Power of Metal.dk Review

The Machine
Style: Progressive Rock
Release date: 6 March, 2013
Playing time: 55:07

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 an Aussie prog project called Hibernal. First of all, that is an awesome name. Anyways, this project is a single guy: 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.

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.

01. This High
An Open Door
Losing Touch
Hard At Work
No Return
One Last Glimpse
The Coldness
Label: Independent
Distribution: hibernal.bandcamp.com
Artwork rating: 95/100
Reviewed by: Jason Spencer
Date: 9 June, 2013
Website: hibernal.bandcamp.com