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Marillion - Seasons End CD (album) cover





3.75 | 870 ratings

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3 stars I'm not one of those for whom the world ended the day Fish left Marillion. Indeed when I first heard Seasons End, I had no idea that it was going to be the last Marillion album that I would want to own. I thought that the opener King Of Sunset Town (power chorus and all) laid the foundation for the then new Marillion, with the familiar tones of Mark Kelly's synth and Steve Rothery's guitar layering the Marillion sound (and in some ways beginning to stretch more than they had when their erstwhile lead singer was present) and nobody could say that new boy Steve Hogarth was a weak singer. Yet, with the benefit of hindsight, I do feel that the heart was ripped out of the band. It's not often that I think a vocalist/lyricist is the strongest member of a prog band, but I have little doubt now that Fish was most responsible for the character of Marillion. At least the Marillion I wanted to listen to.

Still Seasons End is not a bad neo-prog album. The title track is a sweeping work of real power, with Kelly and Rothery doing their thing once again ... although I've often caught myself thinking that Kelly should have solo-ed more and Rothery could have found a little more variety in his lead work, I have few arguments with their work on this one. Berlin is another extended Marillion song that works, although I must confess even as I heard this one for the first time, my mundane brain kept imagining how much better it would have been had a certain Scottish gent wrapped his cords around it. And then there's The Bell In The Sea, probably my favourite track on the album, which, while hardly a prog piece, does have a mythic feel to it.

I must also put in a word for Easter, a beautiful rich ballad that must rank among Steve Hogarth's finest moments. After You is another decent piece, while The Space is an uneven song, that mixes some nice passages with some unimpressive overwrought vocal passages.

The album does also exhibit signs that Marillion were about to find a new less intriguing direction. Both The Uninvited Guest and the truly scary hair-metal single Hooks In You are way too close to the sound of Def Leppard for my liking, and The Release is one of those lame pop-rock songs that were a dime a dozen in the late 80s. My CD version of this album is actually a double disc affair with a 12" version of The Uninvited Guest and Mushfoom Farm Demos of six album tracks tagged on as bonus tracks. I'm afraid I don't consider these sort of extra tracks to be a real "bonus".

Simply put, Seasons End is still a decent listen (especially for neo-prog fans), but there was a kind of magic that was present in the early days with Grendel and Script For A Jester's Tear that was still alive (albeit in mutated form) even in the last Fish/Marillion singles like Incommunicado and Sugar Mice. It just isn't here. ... 54% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 3/5 |


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