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Marillion - Radiation CD (album) cover





2.68 | 481 ratings

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2 stars This is the first of a long line of Hogarth-era Marillion albums I'm going to review from now on. And to be fair and warn in advance: I'm not a fan of this Marillion to say the least despite my huge love for the neo progressive subgenre. In my view Marillion became a borderline progband when Steve Hogarth entered the band. On itself a good thing he did because if there wouldn't have been a follow up for Fish it could have meant the end for the band and there would only have been 5 years of history for this band and they wouldn't have been as prolific as they are now. All true but still I stick to my statement because it dominates my feel for the band.

With this album from 1998 we might have a good example of what I mean. And it could also be one of the lesser albums in their career. It already becomes clear with the useless short opener of 1,5 minutes that has no substance at all. Next track Under the Sun isn't really giving much hope as first real song and neither is third The answering Machine. Some nice elements like Kelly's keys perhaps but like I said, it's hardly prog, even neo prog (not just an opinion by me by the way, I heard this statement more often about Hogarth-Marillion is in between pop music and neo prog). And this is besides the songs themselves mainly caused by the sort of voice of Steve Hogarth. He has a very good voice, no problem but it all sounds too mainstream, a prog voice has to be a bit out of the ordinary I have the feeling after listening to more than hundred of these voices. Three minute boy sounds like a Black Crowes song for some reason, not bad but it simply proves my opinion. Now she'll never know is a common ballad also here nothing special. These Chains is another nice song but this is hardly meant positively. There is simply nothing going on here, again no progressive elements, a 20 second guitar solo by Rothery being the highlight. Born to Run is the third easy listening song in a row making the whole thing somewhat dull by now. Again some fine guitar tries to save the song but it's too little I'm afraid. It's as if they heard me because next up Cathedral Wall starts almost heavy to quiet down after a few seconds already. These heavy and quiet moments will keep alternating on this track. One of the better, this one but that has also to do with the disappointing level of the other tracks. The only (short) epic on this album is the closing track A few Words for the Dead. This one starts a bit strange, pretty progressive for sure so they are making up for the poppy first 7 songs with the last two but I'm afraid it can't save my judgment for the overall score anymore.

This could well be their least album ever, I'm curious how that will turn out with all the other reviews of Hogarth-era Marillion. I predict a lot of three star ratings, maybe even all of them. Because that's the feeling I have with the band's efforts in the last 20 years. I will be as fair as possible on this of course because that's my duty and I have no reason to bash them all the time. It's just that it has turned out one of my least favourite neo bands through the years. Can't help it, fortunately for them overall most progfans still think they are the best neoband ever so that means I'm probably a minority. It's how it is, this one will have to settle for two I'm afraid (2,4).

progrules | 2/5 |


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