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Marillion - This Strange Engine CD (album) cover





3.42 | 555 ratings

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The Crow
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This album is special... It's not the best from Marillion, but it has something that makes it different from all the other Marillion's albums and becomes this album a very pleasant listening.

Maybe the most relevant fact it's the acoustic predominance in the songs. Steve Rothery usually uses acoustic guitars in almost all the Marillion albums, but here we can hear totally acoustic songs: Man of a 1000 Faces, 80 Days, Estonia and Memory of Water. The rock face of Marillion is very softed in "This Strange Engine", and we only can hear stronger sounds in An Accidental Man and some fragments of This Strange Engine.

This fact makes this album unique and special in the Marillion's discography, and after two similar albums in style like "Brave" and "Afraid of Sunlight", this album sounds fresh and revitalizing, maybe because these albums were a little melancholic, while "This Strange Engine" is luminous and more happy (nevertheless Estonia and The Memory of Water are pretty gloomy...) A lot of prog-heards don't like this album, and this is understandable, because the only prog we can hear here is the final of Man of a 1000 Faces and the whole song This Strange Engine. Fortunately, progressive it's not the only musical style I hear. Actually, I like a lot of different genres, and maybe for this reason I can apreciate this album besides its progressive or not... Most of the songs of this album are not progressive, but it doesn't matters, because most of the songs have quality, and this is the most important thing.

Best songs: the first 6 tracks are really good (Man of 1000 Faces, 80 Days and Estonia are just great) and of corse This Strange Engine is maybe one of the best Marillion's long song from the Hogarth's era. And one of the most progressive tracks they have made, along with "Marbles"'s Ocean Cloud... This song is obligated for all Marillion fans, and for all prog lovers too. If you didn't hear it, in Progarchives you can make that for free, it's available in the Marillion's space. It's really worth a listening. Marvellous song indeed. Great Mark Kelly's keyboards (sometimes these keyboards sound even like the old Marillion albums...), apreciable guitars riffs and outstanding solos by Mr.Rothery (like they said live in Barcelona back en 2013 maybe his best solo) marvellous Hogarth's singing and lyrics, cool saxophone solo... Another highlight in the Marillion's career.

The only bad track in this album is my opinion is Hope for the Future, a silly track that really doesn't fit with the rest of the album... The rest is great, lovely melodies, lovely acoustic guitars, beautiful keyboards, catchy songs... The last really good Marillion album till "Marbles".

Conclusion: if you are not an open minded prog lover, maybe you will disagree, but I think This Starange Engine is a very solid release from Marillion which not got the attention it deserved.

My rating: ***1/2, rounded up to four.

The Crow | 4/5 |


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