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BRAVE

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

3.98 | 728 ratings

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tuxon
5 stars 4,5 stars really

After the slightly disappointing first two Hogarth era albums ("Seasons End" "Holiday's in Eden", both beautifull musically, but disappointing in a progressive rock view) "Brave" was promoted as a return to their progressive rock roots, being a huge fan of early Marillion albums I had high hopes when I bought it. With the first couple of spins I didn't get it and it ended up on a shelf collecting dust. Untill one day I in a moment of boredom decided to put it on once more.

Whoah completely blew me away then. How could I not have recognised this album for what it was, a rare masterpiece. I was probably hoping for early Marillion sound, but they had changed, and Brave is practically as good as their early day albums, just different, and it took me an open mind to their new stuff.

With the departure of Fish, and the subsequent addition of Steve Hogarth on vocals Marillion transformed from a neo-prog band into a symphonic rock band, the term neo- progressive rock doesn't apply to Marillion anymore for me at least.

"Brave" is a great attempt at a concept album. It's about a girl who commited suicide, and the storie of the album is the storie of how such a thing could happen. The music is really awsome, from slow spacy atmospheric too rough and edgy, with beautifull melodies and intense singing, really an emotional rollercoaster ride, like the liner notes on the album says - "play it loud".

The music starts very intense, with the sound of water flowing and a synth sound that reminds me of a fog-horn, thus creating a dramatic opening, where you can imagine someone standing on a bridge contemplating suicide. Slowely the music develops from that with soft piano and atmospheric music to a more heavy dense sound on the second song. This is designed to suck you right in, "Never got over it, got used to it"

Run Away tells the tale of a runaway girl being dragged home, but no attempts being made to take away her reason to run away. Beautifully and intensly set to music, with a fabulous Rothery guitar solo "And you would starve before you let him get his hands on you again". Goodbye to all that is a 5 part suite that revolves from intense to spacy atmospherics, with many great changes, " don't know what you're doing here When there's murder on the street I appreciate your concern But don't waste your time on me"

Hard As Love is the first hard rock song on the album, and it comes at the right time, great synth solo from Mark Kelly, and some power in the singing and the guitars. Hollow Man is a soft ballad, with soft tranquill piano and slow build up, a very sad song "I feel I have become one of the empty".

Alone Again In The Lap Of Luxury is my favourite song, starts rather fast, with great guitar and bass play, builds up with an emotive singing Hogarth "Is there no escape from the lap of luxury" really fabulous and intense, the song grows more intense with every passing second great. Paper lies is again a rather heavy rock song, but too straight forward for my liking, still not bad, just misplaced in the concept I think.

Brave, the song reminds me of Belfast Child from the Simple Minds, the same vibe and celtic influence, great. The Great Escape "They shower you with flowers when they bury you" A fabulous song released as a single, didn't do much on the charts if I recall correctly, but a nice single and it builds up to the final of the album, "heading for the permanent holiday" The album closes with Made again, a semi accoustic song, which is a bit positive ending to a very emotionally intense album.

MARILLION's "Brave" is a very good album, and a return to form, from one of my favourite bands. It takes some dedication and willingness to like it, but once you've gone through the Rites Of Passage, you won't be dissapointed. Like I said it's not really neo-prog anymore, it's 90s progressive rock, with ambient/atmospheric parts and some rocking parts, with a very emotional (to me at least) impact.

The Best of post-Fish Marillion, be Brave and listen to this.

tuxon | 5/5 |

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