Album review: MACHINES DREAM – Black Science

MACHINES DREAM - Black Science

Progressive Gears  –  [Release date: 16.05.17]

With the notable and towering exception of Rush, Canada has not exactly been renowned for its contributors to the field of progressive rock.

That, however, is very much on the change with bands such as Huis, Inner Odyssey and Michel St Pere’s wonderful Mystery starting to turn  heads.

Add to this list Machines Dream, whose third album ‘Black Science’ has all the credentials to raise the band’s profile and, as a consequence, Canada’s progressive rock reputation.

Two years in the making, whilst ‘Black Science’ is not a concept album in the strictest sense of the phrase – it does however, take a long hard look back at the twentieth century with all its wars, the rise of fascism, the military/industrial complex and the internet with its attendant fake news and abuse of social media.

The band have, in more or less chronological order, painted aural pictures of the major events of the century – from the opening ‘Armistice Day’ with its piano and crashing guitars through to album closer’s ‘Noise To Signal’s’ call to arms to take back the internet from the trolls and big business.

It’s pretty much classic progressive rock all the way with Brian Holmes’ delicious keyboard work weaving its way around the exceptional guitar of Rob Coleman, with a checklist of time signature changes a-plenty, fortissimo and pianissimo and an articulate, informative libretto all ticked.

Plenty of highlights for aficionados of the genre to get excited about – the insistent piano motif and searing guitar of ‘Weimar’, the interesting twist of ‘Heavy Water’ where the lyrics attempt to get inside the heads of the crew of the Enola Gay, the nagging acoustic riff and Floydian sax of the title track and the juxtaposition of a jackhammer guitar riff with subtle piano work on ‘UXB’.

Best of the lot though is ‘Airfield On Sunwick’ which tells the tale of a platoon of Polish soldiers in WW2 who adopted and gave the rank of private to a Syrian Brown Bear (who they called Wojtek) – some magical keyboard work here with the added authenticity of a coda sung in Polish.

All in all a rather fine effort. The album is well recorded, immaculately played and with a thoughtful set of lyrics in progressive rock’s finest traditions.

Interesting to see where they take it next.  ****

Review by Alan Jones

Alan sequences “The Eclectic Mix” on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, second Sunday of the month at 18:00. Expect some prog.

On Sunday 28 July 2019, David Randall celebrated his 600th show. “Assume The Position” started in June 2007 on UK City Radio before transferring a year later to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio. The show includes tracks played on the first show plus Upton Blues Festival highlights, new music and the regular features “Live Legends” and “Anniversary Rock” which this week celebrates the Island Records label 60th anniversary.

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Power Plays w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)

BEFORE FIRE Dead Eyes (indie)
SCOTT & MARIA Never Give Up (indie)
CORELEONI Queen Of Hearts (AFM Records)
BERLIN Transcendance (Cleopatra Records)
PHIL CAMPBELL These Old Boots (Nuclear Blast)
PHIL LANZON Blue Mountain (Phil Lanzon Ditties/Cargo Records UK)

Featured Albums w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 SOLEIL MOON Warrior (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 ROXY BLUE Roxy Blue (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 DREW HOLCOMB & THE NEIGHBORS Dragons (Magnolia Music/Thirty Tigers)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

JAMES STEVENSON Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over (2013)

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