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This Winter Machine - The Man Who Never Was CD (album) cover

THE MAN WHO NEVER WAS

This Winter Machine

Neo-Prog


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5 stars This is a very good band, although the first album, but has been quite mature (although the band members are not young people). That voice is a bit like the lead singer of Rush, a high pitched (the band said they're greatly affected by rush), the lyrics also has some good music on the fragment, and indeed quite beautiful. It can be said that this is a very balanced band, first heard very sweet, listen to also won't feel tired. Panda brother that listen to those ambitious and experimental progressive rock, again this winter machine album is a kind of chastity, and return to the music of the heart recover the original simplicity of fun, not hypocritical, do not pretend to be profound, but very sincere, very pure.
Report this review (#1690781)
Posted Thursday, February 9, 2017 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Yet another debut album that proudly and boldly introduces its craft with an epic introduction, as is the case with British Neo-prog band This Winter Machine and their initial offering 'The Man Who Never Was'. The title track is a 4 part suite that suggests a clear admiration for the habitual legends of prog as well as the more recent adventurists that combine succinct musicianship, emotive melodies, effective lyrical content and a soaring vocal delivery that exudes class and style. The well-crafted piece provides glimpses into the individual talents on display, keyboardist Mark Numan showing a strong preference for piano (always a good sign), a potent bass player in Peter Priestly who enjoys partnering with drummer Marcus Murray and finally vocalist Al Wynter, whose voice certainly adds to the mix. Guitarist Gary Jevon completes the album line-up but it appears he has since left the band. Lyrically, the focus is on desolation, a serious sense of disconnect and identity crisis, themes that surely reflect the apathetic universe we live in today. There is an obvious adulation for Rush, though in my opinion, it does not lead to any attempt at cloning the sound of the mercurial Canadians. In fact, This Winter Machine proposes a softer touch, a deeply layered sound on which the various instruments can showcase their talents, dense symphonics and a concise vision of team work and crafting strong melodic structures.

The delectable 'The Wheel' is a prog ballad that has a bittersweet tinge that perpetuates the lonely continuum theme of this album, slowly shifting to a thundering shift of intensity, Wynter's voice attempting some Geddy-isms, shrieking appropriately while Jevon throttles his axe and Priestly worms relentlessly on the low end. Drummer Murray is no two-beat wimp, thumping and propelling like a man possessed. The piece ends into a delirious upward vortex of agony.

Fittingly, a denser touch appears with 'Lullaby (Interrupted)', a sumptuous intermezzo that bestows some bombastic symphonics on a very accomplished melody, bullied by a riffing guitar bulldozer, manic synth loopings and a heavier demeanor. As befitting any good instrumental, it shifts high and low, up and down the emotional scale, slipping from serenity to sizzle.

The agonizing beauty of 'After Tomorrow Comes' has a distinct Scorpions-like feel, Wynter doing a great rendition with a softer tone not far removed from Klaus Meine or Ronnie James Dio, as the lavish piano ripples delicately and the clanging guitars chime in unison. The pain of a broken union has been a perennial source of mankind's unrelenting search for stability and understanding, assaulted by all those characteristics that make us all human: guilt, disappointment, frustration, ego and desperation. 'Nothing seems to matter', indeed! Terrific song!

And as always, the slow pathway towards healing, of moving forward and somehow finding resolution, is found on the final piece 'Fractured', where both the jagged guitar and the histrionic synthesizers combine to underline the eventual liberation, the courageous bass showing the route that lays ahead, Wynter pleading with a level of impassioned sophistication that can only impress even the most jaded misanthrope. A compelling curtain drop on an entirely satisfying release, hopefully with many more to come.

The cover art is stunning, if not outright spooky, a frozen telephone booth and one of the riders of the apocalypse walking away in apparent dismay, a fox and an owl as the only witnesses, apparently symbols of wisdom in Celtic lore. There is always hope. Always!

4 Who Whos

Report this review (#1709143)
Posted Saturday, April 8, 2017 | Review Permalink
3 stars Review # 52. This Winter Machine is a UK-based band which I discovered recently. The band is a quintet, including good and experienced musicians, which becomes rather obvious upon listening to their debut album The Man who Never Was. The album opens with the title song, a 16-minute-long suite in 4 parts, which is one of the best songs of the album, and gives to the listener a good idea about the band's style and influences. Speaking of which, the band's seems to be deeply influenced by Marillion and IQ, among other bands. (In my opinion at least). The album includes 5 songs and has a total running time of almost 50 minutes. As you can understand, all the songs are long enough. The style here is a modern and rather "polished" Progressive Rock, with beautiful melodies, interesting changes in all the songs, lots of piano and keyboard passages and beautiful guitar riff and solos. The singer has a rather high pitched voice, which is not something special, but it fits their sound well enough. I believe that it is a very enjoyable and well structured album, which I enjoy listening to a lot. My most favorite songs are The Man who Never was and After Tomorrow Comes, followed by Fractured. The Man who Never was is a perfect addition to any Prog Rock discography, and especially those who are fond of the music sub-category named as Neo Prog, will definitely enjoy it! Give it a try! My Rating would be 3.5 stars

Report this review (#1710038)
Posted Wednesday, April 12, 2017 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars "The Man who Never was" would be a significant release even if it came from one of the classic symphonic or neo prog bands, but as a debut from a Yorkshire, UK band that had only formed mere months before, it's simply stunning. While enjoyable from the first listen, it stands up to repeat explorations of its plenteous sound and introspective lyrical themes. The arrangements are an archetypal blend of soaring or arpeggio'd guitars and effusive keyboards with healthy reverence for piano. The frequent vocals from Al Wynter (perhaps a clue to the band name) are a pivotal aspect to the band's lucid sound. While the tracks are long, they generally fit without stretching. Indeed, while the usual references to neo prog giants are valid enough, I would compare this release more directly with the first couple of albums by Polish group SATELLITE, with parallel musical and lyrical themes, cinematic grandeur, and a frosty veneer that belies the underlying compassion Just listen to the buildup of "Lullabye" for an example. The opening suite is truly exceptional, and everything that follows is good or better, with plenty of twists and superb playing all around. A splendid entrance that freezes out a lot of the tired old competition!
Report this review (#1871609)
Posted Saturday, February 3, 2018 | Review Permalink
Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars UK band THIS WINTER MACHINE was formed in 2016 following a planned band formation where musicians were sought, the meeting of minds proved to be fruitful and the machine was set in motion. At least that is the impression the band's concise biography gives. "The Man Who Never Was" is their debut album, and was released through UK label Progressive Gears at the start of 2017.

This Winter Machine comes across as a band that merits a check by just about anyone with a fondness for and appreciation of classic era neo progressive rock. This is a band that know very well indeed how to go about exploring this style, and manage to do so in an intriguing manner that maintains interest and attention extremely well. Not the most expressive album around, but inviting, compelling and easy to enjoy.

Report this review (#1918267)
Posted Sunday, April 29, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars This Winter Machine is a UK band which I discovered recently. The band is a quintet, including good and experienced musicians, which becomes rather obvious upon listening to The Man who Never Was.

I here influences by Marillion and IQ in there sound. Which Isn't a bad thing. There style is Neo - Progressive Rock, with beautiful melodies, interesting time changes, lots of piano and keyboard passages, as well as beautiful guitar riffs and solos through out.

The album opens with the title song, a 16-minute-long suite in 4 parts, which has emotive melodies, effective lyrical content and a soaring vocal delivery that exudes class and style. It is one of the best songs on the album, and gives the listener a good idea about the band's style and influences. Lyrically, the focus is on desolation, a serious sense of disconnect and identity crisis, that surely reflect the apathetic universe we live in today. The agonizing beauty of 'After Tomorrow Comes' has the pain of a broken union, a perennial source of mankind's unrelenting search for stability and understanding. Which is assaulted by all those characteristics that make us all human: guilt, disappointment, frustration, ego and desperation. Terrific song! And as always, the slow pathway towards healing, and somehow finding resolution, is found on the final piece 'Fractured'. A compelling end to a satisfying release, hopefully with many more to come.

The Man Who Never Was is a perfect addition to any Prog Rock discography, and especially those who are fond of Neo Prog, will definitely enjoy it! Give it a try!

Report this review (#2171168)
Posted Thursday, April 4, 2019 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars After hearing and really enjoying the recent second album from This Winter Machine, 'A Tower of Clocks', I have worked backwards and am now playing their debut from 2017, 'The Man Who Never Was'. This does have a slightly different line-up from the next album, as here they were a five-piece which later expanded to have a second guitarist, but Al Winter (vocals), Mark Numan (keyboards, backing vocals) and Peter Priestly (bass) are still in the band , while this album also featured Gary Jevon (guitars) and Marcus Murray (drums). Much has been made of fact that the band only got together the year before, and then managed to produce an album like this, and rightly so as it is a delight.

What we have here is a very songs-based neo prog album which could have come out some 25 years earlier. The guitar is used rather sparingly, with somewhat Hackett-like tendencies and nuances, only providing riffs and power chords when the time is right, while the piano/keyboards often provides the melodic lead and the bass provides a different melody altogether. Then on top of it all here are the delicate and delicious vocals of Al Winter, bringing the listener in. While Final Conflict, Pallas and earlier Galahad are obvious reference points, there are also some Genesis and Camel influences as well and the result is an extremely well-crafted and enjoyable album which only gets better with repeated playing. Both this and the follow-up are incredibly immediate, and anyone with a fondness for the Nineties progressive rock scene being brought up to date needs to seek out both albums immediately, if not sooner.

Report this review (#2408323)
Posted Saturday, May 30, 2020 | Review Permalink

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