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HIBERNAL

Post Rock/Math rock • Australia


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Hibernal biography
HIBERNAL is a progressive rock project created by Mark HEALY of Brisbane, Australia. With a strong focus on storytelling and atmosphere, HIBERNAL interweaves spoken word with instrumental music pieces to tell a compelling storyline that unfolds throughout the course of the album.

Musically, there are a number of different styles on offer, ranging from atmospheric post rock, to moody acoustic guitar arrangements and hard rock riffs. Each of these elements are used to craft soundscapes that drive and complement the narrative. The use of sound effects and a professional voice cast add to the immersion. Like most concept albums, a HIBERNAL album should be experienced from start to finish for maximum effect.

The debut album 'The Machine', released in 2013, is an exploration of ambition, sadness and our choices in life told through crunching hard rock riffs and soaring guitar. The story revolves around a man climbing the corporate ladder inside a powerful company, who finds that with each promotion he must sacrifice a part of himself.

Biography kindly provided by Mark Healy

Hibernal official website

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HIBERNAL discography


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HIBERNAL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.89 | 69 ratings
The Machine
2013
3.98 | 79 ratings
Replacements
2014
3.29 | 19 ratings
Replacements (Instrumental)
2014

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HIBERNAL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Machine by HIBERNAL album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.89 | 69 ratings

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The Machine
Hibernal Post Rock/Math rock

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

4 stars Wow, wasn't really expecting anything from Hibernal's debut album The Machine (2013). It is so that it took me one year to actually listen to it!

This Australian one-man band (Mark Healy) is something to pay attention to. It's a mix of calm Progressive Rock with edger parts and a bit of Post Rock and Ambient music that tells a very intriguing story based on the short story called Welcome To The Machine by Mark Healy himself.

I always liked this kind of telling stories albums, and that's what The Machine (2013) is, there's no vocals on it really, just a narration of facts and a very interesting music that passes smoothly as we wait for the end of the story.

The tale is about a man working in a company that little by little becomes a machine as he's promoted, a sci-fi tale that, in a way, is not that far away from reality.

After this one I'm really curious about his new album Replacements (2014)!

Totally woeth to check it: hibernal.bandcamp.com/album/the-machine

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 Replacements by HIBERNAL album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.98 | 79 ratings

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Replacements
Hibernal Post Rock/Math rock

Review by PlanetRodentia

5 stars "The Replacements" is a wonderful radio drama with prog music accompaniment. I find the story compelling, well-written, evocative, and well-acted. I find the music ranges in style from ambient to exciting and melodic. Given that the music accompanies and drives the story so well and that the story is well-told, I find no fault with it and consider it a masterpiece of its kind. Anyone who likes progressive music and misses old-time radio shows will find this album essential listening.

Story: Ex-con Artimus runs into an obviously synthetic woman whose behavior and beauty beguiles him into a mystery with interesting consequences.

Voice-Acting: Scott Gentle does an excellent job as Artimus: world-weary, lonely, and vulnerable to the strange attraction he feels for Sabel, the synthetic. Faleena Hopkins does an admirable job of navigating the cryptic nature of her character. The other two actors do fine work, as well.

Music: Ambient proggy soundtrack music. Gorgeous guitar solos. This music fleshes out the story to convey moods and landscapes. It works as music but is essential to the story experience.

I find that I cannot listen to this album track-by-track. It must be apprehended in one sitting. I've listened to it many times straight through, and even the dialogue hits its beats in a way that I don't mind hearing the same words and voice-acting over and over again. Scott Gentle's lines, in particular, have a music all their own.

Finally, the story's finish is haunting and provokes contemplation of who we are and who we want to be. I find myself wanting more of this story and those tangential to it. Highly recommended.

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 Replacements (Instrumental) by HIBERNAL album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.29 | 19 ratings

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Replacements (Instrumental)
Hibernal Post Rock/Math rock

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Having played the 'full' version of this album so much I wasn't quite sure how to go about reviewing this as obviously I already know the music quite well, but I was actually pleasantly surprised at just how well this stands up on it's own. It is also easier to hear just how many different styles are being used throughout, and while I'm not a fan of some of the electronica style keyboards that are used in one section, there is still plenty of Floydian and rock influences going on that makes this a genuine delight in its' own right. What is interesting to me is that this isn't nearly as dark as it appears to be when listened to with the words, which just goes to show how much presence is put into it by the performance of Scott Gentle. But, the presence is still there and the result is an album that I thoroughly enjoyed playing, as it has much more going on than many instrumental projects I come across. It's not whizz bang in terms of notes density, but is all about feel and a strange future worldly emotion. Somehow the science fiction feel comes through on this, even there are no verbal clues.

So, a solid piece of work, but to get the full picture then one has to get 'Replacements'. Of course, if you already have that album then you should get this one as well. . www.hibernal.bandcamp.com

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 Replacements by HIBERNAL album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.98 | 79 ratings

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Replacements
Hibernal Post Rock/Math rock

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars When Mark Healy contacted me last year about his project Hibernal, and the first album 'The Machine' I did as I always do with 'new' bands, put the album to one side and wait until I have the opportunity to listen to it with an open mind. 'Replacements' wasn't accorded the same luxury, because as soon as I had it I just had to play it to see if Mark had dared to stay with the same construct as before, and this he has done, except now there is even ore depth and presence. There have been many acts who have released concept albums, but there are very few indeed who have provided a story where the actors speak their lines and the music is there for support. This is cinema for the ears, and science fiction to boot. But what makes this work so very well is that each element is there for the other, each providing the drama and passion that the other requires.

Rowan Salt provides the bass, with Mark all other music, while there are four actors, with Scott Gentle taking the main lead of Artimus. His voice and presence reminds me of Humphrey Bogart, with a grittiness and realism that shines through. It is hard to talk about the story without giving too much away, so let's just say that it is set in the future and the replacements in the title are human-looking androids who now undertake the mundane tasks that humans don't want to do. But, there are a large number of twists within what must be a very short number of words, and Mark has left so much hanging that I don't feel that this has yet come to a full conclusion. Whereas in 'The Machine' it would have needed a new story to follow on from the last, this feels much more like a new chapter of the same. When I first played it I was rather surprised when it finished as I felt that the story was only half-told, and I found myself thinking about it even when the album wasn't playing, such is the power of a few carefully chosen words. I came to the conclusion that although I can see why the story ends where it does, I would rather have some more explanation of what had previously occurred to Artimus, and how he got to where he was. There are suggestions, but no more than that, what it has done is made me go back to the album time and again.

But hang on, isn't this supposed to be a music review? Well it is, but on this album it is about the music supporting the lead players, the actors. Mark riffs when he wants to, or provides gentle Pink Floyd type noodlings, but importantly the music very much stands up on its' own right as well. Mark has so much confidence in this that he has also released the album as an instrumental, so it is possible to hear the music without the words.

This is not an album that can be picked at, but rather must be played through to completion each time, and also it needs to be in the foreground as opposed to the background as it is only by properly listening to it that one gets the full benefit. It is possible to order this as a download through Bandcamp, and there is also a CD available with a full colour booklet containing more artwork. I love it. www.hibernal.bandcamp.com

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 Replacements by HIBERNAL album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.98 | 79 ratings

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Replacements
Hibernal Post Rock/Math rock

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars "Have you ever given something up only to spend the rest of your life trying to get it back?" - Sabel.

Hibernal return in 2014 with a followup to the impressive album "The Machine". I had hailed the debut album as one of the masterpieces of the year; a sublime journey into dark and mysterious things, a nightmarish vision of a possible future where machines will take over slowly and we become part of the machine. The main drawcard for me, and the fundamental component of one of the albums of the year for me, was the concept behind it that was presented in a wonderful blend of stirring hypnotic musicianship and dramatic dialogue professionally delivered with passion.

On this latest release "Replacements" the concept has transformed into a takeover of replicants, half human half machine beings that are hiding in the overcrowded city. A cop is on the hunt for one suspect Sabel and she is protected by a stranger who becomes entranced by her enigmatic beauty and isolated status. The story will sound familiar to anyone who has enjoyed sci fi dystopias such as "The Fifth Element" or more blatantly "Blade Runner" right down to the perpetual rain and unlikely romantic obsession between human and replicant. Sabel is akin to "Blade Runner"'s Rachel, a femme fatale that is both enticing and dangerous, marked as a synthetic. The story plays out like a 1940s Film Noir straight out of a Raymond Chandler novel with a Phillip Marlowe narrative voice; "she looked so vulnerable, so lonely, standing there amongst the shrouded figures in the falling rain?".

The vocal of the main protagonist, the anti-hero Artimus, is voiced by Scott Gentle, who at times is reminiscent of Harrison Ford's Deckard from "Blade Runner"; American, indifferent, reflective, tortured. He is a strong presence and outlines the proceedings as his descent into Sabel's jaded world becomes deeper. Sabel is beautifully voiced by the sultry husky tones of voice actor Faleena Hopkins. Her image on the album cover is depicted as an iconic heroine with painted on black leather catsuit and Manga-like jet black hair. I was reminded instantly of Aeon Flux. She is turning to look at an unknown voyeur, a key sequence on the album as she lines up for transportation to escape, moments before being rescued by Artemis from certain capture by Roegner, a solid performance from Steve Van Becku. Later as the story develops we will meet a Clerk played by Chip Wood, an integral character for reasons that I will not divulge here. I believe part of the magic of this album is to discover how things evolve, and some of the twists and turns are unexpected, including the striking character of Sabel and her intentions. The ending is quite complex and leaves room for conjecture, and I was pondering on what unfolded days later. Like a good mystery novel there will be many interpretations and this story is not as clear cut as one might perceive initially, and left this reviewer in the dark at first.

All the instruments, except for Rowan Salt's bass, are played by Mark Healy, and he is superb on every level. Healy knows how to move from ambient darkness, with keyboards and guitar reverberations, into heavy blasts of aggression, with distorted guitar and synthesizer crescendos. The non stop music is exciting, building dramatically and patiently at first until things go terribly wrong for the protagonist. In a similar way to "The Machine", this latest album is replete with long instrumental passages that help to tell the story and the vocals come in at intervals to keep the story moving, at times acting as stark transitions. The guitar delay is punctuated by drums and synthesizer swathes. It is a cinematic experience and the imagination is enlightened by the impassioned voices and effects. The falling rain and howling wind really adds to the atmosphere, painting a canvas of mystique and intrigue. The voices move from heartfelt intonations, to desperate pleas and agitated heated disputes, especially on 'Truth'.

Highlights include the quintessential part of the plot, 'The Place Where You Hide', such an atmospheric piece, followed by a Pink Floyd pulsating bass, sporadic cymbals, odd nuances of synths and some of the most dramatic dialogue on 'Machinations'. The music then takes on a dreamy ambience on 'Time Runs Out', and some suspenseful vocals then a guitar delay similar to some music on "The Machine". When Artemis is in the car one may almost sense the anxiety he feels with that drifting keyboard and contrasted with metal distorted guitar chugging. It brings to mind the feeling of driving on an empty highway with the moon beckoning down, and a white line dashing intermittently. 'Truth' has a strong drum beat and heavy guitars contrasted by some gentle tones. The track builds with powerful riffs off the rhythm, some of the best guitar work on the project. Musically 'Fallout' is also one of the strongest, with a tantalising hypnotic guitar rhythm and some glorious distortion to break up all the ambience. I like that serrated edge riff and the way the track moves into an elongated tuning fork effect with layers of bass picking, and reverbed clean guitar, reflecting the consciousness of Artemis and his confusion as to what is truth and what is perceived reality; "to shed some light on the darkness that was clouding my thoughts".

For those listeners who are not interested in the vocal treatment, there is even a version of the album that is purely instrumental. I would definitely miss the storyline unfolding though as I look forward to the voices; the acting is absolutely terrific. As soon as Sabel speaks the words, "I am Sabel? please return me to my apartment", I am absolutely hooked. The cold, harsh world depicted is reflected by aggressive guitars and howling synths. There are blazing lead guitar solos and some acoustic vibrations on tracks such as The Restless Man. The moments of quiet are echoed by haunting effects, such as the sparkling keys and booming bass tones on tracks such as Evasion, where the plot really takes off; "The dark eyes locked onto me with a flat stare typical of a synthetic." Once the album begins it becomes a compelling journey; designed for one sitting on headphones effectively drawing in a listener. The percussion enhances the tension and especially the basslines on The Streets in Darkness. The music feels like a slow drive through "the warm mist that came billowing out from inside". The protagonist Artimus experiences a kind of bildungsroman journey of discovery as he pursues lonely, disturbed Sabel and becomes part of her life; obsessed and impacted by her charismatic persona, the untouchable object of desire "that smothered and consumed me". Where it goes to from there I will leave up to the listener.

Overall I was delighted that Hibernal has continued to create superb theatrical musicscapes to feast on. Again, the album took me into a dystopia future of the imagination, though I did not consider the music or story to be quite as strong and powerful as "The Machine", that absolutely floored me. However "Replacements" is nonetheless an excellent experience, and once again captured my attention as another musical concept from the visionary mind of Mark Healy.

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 Replacements by HIBERNAL album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.98 | 79 ratings

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Replacements
Hibernal Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Ensouled

5 stars I have always enjoyed science fiction genre, from movies such as Blade Runner and tv series like Almost Human to games like Mass Effect and Shadowrun. One fundamental element of these creations I enjoy is the atmosphere achieved by their narrative.

Mark Healy has accomplished a flawless atmosphere through the entire album with exceptional music and intriguing lyrical narrative.

I had my doubts about listening to an album that had a story narrated while music was playing in the back since I had mixed experiences in the past with this sort of "storytelling meets music" concept, but Replacements changed my notion on how well a narrative can blend with music.

Though narrative is a main focus on this album the musical aspect is not strictly accompanying, each individual track has its own mood generator that emerges between narrations as very enjoyable post-rock music.

The vocal work on this album is really good and as captivating as it is it also delivers a lot of emotion.

The art cover by Yiğit K÷roğlu is amazing, it caught my attention while reading about new releases on the internet and led me to Hibernal.

I highly recommend this album for everyone interested in a good dosis of sci-fi narrative and for fans of modern post-rock, "satisfaction guaranteed"!

5/5!

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 Replacements by HIBERNAL album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.98 | 79 ratings

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Replacements
Hibernal Post Rock/Math rock

Review by peterpea

5 stars Hibernal's first album The Machine was a strikingly original concept album that was part movie, part audiobook and part instrumental prog album. Replacements follows on from this formula with another story that operates in the same universe.

Everything on Replacements has been ramped up a notch from the impressive debut release. The songwriting has improved and the music has a much more progressive edge to it. The rhythm section in particular gets a shot in the arm with both bass and percussion tight and well executed.

But the main event here is really the story and the atmospherics, and these are brilliantly done. Reminiscent of Blade Runner and other cyberpunk classics, the story revolves around a man with a shadowed past in pursuit of a synthetic woman who happens to be on the run from the law. Conveyed with some amazing voice acting and sound effects, the twists and turns will keep you guessing right till the end.

What I really love about this album is the mood that is created right from the first track and maintained to the end. This is definitely an album to sit with quietly at night with headphones or in a dark room and really absorb.

Once again, Hibernal give us something memorable and original. I hope there's many more of these albums as there's an intriguing universe developing here.

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 Replacements by HIBERNAL album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.98 | 79 ratings

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Replacements
Hibernal Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams

5 stars *Can you really replace a human with something that just looks like one?*

Last year, Mark Healy's creative outlet Hibernal was unleashed onto an unsuspecting world. "The Machine" was a debut album that mixed post-rock, Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, and a story presented by the spoken word to absolutely incredible effect. "The Machine" was in my top five albums of 2013, and I was dying for another installment. Mark has answered that call with his sophomore album "Replacements". The question is: Can he do it again?

I am proud of Mark. I really am. Not only has he created a mesmerizing second installment for Hibernal, but he has outdone himself in every single way. Before I go any further, I must mention three things. First of all, the art for this album is phenomenal. I seriously don't expect to see another album that beats "Replacements" in this area during 2014. Secondly, this is not your typical album or band. Mark created Hibernal to be something different, and so both albums are more like a cinematic experience than a prog album. Indeed, the voice actors are so incredibly talented that its more like witnessing a theatrical excursion than listening to an album. Thirdly, because not everyone will desire a story like this, there is an instrumental version of this album also going to be available when it releases on March 24th. I get it: Not everyone wants to hear an amazing story tinged with emotion and profundity. I have no idea why, though.

With all that said, I want to tackle the story first. "The Machine" featured a (possibly) futuristic story of losing one's self in the machine that is economic slavery. It was profound and deep. However, "Replacements" takes the prize as the better story. Everything is better. "Replacements" is far more concise and detailed, as we can be certain that it takes place in the future and we can really "see" the story unfold. The story centers around a recently released, seemingly empty convict that stumbles upon a "synthetic" (android) that he can't seem to get off his mind. As he follows her and protects her, he learns unimaginable things about himself and the world around him. If you think it sounds something like Bladerunner, you'd be right, and I can't express how much I love this fact. I'm a huge fan of that film, and I've been dying for something similar. "Replacements" touches on the ideas of losing yourself through your own actions and giving up your very humanity, only to pursue it the rest of your life. Humanity is uniquely created to be expressive, intelligent, and free. What happens when we submit to those that want us to be somehow less than human?

The voice actors are different this time around, and I find them to be slightly more emotional and just more expressive overall, especially Scott Gentle, the voice of the main character Artimus. His voice is gruff, thoughtful, and completely convincing. Faleena Hopkins, as Sabel the synthetic, is the same, as her cold voice is incredibly fine-tuned. Indeed, not only is the execution of the story flawless (the sound effects are masterful), but the story itself is well-written, thought-provoking, and plays games with your mind, especially at the end. Mark says that he thinks it is important for everyone to make up their own mind about the story, but I'll force a full confession out of him sooner or later.

So, I find the story to be better and even more up my alley than the debut album. It is more fully realized, both in narrative and in setting. However, Mark steps up the musical side to this production as well. Again, Mark plays all the instruments: guitars, drums, and keys. His friend Rowan Salt plays the bass this time, and it really shows. So, alongside the post- rock structures and climaxes, we now get intense riffs, incredible solos, electronic additions, addictive bass, and just a faster pace overall. I confess that the music on "The Machine" never got my heart pumping faster, but now Mark has really found his rhythm with creating music that perfectly fits the story scene. It adds to the story, and the story adds to the music. This relationship is one of the reasons why I don't understand why anyone would skip the story version.

The rain glitters on their skin. The strange attraction that Artimus feels to Sabel is completely palpable. The darkness. The transition from sleek city to slummish ruins. The fights. The perfect twists. The mystery that still lingers in my mind. The "Replacements" story is made up of all this and more, and all of it feels so real.

The brilliant, high-tuned solos achieve perfection in many instances. I can't emphasize that enough. If there's one aspect of the music that really stays with me, it's the inventive and delightful solos. The charging riffs, eerie electronic touches, and awesome bass lines are a perfect foundation for these solos. However, all of this serves as a foundation for the story.

Hibernal once again divides music fans into two groups: lyric analyzers and those who only care about the music. This is fine for me, as lyrics are extremely important to me, and Mark's stories are smack dab right in the middle of my interests. However, I still want to compel all those that don't care about the words to buy this album. It is an experience first and foremost. It will wow you, grab your mind, and take you on an emotional roller coaster. Hibernal has given the world something to talk about once again, as "Replacements" is a step-up in every way. I'm confident that you will be seeing this album in my end of the year lists.

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 Replacements by HIBERNAL album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.98 | 79 ratings

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Replacements
Hibernal Post Rock/Math rock

Review by VOTOMS

4 stars Review n░ 210

Hibernal, 2014 - Replacements

Currently fresh. And fine.

The second full-lenght by the "soundtrack" project Hibernal. It's more a tale than a music album. It's almost a post rock musical. Some narration, spoken words and a background theme or a music piece written for each passage of the plot. (Almost) everything was done by Mark Healy, the mastermind. The first album, The Machine, tells a story about a man in his working company, climbing his ladder, but finds that with each promotion he must sacrifice a part of himself. I personally found Replacements far more interesting than the last one. The cover art is good, bringing a cyberpunk and sci-fi environment, highlighting a big ass in latex clothing. The storytelling method is good. And the story in itself was well placed, but is needed full attention to capture the images through the soundscape, and better listen to the whole album from start to finish in a sitting. It's about a guy falling in love with a synthetic woman, in a dystopian city in future. Sounds cheesy, but is not so cheesy. It's full of questions and ideas behind curtains, while the music intends to whisper something to make you think. This kind of stuff is not unusual in films located in post-apocalyptic scenario, distorted sci-fi books like Philip K. Dick and Asimov, or even animated series as Ergo Proxy. However, it's unusual in a general term. I don't find people talking about the consequences of their own acts everyday. And this is exactly what Replacements are trying to promote, not in a direct way though.

Worth a check.

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 The Machine by HIBERNAL album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.89 | 69 ratings

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The Machine
Hibernal Post Rock/Math rock

Review by peterpea

5 stars I thought this album deserved my time to write a review. Why? Well, because I haven't heard an album like it in 2013. Actually, I didn't hear one like it last year or the year before either.

What we have with Hibernal's 'The Machine' is something totally out of left field. Combining narration, instrumentals, sound effects and some brilliant atmospherics, we end up with an experience that occupies a space somewhere between a movie, an album and an audio book. The only comparison I can make is with Jeff Wayne's 'War of the Worlds', but Hibernal have used their own original story instead of adapting a famous work.

And what a great story. I won't give too much away, but this sci-fi flavored tale is both enthralling and entertaining, and provides some interesting commentary on modern day life.

Musically there are elements of post rock, hard rock and even some space rock, but there are also plenty of strong, catchy melodies and some nice riffs and lead guitar. Probably the greatest element of the music is how well it matches the story, time after time setting the perfect mood for each successive scene. In this way it really elevates the album to something special.

It's one thing to come up with an idea for something novel, and another to execute it and put all the pieces together so coherently. And that's what has been done here.

Like many good albums, I found this one on the great Progstreaming site a few months ago. If it's no longer there you can stream from Hibernal's Bandcamp page. Find some time to sit down with it for an hour and experience it as you might a movie, and enjoy this utterly original concept album.

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