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Marillion - Seasons End CD (album) cover





3.75 | 870 ratings

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2 stars Marillion was a band I came to late in the game, and our relationship remains tentative as of this writing. I started with "Seasons End" based on comparisons between the Collage album "Moonshine" and this, the first post-Fish effort. Well, the similarities seem superficial to me, mostly based on Rothery's guitar, which is really mostly Hackett's influence anyway, and Marillion's effort seems a lot softer. The brilliant Moonshine wins out easily, but "Season's End" is pretty weak even when measured against less exemplary yardsticks.

My big problem with it is the general ersatz sound of several of the songs generally considered to be highlights - "King of Sunset Town", "Hooks in You", even "Uninvited Guest", lyrically strong though they may be, or not, they really never take off, characterized by musical cliches and without much to recommend from a melodic standpoint. Even "Holloway Girl" , blessed with a great hook, doesn't develop much upon it. Luckily, "Easter" is a gem, with Rothery and Hogarth teaming up to produce a work of aching beauty, and the title cut delivers as pleasant ambient ballad. In terms of the suite type pieces, "Berlin" soars to life on impressive sax from Phil Todd, and then changes direction for one of the harder rock segments of the album, which unfortunately is a bit aimless. The original closer, "The Space" starts off a bit muddily as "Berlin" ended, improves with a spacey element introduced mid-song, and ends emotively with a powerful tune sung by Hogarth, even if it borrows lyrically, verbatim, from BJH's "For No One"'s - "Everyone is Everyone Else".

The bonus cuts are, as per normal, relegated to the superfans, although "The Bell and The Sea" does make me feel like I'm being tossed around a bit with the tide, and not in an entirely bad way. But most of these are old original versions of songs that appeared on the original disc, for completionist's sake.

If you want to pick up something from Rothery era Marillion, this might not be the best place to start, although having not heard anything else, I can't say for sure. I only hope there is a bit more substance behind the hype.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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