Rocket Scientists

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Brutal Architecture

Rocket Scientists - Brutal Architecture ©1995 Kinesis
1. Dark Water Part One
2. Wake Me Up
3. Copernicus
4. Brutal Architecture
5. Nether
6. Dark Water Part Two
7. The Fall Of Icarus
8. Resolution
9. Rainy Days And Pastel Grays
10. Millennium
11. Mariner
12. Stardust

This is the disc that propelled Rocket Scientist's into the realm of serious progressive rock. The differences between this disc and the debut would make you think two different bands had done the work. Erik Norlander and Mark McCrite, along with the rest of the band, really put together an amazing performance.

The disc blends Pink Floyd or Porcupine Tree atmosphere and conjuring with Yes moodiness to create a rich and haunting environment in which the songs thrive and have their being. While not the tour de force that was Oblivion Days, this disc acknowledges the influences on the song writing and pays very good tribute to them. The song writing gets special attention. They are carefully crafted and the lyrical content matches with a nice precision. The songs are long and very satisfying. There are no unnecessary interludes, everything flows together very well. Erik's keyboards and Mark's guitar work weave and blend nicely. Mark McCrite has one of the best voices in progressive rock today, and it really shows well on this disc.

There are certainly better progressive rock discs available, and others that are more important than this one. This disc stands out to me because of the profound impact it made on the career of Erik Norlander and what it has meant to his contributions to progressive rock and metal since. I'd call it a landmark disc because you can point to it and say that this is where a great movement in progressive rock began.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 04/2001

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Oblivion Days

Rocket Scientists - Oblivion Days ©2000 Avalon
1. Dark Water Part Three: Neptune's Sun
2. Aqua Vitae
3. Oblivion Days
4. Archimedes
5. Banquo's Ghost
6. Space: 1999
7. Escape
8. Compass Variation
9. Break The Silence
10. Dark Water Part Four: Heavy Water
11. Wake Me Up

Progressive rock is back! Recently, large numbers of aging baby-boomers who grew up listening to Pink Floyd, Kansas, Yes, and other bands are wanting more from their music than what they find on the local radio station. The pablum served up as top forty and what their kids (or grandkids) are listening to turns their stomachs. They long for the good old days of music you could sink your teeth into.

Into this ideal entered the Rocket Scientists founded by Erik Norlander. His desire was to return to the music of that time that was out on the edge. In a recent issue of Sea Of Tranquility magazine Norlander details the history behind the band and the evolution of their sound. With Oblivion Days, the group is trying to capture the ears of the progressive metal listeners who want more of an edge to their music du jour.

Oblivion Days marks quite a step forward for Rocket Scientists. The album has the edge they sought without losing the symphonic element. The atmosphere is full and vibrant. the melody weaves in and out and captures your attention in every quarter. The sound absolutely surrounds you and carries you away.

Arjen Anthony Lucassen appears on this album, lending his heavy metal rhythms to the songs. Norlander and co-writer Mark McCrite produce intelligent songs with thoughtful lyrics. But the over arching thing they produce is a very big sound. Heavy rhythms thanks to three percussionists and Lucassen's crunching guitar. The sound is similar to old Deep Purple or Mountain, early Uriah Heep, Gentle Giant, Yes, Nektar and traces of Pink Floyd can be heard too. But one thing this album does not do is look backward. It may have its roots in the classic progressive artists of the 1970's but this is a forward thinking, forward moving album with some real momentum to it.

Rocket Scientists and other progressive rock bands are riding a rising wave of interest. In so doing, they are breathing life into music that has depth and originality. They may never be as immediately recognized as those bands that top the charts, but they are infinitely more lasting in one's memory than whatever band it was that had the number one song two years ago that has now faded and gone. Rocket Scientists sound will be here long after tomorrow's hit is found in the bargain bins at your local CD store. These guys deserve a listen.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 08/2000

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