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Steve Rothery - The Ghosts Of Pripyat CD (album) cover


Steve Rothery



3.90 | 203 ratings

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4 stars Pripyat, an abandoned city in The Ukraine, abandoned because of the shocking Chernobyl disaster. Given that this shell of a place lends its name to the album, or, rather, the ghosts who haunt it, you would not really expect to have that much a of a laugh fest, really.

Actually, though, there are some wonderfully uplifting moments here, in addition to the evocative, and downright haunting.

This is the debut Steve Rothery solo album, which is something of a surprise given that he has delighted us with Marillion for more than 30 years now. Yes, there have been the two exceptional Wishing Tree collaborations with the lovely Hannah Stobart, and other guest appearances, most notably recently with Steve Hackett, who returns the favour by guesting on the rather understated opener, Morpheus, and then returns on the third track, Old Man Of The Sea, alongside the colossus of modern prog, Mr Wilson, and the result is every bit as good as one would expect with three virtuoso musicians working together. The closing riffs are wonderfully thunderous, with a genuine wall of sound being lovingly created.

Actually, the comment regarding the three "stars" on that track is a tad unfair, because, in reality, this is, really, The Steve Rothery Band, such is the fine support he receives from Dave Foster on guitar, Riccardo Romano's exceptional soundscapes on keyboards, Yatim Halimi on bass, who has been wonderful on the recent Panic Room albums, and Leon Parr on drums. This feels and sounds like a band who have been together far longer than they actually have - tight and knowing.

Rothery, it is fair to say, gets to stretch his riffs, including some very heavy passages, far more than he has in recent Marillion releases, although, of course, his day job is part of a collective writing machine. Here, he gets to express himself free from those constraints. The riffs on the wonderfully Gothic White Pass are a very good example of this freedom of expression, quite unlike anything the parent band have ever produced.

There are no lyrics here, just music. Sometimes, as in the title track which closes proceedings, this delivers an incredibly sad mood, but, elsewhere, you genuinely feel as if you are getting to know the characters Rothery evokes, without having to read about them. The music delivers all.

I have admired, very passionately, Steve's work with Marillion since the very early days, so this album was, for me, a no-brainier to purchase. I would, though, make the very important point that this should not be confined merely to Marillion fans. Far from it, this album is an exercise in quality musicianship, and all lovers of this, especially virtuoso guitar playing, will be interested.

Four stars. Quite excellent, and I cannot wait for the follow-up.

lazland | 4/5 |


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