This Winter Machine - A Tower of Clocks
This Winter Machine are a sextet who formed in Yorkshire in 2016. They released their debut album “The Man Who Never Was” in 2017. This is their second album released in 2019 and has ten songs and a running time of sixty-one minutes. It is a concept album about a character who stores all our memories and feelings in a tower of clocks, so nothing is forgotten about when we die. As it is a concept album, I will be describing the music rather than the lyrics.
Nine-minute instrumental “Herald” opens with what sounds like an owl (the main character perhaps) and a low octave synth pad drone. This then leads into the sound of ticking clocks before a piano arpeggio. The synth pad is featured later in the song as well as plenty of nicely distorted guitar parts and features a superb synth solo.
“Flying” is at a slower tempo and the first song to feature vocals. It does not have any drums, but just synth pads with piano. It has a mellow vibe to it and a very beautiful song.
“Spiral” opens with a fast synth arpeggio. It is the shortest song on the album and another instrumental. Some people may consider it filler, but I think it is an excellent little piece that sounds a lot like early Marillion.
“Symmetry And Light” is seven and a half minutes. It is one of the heavier songs on the album with plenty of solid guitar riffs but also some beautiful synth passages. I especially like the short bass solo and the instrumental section towards the end and some of the best drumming on the album. A highlight of the album.
“Justified” is quite short at only four minutes and forty seconds and opens with a lovely piano sound which features throughout the whole song. It is another slower tempo song but this one is more of a ballad. Another of the highlights of the album.
“In Amber” opens which another piano and has a similar sound to “Flying” but this one is a bit heavier in both the piano playing and the vocals. It reminds me a little of Anathema around the time of the Judgement album.
“The Hunt” has an influence from some of Fish’s solo albums as well as the early Marillion influence I mentioned earlier. I can also hear quite a lot of Iron Maiden in the latter half of the song’s seven and a half minutes run-time.
“Delta” is eight and a half minutes long with another of the synth pad openers. It has a very 80s sound and another ballad-style song but this one is a lot longer. It is quite melancholic but another of my highlights.
“When We Were Young” opens with guitar treated with flange and tremolo and another song with no drums. It has a bit of a country vibe but (or possibly because of this) it is probably my least-liked song on the album.
“Carnivale” is the longest song on the album and has a carnival style intro before a short stab of synth welcomes the acoustic guitars of the verses. There are heavy passages, guitar arpeggios, piano and synth parts and a fantastic guitar solo throughout its nine-minute running time. A superb epic way to finish the album.
This Winter Machine (TWM) take influences from Anathema, IQ, Marillion, Pink Floyd and Saga but make their own style from this. It is not a particularly technical sounding album and there are no unusual time signatures, but progressive rock does not have to be complicated to be amazing. It is also an album that may have a lot of influence from the prog-rock of the 1980s, it is an album that was made in the 21st Century. I think they will have a bright future career and look forward to seeing them live and seeing what they do on their next album. TWM have made one of the finest prog-rock albums of 2019.