon Spiral Architect - demo
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