Spiralmountain
Spiralmountain


3.5
great

Review

by Jacob Royal STAFF
January 4th, 2012 | 34 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An artist dabbling with a musical planet that has only recently had its parameters laid out, Spiralmountain carves the way to success, albeit with a couple of missteps.

The realm of instrumental metal has truly blossomed lately, as we can see from the bombastic releases of both Scale the Summit and Animals as Leaders, both of which solidified the genre as something truly worth being acquainted with. The idea of vocals being essential to music to carry the mood has been practically rendered inaccurate to a fault, as instruments alone have proven themselves to be capable of creating such nonchalantly blistering atmospheres, and this fact has inevitably led to many flocking to the scene, wanting to prove their mettle at the style that has been expounded on, rapidly, by the likes of Cloudkicker and his less recognizable peers. Of course, there are downsides to this massive migration to a scene that was so refreshingly scant several years ago, but it would be silly to frown upon the fact that there are many more artists now stepping out from the shadows, exposing themselves with their ambitions on their sleeve. Spiralmountain is a remarkable example of an artist dabbling with a musical planet that has only recently had its parameters laid out.

New to the scene but still offering much to those that enjoy the frenetic sensibilities of instrumental metal, Arkansas denizen Erik Ebsen lays out his most immediate influences on his Bandcamp page, tastefully leaving out any question of from where his style has developed. Cloudkicker’s earlier leanings towards the djent tone is one that Ebsen unquestionably draws influence from, and those that feel bored with the artists that use djent don’t need to be worried, for the music is tastefully executed, leaving moments of atmosphere to draw in those that are wary. Tracks such as “Mammals” display the proficiency that Spiralmountain has trained himself towards, the colossal riffs that rightfully leave the listener rather impressed, and the fact that seemingly out of nowhere the man can make his music seem so visceral is perhaps the most endearing trait of Spiralmountain’s latest album.

The biggest downfall is the album’s sometimes uncomfortably derivative nature, during the more subdued moments where Ebsen seems to struggle a little more with the execution of his ideas. “Tundra” is a track that stands out not because of its boring riffs, but the more questionable trait of this song, the lackluster presentation of the other instruments. The drums just do not sound good when they aren’t hammering away double bass alongside the guitar, for example, and the guitar parts feel startlingly less focused when a more technically loose endpoint exists; this limitation tends to obstruct the potential of Spiralmountain to truly blossom as his predecessors have.

All in all, Spiralmountain’s self-titled release (a name that definitely may have come from the legendary Banjo-Kazooie) is immensely promising. As we witness even more musicians testing their skill at the dense, raw instrumental energy that Ben Sharp himself has found himself mastering throughout the last several years, Spiralmountain will have to search for methods of staying relevant and being separated from the crowd, and while he released a refreshingly enjoyable debut, only time will tell if his sense of musical direction broadens, leaving him with much more tools to build his inevitably excellent next album.



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user ratings (9)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
linkjerk
January 4th 2012


311 Comments


this album is amazing

Rev
January 4th 2012


9439 Comments


fuck yes Banjo Kazooie

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2012


10361 Comments


http://spiralmountain.bandcamp.com/album/spiralmountain

Reverend, I actually played Banjo-Kazooie competitively for a short while. Had, like, the 135th best time in the world for the swamp level. :]

Rev
January 4th 2012


9439 Comments


how did you figure? did you leaderboard on xbox or something?

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2012


10361 Comments


Yeah! Granted it was a bit different, considering the game hadn't been on XBox too long, but I still like to not mention that bit because it makes my time seem all the more impressive...

Rev
January 4th 2012


9439 Comments


playing BK on anything but an N64 is blasphemy

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2012


10361 Comments


Have you tried it? The graphics are prettier - playing N64 for me now is just tough because I've become so acclimated with nice graphics.

Rev
January 4th 2012


9439 Comments


if you play it on an emulator there's apparently a patch you can get that makes it even better than the Xbox graphics


and the old school graphics are what give its charm

fsharptrit0ne
January 4th 2012


4814 Comments


reverend did you play Skyward Sword? Parts of the game reminded me of the old Rare games

Tyrannic
January 4th 2012


3262 Comments


so is this cloudkicker groovy or AAL technical?

Acanthus
January 4th 2012


9545 Comments


Yay! Metal realized that classical music DID have something going for it afterall!

Digging: MO - No Mythologies To Follow

Rev
January 4th 2012


9439 Comments



reverend did you play Skyward Sword? Parts of the game reminded me of the old Rare games

I want to, but I don't own a Wii

Yazz_Flute
January 4th 2012


18852 Comments


I got both Skyward Sword and Banjo Kazooie for Christmas. Just beat Banjo Kazooie. It ruled.

Will check these guys out just because of that.

Digging: Kenn Nardi - Dancing With the Past

JeepersChrist
January 4th 2012


15 Comments


Sweet review. I'm totally going to check this out.

balcaen
January 4th 2012


3183 Comments


nice review mate, i'm checking this out today.

MrSnuffles
January 4th 2012


112 Comments


Glad I'm not the only one who immediately thought of Banjo-Kazooie.

jimmykidd
January 5th 2012


534 Comments


karnivool rec? im on it!

Urinetrouble
January 5th 2012


5764 Comments


i love vanilla ice i fux wit his music hardest nigga in da game

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
January 5th 2012


10361 Comments


Cheers guys

Tyrannic, while it does possess traits found from AAL I would say Cloudkicker's more melody-based style is the better comparison.

demigod!
January 5th 2012


45005 Comments


Banjo-Kazooie is my fucking favourite game from my childhood. I could play that shit over and over and over.

I think I know what I'm doing today.

Digging: Autechre - LP5



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