I’m the type of music fan who’s a sucker for great instrumental music. I crave something that stands out, something that draws in your attention through ability and talent. For those in the know about progressive rock/metal, you’ve no doubt heard about a band that takes these foundations for music and runs with them. The band that I’m referring to is An Endless Sporadic. A band that got started as an outlet for Zack Kamins plethora of musical ideas was given a gift in the form of a collaboration between himself and Andy Gentile with the song “Impulse”, which was included on the video game “Guitar Hero 3”. The exposure and interest from fans for this track led the duo to record their EP “Ameliorate”, and then taking things a step further after that release with their debut album being pushed out with glowing reviews and a production from prog-rock heavyweights Flower Kings mainman Roine Stolt, and bass duties handled by that same bands Jonas Reingold.
After a great helping hand from the Swedish duo and a warm response from their fans, Gentile withdrew from the band and Kamins was left to continue his vision. After a long wait, this vision has finally been transformed into a new album in the form of “Magic Machine”.
This is not an album to take lightly. With another helping hand from Reingold on bass, Michael Iago Mellender (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum) and Navene K (Animals As Leaders/Entheos) join up to lend their services on the project. Mellender’s multi-instrumental talent and Navene K’s drum proficiency marry well with Kamins vision. And if that wasn’t enough, we’re treated to Jordan Ruddess (Dream Theater/Liquid Tension Experiment) and Roine Stolt as guest musicians. With a line-up this talented, how could anyone not get excited or take notice?
It’s hard to place into words everything that is going on with this album as it’s organized chaos has so much going on at all times. It requires full attention from the listener to fully appreciate all the complexities that are present within this work. It’s an album that’s never tiring in the least to listen to, and it constantly challenges all conventions with the various switches in tempos, and it never adheres to a format. Having said that, each song has its differences and nuances which make them all different but enjoyable in their own way. “The Departure” starts off the album with a very interesting and bombastic classical intro which transfers into an airy percussive atmosphere. They then transition abruptly into accurate guitar picking that’s backed by an organ prog delivery. The title track and “Galactic Tactic” gives us a recurring retro theme for the album. “The Assembly” jaunts through a really interesting circus type atmosphere which morphs into a commanding and dominant marching like drive. “Agile Descent” and “Sky Run” are presented as free-form jams for the most part. “Impulse II” finishes off the album with a bit more urgency in the sound, almost as if they were trying to cram in the last bit of effort before the album ends.
I really appreciate all the piano and synth work on the whole album. In a lot of prog it tends to be used to accent certain pieces, but in a lot of cases with this album, it’s right at the forefront, and in a hypnotic and genius way. There’s something very inviting and exciting about this songwriting approach, and I think this will be one of the major positives to come out of this album.
Now the underlying theme for me has to be stressed to you, the reader. That being that the band does have a tendency to lose focus at times, and while they are incredibly talented, it can become a little frustrating that they move in too many directions. This especially comes into play with trying to pick a favourite song. It’s more of a case of thinking some parts are super exciting and inventive, which can be said about the whole album in a lot of ways, but it can become a tad exhaustive in a sense. I think it’s important to realize that while the talent and drive is undeniable, and the music is at times jaw-dropping and it commands major attention, less sometimes can be more. What I mean is that it can develop too much in some senses with so much going on. It tends to get overwhelming.
Let it be known though that there’s something for every prog fan on this album; from the super technical and complex, to the atmospheric and tranquil.
Instrumental progressive rock and metal is starting to get more popular these days, and these guys shouldn’t have any problem sitting at the top of the rankings with their fellow vocal-less peers. And it’s my hope that with more focus, Kamins vision will shine that much brighter.
01. The Departure
02. Magic Machine
03. Galactic Tactic
04. Finding The Falls
05. The Assembly
06. Agile Descent
07. Sky Run
08. Through The Fog
09. Sea Voyage
10. Impulse II
Playing time: 49:42
Release date: 16 September, 2016
Website: An Endless Sporadic Official Website