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A VERRY BARRY CHRISTMAS

Marillion

Neo-Prog


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Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Considering that this is a live album, I'm surprised with the quality of sound produced by this release. The other thing is that Hogarth's voice in track "Number One" is really cool. One track is really boring, monotoon, i.e. the last one "This is 21st Century". I think, with its calibre of musicianship, Marillion should not create this piece of music.

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#12440)
Posted Monday, May 31, 2004 | Review Permalink
dmudd@yahoo.c
4 stars I like it that Marillion puts out CD's like this. It gives fans an opportunity to hear demos and alternate versions of their songs. As a musician, the inclusion of instrumental versions is very helpful to get into a mood for songwriting.

I love this band so much.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#12441)
Posted Friday, October 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
Tristan Mulders
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Marillion - Xmas 2001: A verry Barry Christmas

2001's Marillion's Christmas gift is a compilation of various acoustic renditions of songs from the "Anoraknophobia" album, a couple of remixes and an instrumental version of another "Anoraknophobia" track.

The album starts with a nice rendition of a classic Christmas song in typical Marillion style, I saw three Ships. Always works well each time I give it another spin around Christmas time.

The next few songs are parts of acoustic sessions without audience. These songs are performed in what's now known as the "Los Trios (Marillos)" formation: Pete Trewavas on bass, Steve Hogarth on keys and vocals and Steve Rothery on acoustic guitars. None of these acoustic versions are bad, but I've also heard some of the songs in guitar-vocals only versions and that worked a bit better than with the inclusion of piano parts (e.g. the song This is the 21st Century).

The last section of this album comprises electronic music (incl. the instrumental version of This is the 21st Century). The first song in this section is the Aspect of I Mix of the song House. This song is remixed by one of the guys who were also responsible for the "Tales from the Engine Room" remix album. This reconstruction is a very laidback, dub-like soundscape, which comprises an average 12 minutes. The song is actually very interesting despite being a remix! It really holds on to the mood that characterised the original version. The composition is also very much constantly developing, changing melodies without ever giving the feeling you're listening to yet another one of those mainstream top 40 hey-it's-a-classic-let's-put-a-beat-to-it-and-we-have-a-hit-of-our-own songs which seem to be very trendy lately.

The second remix comes closer to that specific top 40 category. If it weren't for the lengthy introduction, the song could've picked up airplay anytime on one of those trance music radio stations. I personally don't even mind the 'poppy' sound of this mix, not at all, the song works great when played at a party, but it is not of any use as an entry in the average prog listener's collection I guess, unless he or she also likes electronic music. Although most of the original composition for the song Go were cut for this remix, actually only the vocals were left, the final section of this remix has the same uplifting feeling as the original "Wide awake" section of the song on the "Marillion.com" album.

The final track on this free fanclub CD is an instrumental version of the song This is the 21st Century. As I've said before, this song is better qualified as electronic music than as rock. The overall composition of the song is a lot like Massive Attack's music. Without the inclusion of Hogarth's voice, the song sounds pretty eerie and now the various individual instruments are a lot more noticeable. Especially Trewavas' bass guitar playing is a lot more present. I've listened to this version a lot while travelling to school by train. The spacey atmosphere makes you feel a bit too relaxed as it seemed the countryside passed me by in slow-motion hehe.

Maybe not an essential release for the overall progmusic collector, but for Marillion aficionados it is quite an interesting collection.

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Send comments to Tristan Mulders (BETA) | Report this review (#86079)
Posted Monday, August 07, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars A fanclub release that was another in a series of Christmas albums from Marillion, A Verry Barry Christmas is an interesting mostly acoustic album that has a few pieces not on any Marillion album and some solid versions of some newer Marillion songs. And although there are some gems here (the acoustic versions of some great Hogarth era songs is quite nice), but the main draw for me in the instrumental version of This is the 21st Century (which musically is one of my favorite Hogarth Marillion songs). A lot of focus is put on the Anoraknophobia album (as it was recently released at the time), and for the most part the acoustic versions of the pieces on the album are quite nice, with the overall sound being quite warm and Hogarth's vocals being quite nice on top of the great interplay between Rothery and Trewavas. Also here are two remix pieces, the first of the second epic off of marillion.com, House. It's got a very laidback, almost surreal feel and you can feel a landscape of mystery unfold as the music progresses and digresses in a fitting fashion. The second is Go! (off of the same album), and it continues the surreal electronic tone of the end of the album, but the real treat is the instrumental This is the 21st Century, which is essentially an early working of the epic of Anoraknophobia without the vocals (a shortened acoustic version with vocals could be heard earlier in the album).

In the end, A Verry Barry Christmas is a pretty solid Marillion fanclub release, but the question at this point is raised, what is the point of it all? I recommend this only really to the diehard Marillion, but maybe, just maybe, if you like Hogarth Marillion and are willing to hear acoustic renditions of pieces and songs in the vein of Tales from the Engine Room, then hunting this release down may be worthwhile to you. Me? I think it's very good, just not necessary at all and only for the diehard. 2.5/5.

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Send comments to Cygnus X-2 (BETA) | Report this review (#89318)
Posted Saturday, September 09, 2006 | Review Permalink

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