Review Summary: A great metal CD that is a must for anyone with a taste for progressive metal.
Blotted Science is an instrumental supergroup consisting of...
Ron Jarzombek (Watchtower, Spastic Ink)- guitar
Alex Webster (Cannibal Corpse, Hate Eternal)- bass
Charlie Zeleny (Behold... The Arctopus, Jordan Rudess)- drums
...So, needless to say, the standard of musicianship found on The Machinations Of Dementia is top-notch. Now, Blotted Science is a prog metal band. Simple as that. Anything you'll hear on this album you can most likely hear somewhere else. So why do I give it a score of 5 out of 5? Because this album does it better. In fact, it doesn't break any new ground whatsoever, but it perfects all the elements that are commonly found in the prog metal genre.
Wacky time signatures, compound times, polyrhythms and over-the-top shred-fests are everywhere to be found here. Speaking of polyrhythms... Can you think of another metal band that uses polyrhythms? Meshuggah. Yes, Meshuggah are very widely considered the masters of math metal. And for the most part I agree with that statement. But, as hard as it is for me to admit it, Blotted Science is giving them some great competition. But, thankfully, the world is big enough for the both of them, because I love them both dearly.
Instrumental though it may be, it has a theme and I think it conveys said theme well. It also lets your imagination go completely wild, something instrumental music will always do better than music with vocals. TMOD is jam-packed with frantic, twisted riffage, manic drumming, and a healthy dose of quirkiness. Some of it just makes you laugh, not really because it's funny in any way, but because the current riff or lick is just so good, you can't help but feel good when you hear it. See "Laser Lobotomy" for a great example of this. Riffs, riffs, riffs. There are lots of great ones here. Often times I found myself wondering, "How did they come up with that awesome riff?!" Hearing one awesome riff after another is what you're in store for when you listen to this. They all follow a similar musical blueprint, but somehow they never get old or boring or make you feel like you've heard them before. There is one other element that makes up the majority of the album's sound: pure awesome heaviness. Blotted Science may not be the greatest metal band in the world, but they are definitely one of the MOST metal bands out there. So naturally, the higher the volume, the better.
All of the playing is airtight. Everyone is right on the money the whole time. But with transitions as tough as those found here, you pretty much have to be. The album flows perfectly. All the songs are put in the right place in the track list to give it such great continuity. Everything works so naturally that the first time i heard this i thought, "this MUST be a supergroup." It seems like the whole album was originally written as one piece, as that is how it flows. but parts were later split up, touched up, and rearranged to ensure that everything was perfect. Whatever they did, it worked.
The last two tracks, Adenosine Breakdown and Adenosine Buildup, respectively, are an interesting and baffling piece of musical composition. In essence the two tracks are the same song. So why are there two of the same track? Breakdown is the song played forward, and Buildup is the exact same song played...backwards. Not just flipped around automatically using some recording software, but actually composed and performed backwards. This is an amazing testament to the band's first-rate musicianship.
The album contains several short interlude tracks. To put it simply, the experience would not be the same without them. Call them segues if you want. Track 6 "R.E.M." is a prime example of the previously mentioned quirkiness. Some of the interludes are rather mellow, putting you into a more relaxed state to prepare you for the next track, while some of them, like, track 4 "Oscillation Cycles" are some of the heaviest moments on the album. You know the saying "All killer, no filler?" Well this does have filler. But the saying that I would associate with this album is, "Even the filler is killer." Blotted Science's album is a blast to listen to. It's a fun, heavy, over-the-top metal monster of a record that was meant to be swallowed whole.
To get a better idea of how The Machinations Of Dementia works, think of it as parallel to your own psyche. One never dwells on a single train of thought for very long, just as TMOD never really stays in the same place for long. Both are often unpredictable and sometimes don't really make much sense at all. But they are perfect just the way they are.