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Spires - 'Lucid Abstractions' (Self Released) 5/5

One of last years most exciting releases was undoubtedly Spirals of Ascension, the debut album from Manchester prog metal outfit Spires. That release picked up a lot of airplay, both on BCFM and RS666 and narrowly missed out on being shortlisted for the BCFM shows album of the year award. Now Spirals have issued this new five track acoustic album as a follow up. Apparently the idea for this one came about after a series of unplugged show the band performed late last year. It is four new tracks and an acoustic rendition of Spirals of Ascension the title track from their debut album, and its damn good.

Kicking off with a nice and mellow cut entitled Under Bloodstained Skies, this album is breath taking in concept and scope. Stripped of the razor edged metalisms of their debut album Spires have forged in this album (and yes I will say album, cos although the band are calling it an ep, anything with a play time of nearly 40 minutes says album to me) a quiet and deeply introspective exercise in acoustic prog rock that not only shows them as first rate musicians and song writers, but as masters of the soundscape, as they weave delicate patterns of light and shade that flit moth like across the ears and bathe the soul in a gloriously dreamy wash of aural delight.

Highlights? well the whole album flows together perfectly and almost seamlessly but my personal fave moment has to be the spine tingling Perception, a track that is spine chilling, uplifting and head soothing all at the sametime.

All in all this is a fantastic release that shows that Spires are indeed an outfit that are capable of greatness, and the fact that these guys are still unsigned is a travesty. However if they keep issuing material of this diversity and quality they will not be independent for long.

If you only get on progressive album this year, make sure its this one.

For fans of... Fornost Arnor, Awake, Dream Theater, Fates Warning.....

To get you hands on a copy of this gem visit (but if you want a CD copy, hurry this comes as a limited pressing of 500 copies)

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