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Thank You Scientist - Terraformer CD (album) cover

TERRAFORMER

Thank You Scientist

 

Crossover Prog

3.96 | 245 ratings

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BrufordFreak
4 stars How is this not the runaway Best Progressive Rock Album of 2019? My theory is that it's because the machine gun approach to instrument playing numbs the listener's brain into a state of cowering apathy.

1. "Wrinkle" (2:32) What an opener! So positive and upbeat! Reminds me of something from a MONOBODY or TREE TOPS album. (4.75/5)

2. "FXMLDR" (7:56) incredibly catchy melodies within a very complex, fast moving jazz tune. Reminds me of 3RDEGREE or MOTH VELLUM or very early RUSH ("Fly by Night")--or how bout if early RUSH and early KANSAS had merged! The very complex instrumental performances are so clean and tight! (14.5/15)

3. "Swarm" (6:25) Though the horns are smooth and melodic, this is the first song whose metal qualities make it a little grating to these ears. The chord, horn, and vocal melody lines are quite pleasant, it's just the pace and rapid-fire notes from drums, bass, rhythm guitar, and violin--excellently performed but just a bit overwhelming for my sensitive nervous system to accommodate--that is, until the smooth section in the fifth minute. Still, I cannot deny the amazingness of this song. (9/10)

4. "Son of a Serpent" (8:06) led by the stunning vocals of JOHANNES LULEY- and JOFF WILKS-sound-a-like Salvatore Marrano there is a fresh creativity to this song that is in its ability to bridge heavy and metal prog sounds and pacing (machine gun bass drumming, djenty fast-changing guitar chord sequences, chunky virtuosic bass) and (14/15)

5. "Birdwatching" (3:41) very soft and scaled down in comparison to other songs. The vocal is central and delicate though very strong. I love the bass chords, the simpler yet insistent drums and the spacey keys. (8.75/10)

6. "Everyday Ghosts" (10:03) opens with some more sensitive though intricate instrumental displays, morphing into a bit of a Spanish sound as the horns come together, but then things turn a different direction to establish another quirky, spasmodic drive through some MOTH VELLUM-like territory (though always a little harsher and with more fast-paced charts from each of the instruments in the weave). Were it not for the fast technical speed of the instruments this might even be a kind of Journey-like classic rock song. As it is, it sounds a lot like a song from contemporaries FREDDEGREDDE or PERFECT BEINGS. (17/20)

7. "Chromology" (9:49) such virtuosic performances throughout the length of this frenetically paced frenzy of crazy weaves. Every single instrument in this ten-minute instrumental is on such a wild and yet tightly scripted contribution to the overall fabric, yet beautiful melodies are flying at us in the form of both single lines as well as those shaped by the amazing chord sequences. Despite all of these amazing displays, both individually and collectively, Cody McCorry's bass play steals this one! (And I am amazed by the way he is recorded so cleanly, so "visibly," so perfectly in the mix!) Definitely a "big band jazz" feel to this one. (18/20)

8. "Geronimo" (6:15) again JOHANNES LULEY comes to mind in this more sensitive song. A little sappy. More like a BIG BAD WOLF pop-jazz song. (8.25/10)

9. "Life of Vermin" (8:11) a trend here: the quality of the songs remain high the ability to suck me in and keep my attention seem to be diminishing as I move down the album's song list (except for "Chromology"). This one is creating the same effect on me that Rush albums do: can't keep me interested, inaccessible. It's a good song with excellent performances, just not a great song, not a fresh or refreshing arrangement. My theory is that my increasing boredom and inattentiveness is the result of the Franz Josef effect: "Too many notes!" My brain has become numb from being pulverized by too many notes! (12/15)

10. "Shatner's Lament" (1:13) a kind of horn-led jazzy Broadway interlude. (4.25/5)

11. "Anchor" (9:56) this sounds like a great song from a KLONE, VOLA, or even PLINI album. (17.5/20)

12. "New Moon" (2:01) floating, lilting on an old wind up clock, Sebastian sings about the effects of the new moon. (4.25/5)

13. "Terraformer" (8:07) is a song in which the horns are doubling up on notes within the chords being played by the rest of the rhythm section, thus, the song has a much more tech-metal feel to it than some of the others. The vocals here sound as if they come straight out of one of AC-DC's classic albums. Awesome guitar solo in the seventh minute. The band tightens up for the final minute into more of a classic rock spectrum--at least until that final instrumental 20 seconds. (13.125/15)

Total Time 82:15

4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece and an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection. I think the lesson I've learned thanks to this album is that no matter how excellent are the musicians and how clever and technical the song constructs, a brain can only take so much of being constantly peppered by such an onslaught of notes.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |

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