Science NV: The Quest for Prester John Volume 2 (2018)

Written by: Kev Rowland

As with the first set, this also contains a long number in the 27 minute “Roderick’s Tale”. There are also guests involved again, but not nearly as many as on the debut and no saxophone, which definitely gives a very different feel. Also, the musical repetitions that worked on the first part feels far more laboured here, with a result that quite quickly I found that I was struggling to get through it, which is never a good sign. It’s not that it is bad album as such, but rather that there just isn’t enough direction and pace within it. With no understanding of the storyline due to it yet again being issued with an insert, and no booklet, I did start to wonder what was going on. When the music started to become more complex and move in different directions, I found myself trying to work out where I was being taken and what the rationale was behind it. It was hard to pick up on the musical and lyrical threads, and trying to weave them into a collective whole was rapidly becoming far more difficult.

That it is an ambitious undertaking is never in doubt, but I found myself coming away wondering if I had heard a masterpiece or missed opportunity, feeling that it is was probably more the latter than the former. As a complete album, it is the first that works best, while the second doesn’t really contain the same level of vitality or different vocal styles that had such a positive impact. For any band to release two albums in the same year is a big ask, and there are few modern prog bands that have managed to do so, and although it is commendable to have put these out close to each other to complete the story, I am not sure if that was exactly the right approach.

Rating: 6/10


Track list:
1. Roderick’s Tale
2. A Byzantine Interlude
3. 30 Ethiopian Ambassadors
4. River of Jewels
5. The End of a Legend



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