Review Summary: A work of art for nu-metal fans that shows how great Incubus spearheaded the nu-metal movement. Something different for Incubus fans of soft and mellower albums. Definitly worth buying for anyone.
Incubus is a band today that is much different compared to when they released their first full-length album “S.C.I.E.N.C.E” in 1997. In 1997 Incubus had Dirk Lance; he was their first bassist and added a whole different dimension to their music. The Incubus of today is a much softer, mellower band, for two reasons. For one they hit huge success with much softer tracks than the ones included on “S.C.I.E.N.C.E”. Examples include Drive, Stellar, Pardon Me, and Wish You Were Here. This success turned Incubus into a much softer, mellower band, losing some of their earlier fans. Another reason for the change in style is the departure of Dirk Lance in 2003, he was a hard rock, edgy bassist, who added a rougher feel to Incubus’ sound. When Lance left Incubus replaced him with a former guitarist Ben Kenney, which forced Incubus to focus more on guitar and a softer sound. Softer Incubus is not such a bad thing, but I enjoy “S.C.I.E.N.C.E” the most of all their albums so far because it was right before they started to turn mellower on “Morning View” which was released in 2001.
“S.C.I.E.N.C.E” has that rough, edgy sound, and includes a lot of great instrumental talent. It’s when Incubus was a nu-metal type of band, with fast almost rapping vocals, loud, fiery, heavy instrumental play, and more use of the turntables from their DJ, “DJ Lyfe”. Incubus didn’t hit much success from “S.C.I.E.N.C.E”, but it did allow them to start opening for big bands like Korn, Primus, 311, and Sublime.
“Redefine” is the opener on “S.C.I.E.N.C.E” and does an amazing job at kicking things off right. Starting off with distortion for a bit, then exploding into a hard rocking riff that will be sure to make you hit repeat time and time again. “Redefine” like other tracks on “S.C.I.E.N.C.E” is hard, heavy, and includes fast vocals. Though they are faster than what most Incubus fans of today are used to it doesn’t make them any worse. In fact I like Brandon Boyd’s vocals on “S.C.I.E.N.C.E” a lot. “Redefine” doesn’t change much, but it doesn’t need to, it powers heavily along throughout the whole song, making it easily one of the best songs on the album. “Vitamin” is another amazing track, and probably my favorite on “S.C.I.E.N.C.E”. Starting off soft, with Boyd singing almost a whisper, instrumental play begins to violently get louder and louder, making a very heavy fast paced beat. Like many tracks on “S.C.I.E.N.C.E” “Vitamin” takes one or two breaks you could say, but soon enough goes back into heavy riffs and close to rapping vocals. “New Skin” keeps the streak of great songs going. A loud bass line opens up the song, and heavy riffs follow immediately instead of the longer soft intros on the previous two tracks. A heavy, catchy, scratchy, frenzied guitar riff stumbles along throughout the verses. About three fourths of the way through the song, a recorded voice begins to explain what humans can touch see and hear for about fifteen seconds, then heavy riffs pick back up and the song continues.
“Idiot Box” is the fourth track on “S.C.I.E.N.C.E”, and opens up with a scratching turntable. “Idiot Box” is a much softer track than the three before it, only picking up every now and then, and emphasizes more on DJ Lyfe’s turntables. The song consists of a soft guitar riff, a solid bass line in the background, soft vocals, and even a solo from DJ Lyfe. Finally towards the final minute it picks up slightly more than usual, and plays cat and mouse with the softer sound. Towards the end Boyd raps a small bit, mixing up the song a bit. “Glass” is the fifth song, and the intro is a repeated noise of a woman breathing heavily which shows up more throughout the song. Boyd shows his best vocals on the album yet, managing to take the spotlight in even the heaviest of parts during the song. “Glass” picks off where “Idiot Box” left off; incorporating a lot of turntables, but still has that fast, heavy, edgy sound. “Magic Medicine” is a strange track, which is even more turntable oriented. It plays back “On this page you see a little girl giggling at a hippopotamus, I wonder why” throughout the song. An infectious bass line is the highlight of the song, without much else to back it up. “Pussycat” is also played back in the middle of the song. Boyd doesn’t sing one word in this song, and is not instrumentally sound enough to be worth a listen.
“A Certain Shade of Green” catapults you into an array of heavy, frenzied riffs right from the start. Blasting through you headphones, it’s obvious from the start that this song is worth a good listen. Like other tracks on this album “A Certain Shade of Green” refuses to get repetitive with an assortment of relentlessly heavy riffs, turntables incorporated throughout, and a catchy beat. At times Boyd sings with repeated voice recordings, which sounds different, yet efficient. “Favorite Things” is the eighth track on “S.C.I.E.N.C.E”, and opens up just as strong as “A Certain Shade of Green”. A nice mix of bass and guitar riffs is the strong point of this song. Ranging from loud to soft parts that play cat and mouse throughout the song, high points of the song really stand out, and make it another one of the better songs on the album. “Summer Romance (Anti-Gravity Love Song)” has an addicting soft guitar riff sound that starts off the song, and continues throughout. This song takes a much lower tone and mellower feel that most recent Incubus fans can relate to. With a variety of instruments ranging from maracas to almost tribal sounding drum beats. The high points of the song fail in comparison to most tracks on the album, consisting of louder vocals, and soft instrumental play. A saxophone solo is even added towards the end of the song, which makes it a completely different track compared to others. All in all “Summer Romance (Anti-Gravity Love Song)” is a different type of song, but not that good.
“Nebula” is a more familiar type of song that is similar to many on “S.C.I.E.N.C.E”. It consists of some soft verses, and then blasts into the chorus at violent, quick speeds. “Nebula” also adds different voice recordings throughout, and has a humorous recording in the beginning. After a slew of transitions from fast to slow and heavy to soft beats, the song ends with Boyd frightfully laughing and the whole band sloppily topping the track off with what instrumentally sounds like a train wreck. It’s like one of those bands that just trashes all their instruments as they walk off the stage to signify their work is done. “Deep Inside” includes a very catchy bass riff in the intro. This song sounds a whole lot like the ninth track on the album “Summer Romance (Anti-Gravity Love Song)” until it picks up. Out of nowhere your hit with Incubus’ loud, fast, heavy play, included with deep yelling by Boyd. When “Deep Inside” picks up it’s only for a few seconds, then returns back to the soft bluesy feel. Finally the song picks up longer towards the end for a half minute, then goes to a long guitar solo by Einziger. “Calgone” is the twelfth and final track that is usually mistaken as cologne. Starting off very soft it takes a bit for “Calgone” to pick up. It powers through forcefully, and takes turn with the soft sound. About two and a half minutes in the song’s beat and everything slows down, with some strange almost alien sounding noises. It almost sounds if Incubus malfunctions during the song. As no surprise everything explodes back into heavy play, and sounds louder and heavier than many on, this is the apex of song and does not disappoint. About four and a half minutes in a recording of a guy yelling at someone named Gavin, and starts cursing. It might be a recording of band practice, or something of that nature.
“S.C.I.E.N.C.E” is a really good album, yet it is different than most Incubus albums. For those fans of heavy, loud, edgy Incubus, “S.C.I.E.N.C.E” is definitely for you. Fans of softer, mellower Incubus this album is definitely worth checking out. Instrumentally this album is great, including many high points which are easily loud enough to drown out anything. Boyd’s vocals also are great, for fans of nu-metal vocally this album is something your familiar with, borderline rap, and very fast paced vocals. There aren’t many bad tracks on the album, just a whole lot of good ones.
-Great heavy sound
-High points that make almost every track worth a listen
-A lot more good/great tracks than bad
-Turntables that make things less repetitive, and add to the fast paced beat
-Each track isn’t very long
-One or two tracks are close to worthless
-A Certain Shade of Green
Brandon Boyd (vocals)
Mike Einziger (Guitar)
Dirk Lance (Bass)
Jose Pasillas (Drums)
DJ Lyfe (Turntables)