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Marillion - Brave CD (album) cover





3.97 | 1069 ratings

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5 stars The monument...

Before I say anything more about this album, just let me say this: "Brave" is one of the best albums in the entire history of rock-music, a shimmering, disturbing, heart-wrenching dark diamond digging deep into the precipices of human existance, a "monster" screaming for empathy and, instead of it, merely finding walls on which to beat its head until it's red from its own blood, walls of society, walls of civilization, walls of religion and morality having long lost any purpose by not serving the human being as it is anymore, walls of sheer violence and ANGST, walls holding a family-facade that hides away the unbelievable, but, maybe most important, walls at the inside of a singled-out individual person in all its desperation and loneliness... into which it was thrown from its birth.... getting lies back for honesty given, getting abuse in return for faith and, though it's such a beast full of pain and desolation, it's an absolutely beautiful, stunning, breathtaking monument of faith... "Brave" is nothing less than a milestone that could not be equaled before and can't be equaled afterwards, and the band that gave it to us went out to their very edges of ability in order to complete it.

"It all began with the bright lights, the bright lights and the noise..."

Well, a lot has been said about it, so what am I supposed to add trying to give you a decent picture of the album ? I could re-write the story behind the album and its production... or copy & paste the words out of the concert-program I have purchased at the show in 1994... or take the liner-notes of the remastered limited edition for help. But I'm afraid that this wouldn't serve anybody cause best you can do is make up your own mind by simply listening... playing it loud ( in one go ), with the lights turned off... as the booklet says. But you should free yourself first. Free yourself of pre-conceptions and expectations though you can be damn sure that what you're going to hear is ( and sounds like ) Marillion and no one else.

No one else ? Well, to be fair, just like "Holidays in Eden" suffered from the "wrong producer" for most of the record, "Brave" benefits from a man who to 100% is the right one for this role, Dave Meegan. If you love it - and you're supposed to except you are deaf - you can only wonder how this man managed to make all those pieces fit so well without having gone completely crazy... cause every little bit he's done is just as important as the writing ( H with the aid of John Helmer once more ), composing, arranging, rehearsing and performing done by the musicians was. In order to get this monument together Meegan had to listen over and over again to enormous loads of material that had been recorded... and in compiling all the countless bits to this great, big whole he successfully followed the vision of their creators cause... he grew one with them emotionally. It's one thing to have a conceptional theme and the songs in an order that helps to make the point, but it's another to make the final result become as impressive as "Brave" is a statement of sheer musicality and potency. I'm sure that the making of this album soaked out the very last drop of energy its creators were able to give - just like "well, with Holidays we made an effort at serving the record-company's wishes and though we think it was worth the while it couldn't really satisfy us and our fans, now we'll be taking the other way, we'll have to give our all in order to create the best piece of art we are able to and we won't make any compromise for chart-buyers, it's all about the quality in the end and with quality we'll even convince the deaf that THIS is Marillion NOW and there's no need to wish back for a past no matter how good and successful it was !" And so the five guys and their best pick as a producer went out to rather kill themselves than deliver an album that does not prove it all... but damn, what went wrong when the CD went on sale ?

I remember 1994, working in that music store and selling loads and loads of the Pink Floyd's "Division Bell" while "Brave", no matter how much I've played it through our speakers or recommended it to the record-buyers, did not sell 5 percent of it. "This world is nuts... well, apart from me to never have been a big Floyd-Fan and apart from my new found passion for Marillion, it's still an injustice hard to face cause people ought to compare these albums... and anyone who needs and likes the Floyd's Bell should be happy that those masters of old were beaten on every degree by a band that has been more or less written off after their first leadsinger went solo !" You can't deny, "Brave" is progressive in the true sense of the word. It may even be too progressive to please conservative "prog-fans" cause it's blowing up dimensions - or, as a disappointed Genesis and Saga-Fan told me in his confusion ( after I had gifted him an MC ),: "It's all there... but it's not the same !" That's right. It's not the same... cause, be honest, why repeat the same and then call it progressive ? With "Brave", Marillion had found and defined a huge part of their very own identity, love it or hate it, but this is what PROG should be about and so my rating can't go anywhere below the 5 stars for an "essential masterpiece of progressive rock music", no, if there was a sixth star I'd give it immediately and tell anyone who calls this "dull" to go home and try German Schlager instead before ever demanding progression again. It's an insult, really, but not mine. I'm breathing "Brave", it's a part of my soul and ever since the first time I've heard it it became an essential part of my life. Pity on those who aren't able to share the experience. Pity on the record-buyers who in 1994 did not give the artists what they deserved. Pity on everyone who honestly prefers "The Division Bell". And hope for the future cause not so long ago there was a teenager coming up to me who saw my Brave-T-shirt and said: "You may not expect me to but I have heard this album and from everything I have heard of the past it belongs to the very best... nice to see someone with that T-Shirt". Given time... no matter how long it takes... this monument will be up where it belongs and the five guys of Marillion will be forever respected as masters of their art by a majority of music-lovers. But if you don't know it, I'm begging you for your own sake to not wait and add it to your collection. If you don't like it immediately just give it time then. It's better. Better than you can imagine and better than you think. It's unbeatable. It's an album for forever. It' s this world that is dull as long as it don't recognize... dull and guilty for human beings who see no other solution than this:

"Heading for the great escape, heading for the rave, heading for the permanent holiday...'

Take care to not become one of the hollow men... 'nuff said.

rupert | 5/5 |


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