An Endless Sporadic – An Endless Sporadic

Everybody seems to know An Endless Sporadic as “that band who made that one bad-ass song on Guitar Hero.” Seeing as the band only had four songs at the time and that one of them was featured on a major music franchise like Guitar Hero, it seems inevitable that they would seldom be known outside of this stratum, even as excellent as their Ameliorate EP was. Though it was no more than 20 minutes long, the record covered more ground than most records do in 45. “Impulse,” also known as “that bad-ass song on Guitar Hero,” ascended through prog-rock phrases, bobbed and weaved through organs, and dove head-first into hard rock riffs almost seamlessly. “Sun of Pearl” reached a sublime beauty few can attain with such a prominent snare and rough guitar riffs. “Anything” ripped one to shreds with its rough rhythms and kick bass and “The Adventures of Jabubu” awed one with its simple beauty.

With the precedent set by their last record, one would expect An Endless Sporadic’s full-length to sound like two-and-a-half Ameliorates stapled together. What the band does instead is much more drawn-out. The band’s eponymous debut functions in the same way that Ameliorate does, but is longer and with less frequent erratic song transitions. To put it crudely, you could say An Endless Sporadic is more like one Ameliorate stretched out for another 15 minutes if the four songs on the record were divided into nine.

One might be afraid that such a reapplication of talent would be an anathema to the short legacy the band has formed for itself. In a sense, it is; An Endless Sporadic is no longer quite as sporadic and still certainly far from endless; even though it is a good 15 minutes longer than their EP, 33 minutes is far from a lengthy record. Their full-length is also much smoother in terms of sound than the predecessor. Transitions are fewer and further between and time signatures stay relatively consistent. Few songs ever come close to the metal sound on “Anything,” for example, either, and none plunder the depths reached mid-song on “Impulse.” Most often, the songs have the smooth lounge-y feel on “The Adventures of Jabubu” at closest comparison. It’s much easier listening overall and even sounds reminiscent of 70’s prog-rock and jazz at times. However, this is not necessarily a good thing, either. An Endless Sporadic, in a sense, have lost the nuances that made them An Endless Sporadic and are considerably less remarkable for it. An Endless Sporadic is most certainly a solid instrumental record, but is not quite the record that the band’s EP set such high expectations for.

“Point of no Return” is one of few songs to retain traces of that metal taste the band had on their EP, but instead of expanding on the promising riffs delivered in the beginning of the song, it stagnates in one ominous riff after the other before finally ending. Follower “Shell” delivers jazzy piano and bass, but serves more as an opener for the 70’s nostalgia-bombing track “Treading Water”  than anything. “Subliminal Effect” does little more than reiterate the sound captured in the beginning of the previous track “Eternal Bloom.”

It pleases me to say that the album is not all disappointment, however. “From the Blue” is a rich song and one of the album’s high points, as good an opener as any. “The Triangular Race Through Space,” true to its name, encapsulates that flying-through-space feel so well that it could have just as easily appeared on a Magma album 40 years ago. But “Eternal Bloom” blows every other track on the record away. Opening up with an ethereal guitar line over jazzy bass, the song evolves, the tempo picks up, and an evocative guitar lines plays. “Eternal Bloom” is more solid than any other song on the entire album and is perhaps one of the best the band has done. If the entire album had captured the sense of wholeness on “Eternal Bloom,” the record would have perhaps been a much more suitable follow-up to Ameliorate.

by Mason “I Was Once a Guitar Hero” McGough

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