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Low Budget Orchestra: iNNERSTELLAR

A one-man (or woman) band is always an exceptional case in music because, whether the music is good or not, its mastermind automatically earns credit for ambition and dedication. Luckily, with iNNERSTELLAR, Low Budget Orchestra mostly succeeds in its purpose; the album is a stellar (yet repetitive) collection of spacey progressive metal instrumentals.

The pseudonym for Finnish multi-instrumentalist Mikko Muranen, Low Budget Orchestra has already achieved substantial acclaim for its first two releases, Extraordinary and The Second Best. LBO is only one of Muranen's projects; he's previously released works as Dogmeat, Man Bites Dog, and Mutantum. With iNNERSTELLAR, Muranen proves to be an incredibly talented musician and composer.

Echoed guitar arpeggios and synths open "Dance Of The Pleiades." Afterward, fancy and fast keyboard and guitar work unite to create a frenzy of spacey intensity. There's an emotional urgency that dominates the song (and the whole album, really) that keeps it from being just another virtuosic progressive metal affair. "From Mars to the Stars" is slower and jazzier, allowing classical piano and bass to shine. Although it's wordless, "Turn Away Into the Sun" could still be a radio hit due to its accessible chord progressions and inviting atmosphere. iNNERSTELLAR closes with the gripping "I Saw the Flames of Orion," which begins with an intriguing melody and follows it through with a wealth of overdubbed complements. It's a fitting conclusion.

As is almost always the case with albums like this, the impressive techniques and arrangements are supplemented by a lack of diversity and experimentation. The songs sound too similar because Muranen uses the same timbres and templates for each one. Ultimately, only a few special moments truly stand out; for the most part, hearing the opening track is equal to hearing the whole album.

iNNERSTELLAR is notable for its aspirations and complexity; there's very little innovation or uniqueness here. Still, considering it was entirely written and performed by one man makes it that much more remarkable. If you're a fan of progressive metal with spacey overtones, check it out (just don't expect anything too new).

Track Listing
1. Dance of the Pleiades
2. From Mars to the Stars
3. Empty Vessels of Infinity
4. Stellar Override
5. Black Hole of Your Soul
6. Turn Away Into the Sun

Added: July 25th 2011
Reviewer: Jordan Blum
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2192
Language: english

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