From metalcore to technical death metal, these are albums I truly think stand out above the rest. Albums that I listen to on a regular basis because they’re original, executed well or even both. They may not be front-to-back perfect and they may not be for everyone, and perhaps many of you will find that you disagree. Nevertheless, these are albums I think people should at least give a listen.
Enter week 5. Jeez, feels like I’ve only written this column that no one cares about twice. Anyway, it’s noodle time in Wank City with Blotted Science‘s The Machinations of Dementia. If you don’t know who Blotted Science is I have deep pain for you. They’re a supergroup of 3 musicians consisting of guitarist Ron Jarzombek (Watchtower, Spastic Ink), bassist Alex Webster (Cannibal Corpse) and drummer Charlie Zeleny (Behold… the Arctopus) and they play extremely awesome instrumental prog metal.
That being said, if you don’t know who Ron Jarzombek is I’m going to have to murder you. He’s a guitar legend and the tight, unique and creative guitar noodling that he’s known for is ever so prominent here. Strange scales and downright bizarre harmonies are woven in throughout this 60 minute journey, only to be accompanied by the brilliant Alex Webster going apeshit on his bass. The rattling is fun to listen to it and as we all know, audible bass is an automatic positive. Though not a fan of Behold… the Arctopus (can you say pointless wank?), the drumming on The Machinations of Dementia is a much more structured and not so incoherent. He stepped his game up tenfold. There’s as many slow, jazzy passages that keep to a simple, polyrhythmic beat (with phenomenal guitar work on top) as there are crazy ones, keeping things diverse. If “E.E.G. Tracings” doesn’t impress you, then I don’t know what will. In any case, the music comes together to fit the album’s theme (that is, dealing with the brain) and sometimes the angular guitar gets a little TOO close to what the brain would sound like if it was music. It’s freaky, but highly effective. I tip my hat to you, Ron.
Technical proficiency aside, The Machinations of Dementia has superb production. There isn’t much to say here other than it’s not muddy and not overproduced. Everything is mixed just right (though I suppose the cymbals tend to get buried beneath the madness). The clear production of the guitar just amplifies the weirdness of the guitar playing, surmounting to something that really boggles my mind for some reason. I fucking love it, okay?
You should know by now this is the paragraph where I bitch about the album’s flaws. Welp, there’s a few here. For one, there’s only so much I can take of this album. The execution is wonderful and all, but there’s something about instrumental music where I eventually can’t take anymore. I suppose it’s because without a vocalist, things start to sound very similar. Despite how much I love the brain-y atmosphere and ridiculous musical skill (“Amnesia”), it tends to drag on. And the album’s length doesn’t help with this at all. It’s 60 minutes. 12 tone variation is cool and all, Ron, but after 60 minutes I need a little break. The monotony just ends up being too much after a full listen. Lastly, and this is speaking for anyone and everyone, the craziness and offbeat nature may be a turn off to some. If that’s your thing, though, then have right at it.
Seems like The Machinations of Dementia‘s mention in my shitty column seems unwarranted and pointless if I’m panning it for being too similar, but trust me I’m not. Sure, consecutive listens are for people with ears of steel, but I find myself listening to this frequently. It’s just that damn good. Give it a listen if you’re one of the few people who already haven’t.
tl;dr: welcome to the most bizarre and strange guitar playing you’ll ever hear. Ron is a fucking robot, I swear.
Here’s their track “E.E.G. Tracings”, my personal favorite. Wacky, jazzy and fuckingawesomey: