ALBUM REVIEW: An Endless Sporadic – Magic Machine

For those who don’t remember (most people, we would guess), An Endless Sporadic are an instrumental prog rock group who achieved modest success in 2008 with the release of their Ameliorate EP, with tracks Impulse and Anything being featured in various Guitar Hero games.

This release, Magic Machine, is something of a surprise, as it comes seven years after the band fading into obscurity following the release of their self-titled debut full-length in 2009.

The sound presented here is basically the same one with some updates: an mix of progressive rock song structures and more chilled-out sections within each song. Impulse is re-recorded for Magic Machine, creatively re-titled Impulse II, and serves as the closing track of the album.

In the seven years they’ve been away, An Endless Sporadic have subtly updated their sound, incorporating more progressive elements, as well as danceable, almost trance-influenced electronics in some tracks. Oddly, a section of Sky Run bears a passing similarity to Danny L Harle’s Broken Flowers. That track and Finding the Falls also make use of 70s prog rock’s – especially bands like Genesis – faux-medieval obsession, with plenty of flutes and trumpets being juxtaposed with the futuristic sounding keyboards – a combination that’s appealing enough to not be totally jarring.

The Assembly takes the neo-classical approach to a new extreme, with the first three minutes of its five minute run time consisting of only trumpets and flutes – no guitars.

The influence of djent on instrumental rock during the time An Endless Sporadic have been away is seen here, although thankfully only in minimal ways, such as a few chugging riffs in certain tracks. It’s refreshing to see a heavy instrumental rock band who don’t rip off Meshuggah‘s guitar tone, even if they’re just ripping of Dream Theater and Genesis instead. The Dream Theater influence is apparent, with the guitar tone and chord progressions making most of the tracks here sound reminiscent of instrumental Dream Theater tracks like Overture 1928.

Magic Machine isn’t a perfect instrumental rock album by any means, but it’s worth checking out for its original juxtaposing of ideas, and a nice surprise from a band that we thought were long-dead.


Standout Tracks: Sky Run, Impulse II

For Fans Of: Dream Theater, Genesis, Animals As Leaders

Written by: Alan Cunningham