SPIRES – Spiral of Ascension

SPIRES – Spiral of Ascension

‘Spiral of Ascension’ is the debut full-length from Manchester act Spires. The music on offer is progressive death metal played with a mix of clean and death vocals so that it runs the gauntlet from Dream Theatre to Death in terms of heaviness. With an average track length of 8 minutes it is fairly obvious that the song structures give the band plenty of scope to musically explore the terrain they cover and pack in a wide range of moods and tones. The musicianship is excellent, with plenty of quirky leads, time changes and breaks to keep even the most demanding listeners interested.

Standout track for me is ‘Broken Hourglass’, for the dream-like, mesmerising guitar work and rhythms.

When I first heard this record I was bowled over by the maturity and musicianship, but since then it has failed to grow on me. While I really respect what Spires have achieved on a technical level, the songs just didn’t work their way towards my heart, meaning I wasn’t compelled to return to ‘Spiral of Ascension’. Perhaps the problem lies with a slight lack of charisma in the music, or perhaps in my tastes. I do love progressive rock/metal/DM, but the Dream Theatre influence makes this release feel a bit too commercial and obvious in places.

Having said that, Spires are a band with enormous potential and there is plenty on offer here for prog fans to get lost in.