Released: 1999, Avalon/Marquee
Reviewer: El Cid
Hidden Gem Selection
What do you get when you put Satyricon and Borknagar members together with a great vocal performance and a green light to do whatever you want with the music? Well you get Spiral Architect of course!
This incredible outfit is composed of Øyvind Hægeland (Vocals), Steinar Gundersen (Lead Guitar), Andreas Jonsson (Guitar), Lars K. Norberg ( Bass, Satyricon) and Asgeir Mickelson (Drums, Borknagar). What seems amazing here is that every member of this band is considered a standout musician in their other bands by fans and press alike. You can now imagine what is going to happen when you put them together! No it’s not 5 Malmsteems arguing about who stands in front of everyone else on stage! This group of individuals actually formed a band that works. Musically close to Fates Warning or Watchtower, I would say Spiral Architect has managed to take the best of both bands, blend it, revamp it, upgrade it and smoke its influences with ease.
If I tried to give you a song by song review of this album I would never, ever be able to fit it in a format you could download from the internet in less than 5 minutes. Every single song is so complex, changing and inventive that I could’t possibly describe everything that goes on inside each of these masterfully arranged slabs of music, thus I will stick to give you a general overview of the album and this way you can check it out by yourselves.
The music flows smoothly throughout the CD going from Jazz-influenced tones to heavy metal and even some power stains here and there and these changes of mood, pace, style and whatever else you might want to add are sometimes done several times inside one song. Now, you’d think that this would damage the integrity and appeal of the songs, but it is not the case. The changes are so well orchestrated that you don’t even realize there has been a radical switch of rhythms until it has been executed. Though it is difficult to pick one song as my overall favorite for this album, I have managed to narrow it down to “Cloud Constructor” and Occam’s razor”.
A SCEPTIC’S UNIVERSE is one of those rare albums where each time you spin it you keep finding new things. You sit and listen and realize you hadn’t heard how well that riff was thought of, how greatly that melody fits in that exact moment, well everything. Each and every time I spin A SCEPTIC’S UNIVERSE I discover a new part of the whole masterplan and I’m blown away all over again.
Finally, being in this huge Jazz/Fusion/experimental music kick I’ve been on for a few months, I would urge you at gun point to go buy this album if I knew where you live and cared enough :p
But you must trust me, this is one album you will not regret buying.
Choice Cuts: ”Occam’s Razor” (****), “Cloud Constructor” (*****)