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Hibernal - The Dark Of The City CD (album) cover



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5 stars Hibernal return in 2017 with yet another brilliant and original concept album 'The Dark of the City', and this might be their best one yet.

If you've never heard one of these albums before, it could best be described as a cross between an audiobook, a concept album and a movie soundtrack. An original script acted out by professional voice talent is accompanied by a collection of songs that function as the score. It truly is something original and unique.

'The Dark of the City' follows the story of a cop carrying out a relentless search for the creature that killed her partner. Set in a cyberpunk-ish city 'Carson Bay', the atmosphere is conveyed by sound effects, the synth-driven score and some incredible acting.

The songs are shorter and the pace of the narrative is ramped up in comparison to earlier albums, and that suits the story perfectly. This is a taut sci-fi thriller that features an incredible twist at the end. You won't see it coming.

Give it your full attention for an hour in a dark room and you'll find it really is like stepping into another world. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#1681905)
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2017 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
5 stars Mark and Rowan are back, and again the story revolves around just two characters, both played by actors who have previously been involved with Hibernal. Scott Gentle took the lead in 'Replacements', while Faleena Hopkins took a minor role in both 'Replacements' and 'After The Winter', but here things have been changed as Faleena is very much the lead. This changes the dynamic, as the script is always in the first person, so the switch to female was surprising and caught me off guard. As with the previous album there appears to be more music, which is many places is quite dramatic, and whereas I normally "see" Mark's stories in full colour, this feels far more black and white, as if it is a classic Hitchcock. Or at least if Hitchcock was directing films that would normally be called science fiction. In terms of timelines of the Hibernal world, this has more in common with 'Replacements', but more of a parallel universe to that one as opposed to the same vision.

There is an almost hypnotic state to the music, as it takes control of the senses and drags the listener into a new world, one where Moreeno the cop is undertaking a relentless search for the creature that killed her partner. By chance she comes across her new partner during the evening, and together they finish what had started a few weeks before. I still find it incredible that in so few words Mark can create a picture of Carson City ? I feel I understand both it and its underbelly, and can envisage what the characters are seeing when the final act is played out.

The post rock riffing combines with Pink Floyd stylings to create a musical soundscape that is at times at the forefront of what is happening, creating the dramatic when there are no words, and at others falling into the background so that the actors are centre stage. This isn't a concept album, nor it is a spoken book, but something that is different from both and instead is a musical radio play for the ears.

This is Mark's fourth full album (the previous three are also available in music only forms), and the fourth to which I feel I need to recommend at the very highest level. Go to his page on Bandcamp, pick any of these at random, then sit back and enjoy the experience. I can promise that you won't be disappointed.

Report this review (#1695749)
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2017 | Review Permalink

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