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Marillion - Seasons End CD (album) cover





3.75 | 873 ratings

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4 stars Let us cross the border into the new frontier in Marillion's development. Towards the end of the '80s the band went from the peak of their career to the all time low. How could they ever replace their front man Fish who left the band towards the end of 1988 taking with him all the pre-written lyrics for the fifth studio album? Not to mention, his unique vocal style and front man image made the band almost seem like a simple backing band without him. Then comes John Helmer and Steve Hogarth to the rescue and deliver the material just in time for the belated September 1989 release of Seasons End.

Marillion's fifth studio album is generally considered a letdown and it's not until the 1994 release of Brave that the band would once again receive unanimous recognition from both the fans and critics alike. But is Seasons End really as bad as the ratings and reviews might suggest? Well it's definitely a drop in quality compared to the magnificent streak that began with Misplaced Childhood but we all knew that it couldn't last forever and considering all the changes that Marillion had undergone with the departure of Fish and Mark Wilkinson I still think that they made a great transition album. It might not be a consistent release since the quality of the compositions fall towards the end of the album but the band still pulled together enough highlights to make Seasons End stand out in, what will become, a long album streak that the band spanned since then.

I don't really see a point in comparing Hogarth to Fish since their styles shift the music into completely different directions but that is exactly what memorable front men are suppose to do. The music on this album still sounds a bit like the other Marillion records from the '80s but the new vocal twist makes it difficult for most people to actually recognize those wonderfully subtle moments. The album begins with a 2,5 minute intro of The King Of Sunset Town that must have made the long time fans impatient to hear how the new vocalist would turn out to sound. It almost feels like the band is teasing the audiences here but once Hogarth gets his first moment in the spotlight he definitely makes the most of this performance.

Considering that this is supposed to be a transitional album the band still managed to deliver one of my all-time favorite Marillion compositions. I'm talking about the brilliant album closing number titled The Space.... I always thought that they tried to recreate the magic of Happiness Is a Warm Gun where the band put together three sections of different songs and made them work as a coherent piece of music. First part ends at (2:53) and third part begins at (4:10).

The few instances where the band truly shines on Seasons End still makes this mix bag of an album into an excellent release well worth the investment for anyone who is interested in exploring Marillion's catalog and a definite must-have for the already established fan base!

***** star songs: The King Of Sunset Town (8:02) Easter (5:57) The Space... (6:14)

**** star songs: The Uninvited Guest (3:52) Seasons End (8:07)

*** star songs: Holloway Girl (4:27) Berlin (7:43) After Me (3:19) Hooks In You (2:54)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |


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