Jagged Spiral started playing together in 2005 and released their debut album Days From Evil in 2008. Since 2008 the three-piece consisting of Josh Kattelman (percussion and backing vocals), Colin Mallon (rhythm and lead guitars) and Conrad Zero (lead vocals, bass and programming) have been recording their follow-up entitled Fire and Dice, which was released last December. They play hard rock that veers towards metal. Some songs sound like a sludge metal band from the 80’s on others they sound like a mix between late 80’s Metallica before they went soft, Sabbath and a myriad of early 90’s alternative acts.
Zero sounds aggressive if not pissed off for most of the record, which is only appropriate. He shouldn't sound like Ben Gibbard. Zero sometimes exaggerates his voice and you also do get the occasional death metal growl, which I believe is delivered by Kattelman.
The production is pretty good. It was done DIY style but then sent off to a couple of pros to mix and master. The guitars have a meaty mid range, the bass provides a solid low end but thought the drums could have been a bit more up front in the mix.
Kicking off the mayhem is “Invasion.” It begins with complex tom work, distorted shards of white noise from the guitar, and low hanging synth lines that sit under the spoken kind of singing vocals of Zero. He says in a low octave range, “There's a fire in my heart and it glows so bright / There's a fire in my heart and it never ever stops.” Around a minute –and-a half in the band finds the rhythm of the verse. The drummer breaks into a beat and the singer goes into a more natural octave range.
“Lament (part i)” throws a fast moving guitar riff with scorching vocal harmonies in which they accent the first word of each phrase in a death metal type growl. I enjoyed their thematic breakdown towards the end of the song. I have to admit I found a little bit of humor in the use of female vocals because it seems over the top. Amongst the songs there are some lulls and some other songs that had my attention. I felt as if “Horrorcloud,” “Reset” and “Blood On The Velvet” were the standouts.
The music on this album is for fans of metal and hard rock. It most likely won't be attracting many fans outside of those genres, as it doesn't deviate much.
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