Ghost Of The Machine is a new neo-prog band comprised of five former members of This Winter Machine, Graham Garbett on guitars and backing vocals, Mark Hagan on piano, keyboards & mellotron, Stuart McAuley on bass, pedals and mellotron, Andy Milner on drums, Scott Owens on guitars and the new member Charlie Bramald on lead vocals and flute.
The band’s talents and chemistry have been tuned to create a cohesive and mature sound overall. All members excel in terms of musicianship. Bramald’s vocals are theatrical yet emotionally introspective, perfectly matching the music, while keyboardist Mark Hagan creates rich and atmospheric sounds. Guitarists Graham Garbett and Scott Owens deliver powerful and complementary performances, whilst bassist Stuart McAuley and drummer Andy Milner provide a solid foundation.
The debut album, “Scissorgames”, is mainly influenced by neo-prog rock, although it also includes a few prog metal touches, with influences ranging from Marillion, Arena, IQ and Rush to Genesis and Dream Theater. Of course, they’ve included aspects from their previous band, This Winter Machine.
One of the standout tracks on “Scissorgames” is the multi-part epic “Scissors”, which serves as the centerpiece of the album. It opens with a burst of Marillion-influenced synth work and quickly establishes itself as a powerful and atmospheric piece, with plenty of twists and turns. Part one is driven by Bramald’s emotive vocals and a sense of plaintiveness, while part two takes on a more IQ-like sound with a heavy emphasis on intricate guitar work and keys. Other songs on the album, such as “Mercury Rising” and “Mountain”, have a more direct rock sound, with hints of Asia and the 80s Yes. “Just for Reference” keeps things simple and melodic largely. “Dead to Me” takes a more meditative and introspective approach with its emphasis on piano and voice. The lyrics deal with themes of love and abuse, as well as finding hope in difficult circumstances.
Overall, “Scissorgames” is an excellent debut and a promising start for this talented newcomer. The debut album will appeal to fans of neo-prog rock and bands such as Marillion, Arena, and IQ in general.