"Last Album Before the End of Time"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Cruising amidst the spaceways we find the intrepid progonauts of the good ship ScienceNV, in search of musical wonders and oddities. Unlike most bands who claim to have a scientific background, the gentlemen are legitimately involved in science on their "day jobs".

"Last Album Before the End of Time" is their third album and it finds them all over the map, musically. This is a record to pick up only if you like a lot of variety in your music, because the textures here range from almost completely ambient to driving hard rock, hitting all points in between. It's also an instrumental album, which usually throws me off, but it's actually the variety and the feeling of anticipating what the next style shift is that keeps me interested here. They start with a lengthy run-through of Gustav Holst's "Mars", which plays the familiar march faithfully with synths before they turn towards a lengthy jamming section with some real Hendrix-style guitar playing. Follow up "Chinatown" is laid back and bluesy jazz fusion, a real chill-out track. In contrast, "Molecular Super-Modeling" is really upbeat and even playful, with some very tasty Satriani-type guitar work and even a grinding bit of slide guitar that hits the spot quite nicely. ""Curved Space" also has that playful, energetic feeling, but is more synth-based...the sci-fi influences are quite noticeable here.

They take another sharp turn with "Cold Sleep"...a very quiet and appropriately "cold" sounding instrumental that has an ambient texture for most of its length. Lead guitar cuts in towards the end and there's some very neat "metallic" sounding percussion as well. This cut was quite the surprise! Then we get the obligatory massive prog epic "The Ring Cycle", which breaks into 5 parts. "Titan" is the heaviest tune on the disc...very riffy and guitar-based, reminiscent of old Rush. It's reprised at the end of the Cycle, but in between we get treated to a lengthy prog jam that includes everything but the kitchen sink. The musical virtuousity is unquestioned, but as is usual with these sort of things, it could have been pruned with no big loss.

The album ends on a very high note with a beautiful ballad, "Atmosphere of the Mind". It's not often you hear the Good Doctor say this, but the opening minutes of this almost put a tear in my eye. What a sweet and wonderful melody, brilliantly embellished with harpsichord, no less. The tune is gentle for most of its length, but towards the end, the pace picks up, rock guitar kicks in and there's even a stretch of electronica. This is quite the atmospheric closer.

A rather wide-ranging and eclectic voyage from the ScienceNV craft, hitting a lot of destinations. Science marches on!