Metal To Infinity

There are still plenty of ‘classic ones’ waiting for a review. Once in a while I have this need to spread words about a band that deserves to be placed in the spotlights, even many years after their disbanding. And yes, bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Slayer etc. easily wrote themselves into our specific topic but too many other (read: unknown) albums belong  to be mentioned too. Next in line is Spirit Web, a US Power Metal band from Chicago. In 2000 Stentorian Records released this album, in 2002 it was re-released by the Belgian Mausoleum Records. 

The band rose out of the ashes from a band called Syris. Both of their albums were well respected in the underground world of the US Metal fanatics but I’m convinced the big crowd has  never heard of them. A disgrace… but that seems to be the destiny of most US Metal bands! Brent Sullivan makes the link with Slauter Xstroyes and Winterkill, drummer Tony Rios was a member of Winterkill too.  

This re-release doesn’t own a beautiful nor an ‘eye catching’ front cover. Nevertheless it attracted me when it was just released and only a few notes were necessary to convince me buying it. Ever since it makes its spins once in  a while, when I’m in the right mood for it. The mysterious intro, played by some kind of organ, leads me into the right atmosphere! The band takes off with some progressive powerful arrangements with interesting riffs and difficult played drums. During the entire CD I’m amamazed by the talent of these Americans. The way this kind of riffs are played, the strong and sophisticated bass lines and the a-typical- super technical -  drum sessions are beyond belief. Scott Huffman (Syris, Twelfth Gate, Mindwarp Chamber) owns an amazing voice. I can easily say it is some kind of mixture between Bruce Dickinson, James Rivera and Warrel Dane. It makes him become one of my favorite singers! His typical timbre, his strong lungs and the way he performs the vocal lines are  outstanding. The vocal lines on the very first track, “Ghostly Chill”, are distinguished and will convince the listener at once! In choruses and refrains this statement counts for the entire CD!  

The band received their goal to play recognizable tracks although this kind of music is very technical and sophisticated. Scott Huffman’s vocal lines makes me sing along, not in particular logical for a Progressive band! Yes, dark, Progressive and Powerful! In vein of the very first Dream Theater or the early Watchtower – musical wise, with the magnetism and power of Helstar or Liege Lord, with the dark atmosphere of early releases from bands like Iced Earth or Psychotic Waltz…. To be honest Spirit Web isn’t easy to label, it is even more difficult to compare them with other bands but often it is the only way to convince readers checking a band out. In some of the guitar session, either it is in a solo or in an acoustic intermezzo (for example in “Cut You Loose”), cold shivers will make part of you. Along with the wide ranged vocal capabilities of Scott Huffman the listener will become quiet and calm. The music of Spirit Web is so impressive I can’t believe the listener will bang his head at once, instead he will stay speechless!  

And the bands goes on delivering one after another first class Metal song! “Osiris Be Thy Judge” for example, what a mighty track! The guitars in the beginning, the take off with double bass drums and superb riffs. The fact the band uses so many  breaks don’t bore me for a second, therefore Scott’s refrains and choruses are too interesting! I could complain of the fact the band didn’t use a second guitar player but I won’t!  Paul Speredes, a former member of Syris too, is therefore too extraordinary. Not that he’s the fastest guitarist I have ever heard but the way he pulls the strings and the original sound of his guitar makes me worship this guy. Especially that typical sound makes Spirit Web so exciting and imposing. 

“Foolish Hope” is another track that will leave you speechless behind but my favorite song is without any doubt “Once Beyond”. The intro but especially the middle part of this particular song is spectacular, not comparable with anything I’ve heard before after almost 28 years in Metal! Yes this means a lot and convinces me even more that this release deserves a place in our ‘classic ones’! This particular song ‘an sich’ makes it worth buying this gem!  

To be honest this CD is full of first rate dark US Progressive Power Metal. It isn’t that hard finding this CD, it is still available on ebay and you might even find it in your local Metal store. The original version contains another front cover, the re-release contains two bonus tracks. To me it is the best Scott Huffman ever did and it made me search for every album that contains his voice! This underrated vocalist deserves much more respect, actually this Spirit Web release deserved much more support. Scott Huffman left the band and Randy Barron replaced him. No matter how much I respect Randy, he could never hook up with Scott and the second album couldn’t compete with the debut. Spirit Web disbanded soon after and that’s a pity. In the US Metal style, so beloved here at Metal To Infinity, this release is labeled as a milestone in its style! 

My Points: 95/100 (Review by Officer Nice)