Wow, that went quick. Just having digested the bulky chunk called "Atlantis Rising" and the Epic kings from Wichita throw the next longplayer into the fray. One thing in advance: Who hasn't liked the band so far, won't even have to think about "Spiral Castle".
The style of the album is a little different than on the previous one, but contains all the trademarks of MANILLA ROAD. Epic, grand songs with super long solos, Mark Shelton's nasal vocals and the rough production that will make every sound fetishist puke. With the strong instrumental "Gateway To The Sphere" they build up a lot of tension before the first song "Spiral Castle" starts. The same already had been the case with "The Courts Of Chaos" where, too, an incredible instrumental introduced the first song and could hardly be surpassed... But to come back to the title song, it's very epic with its 8 minutes and is a future band classic!
"Shadow" is rather darker and more doomy. Very weird atmosphere and mesmerizing vocals! "Seven Trumpets", too, is rather doomy and has the most gripping solo of the whole CD! With almost 11 minutes the longest song is "Merchants Of Death" and has a fantastic calm middle section. "Sands Of Time" is slightly oriental, while it is the most unusual song on "Spiral Castle". It is completely instrumental and does not have anything to do with Metal. Could be the soundtrack for an old Arabian Nights Hollywood movie ala "Thief Of Baghdad"… Sounds absolutely stoned, with bongos and a fantastic, crying violin. Here people will divide, I personally think this "song" is extraordinarily atmospheric… Doesn't always have to be pure Metal…
Mark Shelton will have thought something when he put the song onto the album. (Online March 4, 2003)