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Rocket Scientists - Brutal Architecture CD (album) cover

BRUTAL ARCHITECTURE

Rocket Scientists

 

Symphonic Prog

3.61 | 36 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Copernicus

The first six or so minutes of this second studio album from Rocket Scientists is a pure delight to my ears, but when the vocals enter my interest drops like a stone. The poppy, laidback, Beatlesque lead vocals of Mark McCrite mix like oil and water with the superb Symphonic Prog sound created by Erik Norlander's wonderful keyboards, McCrite's lead guitar, Don Shiff's stick, and Tommy Amato's drums. Whenever they remain in instrumental territory they do a wonderful job on this album, but the vocal passages don't always work for me. They are not bad as such, far from it, but the vocals doesn't always fit in with the rest. Also, I generally prefer more powerful vocalists. It's a matter of personal taste.

It is certainly true that this album is more progressive compared to the first and in many ways more mature. Some songs from this album would go on to become mainstays in Erik Norlander's repertoire both with Rocket Scientists and with his own band. The symphonic ballad Mariner is the foremost of these. It is a great song that since has appeared on several live albums. Personally, I prefer the version featuring Kelly Keeling on lead vocals on Norlander's excellent solo live album Stars Rain Down. The instrumental Dark Water parts one and two appeared here for the first time (while parts three and four would appear on the band's next studio album). Norlander would later put all the Dark Water pieces together into one long piece on his Galactic Collective album.

The Brutal Architecture album was followed by a live release called Earth Below And Sky Above (named after a line in the song Millennium 3). This live album featured songs from the band's first two studio albums including Dark Water part one, Wake Me Up, The Fall Of Icarus, Millennium 3, Mariner, and parts of the title track from the present album. Also the Japanese CD-version bonus track Stardust was performed with Lana Lane on lead vocals. Personally, I generally prefer the live versions of these songs over the studio ones - especially in those cases where lead vocal duties are left to other people.

Still, Brutal Architecture is a good album in its own right with many great moments. I would even say that it is Rocket Scientists' best studio release. But as I have been insisting, one of the abovementioned live albums might be the best place to start.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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