The Chemist Vs. The Computer - Hydrosufoolooween
Record Label: Independent
Release Date: October 10, 2010
Crown Point's The Chemist Vs. the Computer are as unique as their strange name and even stranger album title may suggest. Three years after their incredible debut EP Loki, Chemist return after several member changes and a clearly progressed sound. The band manages to keep their edge, increase their level of technicality, all while writing some of the most catchy and ambient material they have ever produced.
The CD begins in a similar style to the Loki, using the same sound clip as the first EP over a different instrumental bit that leads into the blistering guitar work of "E.Y.A. Part One". New drummer Chris Rasado, also of the band prettyoungraves, is able to seamlessly hold together the band's sound throughout their constantly changing rhythms and keep up with the the many different directions the band makes throughout their songs. The ambient, intricate guitar parts are balanced out by the driving bass lines throughout many of the songs, adding a sense of cohesiveness to the otherwise chaotic atmosphere. The first four tracks are very cohesive, as the second track is a mostly instrumental interlude between "E.Y.A. Part One" and "E.Y.A. Part Two", all flowing together quite well, providing some of the heaviest parts of the EP.
The real secret weapon of this band is their immensely talented vocalist Dan Easton. I would best describe his vocal stylings as 'haunting'. Rarely have i come across a vocalist who is able to go from well-placed screams to insanely high-pitched vocals. Seriously, the dude has some insane range, and is able to hit some very high notes (the end of "E.Y.A. Part Two" makes me start to think helium was involved), and still write some very catchy parts. The choruses of "Dr. Seussinfluenced" and the very beginning of "Dandelion" were stuck in my head for what seemed like days immediately following the release of this album. Its hard to judge Easton lyrically however, as I usually cannot understand him. But the lines I can make out are both full of meaning but also mysterious and poetic, and at times inspiring. My favorite line, which I hope I'm getting right, "We can see your arteries, pounding and pounding and not for everyone", is as haunting as it is powerful coming in Easton's distinct high voice.
The aforementioned "Dr. Seussinfluenced" is one of the strongest tracks on the album, showing off the bands immense technicality while remaining an incredibly catchy song. Chemist changes pace multiple times throughout the song, going from smooth ambient music to very progressive heavy sounding parts, including a a pretty sweet guitar solo. "Llama-Horse Walkingstick" seems to have a more upbeat tone than the rest of the album, while staying true with the distinct Chemist style. This fast-paced track is one of my favorites, mostly because of the interesting and ever-changing guitar work throughout the relatively short song.
The album closes with haunting (love that word) "Dandelion". The guitar work is much more smooth and ambient, allowing Rasado's drum parts to really stand out. This track has a much darker tone than the previous tracks, and Dan Easton's full capabilities are really showed off here. He is able to move from the chilling chant of "Did you really think, did you think, I would lose control?" that opens the song, to aggressive screams, rough yelling vocals, impressive high notes, and a much quieter smooth sung chorus.
Hydrosufoolooween is a great combination of creepy, technical, and powerful, while still being catchy enough to sing along with(if you want to try to hit those high notes that is). Chemist make a very solid follow-up to Loki and give hope that originality still exists in the post-hardcore genre. This band is going to go places if they continue to make music and progress as they have done here. My only complaint is that its too short, I'll be waiting for the full-length from these guys.