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Thank You Scientist - Terraformer CD (album) cover

TERRAFORMER

Thank You Scientist

 

Crossover Prog

4.07 | 144 ratings

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patrickq
Prog Reviewer
3 stars My primary complaint with Thank You Scientist's debut effort, the 29-minute The Perils of Time Travel (2011), was the lackluster material, although I also didn't think much of what I viewed as their conventional, latter-day AOR approach. Terraformer is their third album since then, and things have improved. I'm not a prog-metal fan, and prog-metal fans, for all I know, might not consider Terraformer to be metal, but to me, that's the fairest characterization. Anyway, Thank You Scientist seems to have settled on a more interesting style, and one that's probably more unique. The strengths of The Perils of Time Travel - - the singing, for example, and the overall sound quality - - remain, and the compositions are noticeably better. In particular, the melodies are stronger and the lyrics are cleverer.

But I have a new complaint: at an hour and 24 minutes in duration, Terraformer is way too long. There's a good 35 minutes of material here, but that's the length of just one of the two discs. Maybe I can illustrate my point with "FXMLDR." This eight-minute track isn't simply a two-minute ditty repeated four times. It has distinct movements which benefit from a bit of extra time to develop. But by the 4:22 mark, we've already heard each verse and refrain element at least twice, and the following two minutes are taken by interesting-enough prog jamming that nevertheless conflicts, in my view anyway, with an otherwise accessible song. Since the final two minutes or so is a good encapsulation of the foregoing six - - including the vocal sections - - it seems clear that Thank You Scientist is capable of being concise. Most of the other longer songs on Terraformer strike me as just that - - longer than they need to be.

There are some enjoyable King Crimson references across the album, from the 1970s KC sax/trumpet section on the album-opening "Wrinkle" through the introduction of "Terraformer," the last song on the second disc, which reminds me of Discipline-era Crimson. And is it just me, or does singer Salvatore Marrano do a decent Michael Jackson imitation, especially on "FXMLDR?"

In short: the good news is that Terraformer is a good thirty or forty minutes of neo-prog/prog-metal from an oddly-named New Jersey outfit. The bad news is that the album is more than twice that long.

patrickq | 3/5 |

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