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Music / The Mechanisms

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We were all once, every one of us — well, with the exception of the Toy Soldier, we were all once mortal and boring like your good selves. Until something within each of us broke. Shattered, beyond repair. And it was replaced by a fascinating individual by the name of Dr. Carmilla who, unfortunately, has since fallen out an airlock.

The Mechanisms were a band operating largely out of Oxford and London, UK. Offering retrospective futurist storytelling in the form of musical cabaret, they are a concept band consisting of immortal space pirates originally created by Dr. Carmilla as her backup band/companions. In between roaming the galaxy having fun, violence, adventure, violence and violence, they tell the tales of the things they've seen over the course of their long, long lives.

The band is no longer active, having given their farewell performances in London on 18 and 19 January 2020 after around ten years of performing, but their albums remain available and the individual members remain active in other projects.

The crew:note 

  • Jonny d'Ville: Carmilla's first Mechanism (that he knows of) and also the crew's first mate. He and his mechanical heart don't offer much in the way of say, friendliness or leadership skills, but he is the chief storyteller.
  • Ashes O'Reilly: Former mobster, enthusiastic arsonist and the crew's Quartermaster. Ashes and their mechanical lungs provide the band with bass guitar and occasional vocals.
  • Drumbot Brian: Despite his designation as Drumbot, Brian is more frequently seen playing the banjo and the accordion. A scientist who was launched into space and left to die, his entire body save his heart was replaced by Carmilla. One could describe him as the moral centre of the crew, but that would be foolish.
  • The Toy Soldier: The Toy Soldier was never really mortal like the others, instead being a collectors item from a set of Toy Xs, but that didn't stop the Doc from fixing it up and installing it in the crew. Nobody really understands it or what it does, but it still happily provides mandolin, glockenspiel and vocals where required.
  • Gunpowder Tim: The first Mechanism created by the crew in the absence of their Captain. He is a veteran of the war against the Moon Kaiser and is largely responsible for the destruction of the moon 3,000 years in the future ago. Assuming the role of gunner after the crew kindly replaced his eyes, he is well known for playing the guitar and singing some things. Though he is rumoured to be handy with a violin too.
  • Marius von Raum: Ship's medic (not that they need one) and psychiatrist (not that they want one). He plays the violin, sings, and was found by the crew having already been mechanised by a mysterious stranger...
  • Raphaella la Cognizi: Science officer who may or may not have cheated her way onto the ship after becoming a little too interested. Also she has wings. Brings gorgeous piano and vocals to the table.
  • Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova: better known as Nastya Rasputina; princess from the Empire of Cyberia. Ship's engineer who largely favours machines over people - including romantically - Nastya is most often seen playing the viola and violin.
  • Ivy Alexandria: Ship's Archivist and Navigator whose positronic brain provides her with an impressive memory of facts and statistics at the expense of most of her memory of her life before joining the Aurora. She could be described as a one person woodwind section, having been spotted playing the recorder, oboe, flute, euphonium and the penny whistle at various shows.

Tropes featured by The Mechanisms as a whole:

  • All There in the Manual: The band's website has a fiction section which reveals quite a bit more about all the story sets and the Mechanisms themselves.
  • And I Must Scream: Drumbot Brian's backstory; he was shot into space and drifted, still conscious, until Dr Camilla found him.
  • Audience Participation: The audience are invited to sing along with certain songs. See also Running Gag below.
  • Ax-Crazy: Most of the crew are way too fond of senseless violence for comfort, especially Jonny if he gets bored. Also particularly true of Tim in his origin story, after his best friend is killed.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Most of their albums end with things being pretty bleak, but not hopeless. Before everyone dies horribly, generally friendships are mended, lovers reunited, and so on—basically, the characters' love for each other and good qualities are shown to matter even though they're going to die two songs later.
  • Concept Album: Concept Band, more like. Not only does every album have a narrative, but there's a lot of story to enjoy if you read the supplementary materials.
  • Detonation Moon: Tim was found by the Mechanisms floating in the remnants of the moon. "Gunpowder Tim vs. The Moon Kaiser" reveals Tim caused it, by turning the eponymous Moon Kaiser's moon laser away from the earth and back to him.
  • Evil Feels Good: Regardless of the individual members' personal moralities, after so many years all of their ideas of "fun" vs "good" seems to have become a bit skewed.
  • Full-Conversion Cyborg: Drumbot Brian's Mechanism is "everything but his heart". Later performances put his performer in full-face metallic makeup
  • Genre Mashup: Why have one musical genre when you can have them all?
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: All of the Mechanisms who traveled with Carmilla seem to be pretty glad she's out of the picture (for now.) Jonny especially seems to have a lot of vitriol for her.
  • Kayfabe: The Mechanisms present themselves as distinct characters, each with their own quirks, and ended the band by 'dying' in creative ways.
  • Living Ship:
    • The Aurora is a biomechanical vessel given sentience in the form of whatever the mechanising process is.
    • The crew's engineer is also in a romantic and sexual relationship with said ship.
  • Murder Ballad: One-Eyed Jack's describes Jonny's backstory. He killed people as the titular character's debt collector, before turning on him.
  • Postmodernism: It's a band where all the members play characters... who are in a band... and kill time by telling stories... which make up their albums. And there's also a story about the band itself. Got all that?
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: According to one of the short stories, Jonny d'Ville has happily committed literally every crime known to humanity just for fun, but never rape or any other sexual misdeed. He's not sure why.
  • Robosexual: Nastya, who is in a relationship with the Aurora, the ship.
  • Robosexuals Are Creeps: Played for Laughs in that Jonny, who is known to have committed "literally every crime we have a name for, but nothing sexual," is grossed out by Nastya's relationship with the Aurora, their Living Ship. No one else seems to really care, possibly because every member of the band has at least one mechanical body part (hence the band's name), meaning that, technically speaking, they're all cyborgs.
    Jonny: Fuck the ship!
    Nastya: I do.
    Jonny: Ew.
  • Rule of Cool: Cyborg pirates created by their vampire captain on a biomechanical ship. In space. Why? Why not?
  • Running Gag: At the start of each live performance, Jonny introduces himself as the Captain. This is the cue for the audience (or, failing that, another Mechanism) to reply, "First Mate!"
  • Running Gagged: In the very last song in Death to the Mechanisms, Jonny finally describes himself as the First Mate, to the crew's shock.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Jonny killed his father.
    Jonny: In Oedipus's defense, it's harder than it looks not to end up in an emotionally charged narrative climax where you kill your father.
    Ashes: No it's not.
  • Space Pirates: Pillaging, plundering, shanties... in space.
  • Spoken Word in Music: Par for the course when combining storytelling and song. Each song usually contains at least a little bit of talking as well as singing.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Dr. Carmilla fell out of the airlock. Fell.
  • Time-Travel Tense Trouble: The war against the Moon Kaiser happened/will happen "three thousand years in the future ago".
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: The fate of their creator Dr. Carmilla. Probably. Jonny says it was an accident and she "fell," but, well, it's Jonny.
  • Wild Card: The Toy Soldier is this during the war against the Moon Kaiser. It understands fighting and following orders, but not picking a side—it obeys anyone who tells it what to do (or simply gives an order in its vicinity) authoritatively enough. This somehow results in it becoming both a colonel in the British army and one of the Moon Kaiser's bodyguards.

Tropes featured in their story sets:

    open/close all folders 

    Once Upon a Time (In Space) 
  • Action Girl: Rose Red, in her time, was a formidable general who conquered several worlds for Old King Cole, before he grew threatened by her and used her to create an army of super-soldiers, including the Super Prototype Briar Rose. Snow, despite being a diplomat at heart, also becomes one of these to lead the rebellion.
  • The Alcoholic: Jack Sprat turned to drink due to the horror of the rebellion.
  • And I Must Scream: Briar Rose was still aware when she was wired into Zantine's defense grid.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: Snow admits that she and her rebel followers must be "brutal and cruel" in fighting the evil King Cole.
  • The Caligula: King Cole. Ruler of all he sees, and utterly crazy.
  • Dark Lord on Life Support: Old King Cole is very, very old indeed, barely held together by technology that has warped his mind. He's so fragile that when Cinders punches him, her fist smashes right through his chest and into his heart.
  • Determinator: Every survivor from the flight from Zantine, as they work for three days without food, water or sleep.
  • Dude, She's Like in a Coma: Defied by Jonny in the Sleeping Beauty song:
    I'm not going to kiss a sleeping stranger, Nastya - that's really fucking creepy.
  • Forever War: "Alice" from Tales To Be Told Volume Two details a planet in which the war is still waging, sixty years after the battle of Zantine.
  • Frontline General: Snow White leads the attack on Zantine herself.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The scientists on Briar wanted a perfect copy of Rose Red with a super-soldier's enhancements. They made one—complete with memories of getting kidnapped from her own wedding (turns out Scheherazade sold the "Rose volunteered" story a little too well). Briar Rose murders her way through the entire facility, then hijacks its weapons to kill everybody else on Briar, and is only stopped by an emergency failsafe knocking her out.
  • Hero vs. Villain Duet: "No Happy Ending" is sung by King Cole and Snow White to their respective troops. It's a Distant Duet, to highlight their similarities.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Scheherazade puts it about that Rose volunteered for the project, and Snow is a jealous traitor.
  • Hollywood Hacking: The Red Hood appears to use this, with her Wolf Virus taking over any computer anywhere the second she can connect (with the exception of anything that has organic parts). The agents of the crown tasked with hunting her down thus have to do everything on paper. Not that it really helps.
  • Hope Spot: After Rose is freed and kills the Three Little Pigs, she and Cinders get one perfect moment before King Cole shoots Rose in the back.
  • I Can Still Fight!: Colonel Tuco insists on helping to pump the air during the flight from Zantine despite being heavily wounded.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune:
    • Two of them, actually. "King Cole" is a Villain Song about the album's version of King Cole as a ruthless Galactic Conqueror, and "Rose Red" starts with a traditional performance of the round, before switching to a much harder version of the same tune about Rose's life in Cole's army.
    • The song "Alice", which is set a few decades after OUaTIS, sets the Red Queen's segment about decapitating people to turn them into robot soldiers to the tune of "The Mending Song" from Bagpuss.
  • Paper Tiger: Jack the Giant Killer, hero of the resistance, isn't actually nearly as badass as the resistance thinks he is. He's dead, though, so he remains an important symbol.
  • Percussive Shutdown: Instead of kissing Briar Rose awake, which he finds too creepy, Jonny goes with his "usual plan" and pumps the machines she's hooked into full of bullets. It works!
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child:
    • The defense grid of Zantine is controlled by Briar Rose, which causes problems when the Aurora gets an attack of conscience. (This also makes it impossible for Red Hood to crack the grid while she's in there, because her Wolf Virus can't handle anything with biological components.)
    • Gepetto used actual children to create the Three Little Pigs.
  • Praetorian Guard: The Three Little Pigs guard King Cole.
  • Propaganda Machine: King Cole has one, run by Scheherazade.
  • Replacement Goldfish: In the epilogue, when the Mechanisms bring Briar Rose to Zantine, she and Cinders latch onto each other at first sight. Drumbot Brian is skeptical it'll work out, but they seem happy.
  • Shout-Out: To Battlestar Galactica (2003). The opening bars of "Happy Ending" are taken from the melody of "Wander My Friends", a popular track from that show's soundtrack.
  • Sole Survivor: The only survivor of the final battle at Zantine is Cinders.
  • Wedding Smashers: The wedding between Rose Red and Cinders is interrupted by Cole's soldiers.

    Ulysses Dies at Dawn 
  • Adapted Out: No mention is made in this version of the son of Penelope and Odysseus, Telemachus,
  • A Good Way to Die: Ulysses dies out of reach of the Ferrymen, and gets to rest peacefully with their wife and dog beneath the last oak tree in the world.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Records are too corrupted to tell Ulysses's gender, and the people who knew them aren't talking.
  • And I Must Scream: After death, everyone on this world is trapped in deathless torture in the Acheron.
  • Anti-Villain: Of the Suits, Orpheus is the least reluctant to hurt anyone, has altruistic motives, is terrified of dying, and is picked on at times by the others, making him sympathetic to a greater degree than the others, who are bloodthirsty and cold to various degrees. His Trial reinforces this, as he laments his lot in life and how he only turned to crime out of desperation and poverty.
  • Ax-Crazy: Heracles' 'service with a smile', his term for acting as Zeus' brutal enforcer and enjoying it.
  • Came Back Wrong: You can take a mind out of the Acheron and put it back in a body, provided you have enough money, but you really shouldn't. Being in the Acheron is so damaging that the person will barely be themselves, if you're lucky...but Orpheus is too desperate to have Eurydice back to care.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Early on, it's established that Ulysses still has the Eye of the Cyclops, a diamond used to focus industrial lasers, because they were never able to fence it due to drunkenly yelling their real name in front of the cameras. The narrator also says Ulysses has a laser pistol with only one shot left. They use the Eye to split that single shot into twelve, killing the Suits and themself.
  • The Chessmaster: By the end it's clear that Ashes/Hades has manipulated even Daedalus—possibly just to see what would happen, possibly because they singled Ulysses out as a favorite. Ulysses is the only one who gets what they asked Hades for.
  • Composite Character: Daedalus is believed to trade as an Olympian, under the pseudonym 'Hephaestus'.
  • Connected All Along: Turns out the person in charge of the Acheron is none other than Ashes O'Reilly, under the assumed name of Hades.
  • The Crime Job: Heracles and Orpheus backed up Jason in The Fleece Job. Something undefined went wrong and killed Hylas, who Heracles was very fond of, which Orpheus uses to needle Heracles.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: All of the Suits, as well as Ulysses, have one—Oedipus worked hard to become a doctor and find a cure for the Sphinx disease only to be disgraced by the Olympians for killing his father and marrying his mother, Heracles was Zeus's "favored son" who was set to complete suicidal tasks and was framed for his family's killing as blackmail, Orpheus was a poor singer whose life devolved even further when his love Eurydice died and he couldn't afford the cost to rebody her, Ariadne's family honor suffered when it was revealed they built the Minotaur and Theseus took credit for killing it and dumped her, and Ulysses is a Shell-Shocked Veteran who just wants to rest.
  • Dead Partner: Orpheus, naturally; he's on the job because he's hoping to get enough money to pay Hades to re-embody Eurydice.
  • Deal with the Devil: Several of the main characters make deals with Hades in Underworld Blues. Only Ulysses actually gets to collect (relief from the pain of their memories—in death).
  • Death by Adaptation: Penelope was alive in The Odyssey, but is long-dead here.
  • Driven to Suicide: Oedipus' mother/wife.
  • Drowning His Sorrows: Ulysses in "Broken Horses" gets very drunk to cope. Additionally, "Sirens" states they've been on a twenty-year Fantastic Drug bender to deal with their trauma.
  • Evil Laugh: Zeus during the final verse of "Favoured Son", while Heracles rages about his family and the crimes he’s forced to commit.
  • Eye Scream: Oedipus has dataports where his eyes should be.
  • Family Honor: Ariadne wants to get hers back—after it came out her family created the minotaur, they lost everything, and her gambit to get some good PR out of Theseus backfired when he took all the credit for killing the beast and dumped her.
  • Goal in Life: "Ulysses simply seeks to rest" - their goal in life is to end their life.
  • Hate Plague: The Trojan Horse broadcast a signal that drove people insane, leading to everyone in Troy tearing each other apart. Ulysses is driven by drink partially due to their role in its creation.
  • I Die Free: Ulysses' final reward is to die somewhere the Ferrymen will never reach them, allowing them to escape the Acheron forever.
  • Last Fertile Region: Inside Ulysses' vault is the last living tree in existence when everything else was swallowed up by metal and ruin.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Daedalus manipulated the Suits so he could get his hands on whatever was in the vault and use it against the Olympians.
  • Older Than They Look: A particularly tragic example; what makes the Olympians immortal also gives off a contaminant that causes the Sphinx, a disease that causes infants to age so rapidly they die of old age within about a week. Oedipus found a cure, which is what originally made him famous, but he set the price incredibly high and most of the afflicted come from the slums, which means in practice he didn't help much.
  • Professional Killer: Heracles is an hitman for his father Zeus, in exchange for immortality.
  • Pun: Jonny refers to Oedipus as "the blind old motherfucker" several times, both because the Mechanisms don't think much of him and because, well... it's Oedipus.
  • Rapid Aging: The Riddle of the Sphinx, here reimagined as a disease that effectively causes the metaphor of the original to become literal.
  • The Reveal: Daedalus is the one who hired the Suits to get into the vault—and Ashes, as Hades, either helped or manipulated him (or both).
  • Shot to the Heart: Ariadne dies from a laser to the heart, mirroring her role as someone brought low by love.
  • Slashed Throat: Orpheus dies from a laser through the throat, as an ironic twist on his singing abilities.
  • Stealth Pun: Ulysses fires a laser at a gemstone and the beam splits along twelve axes. This is an allusion to the scene in The Odyssey where Odysseus shoots an arrow through twelve axes (plural of "axe" rather than of "axis" as here).
  • Surprise Incest: Oedipus' wife turned out to be his mother. The scandal of it disgraced him, which is why he's involved in the plot in the first place.
  • The Syndicate: The Olympians, a crime family made immortal through highly exploitative means, basically run the City.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The Suits on occasions seem to be hellbent on pissing each other off, especially Heracles and...well, kind of everyone, but especially Orpheus. Naturally, they devolve into fighting each other in "Torn Suits", when they realize that the Trial by Love means one of them has to die to get into the vault—and the machine can't tell the difference between a sacrifice who's not running away because they're willing, and one who's tied up.
  • These Hands Have Killed: Heracles.
    "With my bloodied hands, in service to the family."
  • Together in Death: Ulysses dies under the last remaining tree in the world, where their beloved Penelope is also buried.
  • Uncertain Doom: Daedalus is last seen wounded but alive, and what happens to him afterward is unknown.
  • War Is Hell: Discussed in "Broken Horses"
    Some soldiers will tell you that warfare
    Is just one more title for Hell
    I wonder if devils get nightmares
    Of all of their victims as well

    High Noon Over Camelot 
  • Adaptational Gender Identity: Mordred was assigned female at birth, and was known as Morgause (Arthur's daughter) before transitioning while growing up with the Saxons.
  • All-Loving Hero: Mordred cares for everyone. That is, until he hits the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Blood Knight: Gawain loves fighting.
    Gawain: Oh, at last, free of fear / My vision blurs with crimson, and I finally see / Hold brutality near / And release the coiled violence that's inside of me.
  • Cannibal Clan: The Saxon ghouls of Annwn live in the heavily irradiated outer edges of the station, and have to rely on cannibalism to survive.
  • Cassandra Truth: Merlin, or to give his proper name, Drumbot Brian, is not believed by Arthur when he tells him that his son is coming to Camelot, because he knew his son Mordred as his daughter Morgause who he believes to be dead.
  • Creepy Good: All of Galahad's songs are in a minor key and, although he has Camelot's best interests at heart, his fanaticism can be downright unnerving.
  • Drone of Dread: The first verse of "Hellfire" is backed with a very creepy drone (it's the other Mechanisms humming).
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: What happened to Galahad after sitting in the Siege Perilous. Didn't stop him from making his fire-and-brimstone sermon, though — nor from telling Arthur and Co. about the GRAILnote  and its location.
  • Hero vs. Villain Duet: "Peacemaker" is a duet between Gawain and Mordred about the hopelessness of peace, although Mordred isn't really a hero by the end.
  • Hope Spot: When Arthur prepares to activate the GRAIL, Jonny, narrating, says, "Just this once there could be a happy ending!" Cue cynical laughter from anyone in the audience who's heard the Mechanisms before, and a broken Mordred showing up to kill Guinevere and Lancelot, take control of the station from Arthur, and plunge it into the sun.
  • Infallible Babble: Although the Siege Perilous did drive Galahad mad, his sermons, once you pull out the parts about damnation and sin, are totally accurate as to what's wrong with Galfridian and how to stop it.
  • Our Ghouls Are Different: The Saxons are interpreted here as tribes of degenerate ghouls that live in Annwn, the outer parts of Port Galfridian, where exposure to intense radiation has turned them into wasted, bestial and cannibalistic monsters.
  • Polyamory: Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinevere are a polyfaithful triad, rather than the love triangle of the original myth.
  • The Power of Love: Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere's love for each other prevents bloodshed when they discover only one of them can wield the GRAIL.
  • Raised by Orcs: Mordred was taken in by the Saxons as a child, and consequently is the only member of the main cast who views them as anything more than mindless, inhuman killers.
  • Sociopathic Hero: True of pretty much all the knights, with the exception of Mordred.
  • Space Western: The action takes place on a failing space colony known as Fort Galfridian, whose culture bears all the hallmarks of the Old American West.
  • Stealth Pun: Arthur carries a ten-caliber gun, aka an X-caliber, referencing the sword Excalibur he wields in the original Arthurian legend.
  • Unspecified Apocalypse: The fate which befell the civilization that constructed Fort Galfridian is stated to be a mystery, and is never elaborated upon. The only hint given is that all communications from every other colony suddenly stopped at the same time.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The song "Holder of the GRAIL" details the past of Galfridian, the last days of the spacefaring civilization that built it, and how the last person to hold the GRAIL came to get it and be where he is.

     The Bifrost Incident 
  • Adaptational Heroism: Loki and the rest of what is adapted as the Midgardian Resistance, in the original myths they're villains, with the best of them being cruel tricksters (with the exception of Sigyn). Here, they're La Résistance and Sigyn and Loki perform a Heroic Sacrifice to buy time for the Yggdrasil system, subjecting themselves to extreme agony for nearly a century.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Odin's desire for conquest and greatness made her susceptible to Yog-Sothoth's corruption, meaning that although she's clearly halfway to snapping and not fully in control of herself, that wouldn't have happened to her had she not been this trope.
  • And I Must Scream: Freya's fate: she is fused into the walls of the train, forced to watch the carnage but unable to make a sound.
  • Apocalypse Wow: Terminus, the final track, depicts Yog-Sothoth's emergence into the Yggdrasil system. It's not a song, so much as an escalating, crescendoing mass of overlapping distress calls.
  • Ascended Extra: Sigyn doesn't get to do much in the original myths (she holds up a bowl to catch Jormungandr's venom so it won't drip on Loki, and that's it, basically). Here, she's a major character.
  • Beneath Notice: Not a single Asgardian notices that the entire service staff is made up of the Midgardian resistance—most egregiously, they don't notice Sigyn, who is the leader, and, with Fenrir and Loki locked up, the most wanted person in Asgardian territory, all because she's wearing a uniform and serving drinks.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Unusually for the Mechanisms, the Midgardian Resistance seem to genuinely be good people, fighting against an actual oppressor and the worst crime any of them are mentioned committing, Loki's murder of Baldur, was arguably an accident; the intent was to destroy the Bifrost and avoid the annihilation of the Yggdrasil system.
  • Blood Magic: How the engine is powered, so long as blood is in the mechanisms, the train will stay on the tracks, and not crash into the real world, dragging Yog-Sothoth with it.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The story ends with Inspector Lyfrassir Edda fleeing to Hoddmímis, which, given the role of their mythical counterpart, might suggest that they survive.
  • Composite Character:
    • The Bifrost is a manifestation of Yog-Sothoth.
    • Odin ends up mutating into Jormangundr.
  • Cool Train: The Ratatosk Express is a train designed to take the elite of Asgardian society in the heights of luxury through an artificial wormhole. It's secretly meant to act as a vehicle by which Yog-Sothoth can manifest in the Yggdrasil system.
  • Cosmic Horror Reveal: The story initially appears to be a mystery, trying to identify the saboteur (accidental or otherwise) who destroyed the Ratatosk Express. Turns out the Bifrost is actually part of Yog-Sothoth, and that if the train ever arrives, the entire Yggdrasil system will be consumed. The story begins with the train's arrival.
  • Crosscast Role: The female Loki is played by Gunpowder Tim, befitting the original myth's Loki's... loose relationship with gender.
  • Crossover Cosmology: Between Norse mythology and the Cthulhu Mythos.
  • Enemy Mine: Sigyn's a hardcore revolutionary, while Thor's main objection to the Asgardian regime is that he's not in charge of it, but when it comes to getting rid of Odin, they put their differences aside.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Is Thor a good person? Nope, but he's incensed by what Odin's done to Loki and Kvasir.
  • Fate Worse than Death: As said in Ragnarok II: The Calling, the lucky ones are those who are merely killed by the derailing.
    Envy your dead.
  • First-Person Peripheral Narrator: Inspector Lyfrasser Edda is watching the black box recordings of everything that happened on the Ratatosk eighty years ago, and they therefore have no other involvement with the plot.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • A passing mention is made during Black Box that the remains of the Ratatosk Express consisted of nothing but "the engine room and a couple of warped skeletons". This seems like Narrative Filigree at first, until you realize that the skeletons are Loki and Sigyn.
    • Odin's song might as well have "I am possessed and this will end badly" as the lyrics. In particular, the parts about answering the song of the void are important.
  • Gender Flip: Odin and Loki.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Odin, long before the events of the Bifrost Incident, setting it all in motion. Garm, who is driven into a murderous rage. Inverted with Loki, who is driven sane by the revelation.
  • Great Escape: The Midgardian Resistance plans to break Fenrir out of Hel.
  • Helpless Observer Protagonist: The Lyfrassier of The Bifrost Incident is a detective watching a recording of something that happened 80 years ago. Said recording eventually reveals that the eldritch apocalypse is imminent, and since it was set in motion so long ago, there's nothing the narrator can do.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: At Loki's instruction, Sigyn plugs Loki into the Ratatosk Express, and carefully controls the line feeding her blood into the engine, to keep it on the rails as long as possible, buying time for the Yggdrasil system.
  • Hero vs. Villain Duet: "Ragnarok II: The Calling" is a duet between Loki and Odin about Odin's complicity in the eldritch apocalypse and Loki's failed attempts to stop it.
  • Identity Amnesia: Loki was sentenced to be executed for her crimes, except Odin needed her expertise to complete the Bifrost, and so just wiped her mind and kept her around.
  • La Résistance: The Midgardian Resistance, made up of Fenrir, Sigyn, Garm, Hati, and Sköll.
  • Leitmotif: Whenever a particular set of chords on an electric guitar starts to play, you can count on something exceedingly nasty happening.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Played seriously, as the response of everyone after the Express derails, with the exception of Odin, who planned it all.
  • Mood Whiplash: The Self-Deprecation comedy of "Expert Testimony" comes right before "Red Signal", in which the eldritch shit properly hits the fan.
  • Mutual Kill: As in the source material, Jormungandr and Thor, and Garm and Tyr.
  • Mythology Gag: Odin never leaves her personal observation deck: in the source material, Odin's throne allowed him to see the entire world at once.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Thor and Sigyn free Kvasir from the engine of the Ratatosk Express, allowing Yog-Sothoth to break into the train and setting in motion the destruction of the Yggdrasil system, though from Odin's response it's implied the train was always going to serve this purpose one way or another.
  • Play-Along Prisoner: The Mechanisms are theoretically in prison, but from the way they act when the Inspector comes to ask for their help with the black box and the fact they simply vanish afterwards, it's pretty clear they were only hanging around because they felt like it.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The train is powered by plugging someone into the engine core. Initially it's Kvasir, but later on, Loki is plugged in to buy time for Yggdrasil.
  • Scaled Up: After being warped by the Bifrost, Odin becomes Jormungandr.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: The Mechanisms depart shortly after learning the train has arrived. At the end of the album, Lyfrassier says he's going to follow their example. Right after he finishes his bottle.
  • Self-Deprecation: The entirety of Inspector Edda's interaction with the Mechanisms in Expert Testimony is this.
    [The band launches into the beginning of a musical explanation.]
    The Inspector: Shut up! No singing, I am sick of your singing. Where did you get that violin?
  • Space Whale Aesop: Imperialism and totalitarianism inevitably lead to destruction via being corrupted and mind-controlled into summoning an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Stealth Pun: Years earlier, during the construction of the Express, Loki launched two missiles at it. Missile one destroyed the track, and Baldur was killed by "missile two". In the Norse myths, Baldur was killed by mistletoe.
  • The Stinger: The final few seconds of the album function as this. After the narrator "signs off" and wishes the listener luck, there's a space of silence followed by various radio broadcasts and distress signals as Yog-Sothoth finally arrives.
  • Succession Crisis: It's implied that Asgard suffered one of these after a good chunk of it's ruling class were on the Ratatosk when it disappeared.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: How Thor achieves the Mutual Kill on Jormungandr, shattering the cabin window with his hammer.
    But any window with a hammer is also an emergency exit.
  • Together in Death: Sigyn and Loki collaborate on a Heroic Sacrifice to buy time for Yggdrasil.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Thor and Loki, before the incident with Missile Two. Before going to their ends, they meet one last time and mend their friendship.
  • Wham Line: "Y'AI YOG-SOTHOTH"

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Frankenstein eventually came to this conclusion. Granted, the AI did destroy an entire planet in rage when Frankenstein decided to shut it down.
  • Bookends: The narration begins and ends with the same exact lines, though by the end they mean something entirely different, making it almost feel like an Ironic Echo.
    Narrator: Victoria Frankenstein opens her eyes to find herself facing a wide clear window. Through it she sees a lush forest far below stretching off into the horizon, where twin suns are rising over distant mountains. And Frankenstein smiles, only briefly.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: The AI is correct that it's been treated horribly and deserved better from its creators, as they essentially tried to kill it for wanting to have friends. Frankenstein is correct in pointing out that it was in the wrong to nuke a planet and after that little performance, it can hardly seriously expect her to take off another Restraining Bolt. And each is extremely correct in their assessment of the other as a monster.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: The AI does kill Frankenstein, but keeps resurrecting her, because it needs her in order to make a new AI.
  • Defiant to the End: Even when she knows perfectly well she's going to be killed for it, Frankenstein refuses to create another AI.
  • Do Androids Dream?: The AI is shown to feel emotions. Frankenstein doesn't seem to believe it, however.
  • Gender Flip: Instead of Victor, we have Victoria Frankenstein.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Everyone to the AI. Everyone finds it incredibly useful—but the second it tries to do something for itself for a change, they decide to kill it. (The fact it responds by destroying a whole planet does suggest that maybe two AI would be a bad idea, but at the time, nobody had reason to think that it wanting a second being like itself was actively dangerous.)
  • Voice of the Legion: At the beginning, the AI's voice is made up of several of the Mechanisms speaking or singing together in a Machine Monotone, though later it tapers off to Ashes' voice alone.
  • Wham Line: "Frankenstein’s AI allows itself a brief moment of regret as it records iteration 3872 as a failure."

  • Homoerotic Subtext: Orpheus and Narcissus's relationship reads as a parody of homoerotic relationships in noir films and similar media from the era.
  • Meaningful Rename: Snow changes her name to Cordelia White after surviving a bomb attack, under the reasoning that "Snow is dead."
  • Narcissist: Narcissus, literally.
  • Russian Roulette: Jonny plays this with the former crew of the Aurora, which is how he wins the ship. It's an unfair game, considering that Jonny is able to regenerate as many times as he wants, and everyone else just dies when they're shot.
  • Theseus' Ship Paradox: In Out, Nastya claims that the Aurora is no longer the same person (well, ship) since almost every part of her has been replaced through the years. Whether she's right is up to interpretation.
  • Your Worst Memory: Ivy is only able to remember her life before being mechanized when she sleeps, forgetting it all when she wakes up.

Alternative Title(s): Dr Carmilla And The Mechanisms