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Marillion - This Strange Engine CD (album) cover





3.42 | 561 ratings

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3 stars This sort of marked the beginning of an odd era for Marillion--small indie label and following up two brilliant albums in Brave and Afraid Of Sunlight. This album is full of really good moments, but I find that I don't reach for it nearly as often as Marbles, Brave, Misplaced, or Sunlight. It's a good disc...but just not a great Marillion disc.

The Strange Engine is undeniably more of an acoustic sounding disc than their previous work, or anything since. "Man Of A Thousand Faces", "Estonia", and "80 Days" especially. Not necessarily a bad thing either. Rothery really adds a nice layer with his acoustic work. "Estonia", however, is an especially beautiful tune dedicated to the people involved with the ferry accident.

I will say that this disc has what could be Marillion's greatest track with "This Strange Engine". The studio version pales in comparison to the live versions I've heard on Christmas In The Chapel, Piston Broke, and Popular Music, but that being said, it's a progressive masterpiece with one of Rothery's best solos. And I've never heard a song ending on a more powerful or emotional note than this song. One the live DVD's I've seen of this performance, Hogarth looks absolutely spent upon it's conclusion.

So, to sum it up, This Strange Engine is hard to rate. It's a good disc, but sort of begins a strange period for Marillion. Good music, but aside from a few songs from Engine, Radiation, and DotCom, there's nothing that overwhelmingly grabs me by the throat. I'd rate it somewhere between 3 and 4 stars for the title track and "Estonia".

E-Dub | 3/5 |


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