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Marillion - Brave CD (album) cover





3.97 | 969 ratings

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5 stars Brave is such a wonderful experience. A dark one as well. I wouldn't describe the album as depressing, but the overall tone is certainly not uplifting. It tells the tale of a lost soul on the way down. The story leaves a bit of room for interpretation, but we get the feeling that the main character may or may not have committed suicide after a long struggle to make a place for herself in life. So as you can see, this is not light fare. I feel this album serves a place as a nightcap, or for a contemplative moment.

The music is perticularly outstanding. Be sure that if you're familiar with the Hogarth- era albums, this is one of the best, perhaps the best. At this moment in time, I enjoy Marbles and Season's End slightly more, but Brave is a definite must for any Hogarth- era fan. If you're not a fan of H-era Marillion, Brave may covert you, but there's no guarantee. It is one of the proggier albums of H-era Marillion, but rest assured the production and tendencies of this era are well in place, meaning the songs are generally more subdued than those from the Fish-era, and that there is hardly an odd time in sight. I love this album, but if you're not one for brooding, atmospheric, Neo- Progressive rock, then it's not for you.

The keyboards on Brave are the one instrument that deserves more acknowledgement overall. Not to say that they hog the spotlight or anything like that, but they support the music very well. As with most H-era Marillion albums, they are not dominant or obtrusive, but more akin to the scenery or the framework of the songs. I wouldn't associate their sound with the commonly held notion of cheesy Neo-Prog sythesizers reminiscent of the electronic-fetish 80s musical scene. They deserve their own connotation, for I believe the sounds that Kelly uses are as unique to latter-day Marillion as any Wakemen or Emerson developed. But that might just be the fanboy in me talking...

Right, on to the songs. There's quite a nice balance of straight-forward rock song on Brave, and I find them to be satisfying and enjoyable. "Hard as Love" and Paper Lies" are among these. I believe they're quite similar in style to "Hooks in You" and other songs off Season's End and Holidays in Eden. Take that as you will, but I generally enjoy such songs by Marillion. Not as much as the following songs, but they're still great. My favorites just happen to be the mood-shifting, near-epic "Goodbye to All of That," the atmospheric "Brave," which makes excellent use of Uilleann pipes to create a distinct Scottish feel, "The Lap of Luxury," which turns from a excellent rock tune with a memorable chord progression to a murky, ambient ending, and the uplifting (quite a rare experience on this album) "Made Again."

For any H-era Marillion fan, Brave is an absolute must. I admit it took awhile to grow on me, but I rank it up there with the best of Marillion.

stonebeard | 5/5 |


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