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4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 28, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: March 7, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sensory Records
  • ASIN: B00004RDG5
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #254,603 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Editorial Reviews

Technical, intense and truly progressive, this album marks the new era of thinking man's metal.

Spiral Architect formed in 1993 intent on building upon a genre created by bands like Watchtower, Atheist, Fates Warning, Cynic and Death. Their first

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
A Sceptic's Universe(2000). Spiral Architect's first (and so far) only studio album.
"WARNING! Spiral Architect goes beyond progressive, exploring the realms of complexity and intensity that pushes the nature of technical metal further. 'A Sceptic's Universe' is not for the fainthearted! It may cause serious damage to your mental health."
This excerpt was taken from the sleeve that wraps around the album package. I almost laughed when I first read it because I've seen many warnings for strong language and cursing before on music albums, but never ever one that said that the music would be too complex for the human brain. It's probably a reasonable warning for those who never listen to this type of heavy metal at all. In fact, all you need to do is listen to the 30 second amazon clips to decide whether this is too complex for you or not. I on the other hand, didn't freak out on my first listen, due to the fact that I've previously listened to a lot of progressive rock and metal like Rush, Dream Theater, and such, so I guess it somewhat prepared me for Spiral Architect. But the music will most likely fly over most people's heads. I'd just like to see someone who only listens to either AC/DC or Top 40 radio try to sit here and stomache this. It simply wouldn't happen.
So what is Spiral Architect all about? Well, they derive their main influences from the 80s technical metal band Watchtower, who in turn sounds like an incredibly complex version of Queensryche. They show off other proggy jazz influences as well. Imagine the complex instrumental section of the Dream Theater track "Metropolis Pt. 1" as an entire song, then multiply that by a factor of 10, and you'll have some idea of what Spiral Architect sounds like.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Norwegian technical metal July 7, 2001
Format:Audio CD
I'm surprised at some of the reviews I have read for this CD. Some reviewers say this album is unmelodic. Others say this album was made as an excuse for these musicicians to show off their technical ability without any true regard for songwriting. And a few others only mention Lars Norberg.
First of all, this album is extremely melodic. The only thing is that the melodies are unorthodox and more complex than what is usually considered melodic. These are melodies that have to be listened for, not the type that punch you in the face upon the first listening. Once you are able to discern and appreciate the melodies, you will truly realize how profoundly talented Spiral Architect is.
Secondly, their awesome musicianship displays are not meant to hide a lack of songwriting (both lyrical and musical) ability. While I do not agree with the atheistic nature of some of their lyrics, they are highly intellectual and thought-provoking. And I admit, there are so many crazy time changes that it is difficult to tell one song from the other if you've only listened to the album a few times. The differences will only become evident after multiple listenings.
And finally, some of the positive reviews only mention Lars Norberg. Granted, he is an exceptional bassist. But what are the other four guys, chopped liver? All five members are incredible musicians. What I'm trying to figure out is how no one mentioned Asgeir Mickelson's drumming. Or the excellent guitar playing of Steinar Gundersen and Kaj Gornitzka. There were a few mixed reviews for vocalist Oyvind Haegeland. I for one think he rules.
Before I sign off I must remind you buy this album before it is downgraded from being merely difficult to find to being impossible.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars super-intense and challenging. July 24, 2003
Format:Audio CD
This is an extremely complex album, probably the most musically demanding progressive/prog metal album aside from Garden Wall's _Forget the Colours_. Spiral Architect's profound technical excursions are voxtex-generating maelstroms of staggered, sycnopated razors rhythms interacting in an abstruse, hyper-complex manner both intensely Dionysian and Apollonian. Polymeter and displacement, odd articulation, and very unusual structures (much more challenging to play than to hear) are the tip of the iceberg for this band's unbelievably insane music. The vocals are high-pitched prog metal style vocals which sound a little off at times, but the way he sings really fits so it's all good. Check it out or shame on you. And hey, anything where Sean Malone contributes is automatically amazing (even if it's only on a brief instrumental interlude). _A Sceptic's Universe_ [sic] is essential.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A musician's delight August 5, 2000
Format:Audio CD
This has to be the craziest, most unstructured metal I've ever heard - and probably the best bass playing I've ever heard, as well. It is completely unlike anything I've ever listened to before. Time changes abound, constantly changing, music that seems to relentlessly start and stop just to toy with the listener. I'm not sure there is a single toe-tapping moment on this entire cd! The bass work is furious and distinctly audible, accompanied by matching guitar work and unconventional vocal arrangements (that remind me of John Arch's style from early Fates Warning but with a less unique, more pleasant timbre). I've seen people describe this music as "sick", which I think sums things up very well. It's just twisted. It's all over the map, it's chaotic, and yet it still holds on to a thread of traditional, organized song-writing. And somehow it works. Think Fates Warning with even less structure, or Watchtower with cleaner vocals. The cd is only about 45 minutes long, with nine short (3 - 6 min) tracks, which I think was smart on their part. There's no way I would have liked this album as much if it were 70+ minutes in length and filled with 8 and 9 minute songs - it would have just been too much. It's great enough the way it is. Now, I wouldn't want every cd in my collection to be so limitless and insane as this, but it is very refreshing and done very, very well. I can't see any fan of technical metal being without this disc. Kudos to the good folks at the Sensory label, first Clockwork's "Surface Tension", now this!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fretless Bass
By far one of the greatest technical/progressive metal bands out there. I heard this band back in the late 90's when they initially were releasing this album. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Some Random Noobie
3.0 out of 5 stars Instruments=yes, singing=no.
I just stumbled upon this alpha and omega Album, and just gave it an entire listen through. I love progressive rock/metal and can appreciate the instrumental achievement found... Read more
Published on January 22, 2009 by Alex Oleson
3.0 out of 5 stars Some Good Elements
Admittedly, I'm a bit of a junkie for progressive music/odd-time signatures.

Influences:

You will notice (immediately), if you've listened to any of the... Read more
Published on August 10, 2008 by Cameron W. Malek
4.0 out of 5 stars insane
this CD is crazy. All the musicians come 100 miles an hour from completely different directions, but it all meets in the middle and obliterates. Read more
Published on February 24, 2008 by Douglas Lewis
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Album, Great Band.
For all people who enjoy technical progressive metal combined with jazz fusion influences this album is great. Read more
Published on December 5, 2007 by Graywolf87
4.0 out of 5 stars technical and entertaining
I thought most other reviews on the CD were spot on so I won't add much, let me just say that firstly this CD is not as demanding to listen as some have hinted, if you are a... Read more
Published on May 20, 2007 by LBL
5.0 out of 5 stars Thinking Man's Music
If you're looking for simple and easy music, don't even think of picking this up, but if you're looking for an excellent and unique album, "A Sceptic's Universe" by Spiral... Read more
Published on April 1, 2007 by Bill Lumbergh
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting.......
After listening to this one a few times all I can say is...Take some Zappa.some Dream Theatre,some Quiet Room put in a blender and enjoy... Read more
Published on December 21, 2006 by Francis L. Griswold
4.0 out of 5 stars Synapse-frying prog metal.
[Dry and overlong review ahead.]

Criminy, this album is nuts. Amazes me that this is just a debut--this Norwegian outfit is already ridiculously tight, with chops... Read more
Published on July 26, 2006 by Shotgun Method
3.0 out of 5 stars Robot Metal
I found myself both amazed and disappointed by Spiral Architect's album A Skeptic's Universe.

It's hard not to be amazed by the musicianship on display here. Read more
Published on February 8, 2006 by Justin G.
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