The second album is often the most difficult one to many bands. Knowing this I was quite apprehensive waiting for this release. Besides, Sonus Umbra debut (Snapshots from Limbo) was so great that it seemed not possible for the musicians to deliver the goods on such high level again.
To my great delight, my expectations have been exhilaratingly met by Spiritual Vertigo. Actually, I did not have to wait too long since the terrific guitar intro to the second track – “Fool’s Arcadia” (Pat Metheny could not play it better) sent shivers down my spine.
First of all, it is not a clone of the aforementioned debut CD. This release is rather another chapter in their history book. A magnificent chapter. Although the main characters are the same, the band’s sound changed noticeably. The beautiful acoustic guitar passages are not the key element of the music now. They gave way to lead guitars (though the acoustic guitar is present somewhere in the background), which at times are close to hard if not heavy rock sound. Lots of rhythmical and melody changes, terrific guitar solos and tasty parts of progressive instrumental variations also characterize this album. That is why the music is less quiet and seems to be more dynamic. It is noteworthy, too, that Andres Aullet – the lead vocalist offers more diverse styles of singing. Moreover, his gorgeous vocal harmonies with Lisa Francis are also present (the best example of such is the closing song- “Snakes and Ladders”).
Like its predecessor, this album contains 10 tracks (counting two-part “Amnesia Junkies” as two). One but incredibly strong instrumental – “Fascinoma” this time. Another common point with Snapshots from Limbo is excellent musicianship presented by the group. Lyrically, there is no looking back in a retrospective manner. Most lyrics focus on very current and fundamental aspects of human existence. It is hard to point out my favorites on this CD. It is a most consistent work, enchanting from the beginning to the end.
Overall, this is a very honest, mature and highly enjoyable album. Every prog collector should have a copy.
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