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When I first came across Mark Healy and Hibernal, I found myself transported into the world he created with his debut album ‘The Machine’, and since then have looked forward immensely to each new release. Mark is also a science-fiction writer, and here he combines that with music, creating stories which are compelling, and the music is an equal part of the overall piece. With this album we are back in the world of the synthetics, set in the future after the war with the humans. Mark has an incredible touch with words, and I kept this album to one side until a time when I knew I could give it my undivided attention, as this needs to be played on headphones with no distractions whatsoever. It is the story which makes the music come alive, or is it the other way around? They are symbiotic in nature, and one cannot imagine one without the other. Mark has used a few different voice actors over the years, but the one thing they all have in common is the gravitas and personality they bring to the performance. This never comes across as a small low budget effort, but is incredibly visual and feels more like a major cinematic release. I only play Hibernal albums when I know I will not be disturbed and can listen to the whole piece from one end to the other, and this is exactly the same. Somehow, Mark has the ability to conjure up a whole new world, fill it with characters, provide an intriguing storyline, deliver music which is hugely important to the end result, all within 47 minutes. It is not necessary to have heard any of Mark’s other albums prior to this one, so why not start here? This album, along with all his others, are available on Bandcamp for stupidly low prices, and for anyone who loves both science fiction combined with the perfect musical accompaniment, this is essential.
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