Review: ROME – The Hyperion Machine (Luxembourg, 2016)

rome the hyperion machine cover

rome the hyperion machine cover

Luxembourger singer/songwriter Jérôme Reuter returns with this brand new collection featuring 10 songs (plus the bonus FanFanFan) that remarkably seem to fly back to ROME’s early years, finely recalling albums such as Nos Chants Perdus and Flower From Exile.

I must admit it. I got to know this project a few weeks ago, during a random “unfocused” playing of Backworld’s catalogue on Spotify (the free one, in case you were wondering). That day I remember coming across a lot of bands -I already knew- like Death in June or Sol Invictus, but the one that stroke me down was the only one I’ve never listened to. ROME’s Sword to Rust – Heart to Dust got firmly inside my head, and dammit, I’ve found myself whistling the chorus-theme all day long at work.
As usual, my hunger doesn’t stop so easily, hence, I couldn’t help myself from scavenging for some more. And finally here it came The Hyperion Machine.

I found this record definitely pleasant and inspired. Maybe it’s not innovative, but this void has been filled with catchy, profound and haunting songs, slowly and gently leaded by Reuter’s full-bodied voice. And let me say, that even he may not be the singer with the highest of (vocal) extensions, his notes literally rock you. And here it’d fit great me talking about how cool and heart touching the lyrics are…but, it’s not going to happen. Sorry kids, today the teacher felt lazy, though, I assume they’re pretty moving. How can’t they be with such an atmosphere.

Leaving the opener The Hyperion Machine behind, the path definitely diverts towards a Neo-folk road, while the usual -for his latest works, at least- Martial Industrial feel are a bit left behind the scenes -but somehow well present, here and there. We’ll see how-. Even though a constant, but not annoying buzzing accompaniment is quite often clearly audible.
Limpid examples of this trend are the successful Celine in Jerusalem, The Alabanda Breviary (probably the best one) and Adamas.
Interesting, even if not so brilliant as you would expect is the collaborative track Stillwell with Thåström, which results in an overly flat performance. But I must admit the arrangement is original and the vocals of both singers’ mixed together are deep and delightful.
The Secret Germany (for Paul Celan), placed near the end, would have been the proper end to this opera. Sounding either glorious and peaceful would have left us with some kinda bright tranquility, relaxed and even happy after all the gloomy tunes that caressed our ears. But ROME wanted us to suffer, and just wrapped out the album with the ominous noisy industrial closure Die Mörder Mühsams.

Suggested record, even if you’re not so familiar with the genre The Hyperion Machine has so many hooks you’ll have hard time trying not to get caught in it.

Label: Trisol / Audioglobe
Websites: Facebook | Website
Release Date: 26th August 2016
Reviewed by Matteo “Teo” Gruppi

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