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Marillion - Seasons End CD (album) cover





3.75 | 874 ratings

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3 stars Seasons End marked a new era for Marillion as this would be their first album without frontman Fish. Their new lead singer took the form of Steve Hogarth (formerly keyboardist and singer of The Europeans), who joined the band during the Seasons End recording sessions after a lot of it had been finished. The most notable difference other than Hogarth's vocals, was the nearly complete abandonment of Genesis influences in their music. Many of the songs clearly were aimed at being accessible for radio play, which Marillion had been evolving towards ever since Fugazi. I can imagine Hogarth's voice may have been really annoying for die-hard fans during this transition, but it never bothered me any as Seasons End was my first purchase from Marillion, slowly acquiring albums backwards through their catalogue. Hogarth had a more theatrical style of singing and had a very emotional delivery, not to mention a very different tone compared to Fish's voice. It took some getting used to, but all these years later, I think Marillion found themselves quite a skilled vocalist who's unique style sets him apart from any other singer I've ever heard.

With Seasons End, Marillion became more of an art rock band (more rock than art) with symphonic progressive tendencies in places. Lyrically, they became better than ever (sorry Fish fans). Whether this transition in musical style was a good idea or not can be quite debatable as I really miss the instrumental escapades of their first two albums, but at the same time admire the Hogarth era for creating a unique sound that is all Marillion's. I even question whether you could call the Hogarth era neo-progressive as it is often labeled. The band would have some hits and misses after this album, some remarkably well done and some only worthwhile to fans.

If you are into accessible, song-oriented prog rock, you can't go wrong with Seasons End, a new foundation for the rest of this band's career. However, if you're looking for symphonic prog rock (or the neo-prog version of it), you won't find it on this album. Definitely a three star album. Good, but not essential. A must-have for Marillion fans.

progaardvark | 3/5 |


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