Yeah, I’m pretty peeved about that title, too. In a Car Bomb-esque display of eccentricism, the experimental metal group that Dr. Fisting calls “the loudest band I’ve ever heard in a club” have offered unto the world a palindromically-titled album that’s a darling of search engine optimization but a demon for memorability. Yet for all their faux-mystery, the Chicago experimental metal outfit’s output is just as enigmatic as their moniker; an effects-swamped bouquet of sludgy riffing, hoarse roars and buzzing electronics. Somewhere in between the distinctive riffing of Leviathan-era Mastodon and the melodic sensinbility of Yellow/Green Baroness, Scientist took a turn into deeper water, dredging up this sophomore effort of self-described “Architectural Metal.”
“The Singularity” and “Baptistina” could easily back up Brent Hinds yelling confusedly about a Herman Melville Novel but have enough flavor to differentiate themselves from any proboscidean-themed group out there. Big, blocky pylons of riff slide down a mountain of menacingly purring bass, pummeling through the speakers among weird spacey electronics and heavily processed vocals. “The Lighthouse” effectively pairs this heft with a saccharine chorus and melodic guitar solo, making for a great introduction to an offbeat and continuously transforming album.
It’s when the album hits “Gravity Well” that things get really weird. After an introduction that sounds like Frances the Mute meets Green, the band breaks out blast beats for a shouty blackened groove with a distinct progressive flourish. The song ends on a definitively triumphant note that’s truly a pleasure to hear and does wonders in justifying the song’s 7-minute runtime. Follow-up instrumental “Limb” is very much informed by Pink Floyd‘s forays into ambient music, with some Gilmour-esque noodling [David Gilmour is a true artist. He did not “noodle.” – AMG]. Scientist almost keeps up the momentum through the end of the album, delivering an awesome fuzzed-out bendy riff in “Bloodless, Breathless” but closing with the ambient title track that doesn’t do much for the album.
Production-wise, 10100II00101 sounds very bulky, like an office building sailing out of the city to wreak terror on the high seas. It’s dense and fuzzy and the variety of guitar and vocal tones come across pretty well in the mix; whatever is happening that’s new and exciting is always at the forefront, no matter how many layers of sound are being tossed around. Especially prominent is the bass, which really rattles and growls under distortion, giving the band the low-end to flesh out their huge songs. Compared to the band’s debut, the album sounds warmer and fuller but lacks some of the dynamic depth, although the album comes in at a respectable DR 8.
10100II00101 builds upon Scientist‘s debut and adds new dimensions to their sound, but shows that they still have some growing to do before they produce the high quality material they seem capable of. While there are plenty of exciting passages, the album’s songs often fail to solidify an identity for themselves despite good riffs and engaging melodies. Such is the risk with Scientist‘s experimentation; although it’s not the wackiest music out there, the band throws a lot of curveballs and ends up with an imperfect pitch. Although the album isn’t a complete success, 10100II00101 won’t fail to engage you, and Scientist remain a band worth keeping an eye on.