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THIS WINTER MACHINE

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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This Winter Machine picture
This Winter Machine biography
Founded in Leeds, UK in 2016

Hailed from UK, a rock quintet THIS WINTER MACHINE - Al WYNTER (voices), Gary JEVON (guitars), Marcus MURRAY (drums), Mark NUMAN (keyboards), and Peter PRIESTLY (bass) - have got started with remarkable influences from the pioneers of 70s Symphonic Progressive or 80s Neo-Progressive scene, especially from Marillion, IQ, Pendragon, Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Rush and Genesis. Their first cry was heard in the beginning of 2017, as the debut album titled "The Man Who Never Was".

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THIS WINTER MACHINE discography


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THIS WINTER MACHINE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.85 | 140 ratings
The Man Who Never Was
2017
3.79 | 75 ratings
A Tower of Clocks
2019
3.93 | 52 ratings
Kites
2021

THIS WINTER MACHINE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.67 | 3 ratings
Kites - Live in Leeds
2022

THIS WINTER MACHINE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

THIS WINTER MACHINE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

THIS WINTER MACHINE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

THIS WINTER MACHINE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Kites by THIS WINTER MACHINE album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.93 | 52 ratings

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Kites
This Winter Machine Neo-Prog

Review by ElChanclas

4 stars Kites is the third (and last to date) studio album by Uk's Neo Prog act This Winter Machine, and is my point of entry to their brief but quite strong catalog. TWM is the brainchild from singer and songwriter Al Winter and the lineup for this specific album is as follows:

@alwinter on vocals

@daveclose on bass & vocals

@simondvali on guitars & vocals

@dombennison on guitars & vocals

@alanwilson on drums

Le jour d'avant (the previous day or the day before) opens the album in a very pastoral and melodic way, pianos and guitars leading the way. It then jumps to The Storm (part I) and then The Storm (part II), both immense and powerful, everything I hear here I like, all the influences are there from both the 70's and 80's, very well adapted and executed in their own manner. The guitar work throughout the whole album is increíble, supported by a tight and precise rhythm section. The contribution by @patsanders (Drifting song) is very notable too, a great addition to the album's sound and atmosphere.

Limited and it's fat bass opening serves as an instrumental intermission, kind of jazzy, kind of funky and even spacey before the great song tandem of Pleasure & Purpose and This Heart's Alive kicks in and delivers the immediate hooks to leave the footprint on the listeners brain, smart and melodic, with familiar sounding harmonies that is inevitable not to look at and embrace. Great album moment.

Another intermission with Whirlpool, a great rocker and kind of symphonic instrumental before the mellower part of the album arrives.

Broken and Sometimes were not my fav songs at first, they're different and sound a little more poppy, however they do grow with every listen once the rest has been digested and the mind starts looking for additional memorable fractions in the less memorable tracks and surprise! the hooks are also there, just behind a couple of distractive commercial layers; peal them and voila!

The title track Kites closes the album and to be honest I'm not crazy about the initial vocal intervention, sounds forced and garage-like, but that sensation will only last about 5secs and then the masterpiece is revealed, not a virtuoso type of masterpiece, but a well crafted heavy pop prog song that will lift you up from your chair and will make you dance, is that good! I really like this album, have heard it quite a few times already and like it each time a little more. Hope you enjoy it too!

 Kites by THIS WINTER MACHINE album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.93 | 52 ratings

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Kites
This Winter Machine Neo-Prog

Review by Squonk19

5 stars Kites is the long-awaited third album from Yorkshire's melodic progressive rock band This Winter Machine. Delayed by both the extended COVID lockdown period and significant line-up changes, arising from the frustrations of not being able to build upon the momentum gained from their first two albums, The Man Who Never Was (2017) and A Tower of Clocks (2019). It is great to report that Al Winter and the band have 'pulled the rabbit out of the hat' and produced a vibrant, fresh and emotionally moving album of the highest quality.

Many musicians and bands have been deeply affected by the pandemic of the last 18 months, and This Winter Machine could argue that they have been affected more than most. The early promise and acclaim of the debut had been successfully followed up by their impressive sophomore release. By the start of 2020 the Kites title and artwork had already been agreed upon, and initial recording sessions had taken place, with many tracks nearing completion. Then everything just ground to a halt for all of us, resulting in a period of great frustration, changing plans and, most significantly, the departure of band members for a host of reasons, both personal and artistic. Al recruited new musicians and pushed ahead with Kites, as the others formed a new band called Ghost of the Machine.

Writing, rehearsing and recording all progressed at an accelerated rate, whilst observing social distancing guidelines, and at last, here in Autumn 2021, this labour of love can finally be released to both their devoted fanbase and the general rock and prog community. It has certainly seemed like a very long wait for many, but it looks like their patience has been fully rewarded.

Le Jour D'avant ('the previous day') is the short instrumental that starts the album. A lovely piano introduction, by the album's chief guest keyboardist, Pat Ganger-Sanders, mingles with subtle acoustic guitar from Dom Bennison and some unsettling keyboard effects, creating a prelude of quiet unease before we encounter ominous, barked orders to "stay inside of your home" at the start of two-part epic The Storm. Pounding drums from Alan Wilson and a rumbling bass line from Dave Close build to a powerful guitar-led riff. Al's vocals propel the song over eerie keyboard chords and there is a Dream Theater feel for the first half before a change in pace and tone is signalled by a soaring, expressive solo by guest guitarist Mark Abrahams (of Wishbone Ash), swirling keyboards heralding a less tense, more contemplative feel to Part 1. Although there is a clear link to the trauma of lockdown, Al states the song is also about "any form of entrapment or being bogged down or trapped in your own home".

Part 2 begins in a lighter vein, with acoustic guitar by Simon D'Vali over the sound of a babbling brook and reflective lyrics of calm, such as "feeling the sunlight warm my face". Al adds, "It harks back to when I was a child and would go to a field to watch my school play cricket. But really it was just to be able to lie in the grass and enjoy the peace and quiet. That lovely kind of release and feeling of solitude, even when there were other people around." Although the more urgent instrumental drive of Part 1 does return, with Dom delivering a well-pitched, chiming guitar solo, there is a more cathartic feel, as if the storm has passed to some extent. Limited is another short instrumental that seems to act as a coda to these earlier tracks. Driven by Alan's simple drums and Dave's dominant bass, there is an ethereal dreaminess to the intertwining of the keyboards and guitars, and a sense of resolution of sorts.

Pleasure & Purpose begins with background crowd noises and then a slow, languid rhythm behind simple guitar notes as Al's sad, thoughtful and measured vocals slowly lead the song into more depth and power. In many ways it is a typical This Winter Machine slow burner and is very much the heart of the album, growing with repeat listens. "It's all about lack of communication," explains Al, "and the dissolution of a relationship due mostly to misunderstanding and an inability to communicate properly." Simon delivers a stunning guitar solo that lifts the music to stratospheric levels, with the baton then handed to Dom to play his engaging solo over a vibrant keyboard-orientated soundscape, before reaching a climax and then gently easing by the end.

This Heart's Alive dates from the time of the second album and is also another track that starts gently and then gradually builds in intensity over time. Lyrically, it is about not understanding the dishonesty inherent in some relationships. It begins with chiming, repeated guitar patterns and some lovely keyboards from Pat, before acoustic guitar accompanies plaintive, yearning vocals from Al, through to a memorable chorus over a martial drum beat, which has a touch of Mostly Autumn to my ears. A short burst of harmonised vocals holds the atmosphere momentarily before the instrumentation returns one last time.

Another short instrumental, Whirlpool, raises the tempo considerably, and packs a lot of powerful melodic rock into its two-minute duration. Dynamic guitar, and retro keyboards propel the track swiftly, with lashings of Uriah Heep/Deep Purple-style Hammond organ throughout. By contrast, Broken starts atmospherically before some lovely piano from former keyboardist Mark Numan serenely introduces Al's vocals ? which are both sensitive and powerful as he reflects on "how a poor unbringing can affect adult relationships and how some people don't move on emotionally from such a childhood." Similar in style to In Amber from the last album, but here the music builds up layer by layer to a more powerful climax and provides an impressive finish for this thoughtful power ballad. The lyric "You see the world the same as me" deliberately echoes the melancholic Come Together in the Morning by Free and it is another nice touch from Al.

Peter Jones (of Tiger Moth Tales and Camel) is guest vocalist on the enjoyable and comforting Sometimes which creates a lighter, upbeat counterpoint to the darkness of the previous track. A mid-tempo rhythm with acoustic guitar and melodic guest keyboard touches from Reuben Jones enhance the accessible chorus and the brief inclusion of some lovely violin by Eric Bouillette Perso (of Nine Skies and The Room) adds that certain 'je ne sais quoi.' It all turns out to be a pleasant bonus and the 'Mothster' is on top form as always.

Kites, the longest individual track at over seven minutes, ends proceedings with a freshness and lightness of touch that should go down well at live concerts to come. Guitars and keyboards in tandem produce a generous slab of melodic rock, as Al delivers his love letter to the '80s and the vibrancy and freedom of youth. Yet another solo from Dom and an uplifting finish ? with references to Queen and Rush amongst the lyrics (see if you can spot the Radio Ga Ga reference!). "The name Kites comes from the idea that we are all too ready to grow up in our lives," states Al. "But I feel it is sometimes better to allow yourself to be blown around by the wind, because you've always got that string anchored to the ground. We sometimes fight being buffeted, but we shouldn't, because 'someday we'll be kites for the last time.' Sometimes we look back and realise how good we had it in the past when we were younger, and they were special times we can remember. It's so important not to be grounded and lose that magic." It's a strong and optimistic finale and the subtle inclusion of some spoken lines from the Edison phonograph advertisement of 1906 is such a nice touch to end the album with.

Kites makes an immediate impression, but more importantly it grows and develops further with repeated listens. Better sequenced than A Tower of Clocks, and more diverse than The Man Who Never Was, Kites sees a revitalised band successfully walking the line between maintaining their signature sound, but also not being afraid to develop as musicians and try out new things. It is evolution rather than revolution and it will hopefully both consolidate their existing fanbase and draw in new listeners in the months to come. Al and the band have dared to let out their kite strings and allowed their ambitions to fly high in stormy weather. I think they will be staying up there for some time to come!

(from THE PROGRESSIVE ASPECT)

 The Man Who Never Was by THIS WINTER MACHINE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.85 | 140 ratings

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The Man Who Never Was
This Winter Machine Neo-Prog

Review by 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.

 A Tower of Clocks by THIS WINTER MACHINE album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.79 | 75 ratings

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A Tower of Clocks
This Winter Machine Neo-Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars An album , the 2nd of a group drawing its influences from GENESIS, MARILLION, ARENA, IQ. An album that makes neo-prog, but has managed to create its own, which gives in melodic, energetic titles on one side, on the other hand some tracks are simply fabulous, imprinting in our head. Herald and Flying are simply dangerous to listen because they have a bit of prog, a bit of neo rhythm and influences from YES going through RUSH during their best years. An album that allows you to let your ears go to very good titles, and where the final sensation leaves an important sweetness. Just a tip, listen to it, buy it but listen to it.
 A Tower of Clocks by THIS WINTER MACHINE album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.79 | 75 ratings

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A Tower of Clocks
This Winter Machine Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars I'm not sure where I first saw information on this album, but it would have been one of the groups I am a member of on Facebook, and I was immediately taken in by the artwork. So much so that when I was offered it for review I jumped at the opportunity, as if this much work had gone into the cover, I was intrigued to hear what the music sounded like. It was some time after this that I was contacted by singer Al Winter who asked if I would add it to my list, and over the course of various messages I became even more interested. Of course there is always the danger of being somewhat disappointed, and I have been caught out more than once in the past, and undoubtedly I will again in the future but anyone who sends me material knows there is a risk that I really won't like it and I always say what I think.

I am incredibly happy to say that is not the case here, and I am now bouncing around to as fine a slab of neo prog that you are every like to come across. The band comprises Al and Mark Numan (keyboards, backing vocals), Graham Garbett (guitars, backing vocals), Scott Owens (guitars, backing vocals), Andy Milner (drums) and Pete Priestley (bass, bass pedals). I was dragged happily into the music with opener 'Herald', which not only is nearly nine minutes long but is also an instrumental! Now, those who read the line-up will have noticed that there are two guitarists, which is somewhat unusual for progressive rock bands ' the only one which immediately springs to mind which also didn't go into a heavier direction would be Final Conflict ' yet often the main instrument are the keyboards. Indeed, next up is 'Flying' where Al and Mark show they are quite happy to play by themselves and not bother the rest of the guys. So, two songs in, with two very different approaches with the only similarity being that I was incredibly engaged.

They have taken a huge mix of influences, and then brought them all in together to create a neo prog melange which is fascinating. It would be very easy to say there are obvious elements of early Pallas and Marillion, combined with some Pendragon, Galahad and Grey Lady Down, but instead I should just say this is an album I enjoyed the very first time I played it, and it has grown on me even more since then. 25 years out of time, this is bombastic prog which also has elements which remind me of old-style Magnum, and just makes me smile. The guys demonstrate real confidence on this album, and it is definitely one to investigate.

 A Tower of Clocks by THIS WINTER MACHINE album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.79 | 75 ratings

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A Tower of Clocks
This Winter Machine Neo-Prog

Review by steve55

4 stars I heard about this band shortly after their first album release (the man who never was) I read some reviews and was impressed, so purchased it and it was a mighty fine album. so much so that ordering album no 2 was a formality. The tower of clocks certainly has impressed me also, beautiful art work on the sleeve, a nice bonus of live second disc too, signed booklet AND I get my name credit because I pre ordered very early. Now to the music itself, first track Herald is instrumental so you don't yet get to hear Al Winters stunning vocals, I very much like this top piece of music as it moves along nicely and you hear owl hooting and clocks ticking, all very Floydish but very This Winter Machineish too. I love this and track 2 -Flying.. beautiful vocal and top ballad. Now rather than go on the track by track guide and as it's been done already by another reviewer here, it's my opinion that this is very much the equal of the previous album. It has very good light and shade, warm sounding and rocks at times with a lovely guitar sound, clear crisp drumming and swirling key work it's very obvious that all these guys know how to play. I love Justified, Delta and Carnivale .. all top tunes. The album flows very well and it never ceases to impress, quite possibly a contender for best Prog release of 2019 and that is saying something because there are a few big names to battle with. It is also a real grower so I suggest you give these guys a bit of your time... Order now - the clock is ticking.
 A Tower of Clocks by THIS WINTER MACHINE album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.79 | 75 ratings

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A Tower of Clocks
This Winter Machine Neo-Prog

Review by thesimilitudeofprog

4 stars A Tower Of Clocks is the much-anticipated second album by the Yorkshire progressive rock band This Winter Machine. In 2016, This Winter Machine came out of nowhere with the highly regarded and increasingly popular album The Man Who Never Was. As a debut goes it was a truly impressive piece of work. This winter machine has had an incredible growth since its debut album came out. It's like watching a child grow up, it had that kind of impact on me.

There is a lot of high expectations on their second album among the growing fan-base. It's very clear to me that this album right from the start will not disappoint.

This is a concept album. I'm not going to give away too much of the story. I think this would be something best left for the listener to experience themselves. Believe me, it's quite the story. It's very well done and at times very emotional as well.

The album starts off with an instrumental called Herald, which kind of sets the stage for the album. It's a very atmospheric opener and it quickly becomes obvious to the listener that this band is very confident. After Herald we have a song called Flying. It's a very sensitive song built around a piano as well as giving lead vocalist Al Winter a showcase for his emotional vocal delivery. Following Flying is a song called Spiral. This is the only weak point of the album. To me the song just doesn't add anything to the overall feel of the album. I'm not saying it's bad song or anything, I just don't think it fits. After Spiral, we have a song called Symmetry and Light. This may be the most interesting and diverse song on A Tower Of Clocks. It shows that this is a band willing to stretch there musical boundaries. Following Symmetry and Light we have Justified and In Amber. These two songs bring the album to a more gentle and straightforward territory. They both act as an ideal showcase for our Al Winters Excellent vocals. Following In Amber, we have a song called The Hunt. Now this time This Winter Machine as a group have propelled the album in a much more dramatic direction. It's just one of those songs that takes you on a journey from start to finish. After The Hunt we have a song called Delta. This is probably my favorite on the album. It's musically outstanding and the most prog oriented song on the album. This may be one of the best prog songs of 2019. After Delta we have a song called When We Were Young. It is probably the most touching piece on the album. I'm not going to say too much for the song, as I wouldn't do it justice. This is surely going to be a fan favorite. The closing song is called Carnivale, filled with images and regretful lyrics from Al Winter. It's a great way to end an album.

I'm highly impressed with this album and the band themselves. I hope you as fans will actively seek out and listen to this magnificent album when it's released. Take it from me, you will not be disappointed.

 The Man Who Never Was by THIS WINTER MACHINE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.85 | 140 ratings

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The Man Who Never Was
This Winter Machine Neo-Prog

Review by thesimilitudeofprog

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!

 The Man Who Never Was by THIS WINTER MACHINE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.85 | 140 ratings

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The Man Who Never Was
This Winter Machine Neo-Prog

Review by 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.

 The Man Who Never Was by THIS WINTER MACHINE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.85 | 140 ratings

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The Man Who Never Was
This Winter Machine Neo-Prog

Review by 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!
Thanks to dAmOxT7942 for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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