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Marillion - Brave CD (album) cover





3.97 | 966 ratings

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3 stars This is one of the most lauded and reviled entries in Marillion's catalogue. The truth, as always, lies in between. The band invested a lot of time, money and emotion in this concept album about a suicidal, abused teen girl. Hogarth certainly brings a lot of angst to his vocals and tries to bring the tragic story to life, but one still can't help feeling that his intensity is a little more stylized than Fish's. Nonetheless, comparing the two is pointless, of course. They are two very different characters and singer. This was a new era, and the band sounds different. They sound like they are trying to modernize their sound, less keyboard solos and more songcraft. There are more atmospheric and ballady pieces, which is where H-era Marillion shines, particularly on "The Great Escape", which starts from a delicate whisper and builds to an agonizing climax based around one of Rothery's best solos. "Made Again" is a beautiful acoustic ballad, and "The Hollow Man" is a fine Beatlesque piano-based ballad. The band's much worse when they try to rock. "Hard as Love" and "Paper Lies" sound more like Foreigner than Marillion, as H shrieks and emotes shamelessly over generic AOR backing. Another problem is the remastering done in 1998. I know that preserving dynamics is important, but I find myself fiddling with the volume knob during quiet bits, only to have my head blown off by a loud section. I only have this problem with Marillion albums, so there must be a connection...anyway, this is a good album with some of Hogarth's best tunes and Steve Rothery's best playing. However, it also contains some embarrassingly 80s ish AOR moments as well. Marillion's next album, Afraid of Sunlight, would take care of those issues by giving up any hard rock pretences in favour of experimentation and atmosphere, and it worked brilliantly. This one is still worth having, though.
Heptade | 3/5 |


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