Jan-Simon : The temptation exists to pin every band that even only barely refers to Black Sabbath like doom metal, flirts with dark subject matter and has a female singer, must be an occult rock act. Followers of Blood Ceremony, Jex Thoth and The Devil’s Blood, to name but a few. This is also the case with Swedish band Spiral Skies, that scores pretty high on the occult rock checklist:
- Sounds like Jefferson Airplane (or was it Coven?) on steroids – Check
- Vague lyrics about wizards, crosses, gallows and the like – Check
- Gothic appearance – Check
Yet this is a bit too easy, because it ignores the qualities Spiral Skies show on their debut album ‘Blues For A Dying Planet’. The album may sound like old fashioned seventies/eighties classic hard rock with a thick psychedelic sauce, Spiral Skies is far from a copycat. Even when ‘Blues…’ kicks off with one of the most worn clichés of hard rock, the sinister organ intro of the kind we have heard hundreds, nay thousands of times since the first Sabbath records.
During the record the low, powerful voice of singer Frida Eurenius is the most remarkable part of Spiral Skies. On her own, she makes sure Spiral Skies does not fall into the trap that is radiofriendly mainstream rock, even though the band is continuously close to the edge. The four musicians that accompany Frida are more than competent and the production is excellent, but without the characteristic vocals not much of it would stick.
It never gets as exciting or even satanic as with the big examples from the occult rock scene on ‘Blues For A Dying Planet’. It is almost feelgood music, despite the over the top lyrics, and thus Spiral Skies has more in common with the psychedelic pioneers from the sixties than with the occult acts the band likes to compare itself with. ‘Blues For A Dying Planet’ is a fine debut that reminds of just about everything, just not of Spiral Skies. Having said this, this is an album with hardly any songs that are below par. Especially ‘Danse Macabre’, ‘Shatterd Hopes’ and closing track ‘The Prisoner’ (in which the band starts of sounding like Fairport Convention and ends sounding like Iron Maiden) are great tracks. This may not be an instant classic, it certainly is enjoyable and let’s hope this was not the last we hear from Spiral Skies.