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Terraformer, the brand-new album from Thank You Scientist, is fantastically intriguing. A mix of prog metal and alternative rock in the instrumental, with an incredibly deep melodic infusion drawing the listener in from the beginning.
Hailing from New Jersey, the eclectic progressive rock band’s latest offering is ambitious and unpredictable. It’s clear Thank You Scientist experimented more with this body of work. Throughout, the genre-bending sound delivery is excellently performed – a gripping 84 minutes of experimental rock and roll music.
‘Wrinkle’ opens the album with 1970s nostalgia. Perhaps, a sound the listener may have heard before, but not quite like this. There is a rock flavour with an excellent delivery that conjures nostalgia. It’s a great kick-start track. Next, ‘FXMLDR’ has a pitched slow tone with intense vocals and instrumental arrangements. It’s an interesting combination of violin and sax blending perfectly. In a sense, it shouldn’t work, but it does.
‘Swarm’ introduces some metal in a rough tone. The mix of bass, drums, and guitar, along with the jazz touches and vocals, make the song a great listen. ‘Son of a Serpent’ has a fabulous jazz guitar segment along with a violin, guiding the listener through escaping emotions.
‘Birdwatching’ is wonderfully enchanting. Its quietness appears plain and simple, but the production is incredible. ‘Everyday Ghosts’ has a jazz fusion instrumental before leading into the guitar solo and taking the listener on another journey.
‘Chromology’ has an incredible instrumental, an energising bounce of bass and drums. ‘Geronimo’ is an acoustic track, but with a dramatic structure. ‘Life of Vermin’ is jazz-rock infused, in a similar vein to the opening track, with sounds of the 70s British music scene.
‘Shatner’s Lament’ is a slow, brief jazz instrumental. ‘Anchor’ has a haunting vibe, focusing on the melody. The tender, acoustic ‘New Moon’ is a welcoming track.
And finally, with a bit of fire and ice intensity, the title track ‘Terraformer’ highlights the band’s creation – something endearing and amazing.
The expansive rock approach, with experimental sounds including bass, drums, guitar, vocals, and sax may appear odd, but it works very well. Terraformer is born of creativity and hard work.
Lyrically, the album appears personal, discussing hardships, current state issues, and experiences. Compared to their earlier work, the conceptual threads throughout this collection of songs features more mature and professional work. Although they created each track from their personal experience, there’s room for the listener to think about what the songs mean to them.
The band self-released their EP, Perils of Time Travel, in 2011. Following this, they signed to Claudio Sanchez’s label Evil Ink Records. Subsequently, they released their debut full-length album Maps of Non-Existent Places in 2012. Four years later, in 2016, they released their sophomore record, Stranger Heads Prevail. Terraformer is their third full-length release.