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Hibernal - Replacements CD (album) cover

REPLACEMENTS

Hibernal

 

Post Rock/Math rock

3.92 | 111 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Prog 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

kev rowland | 5/5 |

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