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ANORAKNOPHOBIA

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

3.38 | 386 ratings

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Rune2000
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Anoraknophobia marked the first album Marillion released after I started listening to them at the end of 2000. By this time I've only heard the '90s album Afraid of Sunlight and the '80s Seasons End from Hogarth-era so I was eager to hear how the band have progressed into the 21st century!

Unlike the previous trilogy of albums, that began with This Strange Engine, the band have decided to take a bit more time writing the material for what would become Anoraknophobia. I believe Pete Trewavas puts it nicely in this album's comments section on Marillion's official website where he writes that the major difference with this particular writing and recording session was that the band didn't have any left over material left from the previous sessions and therefore had to write the entire album from scratch. It also helped that over 12,500 fans pre-ordered Anoraknophobia before it even received an official release date which made it easier to be creative and open-minded during the whole process.

Hearing this album for the first time I basically had the same reaction to it as Peter Gabriel's album Up. Both of these releases sounded like old-timers trying to re-invent themselves. But while Up began to slowly but steadily grow on me, Anoraknophobia stagnated and hasn't really impressed me over these few years. This is definitely a pity but I blame Marillion's inability to keep the flow going all throughout their lengthy compositions. Most of these tracks follow a pretty simple formula starting with the verse/chorus sections that then evolve into a groove section. This whole arrangement is definitely an interesting premise but I feel that in order to really nail it the material has to be given enough time to develop a personality of its own.

If we come back to Peter Gabriel's example, he began crafting his album almost 10 years before releasing it and this effort really shows since the transitions between the different track sections feel natural and the compositions are so well crafted that they can't really be taken apart. Anoraknophobia, on the other hand, sounds like a carefully thought through band effort with a few drum loops added here and there. The results are good and sometimes even great but I still think that most of these performances would have worked better in trimmed down format.

It's nice to see Marillion giving their music a reboot which is definitely something a few more bands should consider doing but the material on Anoraknophobia don't result in anything above the good, but non-essential rating on my part.

**** star songs: Between You And Me (6:27) Map Of The World (5:05) When I Meet God (9:15) This Is The 21st Century (07:56) If My Heart Were A Ball It Would Roll Uphill (9:26)

*** star songs: Quartz (9:07) The Fruit Of The Wild Rose (6:57) Separated Out (6:13)

Rune2000 | 3/5 |

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