Review Summary: A fun, if campy, romp through sci-fi tropes and heavy detuned guitar riffs.Tonight The Stars Revolt!
is a fun, if campy, romp through sci-fi tropes and heavy detuned guitar riffs. Lyrically, it's more substantial than most would give it credit for, and musically, this is a head-banger and raver. It may not be the most original of works, especially for the era in which it appeared, but it's worth a few listens.
Speaking of lyrics, this album clearly takes cues from old-school science fiction paraphernalia. If the steam-punk influenced album cover and outfits didn't tip you off, the song titles should. "Supernova Goes Pop". "Blast Off to Nowhere". "System 11:11:". This isn't an album that digs deep into your psyche and moves you too much, but that's not to say the lyrics aren't entertaining, exciting, or at least slightly thought-out. This is, to some degree, a concept album, one in which the protagonist journeys through the soundscapes that Spider One and company have crafted. Spider's vocals, by the way, are absolutely perfect to carry this story; unstable, harsh, snaking, in-your-face. The story details a revolution against some sort of oppressive regime, of course all detailed in sci-fi lyrics. The revolution begins when the protagonist decides to leave the materialism of his contemporaries around him and is awakened by the explosion of the supernova ("Supernova Goes Pop"), then it shifts to the protagonist realizing that he isn't the only one rebelling ("Tonight The Stars Revolt"), and finally shifts to a time of peace and victory ("Good Times Roll"). Any of the tracks in-between further detail the story and work in tandem with the instrumentation to get your blood pumping and fist raising, as well as some narrative interludes that help to begin and connect the story with the fun cliché of a wise old narrator ("An Eye Is Upon You", "Blast Off To Nowhere", "Watch The Sky For Me").
Musically, the guys do spice it up a little bit. Tracks like the title track, "Automatic", and breakout hit "When Worlds Collide" pack heavy riffs, rough screams, big choruses, and some synth flourishes, while "Nobody's Real" and "The Son of X-51" are a bit more groove-focused with strong, thick bass lines. "Watch The Sky For Me" even packs an old-timey, swing-dance influenced beat that effortlessly morphs into a spazy synth number and is a fantastic way to close the album.
The musicianship is tight throughout, and though it isn't the most technical, that isn't a bad thing. The theme of the lyrics isn't the problem; it is the way they are delivered. While they may work if you just want to sit down, strap in, and have one crazy time jamming along while still thinking a little bit, they don't push into introspective territory too very far and thus lose a little bit of the emotional appeal they could have. That said, I'd recommend this as an essential to any alternative or industrial metal lover.