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Marillion - Brave CD (album) cover





3.97 | 969 ratings

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4 stars "Staring out over the bridge. A million photo flashes from the water down below ."

I did not expect much of this album when it was first released as their previous album "Holidays in Eden" was kind like a pop rock album especially with song like "No One Can". Even though I like the epic that comprised three songs in one piece of music: "This Town", "The Rakes Progress" and "100 Nights". It reminded me to early Marillion album especially on Rothers work. Nothing wrong with the album at all - it's just that I didn't get used to it especially remembering the early days of the band. So I purchased "Brave" in cassette format because I just wanted to test the water before collecting in a more expensive format, the CD. My first reaction was that it's not the kind of music I really enjoy even though I had followed the guidelines at the sleeve: "Play it Loud with the lights off". So I put it on a shelf. Until couple of months later I visited Bandung, meeting my dear prog-mate I'an Arliandy of Yess Bandung. I was quite surprised, really, that I'an adore this album and he recommended me to have the CD because Brave should not be enjoyed with a cassette format. As I admire I'an especially in introducing me "So here I'm once more" thing at first time in his small cassette store, I finally purchased the CD. I started to appreciate the band with this philosophy: "Get rid of everything in your mind about early days of marillion - or if you cannot do it, just pretend that this album is not being played by Marillion. Enjoy the music!". With this philosophy, I can then be more open to welcome any stream of music that flows into my mind and my heart through my ears.

And so here I am with my view .

The album starts off with "Bridge" (2:52) in an ambient nuance through the keyboard soundscape followed wonderfully with a floating piano touch and soft Hogarth voice "Staring out over the bridge ..". Oh man .. what a killing piece here. Performed in a very mellow style, this short opening sets the overall tone of the album. "Living with the Big Lie" (6:46) continuous seamlessly with soft keyboard touches accompanying low register notes voice in - still - very slow tempo. The music increases into higher point when the lyrical part enters "The babble of the family ." and it moves in a crescendo with a great organ / keyboard work augmented with stunning guitar by Rothers. "Run away" (4:40) is a nice song with excellent melody and this was the first song from this album that I could accept well at first listen. "Did you cry when they dragged you home. Put a lock on the door and the telephone ." is a very nice opening with a mellow music at the background. The killing part is when this track enters approx min. 2:35 with great piano followed later with wonderful guitar solo which reminds me to early Marillion. Hogarth voice is excellent! One of my favorite Marillion tracks.

The fourth track is an epic (a very good one) "Goodbye to All That" (12:26) that comprises five parts, opened with a floating soft piano touch that accompanies Hogarth voice. It's basically like the opening part of first track "Bridge". The music moves into crescendo through soaring keyboard sound and the tempo turns faster. Guitar and keyboard work together to form a rocking style of the music The guitar solo part is also awesome! I really like this rocking part. The music then suddenly turns into what I call a truly mellow music with excellent soundscape exploration of sound effects coming from keyboard, guitar, etc. Yes, this is the segment that it can bring you to another world especially if you listen to it loud will all lights turned off and only your power amp lamps be the lights. I also enjoy the inventive bass lines by Trewavas in the middle of the track augmented with guitar sound effects. Oh man .. it's killing me! I won't write a novel-long review about this track but it's a magnificent epic! It reassured my confidence with the band for their future.

"Hard As Love" (6:41) is basically a rocker with great guitar work even though the music is a bit rough for my ears, especially on its melody that is not smooth enough. But I love the energy projected by this track. "The Hollow Man" (4:08) brings the music back into a piano-based mellow track. "Alone Again Into the Lap of Luxury" (8:12) is a medium- tempo track with great guitar work at the opening part. The music flows smoothly combining Marillion's style and a touch of pop music. "Paper Lies" (5:49) is a relatively fast tempo track with a rocking style in straight forward structure. "Brave" (7:54) starts off with an ambient long sustain keyboard layer (in a away it reminds me to the opening of Peter Gabriel's Secret World DVD just before "Come Talk To Me"). Hogarth sings with his heart here. "The Great Escape" (6:29) continues the music nuance of this album opening part "Bridge" but this time with different style. I really enjoy this track especially when the music gradually moves into higher point with excellent voice combined with great guitar solo. "Made Again" (5:01) starts off beautifully with a simple acoustic guitar work and excellent voice in mellow style.

Overall, this album is very potential to be considered as masterpiece as the composition is quite tight (excellent arrangements and structures). What I think is missing is that in a way Brave has some disjointed parts that reduce its coherence as a concept album. OK I can accept that 90% of the songs are mellow ones and very dark, but actually I also want to hear the band also composed some energetic songs and made it a balanced album. But I agree that this is the finest post Fish-era Marillion albums and I really enjoy this album. Borrowing words from my prog-mate (Icann) who ever met each member of the band (plus Fish) "in person" sometime in 1997 during their US concert, I need to express a honest gratitude to Marillion: Thanks for being in my life!. Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours, GW

Gatot | 4/5 |


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