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Sometimes people who know me ask why I hate all this progressive garbage so much, but they fail to understand my point. I do not hate progressive music per se; I absolutely love Rush, for instance. But I’ve always found the excessive pretentious nature of a lot of this genre’s musicians to be annoying, and Spiral Architect's debut manages to mix this with an abusive dose of wanking, creating one of the most irritating pieces of music ever.
There is no hint of coherence here whatsoever. These guys are solely worried about showing off their skills and that's about it. There are no song structures and there's no sense of organic, flowing music. It’s all a jumbled mess of overwrought riffing, soloing, bells, whistles and whatnot. It seems like they were playing at different places then they sent their individual parts to some technician who was paid to glue it all together like goddamn Frankenstein but did a terrible job at it.
Make no mistake, this is the band Dream Theater would become if they suddenly ditched all their good melodic ideas and their (rather stale) songwriting skills and just did it for the cash. Yes, I consider this a cash grab because of the gimmick overdose. Pretentious prog fans will surely go wild over this because the whole thing is so damn technical and absurd.
It’s a very frustrating album because these guys are clearly talented (their bassist is amazing), but they fail to transform it into good music by employing good songwriting. Øyvind Hægeland sounds completely and utterly lost, but I don’t blame him, as singing along to such clusterfuck must be really hard. As for the riffs, they go from frantic noodling to something genuinely heavy, but there’s simply no time for them to sink in, let alone headbang to them. The same thing can be said about the drummer, who seems to be way too busy filling every space with tempo changes instead of playing some kind of steady or interesting beat. It tires me endlessly.
Ultra technicality does not equal good musicianship, and until they learn this simple lesson, this band will remain a hollow – if promising - entity.