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High Noon Over Camelot

by The Mechanisms

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maritarvaniti thumbnail
maritarvaniti This is a great adaptation of Arthuriana and a brilliant narrative album. I love how the queerness of the characters is handled as an integral part of the narrative and plot development without it being the end all be all of the characters themselves. my boy Gawain deserved better though Favorite track: Blood and Whiskey.
jonnydville thumbnail
jonnydville space wild west arthurian legend set to some traditional folk tunes. what's not to like?
don't think I didn't see what you did there, the mechanisms. lost in the cosmos playing over "The Tower"? I'm sure this couldn't be foreshadowing anything bad! Favorite track: Skin and Bone.
sauleline thumbnail
sauleline god what do I say? Space western, rock opera retelling of the Athurian legend, but with polyamory? what else is there to like? Favorite track: Blood and Whiskey.
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    Get all 8 The Mechanisms releases available on Bandcamp.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of Death To The Mechanisms, Tales To Be Told, Volume II, The Bifrost Incident, Frankenstein, High Noon Over Camelot, Tales To Be Told, Ulysses Dies At Dawn, and Once Upon A Time (In Space). , and , .

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    A physical copy of this tale of hope and despair contained on compact disc. Also contains scenes from Fort Galfridian, some lovely artwork, and notes concerning the provenance of much of the material.

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    That means we can’t promise a specific shipping time; we’ll do our best to send off a set of orders each week, but if we’re not around you might be waiting a bit longer. Feel free to contact us through bandcamp if it’s been a few weeks, though, and we’ll be happy to help.

    Includes unlimited streaming of High Noon Over Camelot via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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"The Tower" 02:28
“High noon over Camelot. The fluorescent sun beat down on the rusted metal desert, when the Pendragon gang rode into town. Arthur was the brains of the outfit, with Guinevere’s pistol and Lancelot’s rifle following where he led. And here it led to Camelot, a two-cylinder town run by Lavinia Stone, as corrupt and foul a Sheriff as you could ever hope to meet, backed by her brutish clan. She knew why they came. They wanted her town. Avengers or conquerors, who’s to say? She spat out a stream of tobacco that sizzled on the scorching steel floor.” “Any sumbitch can pull this tin star from my stone cold hands, makes ‘em rightwise sheriff o’ this here town.” The three Pendragons nodded and took their positions on main Street. The other end stood the family stone, leering and cradling their guns. The promise of violence hung heavy in the air. Arthur’s hand hovering over his Clarent 10 caliber railgun, an ancient weapon he took off a bandit tried to bushwhack him in one of the flooded sectors. The sun flickered and brightened, casting shadows from the run-down saloon behind them. as the clock tower started to ring noon.”
GUINEVERE I’m Guinevere, the fastest draw, My hand is fate, my word is law, And you should fear me. Call yourself a true gunslinger, See who has the quickest finger, Draw your gun. LANCELOT I’m Lancelot, the sharpest aim, Don’t try to play me at this game, You’re doomed to failure. You gave in to base corruption, Brought about your own destruction, Draw your gun. ARTHUR I’m Arthur, I will rule this town We’ll drive you out and run you down, Your reign is over. Sheriff Stone your death is soon, Your time is up, the clock strikes noon, Draw your gun. “Draw!” Guinevere draws quickest Her shots are clean and sure And Ezra and Ezekiel Lie bloodied on the floor She fans out four more chambers And Jezebel goes down With a new quartet of holes blown In the flesh around her frown Nathaniel stands the tallest The meanest of Stone’s clan Until three shots from Lancelot Leaves him dead atop the rusted sand Ruth and Nicodemus Mordacai and Obediah All take a heartbound rifle shell As he blows through them with fatal fire Finally there’s Arthur Who stares down Sheriff Stone He draws and fires, and leaves her kneeling Coughing blood and bits of bone “Do it, you piece of-” [GUNSHOT]
"Strength" 01:29
“The cruel Sheriff and her kin were dead, their bodies tossed to Annwn, the lightless levels of the outer station, where the ghouls lurked and feasted on corpse meat. And with her death, settlers came from the far reaches of the steel sky to live and work, for Camelot was one of the few places in the central ring which had been plugged into the water supply. Food was brought from farms on the hydroponics levels, and a seemingly neverending stream of do-gooders with guns came riding into town, offering their services of protection against the gangs that roamed the vast inner wastes. The Pendragons took these lost, violent souls and gave them purpose, sat around the huge metal table that had been in the town hall since before the oldest could remember. The three Pendragons’ rule was wrought in iron, but fairly done, for though each one craved power, it was tempered by their love for the other two. And when Camelot was safe and prosperous, Arthur sent his youngest hand, a hotheaded child named Gawain, to ride to his old camp and bring his people to Camelot, among them Arthur’s daughter Morgause. The inner level of the space station curved back on itself – steel ground that turned to sky with no horizon, but it was still a hundred miles by the shortest route to Camelot when they set out, clad in dust masks and goggles, over sandy dunes of rust."
Empty Trail 03:42
Keep on riding for our newfound home Road keeps winding where’er we may roam Gotta keep on riding, to rest our weary bones Sun keeps fading, night is gonna fall Stops it’s blazing, darkness covers all When the night time falls we’ll camp here till the morn Bike is broken, wagon can’t be towed Drop some weight to lighten up our load Push ahead now, the going gon’ be slow Axle cracked, the wheel won’t turn no more No spares packed, and no repairs in store Wheel don’t turn, devil knockin’ at our door Gawain, go out and drive into the rust Bring back help from someone we can trust If he don’t come back, there ain’t no hope for us Sun is blazing, throat is awful dry No sign of fading, left down here to fry No solace from the unrelenting sky No-one’s coming, we’re all gonna die.
"Death" 02:19
“When Gawain finally returned with a posse of Arthur’s knights, he found the caravan dead. Whether by the heat or by vengeful knives, it made no difference, the half-eaten state of them named the culprit: a ghoul raiding party. And on that day Gawain conceived a monstrous hate. All, however, failed to notice that Arthur’s child was not among the slain, for the band had taken pity upon the helpless young Morgause and saved her. From that day, she lived among the ghouls, who called themselves Saxons, after the seax knives they carried. Years passed, and the child grew from the girl Morgause into a sharp young man who chose his name as Mordred. When he was grown, young Mordred left his Saxon family and the adopted mother who took pity upon him, to find more out more of where he came from. He travelled to Camelot, and there became trusted of the Pendragons. Mordred knew Arthur as his father, but alas the aging gunfighter did not recognise his son. And so the years passed, and the oppressive heat steadily grew. Aside from the great round table and the fierce-looking seat at its head, there was one other artifact that had been in Camelot since before history: the Hanged Man. Wrought in copper and wire, no-one could remember why it had been hung from the gallows, but it had always been there. The name “BRIAN” was engraved on its chest, but time had worn most of it away and what could still be made out was read by the townsfolk as “MERLIN”. Merlin was paid no mind, until one day it started to speak. It spoke to Gawain. It spoke to Arthur. And it spoke to a wandering preacher-man by the name of Galahad.”
MERLIN Gawain, I know you fear the underworld Hate the ghouls that live in its thunder That hunger for carrion torn asunder By blades that glint in the dark But hear me when I tell you straight, your Hate’s misplaced, it’s baseless and savage. The danger’s your loathing, provoking their fear and Their violence directed at you. GAWAIN I hear what you say and I’m listening, But hanged man your words make no sense If you’ve looked in their eyes, you’ll have seen it Barbarity pure and intense I’d love to sit down and to parley But there’s no way to teach them to serve A bullet is all they deserve MERLIN Arthur, my sheriff, I’ve news to cheer you Your son yet lives, he’s drawing near you. And saved by those they blamed through fear Now he’s grown up into a man. You lived, and grieved you’d ne’er again see him, But still he came though feeling deceiving, So recognise, embrace and believe him. And you may yet save your world. ARTHUR Hanged man, your prophecy’s groundless I have no son, dead or alive It’s true that I once had a daughter But she fell to barbarian knives. I have all those I trust around me This world’s hard and I must be too. There’s none of that trust left for you. MERLIN Deep within the depths of the station You’d find the key that brings your salvation Ornate and hidden past pain and privation It’s clutched in the Captain’s cold hands But take your seat, the one that they warn you from Galahad, be strong, its visions May overwhelm but they won’t steer you wrong. Follow them through to your fate. GALAHAD Well son that’s a hell of a story, But hanged man I’m glad ya choose me. I know what’s its like when those bastards Just can’t see. I won’t forget what you told me I’ll do what I need If there’s any hope it’ll save us We might be freed From the heat From the violence From the hatred in their hearts
At the head of the table in Camelot there stood an empty chair. Its sharp form dominated the room, seeming to take no notice of the creeping rust. Two of the company had tried to sit there so far, a pair of deputies whose names were quickly forgotten. One died instantly, the other didn’t stop screaming until his death a few months later. So now it stood empty. None of this put off Galahad. On Merlin’s advice, the weathered minister walked in at the height of the day’s scorching heat. “I wouldn’t do that, preacher man” “Don’t recall asking your opinion, son.” I should explain a bit about the seat, and the world in which all this takes place. Long ago, a star-faring civilisation decided to build a space station of unparalleled size and power, in close orbit to their star, Avalon. What happened to them is a mystery, but the station, named Fort Galfridian, was left unfinished – it’s work crews abandoned. The chair in question was known to the ancients as a Siege Seat – it would lock your mind directly into the systems. All the station’s sensors and knowledge. You became one with Fort Galfridian. Which would have been fine if it wasn’t in a decaying orbit, gradually falling into the sun. The overwhelming heat and information overloaded most minds, leaving them changed and broken. And Galahad was no different, it’s just that the holy roller had a rather unique interpretation of what he saw.
Hellfire 03:24
“My people, my friends, my flock; I have had a vision – a vast fiery orb, floating in an unending sea of nothingness, and us, so small, so fragile, and falling, falling into the flames.” Your soul is connected to the world you’re in You’re dragging it down with the weight of your sin Surrounded by temptations and you just give in We’re falling into the flames That fire! That fire!That hellfire! Your brow becomes slick as you perspire Think you’re thirsty now wait till it gets drier And you feel the heat of the flames That fire! That fire! That hellfire! Your sick and sinful lives will build a funeral pyre Your perversions scar the station, son, they’re gonna fry her And we all fall into the flames That orb of damnation makes the sun seem pale You’re quite correct to quiver you are right to quail The only way to save us is to find that grail We all fall into the flames That fire! That fire! That hellfire! Your skin starts to sizzle as you expire You claim to be virtuous, but you’re a liar And will feel the heat of the flame Hellfire! Hellfire! Hellfire! Hellfire! That fire! That fire! That hellfire! At the heart of the inferno that will never tire I have seen the end is nigh, and damnation’s nigher And we all fall into the flames!
"The Lovers" 01:17
Not all of Galahad’s brain-fried revelations were fire and brimstone. The station had also revealed to the padre the existence of a key which could return to them control of all its systems, including engines that could move it away from its fiery fate. He now knew that the Galfridian Restricted Access Interface Login, or GRAIL, was located in the old Captain’s cabin, well hidden, several levels and many days travel away. Preparations were made to ride. Did they believe Galahad? Maybe not, but he was very persuasive, and if he was right, they couldn’t afford not to act. The three Pendragons were to lead the posse, with Mordred and Gawain left in charge of Camelot. Arthur’s first thought was to leave Mordred in charge alone, but the young man had always been reluctant to draw his piece and did not relish violence. His unknowing father had long mistaken this for weakness and, unfortunately, left Gawain alongside him. That evening, the GRAIL posse drank the night away in the Joyous Gard, the town saloon, before they rode into the wastes to chase Galahad’s prophecy.
LANCELOT Oh my loves, raise a glass to those we leave behind We may end up dead, with a bullet in the head But if we’re not returning from this damn fool quest Tonight we drown our sorrows down with whiskey Guinevere you’re my stars, Arthur you’re my night I know we’ve got to ride at the dawns first light And I ain’t saying this preacher man’s crusade ain’t right But first we fuel a few more sins with whiskey ARTHUR Lancelot, you’re a fool to drain your bottle dry Whiskey kills your fear, and you need hold it near ‘Cause I don’t know what is out there but we need that GRAIL And I love you, but you stink to hell of whiskey Galahad is crazy but you’ve felt this heat And the only explanation comes from his damn seat So with you and Guinevere I know we won’t be beat But we might as well have one last shot of whiskey GUINEVERE Drain your glass, strap your piece, for my loves we ride Empty miles of steel fall away below our wheels As we leave a trail of bodies of the folks we’ve slain And the camps we raid for gasoline and whiskey Maybe it’s the heat or maybe it’s the pain, But I can’t shake the feeling we’re not coming back again We’re not pure of heart, but we’re sure of aim And our heads are full of love and blood and whiskey. ARTHUR There’s a dream that I get when I look out west Of a golden age and the world’s wrongs all redressed But I wake to find there’s nothing here but fear and death And between the two there’s only blood and whisky. GUINEVERE Quit your whinging Arthur or that wound won’t heal And the vultures that are circling will get their meal LANCELOT We can mourn our dead later until then don’t feel Just clean the wound with bloody rags and whiskey
"The Fool" 01:24
While the Pendragons were away, fighting and dying on the bandit-ridden sub-levels, Mordred and Gawain spent their days running the town and arguing. If Gawain was too quick to hang, maybe Mordred was too quick to pardon, but between them they kept Camelot running. Through it all Mordred reasoned, cajoled and pleaded with Gawain for the one thing that had been in his mind since he walked into town so many years ago: peace with the Saxons. A truce with the ghouls. Arthur had always denied any such requests and did not believe the ghouls capable of reason enough for such negotiations, but now Mordred had the authority, and though Gawain could not be persuaded to support the idea, neither would he stop him. If a treaty could be formed before the Pendragons returned, maybe Arthur would see the ghouls were not the monsters he believed them to be. And so Mordred found himself returning to his adopted home in the darkness of the outer rings, where the radiation shielding was weaker, leaving the ghouls twisted, sickly things. He was once again among the carrion cooking fires, the huts of bone and gristle, and those clothed in the leather of their fallen friends, for nothing went to waste among the Saxons. And to the highest of their chieftains, he brought his proposal.
MORDRED My friends down here I return to you In the light I did what I went to do With my father’s power for peace I sue And in the sun there’s room for you CHORUS Skin and bone, you alone Don’t hate what you now see Though starving fools cry Saxon ghouls In the darkness we run free What care we for your light and sun In the dark we see, in the black we run We use a knife, they use a gun And each will kill the other one CHORUS MORDRED I beg you now this war to cease They seek the GRAIL in the depths beneath Air and water, shelter and feast We can share with you if there is peace CHORUS What care we for your wealth and GRAIL With a sharpened tooth and a jagged nail We’ve no use for your fairy tale Your childish quest is doomed to fail CHORUS We can live without this constant death is all they know I’ll defend you to my dying breath is cheap here below Please believe me there’s not much time left us but now you show I’ll show you peace, then we will try We’ll walk beneath the rusted sky
"The Hermit" 02:24
So it was agreed that the ghouls would return to the light, and talk with their oldest foes, as the survivors of those searching for the Grail, found themselves in ever thicker darkness. Until at last they found themselves in a passage, sealed up for centuries, leading to a door simply labelled “Captain”. Unfortunately, as Bors and Percival already found, the automatic gun turrets outside were still very much active. Anyone approaching was blown swiftly to pieces. Arthur was all but prepared to give up, until he saw the gleam in Galahad’s eyes. “What are you going to do?” “I’m gonna do what I was chosen to do.” And with that the maddened pilgrim stood and walked into the corridor. And the guns opened fire. Say what you want about faith, but it can do powerful things to those that have it. It can stop you faltering when the bullets start to slam into you. It can keep you walking as they blow your legs to bloody stumps. It can keep you laughing as your lungs are riddled with lead and shrapnel. It can keep you smiling as half your face is blown away. It can keep someone like Galahad standing tall until the guns clicked dry. The door was not locked, and opened without a sound as what was left of Galahad fell to the floor. From inside came a pale blue glow. A lifepod stood in the centre, with a motionless figure inside. His uniform identified him as Captain Joseph Robert Mathea. In his hands he held the GRAIL. It is a shame none of the three Pendragons thought to check the logs held in that room. They held much on how Fort Galfridean fell, and perhaps could have warned them of the terrible responsibility of holding the GRAIL.
I set foot upon my station and pride swells inside my chest Upon my coat there hangs a newly minted Captain’s crest Then the General who came with me says “My lad you must not fail, We entrust a lot of power to the holder of the GRAIL. From the air that we are breathing to the lights and solar sail All the systems stand at your command: the holder of the GRAIL.” It has been a month now since the General’s shuttle never came On the commlink theres just static, every colony the same. I have sent some crew to get help on the ship we use for mail, For I must keep up their spirits as the holder of the GRAIL. We still don’t know what has happened, but I know we must prevail, I will do my best to lead them as the holder of the GRAIL. It’s now been almost a decade since all contact first was lost And the General’s iron rule has brought on us a heavy cost. She comes up while I am fishing, and says “Son, don’t look so pale. But the engineers have mutinied, and you still hold the GRAIL. Even here in hydroponics, well, the air is smelling stale. So I order you to take it from them, holder of the GRAIL. I’m now locked inside my Cabin, and outside there’s only death I still hear the General curse me with her choking final breath If it’s truly just this station to which now we are curtailed Then the power of a god is with the holder of the GRAIL. Behind my door they are still coming, for I hear the turrets’ wail And I must sleep forever as the holder of the GRAIL.
"Judgement" 01:50
The Pendragons knew none of this, as they activated the lifepod. The Captain opened his eyes, and maybe began to speak as the long sleep wore off. The three Pendragons raised their guns and shot him dead. They took the GRAIL, and placed it in the pedestal in front of the lifepod. All at once, with a whir of ancient machinery, the pedestal rose through the station until the three of them found themselves in the centre of the round table, in the town hall of Camelot. From the console, a crackling voice spoke. “Please designate Captain for final authorisation” It was only then they realised that there could only be a single Captain, with total control of the GRAIL. Though Arthur was perhaps foremost, they has always ruled as three, their ambitions held in check. They found they had spread around the pedestal, and their hands had moved over their guns. Outside, oblivious to this, in the scorching heat of midday, the rest of Camelot stood on the nearby Camlann wastes, to meet to Saxon delegation. On that field, two hundred Saxons and twice that of townsfolk looked each other in the eyes for perhaps the first time. Mordred walked to them and there, before them all, offered a hand of friendship. He did not see the scorpion that crawled near them, nor the ghoul who drew her Seax to slay it. He did, however, hear the shot Gawain fired when he saw the drawn weapon. And then death and battle was all that he heard.
Peacemaker 03:51
GAWAIN Oh, Peacemaker, where you gonna run to? Oh, Peacemaker, are these your friends? Oh, Peacemaker, what you gonna do now? Is this your end? Oh, Peacemaker, nowhere left to hide now. Oh, Peacemaker, you have failed. Oh, Peacemaker, draw your gun now. End your tale. MORDRED No path past hatred’s stain I see that hope for unity made me a fool Corpses leer round Gawain Tell me dear brother is this how you’ll rule? “So Mordred fought, seeing in each slain saxon the face of she who saved him. And as his cheeks grew warm with tears and Saxon blood, so too his heart grew cold.” MORDRED Oh Warmonger, is this what you wanted? Oh Warmonger, it’s this all you know? Oh Warmonger, is your world so empty? Just friend or foe? Oh, Warmonger, see ‘em flee before you. Oh, Warmonger, watch them fall. Oh, Warmonger, their flowing blood implores you: Heed its call. GAWAIN Now at last free of fear My vision blurs with crimson, but I finally see Hold brutality near And release the coiled violence that’s inside of me “So Gawain fought, hearing through it all the shrill keening a vicious laughter. And as his fear bled from his pistol’s mouth, he knew the laugh was his own.” MORDRED/GAWAIN There’s nothing left to say/The air is filled with screams We’re rotten to the core/Before I treated battle like it was a toy And I will make them pay/But not in my darkest dreams For making me believe there’s more/Could I have ever touched this savage joy MORDRED …where will you run to? …where will you run to? …where will you run to?
"Justice" 02:45
As death surrounded Camelot, within the town hall the three Pendragons squared against each other. In each heart love warred with greed. And within each mind scenarios whirled. Guinevere was the quickest on the draw, no question, but maybe she could only take one of them down before the other shot her. Lancelot was the best shot, but slowest to slap leather, if he could stay alive long enough to draw, it was over. Arthur could beat him on speed, but Guinevere might be counting on this. A cloud of rust billowed in the breeze from the open door, but no sound broke the silence. Then all at once, each of the three realised their hands were moving away from their guns. As they locked eyes, they knew that love had won. Lancelot and Guinevere nodded to Arthur, who without a word moved forward towards the console, to declare himself Captain with their blessing. They knew what would happen. Fort Galfridean would live again. He could move them away from the sun. He could reactivate the lights and the radiation shielding of the lower levels. He could bring back prosperity to the hydroponics. Just this once, there could be a happy ending. Three shots rang out from the shadows of the doorway. Guinevere fell dead. Lancelot fell dead. Arthur fell to his knees. Mordred walked in with blood on his hands and tears in his eyes. “I’m sorry, father.” What words passed between them then are perhaps too personal for us to share, but when they were finished, Mordred placed his wounded father into the lifepod, and fired him into the aether. With the sound of killing fresh in his mind, the broken, hate-filled Mordred chose the new Captain and set a course for Fort Galfridian’s engines. As as high noon rang in his ears, Mordred rode his rotten world into the sun.
A broken man lies in the rust that’s stained his whole life through The blood that pools beneath him doesn’t change the metal’s hue Like rain fall long forgotten Mordred’s tears in his wounds do sting To Arthur in his arms he sings, you’re the Once and Future King. Galahad’s blind faith, Gawain’s blind hate could overcome his might His lovers’ eyes he last saw gleam in the pin of his gunsight From the wastes his child came bringing revelations of all things Arthur didn’t see, and now he’ll be, the Once and Future King. Loved only by a woman whom he’d been taught to despise Mordred’s gift to Arthur could be love in his own eyes Fating him alone to keep the life to which he clings He sends him out, into the dark, the Once and Future King. A kiss upon his forehead binds at last his son’s goodbye Just one more shot will send him out into the endless sky Here at the end of history, as the final high noon rings Mordred sits and waits without the Once and Future King Faster now and faster in the sun the Station sets Its people damned, doomed by a man who’s lost all his regrets Yet as the station burns above a second star’s shining While his world it dies, he’s left alive, the Once and Future King MORDRED We could have saved them all And yet you could not see And now you’ll always be The Once and Future King The key was in our hands etc. I fought to save your dream etc. I fought to gain your love etc.


A tale of hope and despair aboard the Fort Galfridian, long lost to the outside world, where the chaos of centuries of solitude has been brought in check at last by the guns of the Pendragon Gang. But the visions of the mad prophet Galahad, and the schemes of the Pendragons' lieutenants Mordred and Gawain, threaten to cast the station back into anarchy. And all the while, the Sun grows hotter...

This is the third studio album by The Mechanisms, written 2013-2014 and presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2014.


released July 25, 2014

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Jimmy Hetherington @ PCE Audio.
"Fort Galfridian" artwork by Ruth Wilkinson.




The Mechanisms Oxford, UK

The Mechanisms: a band of immortal space pirates roaming the universe in the starship Aurora. Some say they’re from a steampunk future, others claim they’re from a cyberpunk past, a few even whisper that they may be from a dieselpunk alternate now. They are all correct. ... more

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