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This album has recieved a lot of unfair criticism, those typically falling in that is ''too technical", "just wanking", "no structure or whatsoever", .."a show off of technical abilities with no point at all", etc. From my point of view this are the kind of comments you would expect from people not used to this type of music, like the ones you would get if you put your aunts to listen some random thrash/death LP for the first time.
As with other albums in the technical metal field, it is more a matter of an aquired taste than anthing more. If you enjoy highly original, varied and challenging music then this is the type of album for you. If you come to expect some derivations of the standard prog-metal band (e.g. Dream Theater, Fates, and all their 'sons') you have come to the wrong place and will end up unsatisfied as hell. The same if you think this is somehow related to the wankery of Necrophagist and its contemporaries/clones.
The music in here really pays tribute to the title of the album: this is how a sceptic approach to music may sound like. There is a feeling of complete void though the whole album that is filled with music that knows almost no rules and that don't believe in anything. The difference is that in this album this expressions are not given by boring experimentations with some sort of atmospheres or noises, but by an ultra-tight version of late 90's metal made only with guitar, bass, drums and (very rare) keys.
The songs in here HAVE an structure, and HAVE a point, and the beauty of it is that these are not revealed to the casual listener, or to the the un-patient ear. This CD will need a lot of spins and of careful listens in order to get to you. First the more familiar sounding songs like "Ïnsect", "Cloud Constructor" and "Fountainhead" (that hint at some familiar technical metal acrobatics) will get your head for days and weeks. Once there, the rest of the album will catch your attention a lot more, starting from the first three songs "Spinning", "Excessit" (that may recall to Cynic), and Moving Spirit. And finally the least accesible songs "Conjuring Collapse" and "Adaptability" (maybe because they at the end of the album, rather than for being inaccesible per se) will get your head for a couple of months more.
The songs of this album are not similar at all between them, and each one of theme has its ows feel and its own purpouse. I can assure that in order of crafting this masterpiece, the band did a very complete and careful job. Take for example "Excessit" and "Adaptability". The similarities between them are almost non existent. The former has a jazzy/alt rock feel with a somewhat organic feel and the latter feels more like the kind of thing a robot would like. The same type of comment would apply for example when comparing "Moving Spirit" with "Conjuring Collapse". The first is calmer in the sense of the technical details that it carry and is more melodic and straightforward, and the second is exactly the oppossite.
The driving force behind this album is with out no doubt the bass. If you enjoy music in which the bass actually sounds and appears and re-appears with all kind of tricks, speeds, and sounds, then this CD will like you a lot, even if you don't care for the music at all. The bassis, L. Norberg, really makes the point in here, and his playing really give this album a lot of more depth and variation, aspect that is not found a lot in the metal genre, where the bassist usually just copies what the guitar does.
The closest roots I can trace to this kind of music can be heard in Watchtower's Energetic Disassemby, in Focus from Cynic, or in the first two albums of Atheist. These roots range from the stilistical approach to music to how the thoughts and perceptions of the band are expressed though it. While in Warchtower the sound may be thrashy/primitive to some tastes, in Cynic way too thoughful, processed and arranged, or in Atheist too direct/agressive and uncompromised, in here you will find a very good balance between the agressive mode and the thoughful mode, combined with an very own Spiral Architect feel.
To conclude, I would not recommend this album at all to the regular metal/ prog metal listener. I would rather recommend this to the people that enjoy creative music with a heavier edge and that enjoy music that dont believe in anything except from itself. ()If you enjoy classical tech-death, then this album is for you. If you just like the wankery aspect of the technical music, then go somewhere else.