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Spiral: Mind Trip In A Minor

Any band who can lay claim to releasing seven albums and nine singles across a four year period are either inspired, or deluded. Spiral are inspired, or you might say inspiraled....sorry. Mind Trip In A Minor is a genre blending voyage of bleakness, interspersed with dazzling moments of hope that are almost immediately defeated by more gloom. But what glorious gloom it is! As any release with a title as convoluted as Mind Trip... should be, this is conceptual stuff, although whether you can follow the concept, well that's another matter - even with a description inside the CD booklet. As a taster, here's the introduction...

"These are the only things you know: You woke up on a dry river bed, 7 dead bodies litter the ground, your hand is bloody and it curls tightly around a key. This is all you know. You search for days on end until finally you find a small keyhole in the trunk of a large oak. You slide the key in and turn. The oak opens and reveals an ancient cave. You step inside."

Are you any the wiser? No me neither, but it has to be said that the music is even more intriguing, as the trio of Chris Walker (lead guitar), Aaron Frale (guitar/vocals) and Chris Boat (vocals/keyboards/bass) merge the lines between psych, space-rock, stoner, doom and modern-ish prog to great effect. Initially the album was intended as one long song, but due to pressures from digital outlets, it has eventually been split into nine separate parts. Although I have to say that you really do need to approach the whole experience in the manner it was originally intended, allowing the piece to flow, revisiting themes and sounding in an amazingly cohesive fashion, while evolving and changing before your very ears. As said the entire album is dark, dank and threatening, but instead of blunting the attack, the sheer variation of approaches makes this a hugely engaging album that, no matter what else is going on, engrosses you from start to finish. The arrangements are stunning, and with a sound that is sharp, yet to the point, the plaintive, eerie keyboards, acoustic guitar, forthright riffs and uneasy vocals, which range from gargled wails, to unsettling whispers, all somehow cut through.

The end results are progressive, without being prog. Doom laden, without being doomish. Spacey, without being space rock. Droning, without being, well, boring. And while there are fleeting moments where other bands are brought to mind, the whole experience is refreshingly difficult to pin down, if music this dense can ever be considered refreshing.

Add to the package stunning artwork from Zdzislaw Beksinski and Mind Trip In A Minor really does become a special release. One to savour again and again, discovering new reasons to be cheered by its gloom every time. The only down side? I've got another six albums and nine singles to find the money for now!

Track Listing
1. Part I - Watch My F***ing Head
2. Part II - Cave In The Oak
3. Part III - Down The Rabbit Hole
4. Part IV - In The Desert
5. Part V - A Face In The Sand
6. Part VI - Ritual Of The Snake
7. Part VII - Half Of What He Gives
8. Part VIII - The Snake
9. Part IX - The Way Out Is The Way In

Added: September 2nd 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Spiral at BandCamp
Hits: 2213
Language: english

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