W. Andrew Powell (THE GATE Music Reviews)

Darkest of the Hillside Thickets Spaceship Zero (Soundtrack) = 7 . 5
By W. Andrew Powell (THE GATE Music Reviews)

Somewhere in the deep reaches of space there’s a ship with a “Better-Than-Light Drive” and a crew of anxious humans. They’ve made a terrible mistake and now they may have to battle a galaxy of frog-like creatures to find a way back to their real home. This is the background for Spaceship Zero, a motion picture with a very gritty, alternative soundtrack by The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets.

The disc is very edgy and intense with a main theme that is slightly spacey, with some excellent rock-riffage and along the disc you get a great sense of what this movie must be all about. There’s also a little multi-media experience on the disc that is actually pretty cool and has some great effects.

Outside of the packaging though, the tracks are pretty damn cool. “20 Minutes of Oxygen” has the real essence of a story behind it, and the beat is steady with a classic rock feel that’s gotten tangled in with some modern mixing. By far it’s my favorite track on Spaceship Zero, but only because it tells the best story.

Following the first few tracks, the rest of the album goes downwards into a jumble of sci-fi influenced rock that while interesting is a little far out. This is both the strength and problem behind Spaceship Zero as some of the songs are catchy but hard to get behind when the lyrics are so strange, like “x by the tangent of n, n minus pi over 10…” on the oddly impressive “The Math Song.”

Looking at everything here you’ve got rock with alternative, and ambient pop with heavy, german metal. It all blends over the course of the disc to make a good image of what the movie must be like, but at times it is a little odd to sit through. For any sci-fi fans who love rock music though, this is one of the better indie releases I have heard in a long time, it just could have used a little tweaking. Then again, for a band that got on the road with Gwar, what can we expect?