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Spiral Key - An Error of Judgement

Spiral Key
An Error of Judgement
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 19 December 2017, 8:00 AM

From their Facebook page, “SPIRAL KEY is a UK-based Symphonic Progressive Metal band formed in 2012, specializing in melodic, thoughtful and heavy music, diverse themes and a subtly dark sense of humour. The band features the distinctive voice and intricate guitar work of David McCabe and the thunderous bass work of Ken Wynne. The band presents their sophomore album here titled “An Error of Judgement,” which contains eight tracks.

“Reason Revolution” leads us off. Following some clean bass guitar notes, a heavy riff plods in. From there the sound varies with some softer passages followed by more aggressive ones. I do hear some DREAM THEATER influence here and it is nice…especially the keyboard presence, which adds some texture to the song. “Dark Path” is a bit longer, at over six minutes. A sparking guitar solo introduces the track. From there it has a dark and suspenseful sound in a mid-tempo pace. The chorus is big and full, pushing a lot of melody. “Freeze Time” features some really strong musicianship. The riff is weighted and energetic, and the guitar work is on full display. It has a jovial and groovy sound, brimming with life. Bass guitar notes dance in a seasoned samba as well.

“Hollywood Dreams” was the first official single released from the album. It’s a good song, but might be my least favorite on the album. Perhaps the choice to release it as the first single is because it might be the most accessible song on the album in terms of a more linear sound, and a pace that you can easily follow. “Possessive” is the monster on the album, at over nine minutes. It has a sweeping entrance, with Classical chord progressions. This is where some of the more Symphonic elements can be heard. Keys lead the verses, with poignant vocals. Then a heavy riff drops with a darker ambiance. The vast sound is akin to me of bands like QUEEN and MARILLION, but sometimes I have trouble following the circuitous route it takes at times. “West Facing” has a swinging groove with heavy staccato accents along the way. The fuzzy bass guitar notes are quite bossy, and the song builds a good deal of ambiance and more ethereal passages that are warm and inviting. “Sanctimoniuos” had a quicker pace out of the gate, and some notable Progressive elements in the 7/4 time meter which is really tough to pull off, and gives you a rhythmic fit trying to follow along. It’s probably the heaviest song on the album, fueled by an aggressive riff.

“Dead End” closes the album. The opening passage is pretty and charming, but with an air of mystery and a promise of something dark to follow. I don’t usually like repeated chords but the way they craft the instruments above that chunky riff is ingenuity personified. Overall I very much enjoyed the album, but felt there was just something little missing that could have really pushed it over the edge to one of the better Prog albums this year. All of the elements by themselves were well-done, but piecing them together into living and breathing songs felt uneasy sometimes. Not unintentional mind you, but just not quite the overall mesh that it could have been. Still, there is enough hear to love and I would recommend you give it a listen for sure.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Reason Revolution
2. Dark Path
3. Freeze Time
4. Hollywood Dreams
5. Possessive
6. West Facing
7. Sanctimonious
8. Dead End
Lineup:
Ken Wynne
David McCabe
Record Label: Pride & Joy Music
     


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