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Fish - Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors CD (album) cover

VIGIL IN A WILDERNESS OF MIRRORS

Fish

 

Neo-Prog

3.80 | 253 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Fish's first solo venture after his sudden departure from Marillion in '88 stylistically showed that Fish was trying to stray away from the classic Marillion sound, but still you can hear some influence of his old group in the music. If that wasn't enough, some of the lyrics provided on this album were actually brought up before Marillion before Fish left the group itself. Regardless of that, though I thoroughly enjoy this album because it's somewhat of a cry from Fish that he doesn't need Marillion to carry on. The musicianship is also very strong on this album, Mickey Simmonds is a terrific keyboardist providing many interesting progressions and chords (he also helped Fish write many of the songs on the album). Fish's old friend Frank Usher steps in on guitar here and offers many great moments on the album, and the rhythm unit is also superb and keep the groove going throughout.

The album opens with Vigil In a Wilderness of Mirrors, it brings to me this feeling of Script for a Jester's Tear for some reason. Maybe because it's a vocal led tune that has strong chord progressions and features some very celtic influenced instruments, whatever it is, I love this song. It has all the elements of an old Marillion song but it has enough style to categorize it as pure Fish. The Big Wedge has this great big band feel to it because of the augmentation of a great horn arrangement, if that weren't enough, the song has an incredibly catchy chorus that can hook anyone in. State of Mind begins with some interesting and dynamic bass work from John Giblin. Another strong chorus and some hammering guitar round out this song, which probably is the best track bass wise on this album, a bit uninteresting at points, though, if you ask me. The Company continues the trend of strong and catchy chorus, this song having a title that would soon become Fish's official website's name. Anywho, this drinking song (as the chorus involves words like drink to me now) has some strong celtic influenced intrumentation and is another killer song.

A Gentleman's Excuse Me has some heartfelt piano and strings underneath an emotional and convincing vocal from Fish. This song matches emotionally nearly anything Fish had done with Marillion, in my opinion. The Voyeur (I like to Watch) is probably the most sexually suggestive thing Fish ever wrote next to Three Boats Down From the Candy back in 1983 on Market Square Heroes. Even though the song is mostly about politicians, he makes a nice metaphor to all things dirty. The biting riff and the solid musicianship is brought to a head perfectly with a brilliant chorus from Fish. This album seems to have brilliant choruses throughout each song. Family Business and View From the Hill are a couple of throwaway numbers to round out the album. The first having an interesting bass line, but not really much besides that. The second has a more Marillion feel to it (maybe because this is one of the songs Fish presented to Marillion before he left the group). It's a bit more interesting than Family Business, but it's nothing special, in my opinion. Cliche closes the album with some pretty piano from Simmonds and some heartfelt vocals from Fish. Frank Usher is a star on this track, giving a great solo performance. It ends the album very well, to say the least.

In the end, Fish's debut is more a less a message to everyone that he didn't need Marillion to create captivating music. This album may be one of his best solo albums, and it rivals much of the music that Marillion did with Steve Hogarth. For fans of Fish era Marillion, this album is a must. But if you're looking for some high-quality neo prog, this album is not a bad starting point. Despite a few uninteresting and overly long pieces, I still recommend this album to most people. 4/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |

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