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Marillion - Seasons End CD (album) cover





3.76 | 888 ratings

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4 stars First album after the departure of legendary big frontman Fish. Some material for this album was already mostly written during the Cluthing at Straws follow-up while the band was still with Fish. After Fish left, the band kept the music parts and Fish kept the lyrics, so that's about where Hogarth found himself when he was hired.

I actually like Hogarth's voice although I find he puts too much honey from time to time. More mellow, more subtle, although less charismatic. And obviously nobody expected the new frontman to match Fish lyrically. What made old Marillion magical was the chemistry between the emotions Fish was putting in his lyrics and vocals with the band's unique talent with atmospheres and melodies. So also obviously, that would be gone too.

Yet, Seasons End was an extraordinary 'debut'. The band's sound was evolving, but was still slightly reminiscent, just enough, of what it did on the brilliant Cluthing at Straws. And since many elements were already there, the band was not pulled into trying to change itself all over and become more commercial (this would happen on the next album).

Seasons End, like its predecessor, is mostly a nocturnal and atmospheric album (dont try to enjoy it in full daylight driving your convertible if you know what I mean...). So when played in the good mood, and save perhaps for Hooks in You, this is an album with no filler and a fair number of great, great songs. Easter, Seasons End, Berlin and The Space count legitimately among the best songs Marillion ever did.

I do not want to go into the details of each song as this is an album which, I think, most prog aficionados should own, although I will remain short of calling it an essential. It has heavier rock parts (King of Sunset Town, Uninvited Guest), mellow parts in the pure prog tradition (notably Easter with a beguiling guitar solo and keyboard riff, as well as the delicious title track which I cant get tired of and which ends with a three minute long instrumental, atmospheric segment) as well as more versatile exquisites such as Berlin or The Space..., a total keyboard guilty pleasure. I also note that Berlin is a song that took much more time to grow with me, but it's now one of my favourites. This is a great composition, starts strangely, has saxophone, and slowly builds up something like only few bands can think of. Great stuff.

I know that a lot of fans will say that Brave (or Marbles) was the best album since Hogarth came in, but I honestly think that this is a legitimate contender. I still miss Fish, but this is an album that has what it takes to ease my pain. Somewhat...

SentimentalMercenary | 4/5 |


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