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Tristan Mulders
3 stars Marillion - (2002 Reissue)

Okay, first of all, keep in mind that this is a FREE bonus disc that was available to order when you bought the album.

Okay, with that said, let's take a look at the album itself.

The majority of the tracks are live tracks that are all available on various issues of Marillion's own Racket Records label.

1. The disc starts with a very subtle and quiet track Afraid of Sunrise. The 'dark' mid part ("Nevada's burning. phoenix rising. driving on") is very enjoyable. Nice pianos. Good recording.

2. The second track is one of my favourite live songs. The Space. Although there's a light glitch somewhere at the beginning of the vocals, but that's mere because the delay/echo effect was at the wrong volume at the actual event where the song was played. This live version is a lot more dynamic than the studio version. Especially Ian Mosley's drumming is more noticeable. I really like the atmospheric mid part with the churchlike background keyboards and the superb guitar solo.

3. The album continuous with the romantic Afraid of Sunlight. It's very nice to hear the presence of the audience who are clapping along with the drums. At the beginning the vocals seem at bit on the down side, but when the "King of world" part begins, they suddenly change to beauty. Although Steve Rothery is a bit absent with his guitar, his solo somewhat near the end is very nice!

4. Track 4's only downside is that the saxophone part is not played live, but is actually a sample track. However, because it's not live, the band has to be very good, because they play along with the sample track very well. This is another track where the audience is very present. They are clapping along with the drums halfway through the song. Somewhere around the 6 min Steve Rothery breaks the trance the listeners' in and gives us a nice guitar solo.

5. This acoustic live version is a bass-vocal only version. The track shows what an amazing bass player Pete Trewavas is. This version sounds really totally different from the original "Seasons End" B-Side. Hogarth's vocals fit perfect to this very downbeat version of The Bell in the Sea.

6. Splintering Heart. The electric live version. A pretty heavy song, in a positive way of speaking. This is a totally different version than the one that's available on the "Holidays in Eden" studio album (although there's the same kind of version on the 2nd disc of its remaster release!). After about 2.30min of heavy prog you get this amazing guitar solo of mr. Rothery, which is just as said.. "Amazing"! Steve Hogarth's vocals are particularly well and you notice that the best right at the end. But I find the guitars the best on this track.

7. A song that you'll most likely hear when you visit a Marillion gig, as an encore. It starts off acoustic, but somewhere around the 2.30min mark it gets more in the electric 'vibe' with one of Steve Rothery's best guitar solo's he's ever made. But the nicest part of the song is the way the guitar solo fades into Mark Kelly's keyboards. The song tends to go on a bit too long at the end, but it doesn't ruin the fun listening to this song.

8. I'm not so fond of this acoustic live version of Uninvited Guest. Especially the backing vocals by Pete Trewavas sound simply annoying (there's a part where Hogarth doesn't sing the lead vox, but he does). I have to say that this acoustic version is a well done rework of its electric counterpart, but even that one didn't ever grip my attention.

9. Maybe the most underrated Marillion song. It's a cover version of Steve H's previous band How we live. I've always loved it, because it's typical for early h-era Marillion. Hogarth's vocals are in very good shape and the guitar solo is also very nice. Too bad this song doesn't get played that much, but that's mainly because it demands Hogarth to be in perfect (abnormal good?) shape.

10. The first of three demos that are on this album. The only thing that doesn't sound finished on this early The Great Escape version is the vocals. It's lesser dynamic and aggressive than the final album version (available on "Brave"). I don't often listen to this track, because it's not that different from the final version.

11. Accidental Man, now, this version is totally different from the final "This strange Engine" album version. The bass guitar on this track is very groovy, but the overall song is not that upbeat as on the This strange Engine album. There are a lot of 'trance' keyboards in the background, which I find very nice to listen to. Of course there's a guitar solo and it's a lot more upbeat than on any of the other songs on this compilation disc.

12. The last song on this compilation disc is definitely the heaviest. Cathedral Wall's demo version is a bit longer than the final version, and I find the second half of the song better than it eventually appeared on the "Radiat10n" album. Also, just as with the previous two demo tracks, the vocals sound like they're not finished (not particularly weird for a demo.) but the, mostly, instrumental upbeat parts in the song are superb (and there are a lot of those).

Especially for a free bonus disc, this is a nice CD to have.

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Posted Monday, May 23, 2005 | Review Permalink

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