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The Spiral Sequence - Through Shadow Into Light - Album Review

Updated on July 25, 2014

The Spiral Sequence – Through Shadow Into Light

The Spiral Sequence – Through Shadow Into Light

Album Review by Dave Smiles

The story used to go something like this - Musicians would work hard at honing their craft, jamming with other musicians and playing regular gigs, hoping for that one big break. These days with the increase in the quality of home recording a lot of bands and artist are choosing to take this ‘do it yourself’ route. This gives the benefit of having more control of your work, but brings with it a new set of problems - funding, staying focused, and getting your finished product out there for people to listen to.

A lot of work goes into writing, recording and self-producing an album, especially in the case of The Spiral Sequence, which is a one man project from Melbourne multi-instrumentalist James O’Toole. The only thing he didn’t do on this album was the final mastering. Even the artwork, some impressive images to accompany ever song, are O’Toole’s creations.

As well as being an exceptionally accomplished musician, and sound engineer, O’Toole’s lyrics show he’s well-read and educated. These songs contain themes common to the metal genre such as war, the value of human life, personal struggles, loss, redemption, the working class, as well as a touch of mysticism as well. While the themes are familiar, O’Toole breathes some new life into the songs and raises some thought provoking questions as well.

If you’re a fan of bands such as Iron Maiden, Porcupine Tree, Tool and Type O Negative, and enjoy something a little different in your metal, then I’m sure you’ll like this album. While not a concept album, it certainly contains unifying themes and moods to make it a complete piece of work, not just a collection of songs thrown together.

While the cosmic exploration of Nibiru takes us away from earth, songs like If ground us once more with more internal questions of daily struggles. A similar theme is explored in The Rage, which asks the questions the working class ask themselves every day.

The sacrifices of soldiers on the battlefields and the corruption within governments who wave war for profit common themes within the metal genre, however within Dehumanisation and Sacrifice O'Toole manages to create unique visuals within the listener.

In the track The Rage O'Toole taps into the many unspoken question the working class ask themselves each day as we go about our daily repetitions, somehow aiming to inspire the listener to find something to make things more worthwhile.

Surface is a reflective tale about loss and giving up which lures the listener along as we sink into the acceptance of helplessness before the mood changes subtly, forcing us back up to face another day. It’s rare that the music, lyrics and singing fit together so well to create an overall feel. This is art.

There is some fantastic playing on this album. No one instrument takes the foreground with something left to feel like a ‘make do.’ It was a great surprise to hear such interesting songs. Through Darkness into Light has the potential to be one of those albums that metal fans say to their mates – ‘have you heard this yet? You’ve got to check it out.’

Check out the lyric video to Blood and Ashes

After reading this review are you interested in checking out the album?

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