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FIELD OF CROWS

Fish

Neo-Prog


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3 stars Better than the rather cheesy Fellini album, this is still not the Fish I used to love in 1987, although the voclas are much better and there are some standout tracks that are clearly worth mentioning like proggy Movin Targets. The opener is a weak song without any tension or musical development. Innocent Party is close to View from the Hill and will surely become a great live song. Numbers would not have been out of place on the Sunsets album. A fine song! The title track is the sort of ballad we would expect from Fish: emotional, intense, piano-based, powerful. The production is not bad, although the drums could sound better. Were it not for the weaker tracks such as The Rookie and Zoo Class, I'd probably give this album a **** rating, but just because it is an improvement does not mean that it is as good as Vigil or Sunsets.

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Send comments to Phoneteus (BETA) | Report this review (#29183)
Posted Monday, April 05, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars The best album fish has ever wrote!!! Songs like Scattering Crows, Innocent Party, Shot the Craw, Moving Targets, The Lost Plot are very emotional and are wonderfully rendered by this incredible artist. A MASTERPIECE

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Send comments to raffaello (BETA) | Report this review (#29186)
Posted Tuesday, May 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
jany@prog-nos
3 stars Times change. It was only a few years ago when people would look forward to the release of a new Fish album. But nowadays, this release seems just like one of many others. And it's not because of the fans or the music lovers, but because of the artist and the record company. Over kill is a shame and if there's one artist that can say something has gone wrong, its Fish. It's all the reissues, the re-recordings and the less than worthy material that has caused the people to lose interest in the new material. The artist has to prove himself again before getting credit from the fans or from the music lovers in general. But the time for getting that credit again is over for Fish. Now was the time to come up with a really great prog album and that's exactly what didn't happen. If you take a look at all the official albums of Fish, you'll see that there are actually very few real prog albums there. If you really try, you could say that 'Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors' (1990) could be called prog, but all the other CDs, in the best case, are just good rock. And this is the case again. 'A Field of Crows' is a very good rock album, even one of the better ones from Fish. But that's where it stops. Several songs sound more than nice, some even strong to very strong (for example, "Exit Wound" and "Scattering Crows"), but there is no real prog song in the bunch. The only time that Fish recorded a real prog song (after having left Marillion) is, as far as I know, on the 'Into the Electric Castle' album (1998, "Isis and Osiris"). The music, in this case, was composed by Ayreon (Arjen Anthony Lucassen).

The question is whether or not the true prog lover should spend his hard earned cash on this CD or on some other CD by, for example, an unknown band that fulfils the prog desire. At the rate that prog CDs are released, you don't have to wait even a whole month to buy a good one.

I think it's a pity that a band like Fish, who was once a shining example of prog in the '80s, has not since then been able to reach the quality level of previous songs like "Script of a Jester's Tear" or "Fugazi". And that's already eight years ago. You be the judge.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#29187)
Posted Tuesday, May 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
christian@127
5 stars I have to say that after my disappointment with Fellini Days, I wasn't expecting much. But boy, I was wrong! This is Fish back in high style, with an trully excellent album. The band is great, Fish's very inspired and his voice is in good shape. I specially loved the ballads (Exit Wound, Shot The Craw and Scattering Crows) which I'd say are the best ones since Gentleman's Excuse Me, while songs like "Numbers" and "Innocent Party" are obviously political natured. Along with Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors and Raingods With Zippos, this is one I'd recommend to all Fish or rock fans. Oh, the artwork is great, too! ;-) Go buy it, steal it, do something!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#29189)
Posted Saturday, June 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars After Fellini Day's I had almost given up on Fish, but Field of Crows completely redeems him in my eyes. This album is as good as his debut album (Vigil..). The music is of high standard, thorougly worked out. Though there are not much distinctive solo's, there is room for the musicians to develop the tunes and take the music too higher levels. The drums are a bit in the background, but that's just how I like them. The music is coherent throughout the album. With great lyrics, with references to his personal life (I shot the craw) and 9/11 (numbers and Innocent party). There is a good balance between the rock songs and balads with an overall relaxed feel to it. Again this is not a progalbum by Fish. But if you like Sunsets on Empire and/or raingods with zippo's you will not be disappointed. This is the best album he produced in a long long time. For those not familiar with his music, it's a good album to start with, for it displays the best music he made throughout his solocareer. For fans of Fish, this is a must have album.

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Send comments to tuxon (BETA) | Report this review (#29190)
Posted Friday, October 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
jonathan@bear
4 stars Fish's finest solo album. This almost feels like it should have followed Vigil, but I think betters it. The production is so much better than the egg-shell sound on Fellini Days, with much more depth.The addition of brass sections help give it that air of big production without being too 'in your face'. It does draw from the whole of his career (hints of Marillion days on Moving Targets and Innocent Party), through Raingods (Lost Plot). If it's serious prog you're after you may be disappointed but everyone else should, given a few listens, find much to enjoy on this album. So buy it, give it the chance it deserves and hopefully the recognition too..

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#29192)
Posted Friday, April 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
vladimir.leks
4 stars The album is inspired by the paintings of Gogh. Gogh was an impressionist with the sad soul searching for some light in his life. The album is also sad, but not very much, it is sometimes jolly too, but not very much. Ballads are not so slow and soft, you feel a certain heavy insistence in depth; the heavy tracks are not so heavy, you can feel some romantic heart behind. Simply, Fish as we like him. It has taken a longer time for me till I dare to put down some words about that album. I like it. I think it is one of his best solo works, perhaps the best one. The only problem I have is if to rank it as 5* or 4*. There are songs which deserve 5 (Lost plot, exit wound, Scattering crows), but there are as well some shortcomings. The general problem is that the music does not bring anything new in the context of the Fish solo carier. There are strong ballads, catchy melodies, agressivity, angry political exclamations a la Speaking in tongues (No more innocent parties) as well as silent peace of empty fields with crying black crows. What I like especially is that the songs are not amplifed here with angry rapping and recitating as in some older stuff of Fish. But nothing really new and revelationary, as it should be in the case of masterpiece. Why? I think that the answer lies in the fact that Fish is not a musician. He is of course an excellent songwriter, vocalist, but he is also a poet, perhaps also a painter?, philosopher and some kind of an angry satirist, or better, a joker. And consequently, he is not evolving musically, of course, he gathered the excellent musicians around him, but the crew is changing often. So it is clear that the style is somehow dropping through his fingers. For example, M. Brzezinski is here back for the first time since the vigil, F. Usher is back on guitars after the pause. But J. Wesley is not here although he made an excellent work in the previous album. That is the problem, there is little continuity. This album could have been easily the second, third or the last one, as it is. So, even I like it very much, I cannot evaluate it as a masterpiece. But perhaps, once Fish comes with some. It is surely worthy following.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#29193)
Posted Monday, April 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
1@1.com
3 stars The quality is decreased from Vigil, but Fish continues to make far better albums than Hogarth-era Marillion. Most of the songs are at least above average, but there is one only one that really sticks out: Moving Targets. By far the best song on the album, and one of the best Fish has done in his solo career.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#29194)
Posted Friday, April 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
pl.moulin@lap
4 stars When I first listened to that album a year ago I found it uninspired and boring. But 'dam was I wrong ! The problem with Fish for me and maybe for many people is objectivity. How to be objective when it's about the ex singer of Marillion. How to forgive him to have left this extraordinary band. He was just amazing in that band. Then his solo career had (some) good and (many) bad moments, buts lacked unity overall and was far from having the musical genius of his previous band. Is it unfair not to forgive ? Yes it is ! Is there any reason to think like that and always regret the old times ? Well the same (stupid) question would apply to these old couples that finally break up. That's life !

After that divorce let's admit we, the public, have not really lost in the game : A great singer replaced fish for a new marillion era (hogarth) , and fish in the same time known at least one peak in his solo career with the albums Sunsets and the next one (Raingods). Probably guitarist Wilson from Porcupine tree gave him the musical talent he needed. Then...well no comment until this last gem. Everything is back again. The voice, the songwriting, and excellent musicians. Great fun. Hope it's not the very last one. Fish 's still got a lot to say.

highlights

1 the field - a good although rather classic opener with its scotish mood 8/10 2 moving targets - The voice is back ! 8/10 3 the rookie - a good song, quite aggressive 7/10 4 zoo class - engaged lyrics, but a weaker track in my opinion 6/10 5 the lost plot - An emotional song, written with Turell (cf Raingods) 9/10 6 old crow - a catchy song that i needed to listen to a couple of times 7/10 7 numbers - rather rocky and aggressive. Inequal 6/10 8 exit wound - reminds of the lost plot with a bluesy mood 8/10 9 innocent party - strong and catchy. One of my favs. 9/10 10 shot the craw - a nice and touching ballad 9/10 11 scattering crows - unequal, but really strong 8/10

Overall i would give a 8.5/10 to this excellent album. ( Note : this is not prog music in my opinion).

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#46309)
Posted Sunday, September 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Not really a progressive album in any real sense of the word, but a really strong rock album with progressive tendencies is what we have here. Fish has gone through many different phases in his career, beginning with his early days as the front man for seminal Neo Prog group Marillion, and then breaking away in 1988 to pursue a career of his own, and continuing with his solo works in the 90's, which stray from the Marillion sound in favor of a harder, more guitar based sound. However, despite this change of sound, Fish maintains his cool and offers a great album filled with biting social commentary and exceedingly strong vocal and musical melodies. This musicians on this album are newcomers with Fish, with the exception of Frank Usher (who has been essentially on all Fish albums) and Steve Vantiss, who was on Fellini Days (Fish's previous solo effort).

The Field is easily the strongest track on the album, with sensitive and imaginitive lyrics, as well as a sensational build-up of instruments from each of the musicians that help Fish create a sense of mystery and magic. The Celtic feeling is strong on this track, with Fish creating more music that gives nods to his homeland of Scotland. Moving Targets is the first of two songs relating to 9/11, and the voice that is so identifiable with Fish returns once again and really steals the show. Not saying that the music is bad, the band really grooves on this song and takes the feeling to a whole other dimension of sonic power. The Rookie and Zoo Class are similar tracks in my mind. Both have similar sounding guitar lines and beats, but the topics at hand in each of these songs are completely different. Frank Usher really shines on these tracks. The rest of the album is a mix of strong guitar sensibilities, some great keyboard works from Tony Turrell and more sniping social commentary from Fish, on top of that, Fish sounds great on each and every one of these tracks.

Overall, this is a very strong work from Fish. It may not be progressive, but it certainly is entertaining hard rock with some overly progressive tendencies in moments. If you like Fish, then this is a must have. If you are a Marillion fan expecting something similar to the old Fish era works, then you'll be left with an album that has no connections with that time. It's a good album, but not near Fish's best. 3.5/5.

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Send comments to Cygnus X-2 (BETA) | Report this review (#76514)
Posted Thursday, April 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars A solid effort from Fish but as time has passed my enthusiasm for this album has declined. Compared to '13th Star' or 'Sunsets on Empire' , the decent collection of songs on offer here do sound a little lacking in vitality.

In part this is probably due to functional production which, although better than on 'Fellini Days', does not come close to that achieved on '13th..' or 'Sunsets..'.

'Innocent Party' is a very strong track , while 'Scattering Crows' is the strongest of several decent ballads.

3.5 stars, rounded down this time

With new album 'Feast of Consequences' in line for 2013 release it will be interesting to see how it stands in Fish's solo catalogue.

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Send comments to oldcrow (BETA) | Report this review (#139733)
Posted Saturday, September 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An excellent easy listening ...!

In terms of song quality distribution, this album is quite OK as there is no such thing as lousy track throughout this solo album by ex Marillion lead vocalist. The problem with this is that there is no one single masterpiece track coming out from this album because all are distributed evenly from start to end. In addition to this, this album is basically Fish work on almost purely pop music scene right from first to end of the track. Having said so, there is basically no prerequisite on musical taste that the listeners must have had prior to listening to this album as far as they like music. From this basis, then the review should revolve around how catchy the melody line instead of the composition manages transitions from one style to another. In typical pop music, there is basically a single straight forward structure of Intro-A-chorus-A-chorus-A .. etc. As simple as that. Well .. the statement that I made before this phrase only applicable when I spun for the first two spins. After that, it grew on me ..

The opening track "The Field" (8:42) proves to be a simple straight forward track in mellow style with low register notes of vocal line. The melody line is quite good and Fish vocal quality is clear and transparent. He sings in relax way with Frank Usher's guitar provides a howling sound that is rare in typical pop music. The flow of the music is quite nice which brings this song is enjoyable by most ears, I believe. The only boring part for me is the repetitive parts at the end of the song, those with brass section. If this is not made that long, I think this song would not make you bored with it.

"Moving Targets" (5:46) is richer in textures through the soft guitar fills but it also has steady beats through dynamic drum work. I believe the mixing of drums part in this track has been wonderfully crafted. The interlude part of this song is interesting, it gives different flavor than any other pop songs, I believe. The howling guitar part at the end part of the song is also wonderful. The drumwork enriches the end part nicely, it reminds me to Phil Collins' solo : "Lorenzo" where the percussion is dynamic.

"The Rookie" (5:35) is a riff-based music using guitar as riffs maker augmented by steady drum work as beat keepers. The keyboard /organ provides nice punchlines while Fish is singing. The song is as upbeat as the second track. The interlude part which comprises an intertwining work of guitar and keyboard tah starts at approx min 1:45 is really stunning and very uplifting. This song is much attractive than the previous two tracks, according to my personal taste.

"Zoo Class" (5:23) starts with Frank Usher guitar fills in ambient nuance followed by the work of brass section which in a way reminds me to the intro part of Chicago Transit Authority "I Am A Man" song. When Fish voice enters, it's basically different kind of music with excellent groove plus stunning guitar fills that enrich the textures of the music. As this song moves like a funky music with accentuation of brass section, you can easily find it similar with regular R&B songs. The only difference is the guitar style of Frank Usher.

"The Lost Plot" (5:10) starts high with piano as melody line followed wonderfully by Fish powerful voice. As far as melody, this can be considered better than any previous tracks' melody. The flow is also excellent especially when keyboard and piano provide the sounds that enrich the song's textures, augmented by electric guitar work at background. The music moves beautifully in crescendo letting guitar solo to enter nicely. I like the guitar solo that starts at approx 3:05 onwards. It's really cool.

"Old Crow" (5:20) uses sampling of keyboard as beat keeper combined nicely with guitar as rhythm. Fish vocal enters in energetic way. I almost get bored with the brass section but luckily Fish does not do it too much with this track, so I can still bear with it. The guitar solo that makes this song interesting.

"Numbers" (5:36) starts nicely with guitar riffs (without any other instrument) followed by percussion and Fish voice that follows. The bass guitar is used to produce a rhythmic part at background. The music moves in a bit rockin' style with good combination of guitar and drumworks.

"Exit Wound" (5:55) starts nicely with electric guitar fills that accompany Fish singing in good melody, powerful low register notes. The bass guitar gives its lines to accentuate the song. The song moves wonderfully with really a catchy melody, excellent textures through howling guitar work and sax work. I do enjoy this track and it has become my favorite as well. As far as melody concern, this is the best one from this album. It's very enjoyable and easy listening. I am impressed with how great the audio quality especially this track.

"Innocent Party" (7:37) is an ambient rock music at the intro part with excellent intro followed by accentuated Fish singing style. The drumwork makes this intro part is dynamic even though the guitar is only producing a repetitive riff. The music then flows into its main body with steady rhythm section. The interlude part in the middle of the track gives a chance for guitar to perform solo.

"Shot The Craw" (6:00) seems like continuing the riffs of previous track "Innocent Party" and the music moves in flat style. The song moves into uplifting mood at the end of the track. "Scattering Crows" (Still Time) (5:05) is a nice concluding track with piano as main rhythms section backed with sampling sound at the back. It's another nice track with good melody. It's a very good concluding track in terms of Fish singing style as well as the music that accompanies him. It's really cool and relaxing. Bravo Fish!

Overall, oh yeah .. this is an excellent album by Fish even though the prog elements are not that intense throughout the album. This album is good for those who had been expecting Fish to come up with an album where the songs that build the album are all good and, in fact, excellent. This album serves the purpose. I would be happy to recommend those who have not known Fish before with this excellent easy listening music by Fish. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#157398)
Posted Tuesday, January 01, 2008 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I'm afraid that I won't be as laudatory as my fellow reviewers about this release; not that this album is bad but I can't find lots of highlights in here. And IMO, few highlights can hardly mean a brilliant album.

The opener starts OK, building up nicely crescendo, but as soon as the brass make their appearance (for the last two minutes), they kind of ruin the good mood. It finishes in some sort of world music tune which is quite a deception.

Most songs have a simple approach and the prog feeling that could be noticed in "Raingods" has completely disappeared. Harder sounds and average melodies are too many on this work: "The Rookie", "Old Crow" (with painful brass again and a shouting Fish), "Numbers" (which only shines during a short guitar break).

Again, the brass section during the groovy "Zoo Class" is rather invading. And the song doesn't move me at all. Repetitive and monotonous. In one word: boring.

On the plus side, "Moving Targets" probably holds the strongest lyrics of the whole album and "The Last Plot" is my preferred track. At last! Fish is displaying his melodic voice for a delicate song. Brilliant piano, excellent backing bands and convincing vocals. In one word: great. Fish as I used to like, but not only him. The second part which is greatly covered with a fantastic and inspired guitar solo is surely one of the (few) passionate instants of this long album. But we are already half way through.

The soft and gentle "Exit Wounds" also comes as a good surprise. It is another pleasant ballad which allows Fish to make use of his immense vocal talent and finally be so poignant. Some might call it mellow, but at least I get some emotion out of it. Thanks man. Even the final sax solo is enjoyable!

"Innocent Party" has a lot to share with some genuine "Marillion" songs ("Fugazi" period during which their sound was also on the harder edge). But it is better balanced than the other hard-rock songs from Crow. Fish is more signing than shouting and the instruments are also smoother and are melting pretty well with the vocals. Another good track.

There is nothing to do. I prefer the ambient, sweeter tracks from this album than the louder ones. In this respect, "Shot The Crow" also offers this subtle Fish style that we all love. Intimate and friendly. A pleasant "crow" song.

The closing number is a bit sad but so emotional. A great love song of a lost lover. I even wonder if it is not autobiographical.An interesting closing number indeed.

At the end of the day, this is another good Fish album which I rate with three stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#168308)
Posted Monday, April 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is a bit hit and miss for me, but for most of it i cant help but think 'what is this guy thinking? he was once in Marillion' at times it can be quite random, fair enough the first 2 songs came on and i thought 'hmm, its Fish trying to be a neo Pink Floyd' then i heard the songs that followed and i just dont think they are great songs, the bluesy songs just seem out of place on the album and the country ones just seem really random not to mention OLD CROW *shutters* but to be honest THE LOST PLOT is a decent song with a cool little solo in it INNOCENT PARTY is also a quite interesting song, SHOT THE CRAW is the only song here that kinds sounds like anything the man ever did with Marillion (which is brill of course) and the final song SCATTERING CROWS is a decent end...so the start is good, then goes down hill, but then picks up about 3/4 into the album and just stays that way which isnt too bad, all in all its an ok album, not that bad buut still not that good its a 3 star review;

The Field - 9/10 Moving Targets - 9/10 The Rookie - 6/10 Zoo Class - 4/10 The Lost Plot - 7/10 Old Crow - 3/10 Numbers - 4/10 Exit Wound - 4/10 Innocent Party - 8/10 Shot The Craw - 9/10 Scattering Crows (Still Time) - 9/10

MY CONCLUSION not bad but still not great, a decent enough effort though and it is Fish lak...

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Send comments to FarBeyondProg (BETA) | Report this review (#289294)
Posted Monday, July 05, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This was Fish's ninth studio album released in 2004. Again like most of his albums there are some songs I like and some I can't get into, so to me this is very inconsistant.

"The Field" sounds good early when the atmosphere rolls in. Reserved vocals follow then drums before 3 minutes as it builds. At over 8 1/2 minutes I feel this song over-stays it's welcome. "Moving Targets" has some good prominant bottom end to it as the vocals sing over top. Organ comes and goes in this fairly catchy tune. "The Rookie" is one I can't get into but the organ and rhythm section is good. "Zoo Class" opens with guitar as a full sound kicks in quickly, vocals too. Horns in this one as well. While this is catchy i'm not a fan.

"The Lost Plot" is spacey with lots of keyboards as vocals join in. Some nice guitar too. "Old Crow" is different. It's a fun with an almost hoe-down vibe. "Numbers" is a pretty good guitar driven tune. "Exit Wound" is really a bluesy ballad of sorts. "Innocent Party" builds quickly as minor guitar riffs help out. Vocals before a minute. Some good guitar 4 minutes in as well. "Shot The Craw" is ballad-like and so is the closer "Scattering Crows". It ends with birds singing until a murder of crows over-whelms them.

While i'm giving this 3 stars it's a tough one to actually recommend.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#304330)
Posted Friday, October 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Field of Crows is a catchy collection of enjoyably prog-tinged rock songs from Fish, with all the usual emotional and social commentary issues he loves to include in his lyrics present and correct. This is, of course, precisely the sort of thing Fish has regularly attempted to create - it's what Vigil In a Wilderness of Mirrors was meant to be, for instance - but he's never succeeded to quite this extent before. The sidestep back to a more full-blooded prog direction for the albums from Sunsets on Empire to Fellini Days seems to have helped the songwriting process here - plus, once again Fish seems to have a good songwriting partner in the form of Bruce Watson. Either way, it's the most successful album of the more poppier side of Fish's sound by far, and it's another great album in the streak of successes that began with Sunsets.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#662631)
Posted Saturday, March 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars One Fish respectable solo work.

A set of songs, generally well structured. Also some disposable; Zoo Class and Old Crow (Suite Home Alabama II) mainly.

Welcome the participation of Mark Brzezicki in drums (Big Country), who had participated in Vigil. . . and Bruce Watson in guitar. The Lost Plot, Innocent Party and Numbers contain a Marillion's spirit, without being self-plagiarism, nothing like that. Exit Wound, Shot the Crow and Scattering Crows are excellent ballads, sung by Fish with an open heart, and with the settlement gained over the years, handed in the letter too....

Ends up not being an album balanced and even. The second half is much better. After the good start with The Field, enters a dull course, recovering to half a good walk.

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Posted Monday, June 24, 2013 | Review Permalink

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