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Marillion - Brave CD (album) cover





3.97 | 1114 ratings

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5 stars I cited this in my review of 'Marbles' as being the first masterpiece by Marillion while led by Hogarth. Simply put, 'Brave' is one of the best albums of all-time. I have never heard another record so full of emotion and dripping with atmosphere. It's easily one of the most cinematic albums that I own. It's a concept album, but one that isn't overwrought with pretensions or clichés. It follows the story of a girl that is found on a bridge by the police who has no memory of who she is, and the album explores her past.

Beginning with the ethereal "Bridge," 'Brave' grabs a hold of the listener immediately. A certain somber feeling is captured with the first few chords, and it doesn't let up until the end. It is certainly an emotional experience and it's a memorable one. The album then takes a dive into "Living With The Big Lie," a rocking song that contains some fiery singing from Hogarth. The song slowly dissolves into the organ chords of "Runaway," another excellent song with a painstakingly fierce solo by Steve Rothery. All the while, the setting is being maintained by Mark Kelly's synth work, which keeps the listener focused on the concept at hand.

"Goodbye To All That" is a longer song that is divided into smaller movements. It begins with the distant cries of h, before launching into an driving force of nature, led by Ian Mosley's drums and Rothery's guitar. The lyrics evoke such a sense of hopelessness that it's impossible not to be drawn into the world of this girl. "Goodbye To All That" realistically twists and turns its way through feelings confusion, anger, and depression. The execution of the concept alone would be impressive, but the music is so flawlessly designed to imprison the listener in this world that it extends beyond the realm of concept album.

"Hard As Love" is a rocking song with great work by Pete Trewavas, Mosley, and Rothery - and another stunning delivery by Hogarth. 'Brave' follows up with the quiet and beautiful "The Hollow Man," which is one of my favorite tracks on the record. "The Lap Of Luxury" is a truly epic song with hauntingly dark lyrics and two great solos from Rothery. "Now Wash Your Hands" seems to be the breaking point for the girl, and contains some suitably disheartening keyboards from Kelly. "Brave" opens with an ominous and breathtaking chord being played on synths with bagpipes playing over them - it's one of the most amazing moments on the album. After a wonderful performance from Hogarth, it disintegrates into distant hums, faraway laughter, and whispers.

"The Great Escape" was nearly the album closer, and for good reason. It is the release of all the emotions and atmosphere being sustained throughout. The whole band plays to the best of their abilities, weaving around each other. The song collapses at the end, and fades away to the sound of water. 'Brave' closes with one of Marillion's most beautiful songs, "Made Again." Rothery plays a somber guitar, while Hogarth sings with hope. 'I have been here many times before/In a life I used to live/But I never saw the streets so fresh/Washed with the morning rain/Like the whole world has been made again." Eventually the band joins in at the end, around Rothery's optimistic acoustic guitar.

I'm thankful 'Brave' ends the way it does, with the hope that there could be something good arising from all of her troubles.

Freak | 5/5 |


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