SCENARIOT is a progressive rock band from Melbourne, Australia. Worlds Within Worlds is their follow up to 2017’s debut Scenariot. The new album establishes the band's intent to challenge the alt prog rock genre and develop their songwriting and musical creativity. The record was recorded on a Mac computer using nothing but ProTools. The band states that they continue to evolve and that their latest release is a testament to their originality and versatility. Songwriter Michael Totta explains the album’s concept: "the main theme reflects the unknown and fragile world often hidden behind smoke and mirrors. The music and lyrics were inspired by a blend of personal life experiences and how the world has changed over the last few years. The theme uses a fusion of different ideas to tell i's story, including alienation, trust, improbable hope and an evil and destructive computer code." Totta also plays guitars/keys, Dan Swan is on vocals and JP Glovasa on bass, with the addition of drummer Greg Stone, who adds a new dynamic and feel to the band.
The album’s title track opens with a tight progressive sound. Stone’s drums are crisp and clean and the play between Totta’s guitars and keys go from light and airy to dense and aggressive. The lyrical content of this opener reminds of something from Rush’s “Grace Under Pressure” or the phase in the Canadian trio’s career that was a mix of electronic synth and more ‘80s progressive rock. Like the previous song, “Upsilon-7” starts with electronica type beats and clean sounding guitars, and then switches into fifth gear tenseness a la distorted guitar. The guitars certainly sounded like they had a heavy metal edge to them. The pairing between the band’s metal and imaginative electronic/progressive styles was quite good. The acoustic beginning on “Fade Away” with light strings playing in the background, then switching into a format of a metal ballad offers the listeners another side to SCENARIOT’s unique talent.
I really like the “jaggedness” to “Sea of Fire” both in the way the drums begin and continue throughout most of the song, Totta’s catchy guitar riff and Glovasa’s low end bass lines. The guitars get really edgy and tight during the break. Next up is “This Hope” – a nearly seven-minute song that begins with fantastic synths and then, boom! – in your face distortion. Stone really goes to town here with his drum fills as well! Over two-anda-half-minutes in, Dan Swan starts singing with his clean and clean tenor. He sings about a hope that seems to be waning – “I’m trying to survive / I will try to hold on / But I’m slowly falling.” What I liked best with this tune was pretty much everything – each member of the band was giving it their all, and I think that comes out strong in the way the song was written and arranged.
Glovasa’a beginning bass lines on “Last Doubt” were insane and you’ll hear more of Stone’s dynamic off beats. What really caught my attention – and I don’t even know how to explain this properly – but the band goes off into this strange time signature (if that’s the correct term), somewhere around the two-and-a-half-minute mark. Remarkable!
“Vortex” features a faster tempo and frenzied sound and crazy, rapid drum fills. Swan sings, “So slow my body lost inside this black hole / It draws me in” adding to the intensity of the song’s rhythm. The group goes off into this riff, along with the keys, playing together for a few measures – not one tight note or beat was out of place. “Mysterious Skies / Afterlife” begins with a terrific soundscape style, complete with keys and spacious guitars, and mixed electronic drums. Glovasa effortlessly plays the bass, like he was a stand in for Geddy Lee and again, the band goes into this crazy off beat that makes me wonder how in the world they played it. Mixed with edgy guitars and ethereal synths, this last number really showcases the group’s strong progressive style very well.
Overall, Worlds Within Worlds was an exceptionally cohesive album, both thematically and musically, and it was well produced.
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