(We welcome to the site an NCS guest contributor who calls himself The Baby Killer, and he makes his debut with a review of the new EP from supergroup Blotted Science.)
Have you ever listened to an album and thought to yourself, “Wow, I never thought these guys would outdo the last one, but they just did”? Some albums, at the time of their release, such as Anaal Nathrakh’s In the Constellation of the Black Widow or Nile’s Annihilation of the Wicked, and more relevantly Blotted Science’s debut effort The Machinations of Dementia, seem like they just can’t be topped.
The technicality, atmosphere, or even just the sheer level of brutality seem so daunting when the albums come out, and when word later surfaces that the band is working on the follow-up, people tend to get polarized about the subject. Some say they can’t wait to hear what’s next, some say either it’s not going to be as good or it will just be the same album recycled for the fans, and the rest usually fall somewhere in the middle. And then when the next release does come out, everyone puts aside their differences to help pick up each other’s jaws off the ground. Such is the case with Blotted Science’s new EP, The Animation of Entomology.
Ron Jarzombek & co. don’t seem to have lost any of their momentum from their last full length, and instead have only gotten tighter. The addition of tech-death drum veteran Hannes Grossmann (ex-Necrophagist, Obscura) has given the band just the right shot of adrenaline they needed to really stand head and shoulders above their peers, worthy opponents of Animals As Leaders, Fleshwrought and Sleep Terror.
The Animation of Entomology‘s backbone is still the fluid combination of jazzy drums and rhythms over Jarzombek’s signature free-form weedily-weedilies, but the songwriting and structures are much more varied and diverse this time around, with the tempos ranging from slow and eerie to holy-fuck-my-arms-are-gonna-fall-off. I even found certain parts comparable to djent, but much heavier of course. It’s a veritable musical roller coaster, and the guy who designed it was probably on shrooms.
That being said, the technicality doesn’t become overbearing or pretentious; the music just really is that expertly composed. It’s a very technical EP for sure (I mean c’mon, it’s Blotted fucking Science), but what really sets this one apart from the rest is its genuine, palpable atmosphere. As the name and admittedly creepy album artwork suggest, the theme of this EP is bugs and being killed by them, and the eerie atmosphere captures that notion perfectly.
It’s not often that an album comes along that blends technicality, groove and atmosphere (or an EP in this case, but I guess that’s even more rare). In fact, the only other example I can think of is The Faceless’ Planetary Duality. And just like that album, the first song on Animation, “Ingesting Blattaria”, hits the ground running with full throttle blast beats and tremolo picking, but this time around the tempo slows down and fluctuates considerably.
All seven tracks on this EP are beautifully written and could be praised for hours, but the real highlight is the latter half, the four-part “A Sting Operation”. The very beginning is reminiscent of insect wings flapping against something (maybe the walls of a test tube, as seen in the album art?), once again capturing the theme perfectly, and from there it’s a seemingly endless barrage of fretboard wizardry, tempo and meter changes and eerie melodies. Alex Webster (Cannibal Corpse) even manages to steal the spotlight for a little bit in the beginning of part four with his chunky bass grooves. One of my personal favorite sections appears in part three, where there is a seamless combination of clean and distorted guitars, much like the beginning of Spawn of Possession‘s “Sour Flow”.
Despite essentially beating you over the head with technicality the whole time, The Animation of Entomology does just as good a job as its predecessor of holding your attention for its entire 24-minute duration, mostly due to the lack of vocals. That gives the music plenty of room to breathe, and this trio know exactly how to make that work for them.
The Animation of Entomology is going to find its way onto some Best of 2011 lists somewhere, I guarantee it. Sit back and give yourselves a pat on the back Blotted Science, you’ve earned it.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Ron Jarzombek released this statement about the EP:
“As many of you know, all 24-plus minutes of the EP are a musical score to some type of bug movies. We will reveal the first one at my YouTube channel next Friday [Oct 14]. We’ll miss Friday the 13th by one day, but hopefully this viewing will be creepy enough for you. And so until the video appears, enjoy the audio. I realize that it all may be beyond wacky at this point, but it all will soon make perfect sense. In the meantime, you can get the digital download from iTunes or Amazon (Rhapsody, eMusic, etc. should follow shortly) or grab a physical copy of the EP from CD Baby or IndieMerch (who will also be our official merch company from now on; new shirts will be arriving soon), or directly from me at RonJarzombek.com.”
The Blotted Science Facebook page is at this location. And now here’s “A Sting Operation – I. Human Barbequed”:[audio:http://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/04-A-Sting-Operation-I-Human-Barbequed.mp3|titles=Blotted Science – A Sting Operation – I Human Barbequed]