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Marillion - Seasons End CD (album) cover

SEASONS END

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

3.76 | 629 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 1989 was a transitional year for Marillion. Fish had just left the group to pursue a solo career, and the future of the band was uncertain. In come Steve Hogarth, who (along with the rest of the band) ushered in a new era of Marillion in terms of sound and artistic direction. The first album released by this new incarnation of Marillion was the eponymous Season's End, which takes the classic Marillion sound and gives it a more upbeat and creative spin.The group took a more poppish route with this album, with Hooks In You and The Uninvited Guest being drenched with pop tendencies, but these pop songs are well written and they give a hint to the direction Marillion would go to with the next album. The entire band plays well on this album, from the creative and catchy guitar of Rothery, to the thumping and driving bass of Trewavas, to the lush and intuitive playing from Kelly, to the precise and concise drumming from Mosley, all topped with strong vocal performances from Hogarth.

The King of Sunset Town opens the album with electronics and minor ambient effects. Once the band gets into full swing, the feeling of the song is completely changed. Rothery really shines here with a magnificent riff that has a very catchy feeling to it. Easter is arguably the strongest track of the album, with maginificent acoustic work from Rothery (and a brilliant 3/4 arpeggio-based riff), some great vocals from Hogarth, a phenonemal emotional guitar solo from Rothery, and a stunning 5/4 outro. One could not ask for more with this song. The Uninvited Guest is the first pop song on the album. It is catchy and has a nice upbeat chorus despite the kooky lyrics.Season's End is the second longer song of the album, and it sparks memories of songs like The Web with it's catchy riffing and powerful keyboard work. Kelly really shines on this track. Berlin has some nice riffing to it, but the song tends to drag, and that feeling of energy that the band sustained when Fish was the frontman was gone, and their attempts to replicate it come up short. I do really enjoy the saxophone on the song, as it shows that Marillion were willing to dabble in new instruments and territories.

Halloway Girl continues the pop trend of the album, but that is all it really is, one of the weaker songs of the album. Berlin has some nice riffing to it, but the song tends to drag, and that feeling of energy that the band sustained when Fish was the frontman was gone, and their attempts to replicate it come up short. After Me is another acoustic based ballad of sorts. Rothery is no slouch on the acoustic guitar, showing that he can create powerful emotive riffs when electrified or in an acoustic setting. Hooks in You is definitely the pop single Marillion had in mind for the album. Despite it being overdone pop, I really enjoy the nice 7/8 intro and the chorus is astonishingly catchy. The Space... concludes the album, and it really does what the title suggests, it fills the space that the rest of the album needed. Despite the nice chorus and bass work, I can't really get into this song all that much.

Overall, Marillion was treading into more pop territories with this one, and that would become full circle with Holidays in Eden, one of their weakest albums to date. If you love Fish era Marillion, you may find some things to like about this album, but you may feel a bit disappointed because that feeling of despair and sorrow that Marillion once had in their music was now gone. But for me, I liked this album and I feel that it would fit nicely in any collection of music, provided you have some tolerance for pop music. Despite faults such as needless noodling and filler, the album holds up strong even today. 4/5

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |

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