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Marillion - Brave CD (album) cover





3.96 | 1060 ratings

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5 stars I have just recently been introduced to Marillion and have been pleasantly surprised with what I have heard so far. Unlike most people who start with the earlier Fish albums, my initial taste of this British group was with the albums Marbles, Brave and Afraid of Sunlight (which happen to be the only three albums I have listened to at the date of this review). I must say, I do like the sound these guys make.

Brave is a concept album, but I'm going to spend very little time (if any) in this review discussing the concept since I much prefer focusing on the music itself. While the story in the music may be worthy of some additional appreciation, it's always the music that makes or breaks an album. Brave is chock-full of very good music.

"Bridge" The opening track is hauntingly beautiful and atmospheric as the setting is appropriately set for the story that is to be told over the course of the album. The music is soft, with the vocals almost being whispered to convey the anguish and despair of the situation. While the song clocks in at just under three minutes, I always wish it would last a little longer since the music truly is beautiful through here.

"Living with the Big Lie" What a great song this is! Wonderful lyrical passages combined with a hard-driving melody really make this a standout song. Marillion may be considered a neo-prog band, yet the sound on this song is so fresh and powerful (even 12 years later) that I would never consider this to be even remotely derivative.

"Runaway" Things slow down a bit as this third song continues the musical bliss that started from the opening sounds of the album. Strong contributions from all members of the band meld to make a soft, subtle sound that is pleasing to the ears and warming to the heart. (I know that sounds cheesy, but that describes how this song affects me.)

"Goodbye to All That" This twelve minute track begins somewhat inconspicuously with Hogarth singing along with steady chords from the piano. The pace then picks up with Rothery's guitar doing all sorts of nice things with strong vocal passages from Hogarth. There are a number of very intense parts of this song, creating another strong chapter to this musical journey.

"Hard As Love" This is a fairly straightforward blues rocker, with nice touches from the bass and hammond organ. You can sample this song right here on ProgArchives. Hogarth does a nice job of mixing up the chorus as the song progresses, going just a little bit higher each time the chorus is sung. Even though I have grown to like this song, I still consider it one of the weaker tracks on this album.

"The Hollow Man" The melancholic feel is back as in some of the earlier songs. While some may consider it to be filler, it does fit in nicely and fills an important role in developing the album's concept.

"Alone Again in the Lap of Luxury" This is perhaps my favorite song on the album. The melody is just so compelling and the lyrics are of the right word)...good (that's all I got). Rothery's guitar is silky smooth and leads the charge during the song's transition which adds a lot of intensity. This is just a wonderful rock song.

"Paper Lies" Just as "Hard as Love", this song leaves me a bit cold. It's another blues rocker with not much depth, in my opinion.

"Brave" What a change of pace occurs from the last song to this one! It's like being time-warped from Memphis, Tennessee to Dublin, Ireland. One minute: Springsteen, the next: Iona. This song sounds very Celtic, with some Scottish Highlands-flavor thrown in for good measure. This song begins a very beautiful passage that continues pretty much for the rest of the album.

"The Great Escape" This track begins quietly with dampened quarter note chords from the keyboard and Hogarth's single voice. Then the music begins to build as the bass is added and Hogarth's vocals become more intense. At the 1:45 mark, this song just freakin' takes off! Hogarth lets out a spine-tingling scream which is accompanied by some powerful sounds from the band which create 90 seconds of musical perfection. Rothery's guitar finishes off the passage leaving the listener in a state of complete awe. This song quiets back down and incorporates some other nice transitions as the conclusion draws near.

"Made Again" The album concludes with another nice tune which wraps up the album quite nicely.

Marillion has truly captured my attention with this album and I would recommend for any music lovers and especially for lovers of good progressive music. While some of the tunes on this album are typical rock 'n roll ("Hard as Love" and "Paper Lies"), I still consider this to be a masterpiece. I look forward to hearing more from these guys. Who is Fish?

Lofcaudio | 5/5 |


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