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Hibernal - The Machine CD (album) cover

THE MACHINE

Hibernal

Post Rock/Math rock


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Second Life Syndrome
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I'm very excited that Hibernal is finally on Prog-Archives! I've been letting this album really settle in my brain. "The Machine" is that kind of album. On my new Facebook page; The Prog Mind, I received a message from this Aussie prog project called Hibernal. First of all, that is an awesome name. Anyways, this is a solo project for one of the members here at PA: He wrote and played everything on the album, and I believe he even did the artwork. Now, I keep calling it a "project" because it has an interesting premise: melodic prog rock mixed with the spoken word. It's almost like a theatrical play with musical interludes. I was intrigued, to say the least. The only similar attempts I've heard were by Jeff Wayne and his "War of the Worlds" album, and also Joseph Magazine's "Night of the Red Sky", which featured amazing progressive rock/metal with several philosophical quotations dispersed here and there.

Since the story seems to be the focus here, I'll start with that. This story has a very sci fi ring to it, though I'm not sure if it's supposed to be set in the future or not. The tone almost reminds me of Cynthesis' debut album "DeEvolution". I don't want to give anything away, especially since it would be like spoiling a movie, but the story covers the consequences of success, ambition, and misplaced priorities. It also speaks to the corporate slavery that is so prevalent in our world today. The journey follows a man as he receives a mysterious promotion at his place of work, The Machine: Thus begins his descent into darkness, loneliness, detachment, and apathy. Every step of the way, I was at attention: The story is so intriguing and so well told and acted that I was mesmerized; always eager to hear the next bit of the story. This remains true even on multiple listens.

Now, this theater-worthy story also contains plenty of interludes. Music takes up the vast portion of the album, so don't worry about that. The music, however, is an appropriate tool to help tell the story. The prog rock generally sounds a little sci fi with soaring guitars, some heavy riffing, various delicate passages, and lots of background effects. There is a distinct hum to the whole album that makes it feel alive and complete. All in all, the musical passages are very well-done and catching, while the music that interweaves with the voice actors is always appropriate and uplifts the story perfectly. This album can transfer from finger-splitting solos to melodic interludes in the blink of an eye.

So, Hibernal's attempt at creating this unique project is a complete success. There are moments during the story that I can feel a wave of emotion flow over my nervous system, especially on the track "Disconnection". It gets me every time, too. Yet, you can feel the emotion in the music itself: the sorrow, loneliness, and pain. The album ends on a rather thought-provoking note, and I can only hope Hibernal decides to write more to the story. If you want to experience something different and also genius, take the time to experience this mesmerizing journey. It is certainly one of my favorites so far this year.

Report this review (#995421)
Posted Wednesday, July 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
3 stars Very pleasant surprise by the very creative one-man band Mark Healy and his cast of professional voice talent cast, that produce an album quite different from a lot of progressive rock that you hear these days. An art concept on a whole, rather than solely a music album, 'The Machine' takes you to the journey of a man in modern day business in a compelling story that stunned me at a first listen.

No real "lyrics" here as such, rather a dark narrative that flows through instrumental post/heavy progressive rock, that unveils as you go along; although I am tempted to tell you the story, I would rather leave you discover it. The guitar style reminds of Porcupine Tree (see 'Losing Touch') in the - relatively scarce heavy moments and rather focuses on atmospheres reminiscent of Pink Floyd and the modern post rock bands that are influenced by them, peaking at the closing track where this style is fully expressed.

The power of acoustic guitars must be emphasised ('Home', 'Disconnection') as they play a pivotal role here. The strength of this album is found in the linking-up of the pieces and not on the complexity of composition or the production; the latter two tend to be the weaker points, which fortunately do not undermine the effort as a whole. The movie-like feeling, in a way similar to RAIN's "Cerulean Blue" is very exciting and somewhat stronger than the music itself.

Even if it is for once, give "The Machine" a spin and find out the concept. hibernal.bandcamp.com

Report this review (#995423)
Posted Wednesday, July 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Mark Healy, congratulations for your project HIBERNAL, amazing. About the album, one of the genres I enjoy listening to is post rock (Godspeed You Black Emperor, Sigur Ros, Explosions in the Sky, among my favorite bands), there are many bands that normally sound repetitive and sometimes it is boring to listen to them for a long time. The Machine is an example of how post rock music can fit perfectly in your ears without getting bored, there's a complete story not behind the album, but narrated side by side with the music. I really loved the tension created with the story and the music together, I liked the narration of the story which is one of the reasons to stick to your seat almost one hour of really good post rock music. In terms of post rock, it deserves 5 stars because it is something different in the post rock concept! I hope Mark can continue working at this level and I know the best is yet to come!
Report this review (#1012234)
Posted Tuesday, August 6, 2013 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
5 stars Welcome to The Machine.

Hibernal is the brainchild of musician, writer and visionary Mark Healey, from Brisbane Australia. His project "The Machine" is a masterful concept album of cinematic proportions, unfolding as a compelling narrative using complex musical structures, special sound effects and unforgettable dialogue, professionally delivered by the likes of Rowan Michaels as Narrator, Samantha BĂ©art as Jane, and Robert Blythe as Mr Wilkins. The dialogue comes in mostly at the intro of each musical piece and the story is very easy to follow and involves a haunting conceptual idea, that a man may be recruited by a malicious secret organisation with malevolent intentions. The employee soon finds himself caught up in a horrifying web without escape, as the company takes away his humanity piece by piece even replacing his human self with mechanized robotic parts including his hand, legs and heart among other pieces. Invariably the man finds the world he once knew being slowly eradicated into a shadowy memory, including his lady Jane.

The main component that really shines out on this album is the professional handling of the dialogue that is dramatically handled by all involved. Dialogue is delivered with empathy by the benevolent Jane who is pained by seeing her partner becoming more distant. Mr Wilkins is a shady character with a mystique behind his evil tones as he controls his employees without remorse or humanity; perhaps he is machine like himself. Finally there is the Narrator that has a comforting resonance and feels totally reliable as he relays the chilling tale of how he was inducted into the organisation, we feel his excitement as he is promoted, and we sense his despair as he faces the demise of his human self as the company virtually swallows him whole. The conspiracy is prominent and may be allegorical to any organisation that controls its subjects like a cult. On every listen I am totally captivated by the story and it retains a power upon the senses causing one to question what occurred to this man, and indeed who is this company that exists to turn its employees into machines to work without thought. It may be an allegory of the working class being controlled by the upper class, but in any case it has sci-fi elements that are unmistakable, and yet it reads as a modern day fable of oppression in a government controlled system; the mechanization of society by an all controlling power.

The music works very well to convey the emotions and bleakness of the tale. It begins with hypnotic guitar motifs, a steady pace and ethereal tones of synthesizer. There are melancholy acoustic vibrations and piano in some early parts as Jane fights to understand her estranged husband. The first tracks 'This High', 'Downward' and 'An Open Door' are integral as they tell how the employee is taken to Sub level 19, gains a machine hand modification and finds himself climbing the ladder of success literally as he ascends higher in the glass tower; the higher one goes the more power they are given.

As the tale becomes darker the music transcends into darker passages of distorted metal guitar and a pulsating bassline. 'Downward' features an extended lead break with scintillating fret work and grinding distortion; some of the best lead work on offer. On 'Home' Jane realises her husband is becoming lost in his work to the point where they barely see each other. The guitar melody is acoustically driven emoting a bleak tone, then a reverberating lead guitar resounds with a wonderful resonance. I particularly like the tension between Jane and Narrator. A definitive highlight of the album is 'Losing Touch' that has so many time sig changes and mood swings it represents the feelings of the protagonist. The music is faster and more aggressive, metal on metal and a driving rock beat shine forth. The bassline is awesome reminding me of the work of Geddy Lee or John Myung in places. The Narrator ascends to level 87 and is now a more efficient worker typing with just his machine hand now. The distorted guitar is well executed here and the heavy approach is akin to the heavy emotions of the worker. The excellent track ends with a swirling synthesizer with a melancholy atmosphere.

'Hard at Work' begins with a phone machine message where Jane complains that her husband did not do some repairs so she did them anyway; he is obviously too occupied with the company now to be tangles up in relationships. 'No Return' sees the employee given new improvements to his legs, now a machine leg replaces the other giving him more speed and agility, to be a more proficient worker. The music settles into a measured cadence that slowly ebbs with the sadness that the man has become trapped in the mechanism of the company. The lead guitar is played with finesse along the doomy bass and clashing cymbals; some of the finest musicianship by Healey.

'One Last Glimpse' opens with the Narrator stating he began to forget things, his knowledge and skill at work only improved with the improvements, but he didn't care about his family life, and that made it difficult for him to realise that at some point Jane left him. The next piece of music transfixes with its minor chord structure and Mellotron sounds; absolutely haunting melodies that augment the storyline so eloquently.

'Disconnection' is a mini epic clocking 10 minutes, beginning with a beautiful guitar delay that always captures my ears. Another highlight of the album, the music is outstanding with the lead guitar embellishments over a soundscape of swathes of synthesizers. The narrative is now more urgent as the man mentions how he was lapsing in and out of consciousness, as he engaged in meetings at the upper level, becoming a man who was on automatic pilot, controlled totally by what the company wanted. He is promoted to level 163 and more upgrades are made, and as he looked down from his ivory tower at the people below him he marvels at how inferior they have become. The phase effect on the guitar mimics this automated state perfectly and there is a downbeat melody with a hard razor edge. At this point of the album I am in awe at how compelling this story is to my senses; it speaks so much of the automation of life locked in a system controlled by the upper elite; a conspiracy of mammoth proportions. The most chilling part of the album occurs in this segment when a woman meets up with the Narrator and he wants her just to get on and state her business. He doesn't recognise that the woman is actually his ex-wife. The acoustic flourishes lock in after this, representing the shred of emotion that the man may feel or perhaps it is Jane's state of mind as she realises her husband is hopelessly lost. We hear fragments of memories that echo like scattered distant recollections. The story reminds me somewhat of "Total Recall", "Vanilla Sky", or "I, Robot" in some ways, yet it has an original edge playing out like an Asimov or Moorcock short story, or a "Twilight Zone" episode, or "Prisoner", where a man faces incredible odds and fights to make sense of it all. It also reminded me of the movie "Brazil", especially with the secretive corporation that are a destructive force to those who try and recoil from the system.

'Years' sees the Narrator promoted to level 201 and the return of Mr Wilkins is most welcome. The Narrator has been with the company 24 years at this point which shocks him. He is promoted to Sub level 19 where Wilkins tells him "the transaction will be complete? there are more modifications that can be done". 'The Coldness' is the final piece of the mystery, and has a powerful ending that I do not want to give away here. Suffice it to say it is totally appropriate and leaves a lasting impression. There are some stunning plot twists in this section and it certainly leaves one with a number of tantalising questions; that may or may not have an answer. It leaves me with a disquieting discomfort, as all good sci-fi's should. I find myself pondering: What is the final state of the main protagonist? What is Jane's part in all this? Is she part of The Machine Corporation? If so, what is to become of her and her husband? What are all the flashes of memory and soundbites that the protagonist hears? Is this another life or something more sinister? Who is in charge of the corporation and what work do they do? Why does the protagonist need a mechanical hand and leg, and what exactly does he do that is so important? The most potent question of all is are we part of the corporation and we do not even know it?

"The Machine" is an album I have not tired of in all my many listens. On first listen I was mesmerised by the tale, and by the fourth listen I was delighted to relive this dark tale of man becoming machine. I always look forward to returning to this album as it encompasses so much in its short time span. The music is absolutely hypnotic and while there are no songs, it doesn't matter, as the tale is so well told by the players, each a superlative voice that enhances the enjoyment and adds to the mystery. There are no components of the album that grate on the nerves, nothing becomes frustrating or annoying as it captivates in the imagination and must be heard from beginning to end to appreciate the full power of the thought provoking tale. It would be worth making into a short movie available on a deluxe edition. I would state this album as being 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.

Report this review (#1015575)
Posted Saturday, August 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars 6.5/10

First I want to thank Mark Healy for giving me the chance to be able to review your album is really a rewarding opportunity. I wish you all luck to continue to invest in your project.

That said, let the album. What have we here? An instrumental work-conceptual, but different from the usual. There is a bit of spoken word here, serving as a conduit for the story being told. As I am not the wise there is neither English how to understand the story, except for a few passages ("Jane ... my name is Jane"), and most likely this may have hindered some of my understanding and ability to enjoy The Machine .

Mainly because often the instrumental is unfolding in a very fluid and is "broken" by the narration. This really pisses me off. I guess I'm not the type who can handle it (others may see as an extremely commendable), and if there is a reason I'm giving an average-low rating is this.

Technically, though, this album is great. There are a lot of ideas being used here, the instrumentation is really good, considering that everything here is run by one man (there are some moments when I feel like it's an artificial, but they are relatively few). What I liked most was the bass, which is really poignant about to lead the music at times.

I think 3 stars is a perfect rating. Again, thank you Mark for having me available to listen to this work. And he has my full encouragement to proceed with your project Hibernal.

Report this review (#1025127)
Posted Wednesday, August 28, 2013 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
5 stars It takes quite a bit to actually make me stop and play close attention, but I found myself doing just that when I allowed myself to fall headlong into the world of Mark Healy's creation. I'm not quite sure how to describe this, as it is way more than a concept album, and in many ways is almost a play with the music being an integral part, another actor. This is an album based on an original short story, and is all about what happens to someone as they quite literally climb the corporate ladder and the sacrifices that they have to make to achieve success, although that success in itself is much more in their own eyes as opposed to those of their loved ones. The first time I played this was in the car and I found myself somehow at home, having driven on auto-pilot for much of it, but before the album had ended. The next morning I put it on again, but started once again at the beginning so that I could get the full benefit of listening to it all the way through (and also making sure that I paid more attention to the road this time).

It is a science fiction story, set at some point in the near future, with a first person narration for the most part, along with some additional key characters. Mark has provided all of the music, as well as the artwork, but for some reason brought in others to play the roles and Rowan Michaels in the lead role has done an outstanding job. At times quite Floydian, and others more Gong or Porcupine Tree, this is something that in many ways in quite a different art form in that it is neither a story or music, but is far more compelling and intriguing than both. At times simplistic, yet at others quite complex, this is the perfect marriage between spoken words and music, so much so that each time I play it I find myself having to almost shake myself when it finishes, as I have been taken so much into Mark's world.

This is something I have enjoyed immensely, and I look forward to his next project with great interest. hibernal.bandcamp.com

Report this review (#1025534)
Posted Friday, August 30, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars (7/10)

Hibernal is the name of the 'band', but really it's a mostly one-man project. The man behind Hibernal is Australian Mark Healy. As far as I'm aware, "The Machine" is his first effort, and has deservedly garnered some attention and praise recently. I listened to the album on BandCamp and was pretty intrigued by what I heard. Mark Healy (Bonestorm here on ProgArchives) very generously gave me a free download after I messaged him. In my messages to him I described the album as 'depressing as hell... but in a really good way' (well that's the clean version at any rate). This was my first impression, and it only seems to strengthen with each listen.

The music could be described as post-rock, though it does contain elements from metal and space rock (and some electronic too). The main strength is the dark storyline that runs through the album. To summarise: it is the first-person account of an ambitious man working his way up through a giant corporation ('Machine Co.', I assume a nod to PF), slowly sacrificing everything until it is too late to turn back. That doesn't quite do it justice though. The whole thing is set in a dystopian future, where every time the narrator is promoted, part of him is literally replaced with machinery, to go along with the less physical manifestations of the loss of his humanity (working longer and longer hours, giving up on the dream of learning guitar because his new machine hand symbolically rejects playing it, even forgetting who his girlfriend is). Details are kept deliberately vague to give a timeless quality to the story: when this is set, where this is set, what the narrator's background is, or even just his name. I especially like that we never find out specifically what the company even does, because the truth is it doesn't matter - that's the point. The passage of time is also not clear, the narrator only realising too late that it's been a matter of decades when he is offered his final (horrifying) upgrade/promotion.

The parts of the narrator, his girlfriend (Mary) and his boss (Mr. Wilkins) are all played well. I especially like the cold clean detachment of the narrator as he describes his life, whilst still letting the relevant emotions creep in where they are needed. The spoken lines are all the vocals that appear on this album, so the music is all instrumental. Rather than just have an alternating of spoken passages and short instrumentals the album seamlessly blends the two together, often with one over the top of the other. In fact the tracks aren't really songs, they are more like chapters, with the whole concept album flowing very naturally. "The Machine" is something like one part dystopian radio drama, one part atmospheric post-rock concept album. The music moves through the mechanical metallic and the melancholy melodic, always fitting the storyline perfectly.

The often sparse instrumentation gives an intimate personal feeling, and the music builds and dissipates with great skill, making "The Machine" quite an absorbing experience. It has a very atmospheric style that emphasises the slow build of sounds and transitioning between the soft and harsh, loud and quiet. There is a unified sound, which works well in the story context, though I do feel that more variety could have been incorporated without damaging the arc of the album too much. You may then think that hearing the same story over and over could get boring, but in fact the creeping inevitability of storyline makes it still good for repeated listening.

The tension of this album is brilliant, and builds right up to the sense of dread in last song, as you know what's going to happen and it's dragged out over nearly ten minutes with excruciating unavoidable tragedy, as the narrator makes his last (alas, too late) struggles before ultimately succumbing to his fate. He is machine now, part of "The Machine", and this is the dark note the story ends on, with an unambiguous finality. Bleak, but befittingly so for a modern day cautionary tale. If nothing else, listen to it at least once for the sake of the story, but I'm sure you'll like the music too.

If you want post rock with a bit more mainstream modern progressive influences and a dark poignant storyline that makes you think, this is for you. The overall effect of "The Machine" is quite powerful, especially if you've wasted a chunk of your life in a job that you don't care about. Certainly that was the case for me, although thankfully I am now free of that world, and about to pursue my own dreams!

Report this review (#1033992)
Posted Friday, September 13, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Australian music project Hibernal is driven by multi-instrumentalist and fellow PA- member Mark Healy. His debut album is a true concept album, which contains an actual story being told throughout the album, and in between long sections of heavy post-rock. The Machine is a sci-fi tale about a man whose life gets taken over by his company, and who loses all touch with the outside world(notice the track called 'Losing Touch'). In the story, the body parts of the man get physically replaced by more efficient one's from the company, which is a metaphor for the role a company can have in a workaholic's world. This is the biggest example of the purpose of the album, which is to show what your job can do to you when you get too involved.

The album's running time is pretty evenly divided between the sections of spoken word and some long-stretched instrumental chunks. The instrumental parts increase in power and moodiness as the album and the story progress. Yet, the album is not a smooth crescendo, because Hibernal keeps the parts of spoken word strictly divided from the post-rock, which makes that the music sometimes unexpectedly stops for a piece of the story and then continues again from the same point directly afterwards. I personally find this a bit disturbing, and also one of the major flaws of the album.

The tracks:

'This High' is a spoken introduction, in which the narrator just got started at the Machine Co. There is some calm ambient guitar play on the background to make this is an exciting introduction.

'Downward' starts in a darker mood, with a chunk of smooth post-rock. After three minutes the spoken word starts again. Accompanied by creepy sound effects, the narrator describes visiting 'Sub-level 19', where his hand gets replaced by a 'Machine hand'. The rest of the song consists out of some crushing guitar rock.

'An Open Door' starts again with narration. Here he is on his way home, and revising the happenings at work. The rest of the song is mainly soft and dark instrumental.

'Home' is where the narrator arrives home(surprise), where we first meet with Jane, his spouse. Here the narrator tells Jane he will have to spend more time at work, which causes a bit of an argument, in which the narrator first gets confronted with the consequences of working at Machine Co. The music is beautifully sad.

'Losing Touch' starts off with heavy guitar and loud, bold drumming. The sound is a bit robotic, and it's one of the weaker parts of the album musically. Later on some interesting electronics are used to lighten up the sound. Four and a half minutes in, narration comes in and an summary of some affairs is given, which all show that he is getting more and more swallowed up by his work. After that, the same kind of music as before wraps up the song.

'Hard At Work' is a short spoken piece. At first a voice-mail message can be heard wherein Jane says she fixed something in her house, but she's clearly uncomfortable. Then the narrator talks about one of his promotions, and he describes how he slowly gets disconnected from his body.

'No Return' features the same creepy sound effects that represent Sub-level 19. He is in doubt about allowing the new improvement, but his body forces him to continue and get the improvement. As this happens, he loses again a little more control over his body. At this point you can see where the story is going, but the music keeps it exciting and interesting. Especially the instrumental part in this song is a good example of that.

'One Last Glimpse' is another short, and maybe the most interesting one. The story gets very dramatic here; time starts to go very fast, and the narrator can't keep track of everything anymore. Jane gets tired of it and leaves him. The end is near. Acoustic guitars grace the second half of the song.

'Disconnection' stands out in the album like an epic. Music gets thick and heavy and the narration sounds a bit frustrated, for the first time in the album. He is getting sick of his job, and the music represents that really accurately. Yet, it also tends to fall back into that slightly robotic sound, with the drums sounding especially poor. Just over halfway, there's another very dramatic conversation. Here Jane visits him at his work, and he doesn't recognize her anymore. Not only that, he is also unable to recognize her sadness, and that makes Jane quite upset. Then the acoustic guitars start again and the rest of the song is instrumental music at its best. A stand-out track.

'Years' is the last short, in which the narrator is about to get promoted to the elite of the company, and he meets Mr. Wilkins again, for the first time since the opening track. Here it turns out he has been with the company for 24 years. This is a big shock and a major turning point in the story. The narrator has now decided to leave the company.

'The Coldness' continues the scene. Here the narrator has taken the elevator to the ground floor, so that he can go away. Once he tries to walk out of the elevator, however, his body refuses to. It forces him to go to Sub-level 19 to get the last modifications, so that his body will be completely taken over by the company. After that, there is a long instrumental part, another highlight of the album. After four minutes this abruptly stops, and the sounds of Sub-level 19 are being played again. The narrator sounds once again frustrated, but also desperate and hopeless. Then there is more heavy instrumental rock, this time very dynamic. It ends in some voice samples and the line "But I didn't remember anything after that..."

However spectacular and unique this album might be, it still has some flaws. The drum sound bothers me at times, the instrumental parts are sometimes too short and too empty and don't always stand well in contrast with the spoken parts, and even the narration could be improved in the way that it lacks the appropriate emotional reaction in the end. If you are able to focus on the story line for its entire duration, you might perceive this as a masterpiece, but considering the technical flaws, I can't call it that. Four solid stars.

Report this review (#1039668)
Posted Thursday, September 19, 2013 | Review Permalink
1 stars *** EHNC ALERT ***

Ugh! (I don't think I've ever used that word in a sentence before.)

I think the mission on this site is twofold: 1) Recommend the good and 2) Forestall the bad. And while the former should be entered into with great fervor, the latter should be undertaken only when necessary. Unfortunately, some albums simply cry out to have their rating reduced to a more realistic assessment of the contents, and this is one of those (I'm looking at you too, Haken). First obstacle one will have with this record is the narration/acting (?). Why won't they shut up. Please, just shut up.

Second, the banal storyline. I don't care. I quit reading bad sci-fi when I was twelve. And the worst part is that it only exists to keep that narrator talking. (See obstacle one).

Third, the music. After gritting my teeth through obstacles one and two, I was prepared to start having my four star experience. Instead, an insipid blend of trite post rock and crap we were doing on our four tracks back in the eighties comes oozing into my ears. Nah, this ain't going to work.

I'm familiar with the concept of respecting something but not really going to it for repeat listenings (Beefheart, later Coltrane, some RIO) and the concept of only getting something after repeated listenings, but this album fails the first and, for some reason, my play button simply refuses to work when it's selected. Oh well, maybe it's because nothing's really there.

[ EHNC - Emperor Has No Clothes ]
Report this review (#1071248)
Posted Sunday, November 3, 2013 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#1081669)
Posted Monday, November 25, 2013 | Review Permalink
ProgShine
COLLABORATOR
Errors & Omissions 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

Report this review (#1253014)
Posted Monday, August 18, 2014 | Review Permalink

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