Thought Machine
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Thought Machine


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"Album Review: Maiden Voyage"

Thought Machine
Maiden Voyage
2010 (CD, 65:22)
Rating 13

There are chops a-plenty and a wide range of influences on display on the debut album from this Canadian quartet. Right from the opening "Gordian Knot" four-part suite, there's great use of electric/acoustic dynamics, with guitarists Scott MacLean and MArc Langille playing off of each other masterfully. Bassist/vocalist/keyboardist Brett Waye adds synth colors, but the keys are never prominent for long.
From heavy riffing ("Chalk Lines') to pretty strumming ("The Season Unspoken"), the compositions and performances spark wide-ranging references from King Crimson to '80s metal, with many others along the way.
Occasionally, the vocal melodies sound a bit too much like they were grafted onto instrumental guitar pieces: The best tracks are where vocals achieve wider space in the mix, particularly on "Persuasion." Still, a very promising debut showing great potential. --Dewey Gurall
- Dewey Gurall - Progression Magazine issue 61

"Thought Machine's "Maiden Voyage' Album Review"

Thought Machine is a four piece progressive rock band made up of Brett Waye, lead vocals, bass, synthesizers, keyboards and cogs; Scott Maclean, guitar; Marc Langille, backing vocals, guitar, wheels, and synth-guitar; and Adam Wedgewood, drums and levers, from Sydney, Nova Scotia.

This is a great debut album for this or any band. It definitely provides a full length epic recording, full of power chords, acoustic guitar adventures, deep bass, fun and unique synth flights, and thunder drums which have been unmatched so far this year. It is the kind of debut I would probably write if I was a musician. You want to make sure you include enough power to bowl over the fans that help bring you back for the sophomore album. No doubt they'll be back. They seem to have no trouble creating music. Wedgewood is a star drummer and makes this album and band one to add to the 'Watch List'.

Rating: 4/5 – Very good debut full of epic proportions. You usually don't get this much from a new band. They seemed prepared and ready to make a big splash. This album surely will.

Track Listing:

Power drums and lead electrics rush forward blasting the speakers as the opening of "The Binding" takes off and the voyage is underway. After a brief quiet moment of acoustic guitar, bass and synths, the vocals echo "tie that rope tight so you might just hold on to me…" Then we are off and running again, with all guns blazing. Full on drums hammering out the beat and a Rush – like complex lead electric riffing section with great support of bass and cymbals, followed by launching lead electric again, kicking it up another notch. An almost Working Man rhythm, but original. Full of thunder.

As the drums and lead electric slow, we move into "Intricate Designs". This song takes us in another direction after the opening drum and guitar mashing. The beautiful electric lead meanderings are wonderful and remind me of early Rush. In fact, except for the vocals, which are more standard rock, the music sounds like early Rush. Very good guitar and especially drum work here. The percussion work of Wedgewood will bring back memories of early Neil Peart.

"The Frayed End" starts out slower than the first two songs. The lead guitar and vocals take us through the storyline. Then we get those power drums followed by amazing guitar. The instrumentation is absolutely stellar. Great acoustic guitar and the synths are also fantastic.

Soft electric chords and patted drums along with those Peart - like cymbals and cool synths open "Hold On (Reprise)". The cool drumming and guitar continues and helps lull you into a relaxing moment until Waye's vocals enter. "Hold onto life, love, me", and are shortly followed by a Rush – like rhythm blast – off.

"Chalk Lines" opens with Waye's vocals and those now familiar guitar and drum runs. "Why have we scribbled lines upon the ground? When will we wash the pavement clean from these…?" The guitar, drums and key instrumental that follows helps to define the emotional nature of the story.

"Persuasion" opens with a completely different guitar sound. It's as if this is a completely different album. It's a nice change. Less full on and more intricate guitar work. In fact the bass really takes the lead here for a while. Waye begins to remind me more and more of Alan Frew of Glass Tiger, especially on this song.

"The Fall of the House of Atreides" starts off with a very deep bass and cool synths followed by some of the best drumming on an album full of rich drumming. This is one of the best song on the album. The synths, heavy drums, lead guitar and even the vocals are top notch.

"The Season Unspoken" is the second best song on the album, right from the opening. The cool synths, soft drums, acoustic guitar and Waye's best vocal, "When winter is lost and spring is in bloom, and summer burns back into fall so soon." The acoustic guitar work is intricate and wonderful. This is the classic rock star of the album. "Don't fade out". You just don't want the acoustic guitar and synths to end.

Bells and chimes herald the opening of "Breathing Lessons". A great mix of Rush and fellow Canadians Tea Party can be heard in the pounding on this song. But the vocals make it original.

Heavy bass, lead electric and power drums do a great job of opening "Young Guns". Memories of adolescence band beginnings, with the kind of magic you remember from the Alarm. The guitars and synths which come later are fantastic. They really drive emotions as the band takes off on another instrumental journey.

"Personal Gods" starts out like an '80s rocker. This one truly has that Glass Tiger pop sound to it.

The electric guitar weaving and epic drums that open "Maiden Voyage (Storm of Being)" set a course which provides a glimpse into where and possibly how far this band can go in the future. They hold nothing back with this haunting melody set to sea. The drums are just fantastic. The vocals are epic this time and so are the lyr - Mark Johnson - Sea of Tranquility

"Album Review: Thought Machine - “Maiden Voyage”"

“Maiden Voyage” kicks off with an in your face instrumental pounding, like the end of an classic rock set, with a massive explosion of strings and rapid noodling, before hitting the brakes and fading into the requisite “Diablo soundtrack” synths, as I like to call them, then right into the falsetto lyrics and reverb. It's Prog Rock, clearly, but it's also from Sydney, Nova Scotia, and it's not from 1976, either. Thought Machine are a four piece band who formed in 2007. They've clearly been working their asses off in that time, as “Maidan Voyage” displays a level of virtuosity often associated with artists like Chris Squire, Joe Satrani, or David Gilmour.

The band claim to be influenced by “Rush, YES, King Crimson, Led Zeppelin, Porcupine Tree, Genesis, Pink Floyd, The Mars Volta, and Beatles.” That's a pretty accurate description of the album, so it might be fair to say these guys wear their influences on their sleeves; but that works here, as the songs themselves are not highly derivative of previous artists, despite the mixture of many styles stereotypically associated with the “prog rock” genre.

Personally I am a fan of some of those bands, and Thought Machine certainly hit the mark at the same level as most of them in terms of skill, style, songwriting, and an excellent sounding album from a production point of view. To describe every song in detail would require far more room than I have available, for each song displays a breadth of influence, form, style, tone, and content. Opening track “The Binding” runs the gamut of nearly every great 70's sound up to and included the 80's shredding guitar solo. The bass tone on songs like “Intricate Designs” is sublime and deep, so do yourself a favour and listen to this album on something more than ipod headphones or computer speakers.

“The Frayed End” recalls vintage King Crimson, with almost 80's pop vocals, and I have to give props to the band for including both a lyric sheet and a full bio, making any reviewers job that much easier! Clearly all the elements of the sound - the lyrics, the guitar, the drums, the bass, and in between track swells and noises – went though a huge amount of thought and perfecting. Tracks are also grouped into movements, and the first four tracks form a suite which reprises the opening track by the 4th song.../track. It can get a little confusing, but there's nothing confusing about the music, which is sure to please any fan of classic rock, prog, or groove oriented music.

“Hold On (Reprise)” starts off with interlocking guitars, while washy synth joins in and transitions into deep bass swells, like a trance album. Beefy bass lines funk it up over syncopated guitar runs. How front man Brett Waye manages to provide vocals, seriously muscular basslines, and synth at the same time remains a question to be answered by the live show, though it seems that for the most part only two of the elements are present at any time, and it's not hard to picture him using floor pedal synth ala Geddy Lee – though fortunately as a bass playing front man, Waye displays neither of Lee's higher pitched tendencies on either bass or vocals, save for a few scattered and well deserved higher register bass runs through out the album.

“Chalk Lines” marks the beginning of a new suite of songs, with lyrics that are typically abstract - “Why have we made our limits so small?” Asks Waye, “Drawing these prison bars around our minds.” While with a few tweaks, I would have had no qualms about hearing this as a fully instrumental album, clearly including a lyrical content was important to the band, and no doubt serves as a more accessible bridge to a wider audience, considering that the prospective audience for prog rock in Sydney, Nova Scotia, in 2010 is surely decidedly smaller than most genres. Frankly, as a town mostly known to me for punk, metal, and celtic music, Thought Machine's album catches me pleasantly off guard with it's (in the context) utterly original sound.

“Persuasion” starts off slow before morphing into a catchy rock jam sing along. “Persuasion,” sings Waye truistically, “is a powerful thing.” Dickens it's not, but it's powerful enough to give you a start when the final chorus kicks back in after a quick fade, and again you have to admire the effort for a band who clearly have the musical prowess to entertain solely with their riffs. A smooth segue into the next track's heavy, deep synth are quickly followed up rapid rolling deep drums and squealing guitars that seem to come from all sides.

Perhaps my only complaint about the album is that I would have liked to hear some more melodic, loose style guitar solos, hinted at for the briefest moment around 1:49 of “The Fall of the House Atreides,” though there was nothing wrong with the technically proficient shredding that dominates most of the other solos. By the time track 8 or 9 rolls around, most bands albums have come to a close, but this one runs a full hour and 5 minu - Review by Dan Nightingale of Noisography

"Young Guns – Thought Machine embarks on its Maiden Voyage"

“This is really happening.”

I am sitting with Easy Bleeders’ drummer Grant Carabin at the Sandbar in Dominion, and a four-piece band called Thought Machine is on stage. Carabin makes the above comment during one of several unstructured “improv” sessions the band performs that night. For most bands, you would call these stretches of unscripted creativity “jams”, but somehow that word doesn’t convey what was going on. Jazz musicians jam. Phish jams. When Thought Machine improvises, though, it is as if the band is receiving transmissions from deep space, interpreting the intricate, complex messages and reproducing them using guitars, bass and drums—the resulting sound is challenging, often bewildering, but always deeply enjoyable.

The Sandbar show took place this past Sunday. Earlier in the week, I caught up with Thought Machine for an interview. It was a summery day in late May. Guitarist Scott MacLean sported a t-shirt emblazoned with the logo of The Ifs, self-proclaimed “Secret Agents of the British Invasion.” The legend of the Ifs is a Greek Tragedy set in early 1960s England: a quartet of schoolmates hears the sounds of Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley at a high school dance and forms a band the next day; within a year, The Ifs are the most popular pub band in England; tragedy strikes when the British Royal Family, the transport union, and the BBC conspire to bring the band’s meteoric rise to a screeching halt. It’s a great story: too bad not a word of it is true. In reality, The Ifs are simply a respectable cover band from Buffalo, New York who like to get into character.

The story of Thought Machine is less glamorous but equally compelling. Begun as a two-piece—featuring current Pranks drummer Rob Rushton alongside front man Brett Waye—the band slowly morphed into a four-member progressive rock juggernaut. The current line-up includes Waye on bass, keyboards and vocals, MacLean and Marc Langille on guitars (the conventional dynamic of “lead” and “rhythm” simply doesn’t apply) and drummer Adam Wedgewood. In years past, Wedgewood, Waye, and Langille were also members of Magnum Opus, a progressive metal group which has since been disbanded.

Thought Machine makes music that resists categorization: their upcoming debut Maiden Voyage is at one moment sparse and melodic, the next punishingly heavy, the next catchy and upbeat. The album kicks off with “Gordian Knot”, a 22-minute prog-rock symphony. Part I (aka “The Binding”) opens with a heavy vamp on a single chord, which builds quickly to a noisy, dissonant crescendo. Just when the racket approaches its peak, the drums fall out, the keyboard enters and the track dissolves into a haunting dirge. After about 3 minutes of that, the drums are back and the band breaks into a Zeppelin-inspired riff in the spectacularly complex key signature of 17/8. And that’s all in the first track: “Gordian Knot” continues for 3 more parts (or “movements,” as Waye jokingly calls them), the last of which culminates in a brief reprise of the Zeppelin riff from “The Binding.” This sort of thing isn’t exactly typical of the local scene, which may explain why some folks find Thought Machine’s music difficult or intimidating.

Which isn’t to say that it’s all 22-minute epics and improper fractions: in fact, Maiden Voyage contains more than a few accessible, infectious tunes: “Chalk Lines” features some very memorable guitar work, and its groove is about as close as Thought Machine gets to straight-ahead rock; “Young Guns” tells a compelling story about a young man drafted into the army; and “The Season Unspoken,” a delicate acoustic ballad backed by subtle keyboards and hand percussion, provides a breather from all the pounding drums and wailing guitars.

The album’s undisputed high point, though, has to be “Persuasion.” All of Thought Machine’s strengths—stellar playing, inventive arrangements, simple melodies—come together in a sort of perfect storm to create a tight, anthemic rock song. The music geeks can appreciate the way the band switches both key and time signature several times; everyone else will just be shouting along with the chorus: “Persuasion is a powerful thing.”

Of Thought Machine’s many qualities, the one that stands out most prominently is professionalism: despite their outwardly slackeresque appearance (long hair, messy apartments, Floyd t-shirts), each of the band’s members displays a level of passion and dedication to their work that most people would envy. On the day of our interview, I meet MacLean and Waye downtown at around noon, and we head to New Waterford, where I sit in on an afternoon practice session. While the afternoon may seem like an odd time for a hard rock band to work, that day’s session was in fact a good deal later than normal: ordinarily, the band meets 3 mornings per week to rehearse and to write new material, and while conventional wisdom may associate rock music with late nights and booze, the band swears by their matu -

"Cape Breton's Thought Machine releases debut CD "Maiden Voyage.""

With their debut CD "Maiden Voyage" Thought Machine is a progressive rock band with a classic rock sound. The four piece independent rock band features Brett Waye and his distinctive lead vocals, Scott MacLean and Marc Langille on guitar and Adam Ledgewood on drums.

Thought Machine sound incorporates many different time signatures to their music ranging from spacey, to mellow, and some heavy duty rock. The CD ships to University radio stations in Atlantic Canada and specialty East Coast programming of private broadcasters in the region in August. The group just learned that it has been selected for the Mentorship Program of Contact East held in Antigonish, NS in October. - Michael Trenholm

"Cape Breton's Thought Machine Releases Debut CD"

Sydney - Thought Machine brings a refreshing perspective to progressive rock music creating a modern-meets-vintage style sound. The four-piece group hails from Sydney, Nova Scotia where they formed in 2007. They are in the midst of a move to Halifax to pursue their music.
Thought Machine has developed an honest and hard working ethic. They focus on compositions that are accessible to a wide range of audiences. The haunting vocals of Brett Waye backed by Marc Lange combine with the complex groove orientated rhythms established by Adam Wedgewood on drums and Scott MacLean on guitar. Together they produce a mature yet unique sense of melody and song structure. Influences include Rush, YES, King Crimson, Led Zeppelin, Porcupine Tree, Genesis, Pink Floyd, The Mars Volta, and The Beatles.
Maiden Voyage was recorded at Soundpark Studios in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. All lyrics are by Brett Waye. The album ships this week to numerous East Coast radio stations. Review copies are available.
Brett Waye - Bass/Vocals/Keys
Adam Wedgewood - Drums
Scott MacLean - Guitar
Marc Lange - Guitar/Synth-Guitar/Backup Vocals - Atlantic Multimedia


Maiden Voyage - released August 10, 2010



Thought Machine is a four piece progressive rock band from Sydney, Nova Scotia, formed in 2007. They then began jamming as a 3 piece, joined shortly after by Scott Maclean as a second guitarist. Once whole, the 4 piece found their niche and began completing songs and adding new textures to their music.

Thought Machine are flourishing into honest, hard working musicians that focus on compositions that are technical, yet are quite accessible to a wide range of audiences with their haunting, yet honest vocals, complex groove oriented rhythms, and a mature, yet unique sense of melody and song structure. The music molds a modern meets vintage style, which creates a unique experience to indulge the audience, or perhaps immerse them in the dynamic world of the soft, the mellow, the heavy, and the abrasive.

The music has been described as Progressive Rock, with leanings of a Popular music style that gives a nod to bands like Rush, Porcupine Tree, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, and Radiohead, without being dismissed as a mere clone of anything. They have their own unique style and sound, a medley of the normal and the absurd. Together, the band is quickly starting to gain momentum as they are always adding fresh new ideas to their music.

The band has released their debut full-length album "Maiden Voyage" in 2010. It was produced and recorded by 9 time ECMA award-winner Jamie Foulds at Soundpark Studios in Sydney, Nova Scotia. They have recently relocated to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and are planning a tour of Eastern Canada in early summer of 2011.