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Marillion - Radiation CD (album) cover





2.69 | 494 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Marillion's final album of the millennium is more or less a weak spot in the career of such a great group. I consider this to be the weakest Marillion album, but I wouldn't consider it to be a total waste of your money, but more of a purchase that you will either love or hate. Now, this album is drastically different than anything Marillion had done thus far. It's a very guitar oriented album, and the keyboards never truly get a chance to shine in the spotlight. This album is in no way a progressive album, save for quasi-progressive songs Cathedral Walls and A Few Words for the Dead, which save the album from being a total abomination. The musicianship, as with every Marillion album, is creative and top notch, but I just can't get into the songs on the album, and I find it hard to keep my attention focused on this album. It's not bad, it's just not terribly good. I don't hate this album, I just think that there are a lot better Marillion albums out there.

Costa del Slough opens the album with a chaotic, almost dissonant blaze of every instrument as well as an atmospheric vocal performance in the very beginning. It doesn't really do anything to make the album any better and it acts more as noise than actual music (except for the little acoustic ditty in the middle). Once Under the Sun one can immediately see that Marillion's sound is different. It isn't progressive in the least bit, but it's well produced pop. This song is very guitar oriented, and the only keyboard thats really prominent are these little spacey ascending riffs. The Answering Machine is brings back memories of Holidays in Eden, only it's more modern sounding. This song is probably one of the poppiest things Marillion had ever written. It's not bad pop, but it's not a terribly inventive or creative song. Three Minute Boy is a mellow piano based piece. It's one of the better songs on the album, in my opinion, with a big Beatles influence in the chord progression and choruses. Now She'll Never Know is an acoustic based piece with some emotional vocals from Hogarth. It's an interesting piece for the most part, but I feel despite it only being 5 minutes that it drags on a bit.

These Chains is a bit of a forgettable tune. It brings a bit of a blues influence into the group. Rothery's solo in the middle really saves the song, as it's dynamic and interesting. The Beatles influence can be heard here with the orchestrations that occur after the solo. Born to Run is also a bluesy tune, not terribly interesting, though. No instrument really gets a chance to shine, and there's nothing particular strong about this song. Cathedral Wall is a 7 minute wall of sound. Nothing can escape this wall of soaring synthesizers and muddy guitar chords. The harmony vocals and the chorus riff are catchy and concise. This song is a bit of a sampler of what would come in the future for the group with albums like and to a lesser extent Anoraknophobia. A Few Words for the Dead is the most progressive song on the album. It has a very ethereal and ambient introduction and towards the middle it turns into a different affair with more rocking sections. It ends the album well, but it wouldn't take that much to end this album well.

In the end, Marillion's last studio album of the millennium is a love/hate affair. While I like some of the songs on this album, I feel underwhelmed and disappointed by this release. Like Holidays in Eden, you should look for this release towards the end of your Marillion collecting spree. 2.5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 2/5 |


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