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Rocket Scientists - Oblivion Days CD (album) cover

OBLIVION DAYS

Rocket Scientists

Symphonic Prog


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Greger
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars ROCKET SCIENTISTS new third studio album is heavier than their previous live album "Earth Below and Sky Above: Live In Europe & America" (1998). Their previous studio album were 1995's "Brutal Architecture". Now their music could be described as heavy progressive rock, with Erik NORLANDER's keyboard playing in the forefront. As usual they're mixing modern instruments with vintage instruments such as Hammond Organ, Mellotron and Moog.

- ROCKET SCIENTISTS influences are The BEATLES, DEEP PURPLE, EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER, The MOODY BLUES and PROCOL HARUM to mention a few. All the musicians are highly skilled and Lana Lane is singing harmony vocals on three of the tracks. Other interesting guest appearances are drummer Greg Ellis, bass player Tony Franklin and the guitarists Arjen Anthony Lucassen and Neil Citron.

- There are five instrumental tracks and the album doesn't contain any weak tracks at all. The highlights are the opening "Dark Water Part Three: Neptune's Sun", "Aqua Vitae", "Oblivion Days", the instrumental "Archimedes", "Banquo's Ghost", "Escape" and the closing instrumental track "Dark Water Part Four: Heavy Water". The live track "Wake Me Up" and the closing bonus track "Stardust", with Mark McCrite and Lana Lane on lead vocals are also very good. They're also doing a cover of the 70's TV series theme "Space: 1999" which was one of my favorite series back then.

- As usual with Think Tank Media related releases, the cover art are made by Jacek Yerka, and it's as always very beautiful. The album art on this release is called "On the Edge". A highly recommended album!

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Send comments to Greger (BETA) | Report this review (#6355)
Posted Saturday, March 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is progressive rock. Needs more than one listening to really appreciate!! Man! The guys are really versatile!! The songs are varied. The keyboards have a real definite style: many sounds of the mini moog style. Sometimes classical guitar, mainly there is quite aggressive electric guitar. The most disappointing point is sometimes alternative sound due to the guitar, bass and voice combination. The singer has a decent voice. There is a good percussion-like bit. Songs are quite progressive, with bits of more alternative rock. Sometimes the style is rather metal!! Even jazzy!! Recommended for the young people who begin to be fed up of RADIOHEAD, PEARL JAM and LIVE, and are looking for a more sophisticated stuff.

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#6357)
Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
michel.jobe@t
2 stars Definitely an album for amateurs of the genre only. I will certainly not criticize the keyboard abilities of Erik Norlander, he shows what he cando. But this CD is not as good as other of the genre like Ayreon, and certainly not hard enough for amateurs of hard-prog. I like their version of the "Space 1999" theme however : brings back some memories.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#6358)
Posted Wednesday, November 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
semismart
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars If you happened to have read my recent review on Erik Norlander's Into the Sunset, then you may have noticed my mention of the Rocket Scientists, who are Los Angelites, Erik Norlander - keyboards and Mark McCrite - guitar/vocals, who, on this album added guest musicians Tommy Amato - drums, Neil Citron - guitar, Greg Ellis - percussion, Tony Franklin - bass, Lana Lane - vocals(who has some 10 albums to her credit), Arjen Anthony Lucassen - guitar(who has some 9 albums to his credit), and Don Schiff - Bass

Rocket Scientists music is heavy melodic progressive rock / metal with some subservient vocal passages from McCrite and Lane. Lane of course is Norlander's wife and he usually backs her on her projects. The rest of the guest musicians have all guested on one or more of A. A. Lucassen's projects (Ayreon, Ambeon and Space Metal), thus giving this album an Ayreonesque sound, sans the Sci-fi/Fantasy themes.

Highlight Songs

First track, "Dark Water Part Three", is a short instrumental that segues into "Aqua Vitae", a very accessible catchy number that, except for it's 6:28 length, would fit at home on the radio. McCrite's voice is understated but quite pleasant.

"Oblivion Days" is a treat! Originally written by Norlander for ELP, they broke up before they could record it, so here it is. It has a slow chugging beat with McCrite's vocals and some really excellent keyboard and guitar playing within the somewhat bombastic attitude.

"Space: 1999, an instrumental, is apparently the theme song to the old British sci-fi series. It starts out with some militaristic or marching band type drums and intricate percussion throughout and Norlander's keyboards have a Rick Wakeman feeling.

"Escape" at ten minutes is a long one. Starting out slowly with an acoustic guitar and McCrite's pleasant vocals but the pace picks up on the choruses. The center instrumental part is quite atmospheric at first then getting quite Jazzy. This song ends with a nifty guitar by Lucassen.

"Break the Silence" features my two favorite instruments, the piano and electric guitar. A slow tempo song again with some bluesy guitar soloing. Again, McCrite's vocals are somewhat toned down, without effects or additional harmonies.

"Dark Water Pt.4 Heavy Water" I don't know what the deal is here this is a great song for 4+ minutes and then there's 10 minutes of silence to the next song. This song starts out with the sound of waves for about 30 seconds then we get a marching beat and a definite ELP sound

Conclusion

For me it's a pleasure to write a five star review about an American Group(although several of the guests are European). For those of you that have interest in Rocket Scientists, Erik Norlander, or Lana Lane, you can get a 73 minute sampler from them for $2.99. Now you can't beat that! Log on to www.thetank.com for the good stuff.

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Send comments to semismart (BETA) | Report this review (#6360)
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
Davemackley@y
5 stars Having previously heard Stardust on a sampler album, I was surprised at first listen between the difference between that and this album.

Regardless of that, I simply can't sing the praises of this album high enough. I haven;t time to do it full justice here save to say that there isn;t a bad track on it and if you like modern prog which is not afraid to look back at its roots and to draw inspiration from them and mixing this with a more modern approach, then this is the album for you.

In my view, the top three tracks (in no praticular order) are:-

1. Oblivion days; 2. Break the Silence; 3. Escape.

Buy this album, stick it on the stereo, turn the lights down, colume up, sit back and enjoy.....

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#52553)
Posted Friday, October 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
horza
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Excellent band this - another great find during 2005 - well worth checking out. The opening track is 'Dark Water-part 3'. The previous 2 parts are on the album Brutal Architecture. It is a doomy, synth-laden instrumental opener which sets the tone and segues neatly into 'Aqua Vitae', which is a fairly good track with elements of bands like Ayreon and the Beatles (!). 'Oblivion Days' follows at a steady beat and features the immortal lyric "This time next year, we'll be looking at our yesterdays" - apart from this epic piece of logic the track has some excellent playing, particularly synthesiser. Next up is 'Archimedes' - this quickly kicks up a pretty funky beat and allows everyone to showcase their instrumental skills, but it is the keyboards that do it for me everytime. 'Banquo's Ghost' follows - Banquo being one of the characters from Macbeth - literature lesson over. It has some nice synth-doodling, and organ features - not terribly memorable though.'Space-1999' comes next - (???) - the album was released in 1999 and ACTUALLY this IS the theme from that seminal sci-fi programme. Now I loved that show but I am mega surprised to see it on an album !! Anyway. The ten minute 'Escape' comes next. It starts with an acoustic feel but quickly picks up speed. It is quite a catchy song, but not a prog epic. 'Break the Silence' is a track which goes nowhere particularly fast, it has one good thing going for it - it leads to the real reason for buying this album - 'Dark Water - part 4'. Now THIS is the real deal. Burn a disc with parts 1-4 together and you have a fantastic mini-album!! It has some phenomenal synth runs and a Holst-sounding background (Mars:the bringer of War?). Absolutely superb. I guarantee you will want to play this track again immediately after hearing it. That may not be the case with every track - but I'm basing my review score on what you will have if you have 'Dark Water' parts 1-4 together.

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Send comments to horza (BETA) | Report this review (#61820)
Posted Monday, December 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Rocket Scientists third album is quite heavier than all previous effords, maybe a reflection of Erik Norlanderīs work with prog metal project Ayreon. Well, the music is really a mix of heavy rock and symphonic prog, quite original and yet sounding familiar. Nothing to do with groups like Dream Theater or Symphony X. They are much more versatile and the mood shift from track to track , still they sound unmistakeable like Rocket Scientists (can you think of a better name for a prog act?). Erik Norlander is one of the best keyboards players around, making great use of analog instruments like the Hammond Organ, Mellotron and mini moog. On the other hand Mark McCrite is a good singer and guitarrist, with a more classic rock leanings, making the duo a rather interesting chmistry. Lana Lane, Erikīs wife and a great singer of her own, does some backing vocals on 3 tracks. Oblivion Road is one more step ahead for RS. It probably takes more than one listen to really get into it, but it is really a fine piece of prog music, with influences raging from Deep Purple to the Moody Bues. Very original and very good!

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#129611)
Posted Saturday, July 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars NOTE: Taken from my review of 'LOOKING BACKWARD'.

Rocket Scientists' third album is their heaviest, oftentimes bordering on progressive metal. Since I'm an avid listener of prog metal, this release no doubt jumps out at me the most. OBLIVION DAYS opens atmospherically with ''Dark Water Part Three: Neptune's Sun'' with Norlander having a little bit of fun before segueing into the heavy ''Aqua Vitae'', opening with a very distorted bass line. Here, the mood for the rest of the album is set. Heavy guitars with a nice warm, yet light crunch, pounding drums, flowing bass and Stick, with Erik Norlander's signature keyboards. On top of that are Mark McCrite's warm Beatles-esque vocals. The title track continues in the same vein as ''Aqua Vitae'', also carrying the apocalyptic concept present in the aforementioned songs and ''Break the Silence''. ''Archimedes'' is a groovy prog instrumental, much like ''Copernicus'' from BRUTAL ARCHITECTURE. ''Escape'' is the epic of the album, and is very depressing at first until picking up the pace a bit. ''Banquo's Ghost'' is very decieving, starting out gently before abruptly switching into one of the best instrumental passages in RS's history. ''Space:1999'' and ''Compass Variation'' are nice little tunes too, with the latter showing wonderful guitar acrobatics from McCrite. ''Break the Silence'' is a very somber song about the eventual end of days. Finally, ''Dark Water Part Four: Heavy Water'' lulls the listener into a false sense of security with lush keyboards before becoming a straightforward metal song. The last two bonus tracks aren't that great, although I prefer the live version of ''Wake Me Up''. I recommend this album to the metalheads out there. Not to be missed!

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Send comments to ZeroDreamPlasMaximus (BETA) | Report this review (#200616)
Posted Sunday, January 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 3.5 rounded to 4

Excellent progressive rock band from early '90's who combines a solid hevy prog arrangements with symphonic elements. This is their third album from 1999 named Oblivion days and is , at least for me the best they ever done so far. A little more pretentious and more heavy in places this album never stop amazed me afte 10 years of first issue. With a bunch of high class musicians like Erik Norlander on keys , his wife Lana Lane on some vocal parts, his mate Arjen Anthony Lucassen who plays guitar this time not keys as we used to here him on other albums and projects, on of the most brilliant bass players in prog music and not only Tony Franklin and the drumer Tommy Amato , the only guy from the line up notknown by me. The main voice of the album of Mark McCrite did a great job, from soft moments to more rougher this guy shows truly talent in his voice. The music from this album as I said is a little more rougher in places than the predecesors, maybe because Norlander now has a more heavier side in manner of composing after release some solo albums under his name, from time to time I had the impression I'm listning to Lana Lane albums or some Erik Norlander solo releases, ok not band but a little more originality worth having. Anyway a solid album with a lot to offer from fast keys to even some electronic aproach in places, not much but there is, some ELP moments , some fine pieces are Aqua vitae, Oblivion days, Archimedes Space 1999, the resta re ok. So 3.5 rounded to 4, a great album, not a masterpiece but worth having.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#222368)
Posted Monday, June 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
4 stars Rocket Scientists' "Oblivion Days" laid for a long time in the laboratory, on the desk near the test tubes, waiting to catch my attention once again, this time for a review that may win my fancy. Okay, you seduced me with keyboardist Erik Norlander's presence in the Roswell 6 configuration and I am ready to turn back the clock, you flirty vibe, you. After a bombastic synth fanfare introduction, the razor sharp "Aqua Vitae" marches through the now open door and head straight for the jugular with a visceral bass exercise, ricochet- ing drum patterns and wet synth solos. Oh yeah and heavy crunching guitars !!!! The vocals are emotionally effective especially on the deafening chorus while the soloists really cut loose with unabashed fury. Yes, I like it rough from time to time (not such a mushy romantic after all!) especially when replete with various contrasts (like on the breezy Beatlesy mid-section drenched in 70s psychedelia) that constantly keeps you unaware of the next twist and turn. The finale is even stormier than before, hard and fast. Wow! Rush's "Tom Sawyer" for a few secs and then the marshalling goose step slams into the title track's raw disposition with little frill, closer to Rainbow and Ayreon than anything else out there. No surprise that Arjen Lucassen is featured guest all over the tracks .Great melody, utter pomposity, even grandiose at times with a rather bleak subject matter (not hard to guess either!), all this crap about Armageddon, 2012, December 21 and it's over babe! Hey guess what? Doomsday was the second favorite subject 10.000 years ago and ever since (first is love), so let's be clear: it will never end, regardless what Jim Morrison said aloud. Fabulous tune. "Archimedes" is an ancient Greek history icon, so typically a source for Prog , sounding like a rougher, harsher Alan Parsons Project gone haywire with all kinds of spurts and dashes. Not as good as the previous trio. "Banquo's Ghost" is an amazing and refreshing gallop that is pure ear candy, close to recent RPWL or early Porcupine Tree, absolute prime vocals and applied spotlight solos by all. "Space 1999" is exactly that , a romping cosmic adventure that rehashes a recognizable theme from a sci-fi TV show and rearrange it sympho-prog style , with lush orchestrations (real and synthesized). Amazing and fun stuff! Then we have the epic just in case someone may forget that they are definitely prog and not the Ramones! "Escape" is a fiery effort with all kinds of scenic sounds from marimba-like intonations, space whispers and hearty grooves from keyboardist Norlander and some inspired guitar phrasings from Mark McCrite and Lucassen, burning solos and battleaxe riffs combining in the arena. Fascinating! "Compass Variation" is again aptly titled, as it veers into a glossier expanse, sweet elegant leads, jangling rhythms and pleading vocals. Very nice indeed. The axe solo is superbly bluesy and heartfelt while the brooding Hammond growls in apparent despair. "Breaking the Silence" is a methodical bulldozer from the outset that fails not to appeal and the disc closes with another lengthy instrumental, a close cousin of the opening theme. Two live bonus tracks are included, showcasing the raw live in concert sound. A very good heavy prog case study that warrants your attention, lab rats. 4 LED lights

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#253422)
Posted Sunday, November 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars Archimedes

Oblivion Days is Rocket Scientists' third studio album hailed by many as their best. I agree that in some respects it is superior to the previous two, but in other respects the opposite holds true. Erik Norlander's keyboard playing is once again magnificent and the several drummers and bass players also do a great job in providing a powerful rhythm section. Lead guitar is also delivered by multiple people this time including Ayreon's Arjen Lucassen and Lana Lane's Neil Citron. Lana Lane herself provides some backing vocals on a few tracks.

Even though the band's sound became heavier with this album, there is once again a strong Pop flavour. This Psychedelic Beatles/Pink Floyd influence does not always sit comfortably with the keyboard-driven Symphonic Prog elements drawing on Rick Wakeman/Keith Emerson. In addition, there is this time around an attempt to sound more contemporary which I don't like. All of these diverse elements create an interesting and dare I say unique mix that occasionally works really well. But at other times less so, I think.

But the most important factor is the quality of the material. Out of the vocal numbers, the title track stands out. Break The Silence is a good track as well on which the guitar sound reminds of that of King Crimson's Robert Fripp. But there is nothing on this album to compare with the tasteful grandeur of the excellent Mariner from the previous album. The instrumentals are the best here including parts three and four of Dark Water opening and closing the album respectively. And once again there is an instrumental named after a famous scientist in Archimedes.

Another good album from Rocket Scientists, but I think they peaked with the previous Brutal Architecture and the live album that followed it, called Earth Below And Sky Above.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#769269)
Posted Monday, June 11, 2012 | Review Permalink

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