Band Website: www.ScienceNV.com
Label: Independent Release (2018)
Rating: Epic Scale Adventurous Prog
Four years on from The Last Album ScienceNV is back with an ambitious project entitled The Quest for Prester John – Volume 1. By way of review, the group came together in San Francisco back in 2004 and over the years since they have been constantly refining their musical approach which for this release is a complex mixture of rock, classical and brief moments of more adventurous Avant-Prog. This album, the first of a set, was recorded over the last four years in half dozen different studios and involves up to thirty musical collaborators. Clocking in at fifty-five minutes these seven compositions cover a lot of musical ground. The band waste no time: after a brief fanfare they launch into the segmented epic “Eloise’s Tale [32:34] the longest on the disc where you get a wonderful taste of everything ScienceNV is about musically. The balance of the album’s tunes run around the three minute mark. The sonic reference points are varied. Over the course of the album we’re treated to some classic symphonic proggy elements mashed up with Zappa-styled quirkiness on reeds and percussion and then every so often the music slides into pastoral melodic passages only to be interrupted at the most unexpected moments by saxophone blowouts or some other cacophonous eruption. There’s even a pronounced Chamber Prog aspect to the music that usually morphs into the band’s more classically symphonic vibe. The musical feels feed one another: while the smooth and melodic aspects draw you into the story, the complex noisy elements cause you to stand back and reflect all of which makes for a musical journey of epic proportions. And hey, this is only volume one! The Quest for Prester John is more intense than much of their previous work, there is a lot to sink your teeth into musically, but it’s a very tasty listen well worth spending time with.