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Thank You Scientist - Terraformer Award winner

Thank You Scientist
Terraformer
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 26 June 2019, 5:28 AM

THANK YOU SCIENTIST is a Progressive Rock band based out of New Jersey, USA. From their Facebook page, they list their genre as “Post Genre Sweet Potato Polka.” If this isn’t an indication of their uniqueness, I don’t know what is. I’ve heard a song or two but never delved into one of their albums before. So, today is the perfect day to hear “Terraformer,” which contains thirteen tracks.

“Wrinkle” leads us off. It’s a two-minute opening instrumental, swinging with sax and bass, and all the dexterousness of professionals who have been at this for some time. The arrangement is tight but the sound is loose. “FXMLDR” has a similar sound, but with clean vocals that remind me of COHEED AND CAMBRIA. It’s an eight-minute beast that features various instruments that take the lead and then dart back into the background. McCorry’s bass is perhaps the best featured here…he sure knows his way around a fretboard. Greenfield’s saxophone is wonderful as well.

“Swarm” is six minutes in length. Starting off with a raucous rhythm, you can begin to comprehend the impeccable musicianship the band possesses. Starting and stopping on a dime, and shifting with expertise, they keep the main melody in the forefront. The vocals are dreamy in nature. “Son of a Serpent” is an eight-minute opus that bounces fruitfully and without a care in the world. The chord progressions are a little easier on the ears here, but overall this is some very unique music. Count the key changes. You might lose track. The guitar solo is perfect…so simple yet elegant in its delivery. “Birdwatching” is just under four minutes. This time, the song breathes…in and out with a slow and easy listening cadence. That is, until the end at least.

“Everyday Ghosts” is over ten minutes in length. This time, it’s Fadem’s turn to shine on the kit, with McCorry in full support on bass guitar. Sax and trumpet sprinkle in here and there as well. This song explores more areas than I think I have ever heard before, while maintaining a central core theme. You have to wonder how don’t they get lost? “Chromology” is also ten minutes in length. For the length of the track, it borders on free jazz. Without borders or fences to contain it, it is everywhere. The trumpet and sax work from Gullace and Greenfield respectively is quite impressive. “Geronimo” is six minutes in length. Melancholy and passive vocals usher in a bit of a stillness here with some more accessible melodies.

“Life of Vermin” has a more accessible melody, and a bit more structure. Stripped down to the essentials, it has a very pretty sound at its core. The trumpet is featured here and it is amazing, along with thwacking bass guitar notes that slap. “Shatner’s Lament” is a one-minute, muted trumpet, slow moving song. I’m unsure of its purpose on the album but it’s here nonetheless. “Anchor” is another ten-minute beast. It opens with a bit of darkness but is easy on the ears. It has a little more structure as well and follows a main melody line pretty easily. Monda’s guitar fretwork here is unparalleled. “New Moon” is another shorter song, featuring doleful vocals and a hint of sadness, with an Eastern feeling to it.

“Terraformer” closes the album. The opening notes are thick, chunky and heavy, with the fullness of McCorry’s bass guitar. Again, it borders on free jazz. There are so many shifts that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with. Yet, they are not hard shifts. There are done seamlessly, and with expert talent.  Overall, you can’t help to marvel at the band’s skills. Each member is a master at his instrument, and the kind of fusion the create is nothing short of amazing. Like THE DEER HUNTER or COHEED AND CAMBRIA, it’s niche music, so it probably isn’t going to appeal to an overly wide audience. The do have 50,000 Facebook likes however, and if you love Progressive music, I think you’re going to love this as well.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Wrinkle
2. FXMLDR
3. Swarm
4. Son of a Serpent
5. Birdwatching
6. Everyday Ghosts
7. Chromology
8. Geronimo
9. Life of Vermin
10. Shatner’s Lament
11. Anchor
12. New Moon
13. Terraformer
Lineup:
Salvatore Marrano – Vocals
Tom Monda – Guitar
Cody McCorry – Bass
Joe Fadem – Drums
Ben Karas – Violin
Sam Greenfield – Saxophone
Joe Gullace – Trumpet
Record Label: Evil Ink Records
     


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