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Spiral Key: An Error Of Judgement
Spiral Key - An Error Of Judgement CD Album Review

Spiral Key: An Error Of Judgement

Progressive Metal

Formed a mere five years ago, England's Spiral Key features the duo of vocalist and guitarist David McCabe and bass player Ken Wynne (Cut the Wire). They return with their second effort An Error Of Judgement for Germany's Pride & Joy Music. The album features guest musical appearances by guitarist John Mitchell (Frost*, It Bites, Arena) on Dark Path, vocalist Miguel Espinoza (Persefone) on Possessive, and guitarist Dan Carter on Sanctimonious.

Spiral Key Band Photo

Spiral Key

Spiral Key's larger musical context is heavier progressive metal with a symphonic side. Their sound is heavier because it revolves around an abundance of dense intense riffage from McCabe and Wynne's thick and thundering bass. Actually, these representative parts are quite overwhelming. So much so that they instantly muffle the vocals and bury any sense of melody and harmony. This was my first and then overarching observation from listening to An Error Of Judgement.

The question lingered, Where is the melody, the harmony? It's there, but you have to unpack the riffage and rhythm section to find it. Often the melody and harmony comes from the vocal arrangement or aspects of lyrics, like the chorus, but those aspects of the compositions are gasping for breath. Sometimes it is found in McCabe's riffage, even possibly in a solo. But mostly he seems to want to bludgeon you with his fret barrage, and then impress you with his technical guitar solos, which are quite thrilling.

There are some songs that juxtapose the heavier parts with lighter segues such as Reason Revolution and Dark Path. In both cases, McCabe's voice is heard better. The symphonic angle is merely a synth layer, and it can seem like an afterthought in most songs. But that layer is also pummeled by the strength of the guitar and bass, and drum programming. All this had another effect upon me: most every song sounded similar, nearly to the point of redundancy. In the end, after two spins of Spiral Key's An Error Of Judgement, I found myself somewhere between ambivalence and disinterest. You may feel differently: enjoy the music video below. - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

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The Bottom Line

In the end, after two spins of Spiral Key's An Error Of Judgement, I found myself somewhere between ambivalence and disinterest. You may feel differently.

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