Let’s address the elephant in the room before we begin to talk about today’s album placed in front of the court of AltCorner (with me being the high judge obviously). I really am not a prog fan. Not prog-rock, prog-folk, prog-metal, prog-jazz, prog-goes-the-weasel or any another prog you may wish to throw my way. Ten time signatures and three keys whilst making use of a magical scale only taught by a wizard at the bottom of the ocean nearby the Port Of Dover in an alternate dimension, really don’t do it for me.
Could this be the record that forever changes my views on prog? SPOILER ALERT! It isn’t.
Is it a bad record though? Not at all!
So without further procrastination, here are some opinions on ‘Magic Machine‘, a brand new album by An Endless Sporadic. A prog-rock record, if you hadn’t already guessed that by now.
We begin with the aptly named track ‘The Departure‘, a phantasmagorical experience that I can only imagine is what an acid trip in a Mathematics class could feel like. Lots of sections of different things all squeezed together into a sausage of peculiarity. Metal, jazz and what sounds like 80s video game soundtracks bleed from one to the other with varying degrees of success. Maybe it’s something I just don’t get, but there’s moments when these segments feel like some seriously awkward transitions.
The album seems to have a recurring theme of random, often jarring changes in tone, seeming unhappy to stay in one place for more than a couple of minutes at a time. Tracks such as the frankly bizarre ‘The Assembly‘, with all of it’s oompah grandness and heavy reliance on synthesizers creating a sound similar to an old RPG soundtrack rather than a rock album and ‘Finding The Falls‘, with it’s switches from metal-style chugs and shreds into flute-based softness, just fall flat on these ears.
With it’s general inconsistence of tone and a focus seemingly more based on jarring stylistic changes within it’s ten tracks of play-time, Magic Machine feels lost upon myself. That’s not to say it is in itself a bad album, it’s a brave direction that the group dive into head first and with a hell of lot of technical skill on show. Hell, some of the heavier moments in it’s latter half are actually incredibly well executed, filled with technical precision and changes in pace that flow with river like loveliness (check out closer, ‘Impulse II‘ for a great example).
If you like Prog, listen to it. If you don’t, then avoid it. If you’re unsure, try it.
A more unhelpful review this could not be, but it’s all we can offer!