Scissorgames is the amazing debut album of Ghost Of The Machine. Which kicks off with a roaring keyboards intro straight in the veins of Marillion, in the eighties, so the Fish years actually; and this sets the tone for a superb album which every prog rock fan will fall in love with right from the start! Ghost Of The Machine is a new progressive rock band hailing from Yorkshire, founded in January 2021, when five former members from the band This Winter Machine - Graham Garbett (guitars), Mark Hagan (keys and piano), Stuart McAuley (bass guitar, mellotron), Andy Milner (drums) and Scott Owens (guitars) - joined forces with Charlie Bramald (vocals and flute).
As you will notice right from the start Ghost Of The Machine is heavily influenced by Marillion, Genesis, IQ, and Twelfth Night. After the glorious keys intro the epic song Scissors evolves into a true prog rock gem as this multi-part track is a really powerful piece of music with many melodic twists and turns and especially lots of musical atmosphere. Scissors is THE highlight of this album filled with very obvious influences from earlier prog rock generations, but these guys play their music so well, that nobody will give a damn that you have heard similar prog rock elements and structures before; the music is just too good to be denied! Just check out the formidable guitar solos, the keyboard walls, the emotional vocals and the subtle piano passages and the sometimes-heart-breaking twin guitar attacks of Garbett and Owens; Scissors is a 100% pure retro-progressive rock epic, a song that has been in my “head” for a long time now, awesome indeed! The album ends with Scissors (reprise), another outstanding prog rock tune, filled with beautiful melodies and an absolutely wonderful soaring guitar solo. The other five tracks on this album are also very worthwhile to listen to take e.g., Mountain, opening with great synth chords, evolving into an eighties up tempo prog rocker full of addictive melodies and impressive riffs, while Just For Reference is way more ruminative, featuring beautiful piano and keyboard themes, astonishing melancholy vocals, and a lovely soft tinkling guitar hook. Mercury Rising is again a very melodic track with almost mystical keys and synths; a driving prog rock power song full of guitars and pounding drums; the instrumental part of this song is more than outstanding, an almost immaculate melodic prog rock piece and the song further on, again, brings back memories of the Fish years of Marillion! Dead To Me, the shortest song of the album is a calm, introspective one featuring lots of piano, vocals, and excellent guitar work.
There are absolutely no fillers on this prog rock tour de force album, as all the tracks are well composed and the players are top notch musicians indeed, so for me Scissorgames is one of the best debut prog rock albums I have ever heard and I simply cannot stop listening to it, as it is a perpendicular addictive album indeed, so a MUST have for prog rock aficionados! Listening tip: Scissors, at maximum volume of course!
***** Martien Koolen (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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