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Eccentric Orbit - Creation of the Humanoids CD (album) cover

CREATION OF THE HUMANOIDS

Eccentric Orbit

 

Symphonic Prog

3.90 | 21 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars `Creation of the Humanoids' is the second release by Eccentric Orbit, an eclectic and talented progressive band hailing from Massachusetts. This one follows up their well-received debut `Attack of the Martians' (now don't both those titles just scream prog!) from back in 2004, and the ten year gap between has been more than worth the wait. The title of this one is taken from a 1962 sci-fi flick of the same name, but being purely instrumental means it's really just a framing device for an energetic, heavy rocking and varied mix of spacey keyboards, sprightly drumming and even some searing violin to weave in and out of the mix. But while the entire band is made up of outstanding musicians, the absolute highlight is Bill Noland's driving, relentless rock-thick bass that grumbles away throughout, yet also remains endlessly melodic, and it's easily one of the standout bass performances of the year.

While the first album was frequently compared to Emerson, Lake and Palmer, the band here broadens their influences by offering a colourful collection of instrumentals while also injecting plenty of their own personality. Reminding a little of Japanese all-girl trio Ars Nova's `The Book of the Dead', the mystery of ancient Egypt permeates the opening of `Breaking Osiris'. A dramatic mood-setting introduction is torn away by grumbling aggressive bass, Mark Cella's snapping drums and keyboard princess Madeleine Noland's delirious bombastic synths. Mellotron spears rain down, and manic violin breaks any precious grip on sanity! Symphonic synth strains ring out with regal pomp throughout `Stellar Attraction', as Tom Benson's Asturias-like violins cut through, whipping up a dervish frenzy.

The centrepiece of the album is the almost twenty minute, five part epic title track, with plenty of drama and flair emerging throughout. An approaching army of tension begins the piece, distorted mud-thick bass plodding over imperial synth fanfares and marching drums. Electronics flicker to life leading to zippy keyboard wig-outs, moving through mud-thick spastic bass eruptions, searing jazz/fusion violin runs, and even brief sweeping folk breaks and ambient pauses to catch your breath. So many jagged violent outbursts and even some nice dirty slinking grooves, this exhausting piece shows Eccentric Orbit at their very best.

The amusingly titled `Marilyn Monrobot' (nicked from `Futurama' if I recall?!) is a quirky keyboard dominated groove with a subtle funkiness lurking throughout, plenty of nice Mini-Moog explosions and wavering synth ripples on this one. There's almost a Universal Totem Orchestra/Zeuhl quality to the growling bass, intimidating synths and drum battery (performed by Rick Landwehr here) of the first half of `By Air Express To Venus', the album closer that eventually sees the band working up some noisy feedback driven `Red'-era King Crimson bluster and noise.

Sadly one of the two drummers credited here, original member Mark Cella, passed away during the recording of this album, but it's touchingly dedicated to him inside the CD digipack. He couldn't have asked for a more fitting tribute, as this second Eccentric Orbit release is an addictive, energetic (and often deliciously noisy!) work full of infectious instrumental displays with memorable arrangements, but most of all, there's a great sense of fun as well. Should the band decide to carry with replacement drummer Rick Landwehr, let's hope they don't take another ten years to follow up this little beauty! `Creation of the Humanoids' makes a very strong case for not only one of the best instrumental albums, but simply one of the best overall progressive releases of 2014.

Four stars - and remember to play it loud for the best results!

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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