SPIRAL KEY – An Error Of Judgement (2018)
Britain’s SPIRAL KEY are releasing their second effort titled “An Error of Judgement”, the first via the very good, varied in musical styles Pride & Joy Music label (and distributed by ComeBack Media, ex YesterRock). Basically, Spiral Key mix Progressive with some Symphonic passages, specializing in melody and thoughtful lyrics.
The band includes the distinctive voice and intricate guitar work of David McCabe, the thunderous bass work of Ken Wynne, and dynamic drummer Chris Allan. The album features guest musical appearances by guitarist John Mitchell (Frost*, It Bites, Arena), vocalist Miguel Espinoza (Persefone), and guitarist Dan Carter.
SPIRAL KEY’s larger musical context is elaborated progressive metal with a symphonic side, all very melodious & clean. Their sound is punchy because it revolves around an abundance of dense intense riffage from McCabe and Wynne’s thick and thundering bass.
“Reason Revolution” leads us off, a ‘song format’ composition. 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’s nice… especially the keyboard presence, which adds some texture to the song.
“Dark Path” is a bit longer, and proggy, with 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 via its weighted and energetic tempo, and the guitar work is on full display. It has a jovial and groovy sound, brimming with life. Bass guitar notes dance all over as well.
“Possessive” is the monster on the album. 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.
“Hollywood Dreams” is the most commercial song on the CD, very accessible and one that will appeal a vast range of audiences. I found a bit of QUEENSRYCHE on it.
“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, warm parts.
“Sanctimoniuos” has a quicker pace out of the gate, and some notable Progressive elements with cool shifts. It’s probably the heaviest song on the album, fueled by an aggressive riff.
“Dead End” closes the album and it’s one of my favorites, with a dark yet inviting melodic atmosphere, something like MARILLON or IQ on steroids.
You can easily tag SPIRAL KEY as prog metal, but there’s much more going on through “An Error of Judgement”.
It’s a varied, always interesting record, well balanced and with melody as focus. Production & mix is very good, clear, and punchy when needed to provide impact.
A really strong ‘new’ band from the overcrowded progressive scene, and one you should check out if you like the influences mentioned above.
01. Reason Revolution
02. Dark Path
03. Freeze Time
04. Hollywood Dreams
06. West Facing
08. Dead End
David McCabe – vocals, guitar
Ken Wynne – bass
Chris Allan – drums
John Mitchell (Frost*, It Bites, Arena) – guitar solo (2)
Miguel Espinoza (Persefone) – vocals (5)
Dan Carter – guitar solo (7)
BUY IT !