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Spiral Madness - The Berserk Crowning 2004 Spiral Madness Records reviewed by: EC

Track Listing
1. Intro
2. Despair
3. Final Day
4. Spiral Madness
5. My Heart
6. Becoming Like Steel
7. One Question
8. Graveland
9. Wolfhearts
10. Helpless
11. My Reflection
12. World Is Ash
13. Faded Night
14. Misery Of Merciless
15. Koszmar (Bonus Track)
"The Berserk Crowning" is the newest compilation from Poland's Spiral Madness. Basically this "greatest hits" package consists of the band's best tracks from 1996 through 2003. The booklet doesn't really explain if these tracks are redone especially for this compilation, or if these songs are the original versions just repackaged for this album. After hearing the record in its entirety, it sounds like the songs were recorded around the same time, possibly in the same studio.

I've always had trouble with death metal acts. Either they are playing too fast and over the top, or they simply bore me with their overwhelming restrictions, mostly due to the limited capabilites death metal allows. Spiral Madness does a decent job here, as this is my first spin (no pun intended) through the band's material. This veteran group seems to be centered around straight-forward songs, with very little experimentation at all, instead soaking up the simplistic art of delivering heavy, chugging riffs throughout, and allowing very little technical craftmanship to shine through. I like that.

Unlike other bands of this genre, Spiral Madness just focus in one direction, much in the same style as seasoned acts like Benediction, Suffocation, and Bolt Thrower. This is in no way a technical band, instead the group manages to overthrow the death boundaries somewhat, mixing in a heavier grouping of speed, thrash, and death metal.

After a rather ambient intro, the band storm through a rapid-fire playlist of grinding death rompage, from the chaotic, tight mosh of "My Heart", to the Deicide flavored "Helpless", Spiral Madness do a good job keeping the listener interested. Vocalist/bassist Zephyr has a Benediction style growl, which is almost understandable at times. With Spiral Madness hailing from Poland, one can hear a small dose of Poland's leading metal band Vader in the speedy "Final Day".

"Wolfhearts" is the fastest number with its quick chops and fills, stopping momentarily for a break in the action courtesy of a smoking lead from guitarist Seler. The guitarist does a great job mid-way through "Despair", adding a nice dish of Maiden melody to slow things down. I wish there were more tracks like this, with more melody really needed at times, but its somewhat refreshing to see Spiral Madness creep away from the trends, playing fast thrash with very little harmony, something that can't be said for today's trendy acts like Shadow's Fall and Killswitch Engage.

This record is somewhat competitive, but still very refreshing for these power metal ears. Fans of Benediction, Altar, Vader, Bolt Thrower, Bludgeon, and Floridian metal, check this band out!

--EC 07.16.04
About this Writer:
Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



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TITLE BAND
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The Berserk CrowningSpiral Madness
2004
Eric Compton7/15/2004


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