Shadows on Mercury – Worlds apart (2024)


We can safely say that Charlie Bramald is one of the most active vocalists in the British prog scene. My first encounter with this great singer was when I heard and bought Scissorgames by Ghost of the Machine. My review of that album can be read below.

As said in the review I really like their music but had some reservations about the guitar playing. Now one of the guitar players, Scott Owens, has decided to start his own musical project and that has become Shadows on Mercury. It seems these guys love longs band names considering that in a way things started with This Winter Machine (Owens played guitar on A Tower of Clocks) and then Ghost of the Machine followed.

Worlds apart is what we would call an ep and contains five songs of an average length of just over five minutes and that raises the question, is this prog? I would say yes because there is some room for musical escapades and experiments but not to the extend of Ghost of the Machine or even This Winter Machine. No epics or extended instrumental passages and only a few tempo and time signature changes but it still sounds “proggy”. I can safely say that it is prog light. To complete the line up keyboard player Tim Lofthouse has joined and he has made quite a footprint on the music of the band. The keys are swirling all over and we hear a nice mix of modern and vintage instruments. The drums are programmed and that is done very well but nothing beats a drummer of flesh and blood.

Seen the fact that Owens is not a flashy guitarist who has to display his technique in every available minute we can safely say that he does a fine job and he plays some nice solos that would have sounded great on a Ghost of the Machine album but that will be something for the (near) future. I know, you know. The Silence and The Flood were already available to listen to for sometime and are very good songs with some great singing by Bramald and plenty of atmospheric keys and captivating guitars. There is a gloomy atmosphere and the songs slowly build to a more open ending with Charlie singing with emotion and power. The lyrics are well thought out and are critical of the world of today and our place in it with all the personal difficulties we have to overcome.

The three song that complete this ep are certainly not less captivating and are all examples of how prog light can sound. Some very nice keyboards solos accompany the ones on guitar and in The King of broken Things all comes together and Owens plays his best in this song and it has become my favourite track of the album also due to the expressive singing by Charlie. Worlds apart is the longest track and with over six minutes gives all musicians some more room to display themselves and the title says it all, differences will always be a part of this world and are certainly not getting less.

It is fair to say that this is a great attempt to create some accessible prog with enough challenging hooks to keep me, and hopefully many others, interested. I know that Ghost of the Machine will come up with their second album in the near future and I am very excited about it because it will be very proggy (I heard somebody say) but in the meantime I will enjoy Worlds apart and there might be a place in my annual list of 2024 for it. As always I will include my opinion on the artwork in this review and I have to say it matches the music and looks very good and supports the overall feel of this release.


Music 80

Cover 80