There are great recordings, and then there are releases that just get better each and every time you listen to them. SpiralArms new release FREEDOM is one of those releases. I loved it the first time I heard it, and it's done nothing but get stronger with each and every listen for me. Maybe it's the mood I'm in these days, or maybe it's just that great music is coming out fast and furiously, but it seems like for the past two months, each release has been better than the last. In the last 3 months alone, I've proclaimed "album of the year" twice before...Vista Chino's PEACE and Scorpion Child's self-titled debut. Now, I'm proclaiming it once again. Full of diversity and influences from all the right bands in the history of rock and metal, FREEDOM stands as the lone perfect listening experience of 2013 for me. This one is a stunner.
Describing exactly what is going on here with SpiralArms' FREEDOM is not an easy task. It's appealing to a lot of different audiences, to say the least. Without question, the music will work very well for the stoner rock/metal crowd, although much like Scorpion Child's release it's not a full on, fuzzed out hempfest of a release. Guitarist Craig Locicero's (ex-Forbidden / ex-Manmade God) has a much bigger and fuller guitar tone than the standard stoner rock guitarist. As a former thrash veteran, he also knows how to bring it a lot heavier. Songs like "Dropping Like Flies" prove that there's a lot of metal in this band when they want to showcase it. Other songs, like the driving "Drugs & Alcohol" find Locicero just rockin through some of the chunkier, more galloping riffs of his professional career.
Locicero is only a small part of the story here though. SpiralArms is led vocally by former Systematic vocalist Tim Narducci. Unlike the generic sounds that band had, his vocals on FREEDOM are far more gritty, powerful and emotional. In fact, there are four or five songs on the disc that are mid-tempo that seem built to showcase Narducci's emotional delivery time and time again. Listening to "Exit 63", you feel his passion exploding from his soul as he calmly roars through the chorus. This song is arguably the best song on the disc, with the giant crescendo building in the middle of the song instrumentally before Narducci repeats the simple, yet effective chorus. The song also features a sweet piano line which also closes the song that is very much reminiscent of the Derek & The Dominos classic "Layla (Piano Exit)". ' If that song isn't enough, it's quickly followed by another masterpiece called "Blackmoon Morning", which adds an almost Stone Temple Pilots vibe at the beginning as Narducci starts low before taking his vocal to his higher, more powerful place with Locicero laying in a fat, Soundgarden-esque riff underneath. It just rocks...period.
PITRIFF RATING - 100/100 - I'm not one for giving perfect scores, as there's almost always flaws in everything. I can't find one here. While I know for some their score might be lower because they don't have as wide a musical diversity as I do, there's literally nothing in the hard rock/heavy metal template that isn't touched on here for me. This has been the sole release in my iPod for a couple of weeks now, because the songs are just so strong and impressive. This needs to be experienced.