Estradasphere Palace of Mirrors

True to the label’s goal to promote challenging metal that’s often not metal at all, the End presents Santa Cruz’s Estradasphere, a gypsy-esque fusion act already well established on Trey Spruance’s Mimicry Records — where the Mr. Bungle ethos of radical experimentation is especially encouraged. Pages of sundry references can be drawn from each composition, which is a true conglomerate of the band’s influences. "A Corporate Merger” gets funky with ’70s guitar effects and Middle Eastern overtones, and "The Terrible Beautypower of Meow” mixes chamber strings with ’60s surf films. "Colossal Risk” delivers a mutated strain of Austin Powers and Pulp Fiction, and "The Unfolding Pause on the Threshold” combines the creepy ambience of, interestingly enough, Dweller on the Threshold, and the mushroom-morphing in Super Mario Bros. "Smuggled Mutation” heaves the first signs of metal on the album: a speedy thrash assault chased by a folksy violin, trombone, and accordion. "The Debutante” is cool jazz like the Mass covering Dreadnaught, and the twisted "Flower Garden of an Evil Man” is the Halloween soundtrack played by a feedbacking organ grinder. From Tim Burton to Ren & Stimpy composer Raymond Scott, Estradasphere cover all the bases to create incidental music for the soundtracks of the headbanger life. (The End)