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Marillion - Seasons End CD (album) cover





3.75 | 870 ratings

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3 stars Easy access - I never expected that from Marillion

I was introduced to Marillion at the end of the eighties, around the time La Gazza Ladra came out. Within a record time I went to try all their albums, and I really liked what I heard. So, like many, I considered the announcement that Fish was going to be the beginning of the end for the band. To some extend, the release of this album, Season's End came as a positive surprise, it turned out that Steve Hogarth was, no matter how much it is debated. actually a pretty good singer. This album is a lot more accessible than the four studio albums with Fish, and it's definitely different in style. The guitars and keyboards are still as present as they always were, but the songs are less dark and with The Uninvited Guest and Hooks in You we get two rock songs that are as unlike Marillion as the band themselves can get. Steve's talent as a singer and, less fortunately, his musical ideas put the band onto a different track.

The album opens with The King of Sunset Town, a song that caught my attention right away when I first heard it. I'll never know whether that is because of the fact that it was the first Marillion song without Fish that I heard, or because of the image of a Chinese student trying to hold of the tanks at a Beijing's Tiananmen Square. A song that gets me every time, lyrically and musically. Following is Season's End, a semi acoustic ballad in 3/4, which even my wife likes to hear every once in a while. Downside is that it gets boring rather quickly. It's follower, The Uninvited Guest is something Marillion would never have done with Fish - the 'I' character is the opposite of the victim Fish considered himself. It's a rocking tune, and not very complicated. I use this track to reminds myself of how my customers (I'm a consultant) could feel if I present my message in the wrong way. Still, although I like the song when my I'm in a certain mood, it's not a Marillion worthy effort.

Season's End and Holloway Girl are two somewhat emotional tracks that reveal some interesting things when listened to very carefully. However, the songs take very long to gather speed and momentum, so it's easy to get bored and skip to the next track. Berlin is a longer track, with some great saxophone work going on about halfway. It contains a number of mood changes and could be considered a mini epic, that suffers from the same lack of energy as the previous two. Hooks in You is, as far as I know, a one time experiment by the band, a straightforward, catchy guitar rock tune. Love it or hate it, it's far from what Marillion stands (or stood for), but at times it feels great to be driving a car with this one blairing from the speakers. The Space finally is a 6 minute track, that I always feel lasts 12 minutes. The tempo and volume go up and down, and musically it shows what the band can do, but again, it gets boring after a while.

My original vinyl didn't include the track After Me, which I later found on the CD release. A short half acoustic/half electric track that doesn't do much for me. The lyrics are almost a continuous repetition of the track title.

All in all, this album shows that Marillion was not dead after Fish left, although for many, including myself, they would go into a coma about one or two albums after this one. Steve Hogarth's influence on the band shows already, and it makes the album good, but not a masterpiece. Marillion gets very accessible on this album, and it's hard to forget the dark beauty of what preceeded it. I could give this 4 stars, as an essential mile stone in the history of Marillion, but music wise I have to keep it at 3 - good, but not essential. After so many years it still hurts that the biggest source of musical energy in this album is in the two least Marillion-like tracks, something that is barely compensated by the opening track and the sax in Berlin.

Angelo | 3/5 |


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