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Thank You Scientist - Maps of Non-Existent Places CD (album) cover


Thank You Scientist


Crossover Prog

4.01 | 206 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Thank You Scientist is a band that takes its influences and blends them perfectly into their own distinct, unique sound, with the main ones I can pick out quickly is the anarchic energy of The Mars Volta, combined with the bright, often poppy nature of The Dear Hunter and Coheed and Cambria. Despite this, the band takes this sound, and puts its own spin on it, replacing keyboards and synths with saxes, trumpets, and orchestral strings, adding a great jazz flair. For a 7 piece band, I must also say that the sound they have is incredibly tight, with a great handle on time signatures and rather erratic transitions at points, which further adds to the energy and volume of an already loud, bombastic band.

The first song after the acapella intro, A Salesman's Guide To Non-Existence comes in guns blazing, immediately establishing the sort of powerhouse this band is, with a great guitar riff that within a few moments is built upon with the strings and especially the saxophone following the main melody, before breaking down into an amazing, layered verse with sections with vocal harmonies to add further 'fullness' to the sound, for lack of a better description. Despite being one of the most straightforward songs on the album, the sheer density of it is incredible, even going as far as to have a small electronic breakdown. Once everything calms down and a crackling sound appears, things look like they'll become slightly quieter, only to then bombard the listener with the mind bending, rhythmically complex intro of Feed The Horses, before it breaks down into the main verse, which happens to be funky and very clearly inspired by Michael Jackson. Just like the previous song, this one is also incredibly packed with many different riffs and melodies, but provides an amazing moment of respite from the insanity with the complete removal of instruments other than a lone trumpet, with a great build up for the next minute before reprising the amazing intro. Just when you thought the band would begin to retread some ground and expand upon that, Blood On The Radio starts off sounding like a caffeinated mariachi band before breaking into what sounds like some sort of Eastern European folk music. This is also probably the proggiest, most musically dense song on the album, with many riffs not just switching between melody, but completely different styles, with many standard rock and metal riffs, while also having ones with rhythmic interplay of bands like Meshuggah, with certain riffs even dropping down to further sound like this.

After the almost constant bombardment of insanity the previous 3 songs provided, Absentee comes as a welcome change of pace, which has a much more calm approach to it, with some beautiful melodies, the most prominent being the breathtaking pre-chorus. This is of course still with some amount of energy, found in the still primarily metal riffs, but hey, the saxophone solo is amazingly smooth that who cares about some more energy in a ballad? Furthermore, if you're someone who doesn't like the softer moments on such albums, then Suspicious Waveforms will help with that, because with the complete lack of vocals in this song, the instrumentals are free to go wild, leading to the majority of the instruments getting their own solos, each of them being amazingly technical, but I find that it goes on too long and loses its way by the end. That said, this is where the album can start to slightly fall apart in places, as by this point, the extreme, unending bombast and chaos leads to the tracks starting to blend together to some extent. Despite this, Carnival is an amazing song, with one of my favourite choruses by the band all together. This track does have one issue with it that I find the band sometimes can have in general, and that's having some amazing concepts or hooks, and instead of repeating them sufficiently, they'll go off on longer tangents, and while this is completely fine, the poppier side of them makes it sound as if it would fit quite well. Furthermore, despite me thinking that this should perhaps have been in certain other categories on the website, hooks such as this, along with a frequent ska/punk aesthetic remind me why they deserve to be in crossover prog (along with the fact that it's clearly a massive subgenre if both The Dear Hunter and Nine Inch Nails can exist within it).

From here, the final three songs are a bit of a mix, with Concrete Swan Dive, while being incredibly dense, as with every other song here, leaving me feeling cold, really underwhelming for the way the vocals really don't mesh with the instrumentals, at least not to me. Fortunately, after a string of some flawed songs, In The Company Of Worms comes back incredibly strong with an ethnic, psychedelic intro that reminds me of something from Dzyan's Electric Silence. The song all around has a much more conventional prog metal feel to it, even though the brass is still extremely prominent, with the main attraction of the song for once being a guitar solo. My Famed Disappearing Act ends the album perfectly, with an intro brimming with so much raw energy and power that nothing else on the album even gets close to the pure perfection that is found here. The rest of the song, while not quite as good as this, manages to keep up enough of the initial excitement produced, while also distinctly feeling like a fitting closer to an album.

Overall, this album is incredibly impressive in a massive amount of ways, especially in terms of having such a distinct identity, along with often balancing enjoyability with technicality excellently, before ramping both up to the absolute extremes. Each instrument works well and definitely has an important enough role to justify its existence, leading to little redundancy on that front. I do find that the constant energy does get a bit tiring by the end, but that's mostly fine, as the songwriting is often good enough to still make it a great listen. One extremely important note about this album is its tendency to quite possibly sound mediocre and samey upon first listen due to the wild transitions throughout causing it to be incredibly chaotic to the point of almost seeming aimless in parts, but it's definitely an album that grows on you.

Best songs: A Salesman's Guide to Non-Existence, Feed the Horses, Blood on the Radio, My Famed Disappearing Act

Weakest songs: Suspicious Waveforms, Concrete Swan Dive

Verdict: If you enjoy highly bombastic music, then I think that you'll find a lot to like about this, similarly to if you're a fan of The Mars Volta or enjoy brass instrumentation. All in all, if you enjoy music that's complex, you'll find this to be at least mildly interesting, despite the fact that I feel like you'd have to listen a few times to love it.

Kempokid | 4/5 |


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