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"A Sceptic's Universe" (Sensory)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

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Spiral Architect is a prime example of what "thinking man's metal" means. "A Sceptic's Universe" is what happens when technical ability meets willingness to push the boundaries of progressive, yet accessible, metal. And, yes, let's be clear, this is progressive metal not like some of the progressive rock that's been reviewed on Rough Edge lately.

The near-inscrutable arrangements come off like early-era Rush on massive doses of steroids. "Excessit" and "Conjuring Collapse" are only two of the tracks that are sure to get your mind racing and your heart pumping with odd-meter time signatures. "Insect" is a fucked-up, sprawling loose cannon of a song that is tied together quite nicely by song's end. "Fountainhead" ends the CD with a perfect blend of progressive arrangements and metal's traditional chugga-chugga riffing.

What makes this CD really special is the vocals. The vocals are very unique and literally flow over the progressive madness that lies underneath. It rare to hear a progressive band that utilizes a great, unique, progressive vocal style. 

Overall, in my own mind, "A Sceptic's Universe" will join the ranks of Fates Warning's "Perfect Symmetry" and the self-titled CD from Damn The Machine as wonderful examples of what metal can be outside of mainstream restrictions.

Fans of Cynic and Watchtower, rejoice, for Spiral Architect have come to further the progressive legacy!

"A Sceptic's Universe" was produced by Neil Kernon (Queensryche, Dokken, Skrew). 

Spiral Architect is Oyvind Haegland on vocals, Steinar Gundersen on guitar, Kaj Gornitzka on guitars, Lars K. Norberg on bass, and Asgeir Mickelson on drums. Sean Malone (Gordian Knot) contributes stick to "Occam's Razor."

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Rating Guide:

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) A classic. This record will kick your ass.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) So-so. You've heard better.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

restinks.jpg (954 bytes) Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2000 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 01 Dec 2019 12:47:30 -0500.