Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Spiral - The Traveler (2012)

Step into a unique and odd mixture of sounds in the album, “The Traveler,” which is by an ambient group known as Spiral. The album leans towards a psychedelic post rock genre with very ambient progressive tones. It’s got four tracks total but each track is pretty lengthy averaging at over 12 minutes a song. The band consists of two musicians, however they have listed a couple of different guests on this album as well.

The album opens with warm bass lines in “The Red Giant Stirs.” The song itself runs for over 15 minutes long and has tons of different transitions throughout. Scratchy melodic guitars layer of the bass in a calm, soothing way. As the drums come in, distortion kicks in on the guitars and will have you bobbing your head in no time. Shouting spoken word fills the air and shows off an interesting style of vocals. These vocals are short as most of the song is all instrumental. Progressive guitar riffs take over as double bass pedals jump in and out of the background. Snares and cymbals are constantly crashing to the beat as the riffs change melody. About six minutes in, all of the instruments drop as you hear a faded synth floating in the background. Wind sound effects draw you in as you’re waiting for what’s coming up next. Eventually calm organ notes and other synths come together and give an atmospheric tone to the song. The aggressive guitars and drums don’t pick up until about 12 and a half minutes in. In the end you are met with more wild vocals that are followed by upbeat guitar melodies that are very catchy and groovy.

“An Epiphany Near Vega 9” is a very psychedelic track that opens with gorgeous keyboards and light guitar riffs that will take your breath away. The vocals are completely different from the first track. They consists of soft clean singing with captivating reverb effects. The verses start out nice however there are a few parts that are a little pitchy as his voice occasionally falls off key. Progressive guitar riffs take over in between verses and play over a catchy drum pattern. The last few minutes of the song contain a lengthy guitar solo that sounds amazing for the most part however just like the vocals lean a little off key to the rest of the instruments at time. It’s an emotional track that you will definitely enjoy as long as you can get over the one or two vocal and guitar errors.

The third track on the album, entitled “The Caves Of Anamnesis,” is the longest song on the album running at over 19 minutes long. It starts out slow with a light guitar riff and whispering vocals for the first two minutes. As synths start to fade in, they also add some whistling sounds that sound pretty relaxing. Eventually distorted guitars come rolling in with a catchy lead solo on top. The drums rolls start to become explosive as each fill becomes more aggressive and complex. Vocals return later in the song as the music slows back down. This time they are shouted with interesting effects adding a futuristic tone to the song. A lot more electronic sounds and synths enter towards the end as they go hand in hand with the distorted guitars that blare along side them.

The final song on the album is called “R.I.P. Rip.” Ambient guitars and keyboards surround you as gentle vocals slowly fade in. The lyrics carry a depressive tone in the vocals going perfectly with the keyboard melodies. A guitar solo steps in shortly after destroying the musical scale with beautiful notes from left to right. After the second verse comes some basic acoustic guitar riffs and more synth sounds. The next verse comes in more clearly as if someone turned the vocals up in the mix. Heavy guitars are slammed in the background while kicks and snares rumble beneath you. Later you’re hit with another impressive guitar solo and detailed drum rolls. The song closes out with acoustic guitars and clean vocals as light keyboards play in the distance. A short guitar solo plays as the track fades to an end.

Although “The Traveler” doesn’t really fall under the heavy metal genre, the musicianship is outstanding and definitely keeps you hooked throughout its entirety. It’s calm and emotional and yet it carries some incredible guitar riffs and catchy bass lines. Although the songs are so long, the music changes up so much that you won’t even notice that you’re listening to the same song. Definitely check this album out if you’re looking for something new and different.


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