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MARBLES

Marillion

Neo-Prog


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Marillion Marbles album cover
4.11 | 790 ratings | 111 reviews | 48% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

Single disc version
1. The Invisible Man (13:37)
2. Marbles I (1:42)
3. You're Gone (6:25)
4. Angelina (7:42)
5. Marbles II (2:02)
6. Don't Hurt Yourself (5:48)
7. Fantastic Place (6:12)
8. Marbles III (1:51)
9. Drilling Holes (5:11)
10. Marbles IV (1:26)
11. Neverland (12:10)
12. You're Gone (Single Mix) (Bonus Track)


2 Disc version
CD 1 (53:43)
1. The Invisible Man (13:37)
2. Marbles I (1:42)
3. Genie (4:54)
4. Fantastic Place (6:12)
5. The Only Unforgivable Thing (7:13)
6. Marbles II (2:02)
7. Ocean Cloud (17:58)

CD 2 (45:14)
1. Marbles III (1:51)
2. The Damage (4:35)
3. Don't Hurt Yourself (5:48)
4. You're Gone (6:25)
5. Angelina (7:42)
6. Drilling Holes (5:11)
7. Marbles IV (1:26)
8. Neverland (12:10)

Total Time: 98:57

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Hogarth / vocals, hammered dulcimer
- Steve Rothery / guitar, bass
- Pete Trewavas / bass, acoustic guitar
- Ian Mosley / drums
- Mark Kelly / keyboards

Guest:
- Carrie Tree / additional vocals on "Angelina" and "Genie"

Releases information

Intact Recordings #Intact 12772

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to aapatsos for the last updates
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MARILLION Marbles ratings distribution


4.11
(790 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(48%)
48%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
33%
Good, but non-essential (11%)
11%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)
3%

MARILLION Marbles reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Have Marillion lost their Marbles or found them again?

Note that this review is for the 2CD Campaign set.

If I was judging on CD 1 alone, I would say "For Collectors/Fans", but Good - if non- essential. If I was juding on CD 2, however, I would say that this is an Excellent addition to any prog collection. CD 2, in fact, is so good, that I will give the CD the 4 stars - even though I have difficulty considering this to be a prog album per se, or even Neo-prog. It is more like quasi-prog... however, anyone that likes prog will find something to like in this 2-CD set.

Marillion have improved since taking on H as a singer - but not consistently. I can hardly consider this album to be a masterpiece, but it is better than anything they've released since "Clutching at Straws". My personal bugbear is H's tendency to sing in the same "precious" manner as bands like Travis, Coldplay or Keane - but without the melodic sensibilities. Sadly, on first listen, I fell asleep during "The Invisible Man". 13 and a half minutes was really 10 minutes too long. This is why Marillion are The Invisible Man of the title - no one seems to notice they are still around, because the anoraks are still on, and the lyrics and music say nothing - although there is obviously awareness; "The world's gone mad and I have lost touch - I shouldn't admit it, but I have." This would be why Marillion made the masters for Anoraknophobia widely available - I bought a copy to remix, but could not find much to work with.

Much of Marbles CD 1 consists of bland but inoffensive chord progressions with boring drumming. It's not prog, although one or two tracks really stand out. In places, particularly "The Damage", I can hear the influence of Radiohead "The Bends" ("Iron Lung"), and the Beatles "Abbey Road".

Mostly CD 1 just passes by, unremarkable, and I simply wondered why they had bothered to record such tired and hackneyed phrases instead of writing the great music and lyrics I know they can write. The lyrics generally are 3rd grade sixth-form stuff - but with exceptions; "...And the edge which must be sharpened; He's losing it. And he knows. But there's a fighter in his mind and his body's tough..." ("Ocean Cloud"). CD 2 fares a lot better. I was about to give up on the entire album until I heard "Ocean Cloud" - really, we could have done without the 4 Marbles tracks and most of CD 1, and simply moved O/C to CD 2.

A notable exception is Peter Trewavas, who appears to have re-found his "bass legs", as there are some divine bass lines which hearken back to "Script...". Some have an almost Reggae flavour, which was markedly absent from "Fugazi" onwards. If only Ian Moseley could interact a bit more and help produce the strong drum and bass that could propel Marillion from MOR to TOTP (Top Of The Pile!). What else is needed is more of the lyrical keyboard playing that Kelly is more than capable of. He experiments with effects and pads very nicely, but I really miss those strong melodies. Rothery, too, is capable of far more. Much of the guitar playing appears effortless in the worst connotation of the word.

Having slated the band for not being as good as I know they can be, I'd like to turn to the album's high points;

1) "Ocean Cloud". If you only listened to this track, you might wonder about most of the comments I have made so far - H turns in a ballsy performance, and the band pull together for a wonderfully atmospheric 18-minute piece of prog. Again, the bass is particularly strong and the keyboards are sumptuous. The guitar is present, but does not make much of a contribution. Rothery always used to understate much of what he did, except when it was time to crank up and let that baby sing. Please, Steve! Let it sing again!! As I mentioned earlier, the lyrics are generally much stronger in this song - although I cringed a little at the plagiarism from Pink Floyd's "The Wall" - I'll let you spot that one ;0)

2) "The Damage". (As noted earlier)

3) Angelina. Yes! We have a quasi-jazz intro! We have amusing lyrics! We have a melody for which the "precious" voice works very well. Rothery privides some nice little fills, Kelly provides sumptuous pads, Trewavas, as ever, is solid - and Moseley feels the soul of this song. It's not prog, but it IS wonderful!

4) Drilling Holes. I'm really not sure about the lyrics - when taken by themselves they are hardly inspiring, but H makes them work with this track, which is full of exaggerated light and shade. Kelly shines with the best and most varied keyboard work thus far, Moseley and Rothery seem to enjoy rocking out, in those moments that call for it - but it's the keyboards which steal the show, albeit in an understated way.

5) Thank Goodness for "Neverland!". Now this is what I am talking about! What Marillion are capable of - some very interesting drumming that seems to echo Ringo, some very strong songwriting that hearkens back to "Script..." - and thank Rothery for the solos that I've been waiting the entire album for... although still not quite enough!!! Rothery has a delicious, almost Scottish flavour to some of his solos that distinguish him from a simple Gilmour plagiarist - when he's on form, you KNOW it!!! The sound is there, but we need your solos, Steve!! There are elements of early Genesis or possibly Supertramp in the piano sound and acoustic guitar work, but mainly the feel of this 12- minute piece of quasi-prog seems to lean more towards Camel. I have to say it's quasi- prog, because it consists mainly of a long jam around a single chord-progression, and only occasionally experiments outside that frame.

I suppose the biggest problem for Marillion after Fish left was the legacy they had created. They were their own tough act to follow - although Clutching At Straws was hardly the masterpiece that the first 3 albums were. They deserve full respect for sticking with it, and finally producing music of the quality we have on this album. If they continue improving in this manner, the next album could well be their next masterpiece; Real kudos goes to the way they successfully got a single into the top 10 without help from the record industry pigopolists! Marillion may yet be reborn (and I sincerely hope they are!).

Buy this album out of principle, and know your money is going to a good cause; putting prog back onto the lofty podium it rightfully owns, and giving the record industry a kick in the pants!!!

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Send comments to Certif1ed (BETA) | Report this review (#30324) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, May 22, 2004

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album has created a controversy for me as well as prog community. As a hard core fan of symphonic and neo prog genre, this was my first impression when I received my pre-ordered package around 3 weeks ago (huge delay actually) "Damn on you Mr. h (ogarth)! You have destroyed Marillion!". I didn't understand why the band took 2 years to complete this lousy album! I could not understand, for example, on the first track of disc 1 I couldn't catch the soul of the track even until 6 minutes passed. Oh my God .. what a lousy music they produced this time. I could not bear it anymore. So, I skipped to track 2. It's another lousy mellow track. And then track 3, It's so poppy. The skip went on with each track consumed roughly 3 minutes for my ears could bear to listen to the CD. Then I turned to CD 2, the same feeling. Forget it! Then I put this album on the shelf. For approximately a week I didn't want to touch it. Only one thing left in me after I skimmed through the two CDs: the sonic quality of the 2 CDs are excellent!

Then I gave another try. This time I intentionally disregarded all expectations and/or definition of prog. Simply put, I didn't want to pigeon hole the band to a certain category of genre or use music boundaries. I just plainly used my ears and my mind to listen to the album completely. So here I am, in the boundary-less definition of anything, open my mind, sit down and relax (it seems like an opening words for Jethro Tull's "Bursting Out" live hah? Well, music has inspired me a lot, friend!). And this is my experience .

With a spacey touch in intro part, drum-loop and a bit of percussion sound with mellow keyboard "The Invisible Man" enters my mind. The first minute reminds me strongly to the intro part of "Assassing" the band's second album. But if combined with the keyboard sound this first minute reminds me to the nuances of intro part of Fish's "What Colour is God" of Sunsets on Empire album. Am sure this is purely a coincidence not an intention. Fortunately when Hogarth's vocal slowly enter all of that association with other compositions are gone. I have to admire that this track is terrific, well structured with a mixture of great sounds. Steve's guitar sound is really excellent. I guess he played it with his heart as the sound he produced so damn smooth. Mark's keyboard sound is rich and sets the whole tone of the track.

Track 2 "Marbles I" is a pure easy listening pop music. I think the band tries to emulate (?) what Rick Wakeman's "Lady of the Lake" series in "King Arthur" album as Marbles has 4 series (I-IV) wth 3 of them shared the same melody while Marbles III is different from the others. Lyrically, Marbles tracks are weak as they tell the story about little hogarth played with marbles. So simplistic and not unique as many people have similar experience during their childhood, I think.

Track 3 "Genie" is nothing than a pop music and a little bit boring on its melody part. "Fantastic Place" is a nice track. "The Only Unforgivable Thing" is very good. It still mellow, but minute 4 the interlude is terrific, this segment produces nice melody with touchy guitar fill. The closing track "Ocean Cloud" is an epic. Again, I rate highly on this track as it has a beautiful composition. Hogarth sings with his heart, I think. The nuances created in this track is similar to Pink Floyd's "High Hope" from "Division Bell" album, I think. "Ocean Cloud" is really excellent! The ending part of this track reminds us to early Marillion music style, stunning guitar supported by keyboard sound as a background.

So now, if I conclude with disc 1, I would rate *** 1/2. Well, actually disc 1 deserves 4- star if the following downsides are completely replaced with better tracks and lyrics: "Genie" and "Marbles I & II". So boring Mr. h. (Hey, I don't understand why hogarth is called with "Mr."? It does not rock mann . too formal!! Or .. are you that bossy, h?). I give 5 star for two tracks: :"Invisible Man" and "Ocean Cloud".

"Marbles III" is the only one that has different melody than other Marbles. "The Damage" sounds completely like typical "Brit Pop" music and it reminds me to Radiohead or Muse. It's a nice track though. "Don't Hurt Yourself" is similar, but it has better melody. I like the acoustic guitar intro of this track. The music flows nicely and good melody when hogarth sings "Don't Heart Yourself .". Really cool, I think. I also like the guitar sound produced here, it's a kind of Hawaiian style. Congrats Steve!

"You're Gone" is the band's single. It's a nice pop song, sounds like house music, with drum-loop. Again, I sense that the nuance at intro part is similar to Fish's "What Color is God?". It's a coincidence, I believe. It's an enjoyable track. This track has reached UK chart no. 7. "Angelina" starts with a radio tuning sound typical to the band's intro of "Forgotten Sons" of "Script" album. Hogarth voice enters the track very nicely, I like it.

"Drilling Hole" is really cool. The opening reminds me to Peter Gabriel solo album such as "UP". I like "Drilling Hole" very much. It has a great composition in the easy listening scheme. Keyboard playing is really excellent! Congrats Mark! The interlude part makes you fly, definitely! This track blows y mind! I rate this track as high as "Ocean Cloud" and "Invisible Man". I cannot let myself not to repeat this track (I'm listening to it now with a headphone).

"Neverland" is another epic. Again, Hogarth sings with his heart completely. The keyboard background creates a solid nuance for the track. This is a track that may inspire you to create wild ideas about something you think about. Listen to Steve guitar playing .. wow! So wonderful man!!! The acoustic guitar part at minutes 4:26 is damn cool mann!! Oh God, I love this piece very very very much! Then it flows nicely with Steve stunning guitar playing. In this track also I can get a feel of Pete's tight bass guitar playing nicely.

Disc 2 is much better than 1 and I give a **** rating overall. I think, this album deserves FIVE STAR if the band only produce best tracks in one disc.

OVERALL for 2 CD package, this album is excellent. It has created something different with some notes that some tracks are sort of "derivative". It has a bit of Porcupine Tree (no wonder, the genius Steve Wilson got involved in this album), Pink Floyd and Radihead or Muse. Songwriting is good even though the lyrics are so simplistic in some tracks. Musicianship is terrific. One thing bothers me though: "where is the challenging job of Mr. Ian Mosley?". There is no dynamic drumming in almost every track. Some track use drum-loop or programming. So, Ian's capability is not fully capitalized in this album. Such a waste actually, because I know that Ian is a terrific drummer. Hogarth voice is great. Steve Rothery and Mark Kelly contributions are dominant. Pete is not fully at his potential. Ovearll, they are great musicians. If I should recommend, you should purchase the one CD version instead of 2 CD. Bravo Marillion! Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#30336) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Review by Clayreon
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars During the last years, MARILLION has been the subject of many discussions on mailing lists and message boards. Everybody kept going on about FISH and Steve Hogarth and MARILLION still being prog or not, but let's forget all that and judge their new album without any prejudice. Though that's not always easy as I've always liked MARILLION, so I'm starting off with a prejudice myself.

The new album "Marbles" comes in three different editions. There's a pre-order double album in a beautiful carbon case, with a 128-page booklet, with some fine artwork and all the names of the people who pre-ordered in time. If you don't want all these names, you can order the double album in a jewel case and there's also a single retail version, which will appear officially on May 3rd.

I can certainly recommend one of the double versions because you will be missing quite a lot on the single album.

The album starts off with the more than 13 minutes lasting "The Invisible Man" which contains enough variation to claim that MARILLION still has some progressive capacities. After some indefinable noises, it begins with a rhythmic intro with lots of bass and drums. Soon it evolves in a quiet part with a beautiful vocal line. Every musician is doing some subtle things that you don't notice at first, but the more you listen to this track, the more you discover. Slowly it grows back into a more rhythmic piece and every one's contributions become more important. There's still a piano-vocal piece and a short slow bluesy guitar solo to digest to complete this track.

The second long (almost 18 minutes) progressive track is called "Ocean Cloud". (Not on the retail version). After a quiet sung start, accompanied by a great synth sound, and the chorus, we get to hear the real Rothery in a solo that will bring a smile on lots of MARILLION fans' faces. There's enough in this track, even to much to describe everything, and I don't want to spoil all the fun. ;-) This track is dedicated to Don Allum and the Ocean Rowers. If you want to know more about this guy, you'll find more info on www.oceanrowing.com/logs/don_allum.htm

Another great track, "The Only Unforgivable Thing", opens with a church organ and changes into one of the best MARILLION ballads I know. Maybe there's not a lot of variation in this track, but once more Steve Rothery proves that he's still alive and kicking.

"Neverland", which was already on the 2003 christmas fanclub album, is another long track, with a lot of different parts. The guitar solo of Steve Rothery even brings back memories of the early MARILLION.

"Genie", "Fantastic Place" (with a Chris Isaak 'Wicked Games' sound), "The Damage" (the only heavier track), "Don't Hurt Yourself" (Trewavas on acoustic guitar and Rothery on bass), "You're Gone" (the top 10 single, drum machine included), "Angelina" (a very quiet jazzy track) and "Drilling Holes" (which by times sounds like "A Day In The Life" by the Beatles) are all great tracks, which are not really progressive songs, but they all contain great melodies and superb vocals by H.

And finally, there are the four short "Marbles" tracks, which I initially didn't like, but they are growing on me. Still, they will never be my favourites. H sounds (deliberately?) false on them. They tell the story how Steve launched marbles high in the air with a tennis racket and crashed a lot of greenhouses in his neighbourhood. His father took away his marbles and that seems to have made a great impression on little Steve.

In my opinion, this is the best MARILLION album in years, but I'm afraid it won't change the opinion of the people who don't like the Hogarth era. Don't expect any "Hooks On You" explosions, because there's a lot of laid back material. "The Only Unforgivable Thing" is not giving this album.

>>> Review by: Danny (9/10) <<<

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Send comments to Clayreon (BETA) | Report this review (#30338) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, June 11, 2004

Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Well, they've gone and surprised me again. Usually an established rock band deciding to incorporate more modern sounds, especially trendy electronics, is a sure sign of impending doom...except for a select few like RADIOHEAD. Indeed, I was reminded of "OK Computer" more than once, and also of various periods in U2's development- quite unusual comparisons to make to a band which has, up to now, shown almost exclusively classic progressive rock pedigree. Some of the resemblance is due to Hogarth, who like Thom Yorke sometimes foregoes enunciation altogether and mumbles his vocals in a surprisingly effective way. Most of the time, though, the instruments just sound better; more tastefully played, with more creative tone colors and more organic than ever, even with the modern electronic additions. The band has increasingly focused on a PINK FLOYD influence over the last decade, and that is still to be found in abundance, but there are also some unique flavors I'd never expected to hear on a MARILLION release.

If "The Invisible Man" had been the first thing I'd ever heard from the band, I would have been even more impressed (and I was pretty impressed). The song has a long, slow build with a number of unique and sometimes unidentifiable sounds; instead of complicating rock structures, they break them down here, and make the component sounds more interesting. After a relentless, pounding crescendo, a 90 degree turn into somber FLOYDian territory and then a cathartic finale confirms that this is actually a MARILLION song- but a remarkably raw and heartfelt one, with an urgency and passion I usually associate with "Unforgettable Fire"-era U2 songs. Hogarth even sounds like a decent singer much of the time, letting his voice burst out of him without the usual narrative urge. "Marbles I" begins the rather curious series of abstract recollections that tie the album together, against a shimmering, soft-jazz flavored backdrop. "Genie" is more familiar in sound, a anthemic rock number, slightly spacey, with just a hint of electronica in the burbling fliter sweep. Some of the lyrics seem clumsy here, but not enough to really hurt. "Fantastic Place" croons reflectively, and then hits you with the big sounds; on "The Only Unforgivable Thing" guitars and synths echo and swell pleasantly around an almost Beatle-esque structure that again makes me think of U2 (in some of their better 90s songs this time). "Marbles II" continues the theme, this time more retro-psychedelic than jazzy but still very pleasant. "Ocean Cloud" is more moody and adventurous, alternately painting drifting, abstract sonic landscapes (or rather, seascapes) and launching into a more FLOYD- influenced wall of sound. The composition is wrenchingly expressive and wonderfully paced (despite a quick relapse to classic MARILLION hard rock after the sampled narrative segment) and resembles "Invisible Man" in both tone and structure- a nice round trip for the first disc.

The second half begins with the lovely, too-brief "Marbles III". "The Damage" shows a more playful modern-retro side, once again suggesting a fab-four current beneath the thunderous guitar and vocal movements. "Don't Hurt Yourself" is a well-crafted pop rock number, a bit average but redeemed with fine instrumental performances. Their best shot for commercial release,"You're Gone", unfortunately bases itself around a variant of the timeworn 'funky drummer' loop (well why not, everybody else has done it!) but puts a good "Zooropa"-type mixture atop it to make the most of the song. "Angelina" is liquid-smooth and shimmeringly, deceptively laidback; pretty but slightly eerie, with some nice harmonies and a Glimour-guitar sensibility in the solo. The Sgt. Pepper comparisons are unavoidable on "Drilling Holes", which has a definite "Day in the Life" impulse in the lyrics. The music, however, is quite adventurous, often hard- edged like a segment of "The Wall" (or even "Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking", but I'd prefer to be complimentary) but also featuring quiet, suspenseful breaks that broaden the dynamics. The last "Marbles" installment returns to the whispering jazzy feel of the first and then slides into the passionate closer "Neverland", with its shuffling drums and "Great Gig In the Sky"-style piano. There's some ill-advised echoing vocal lines, and maybe it goes on a bit too long, but there's no denying the cathartic power of the album's conclusion. It's slightly less satisfying than the first side, but the fact that they can get so much out of the usually deadly double-album format is impressive on its own.

I never would have thought I'd be giving such a high rating to a MARILLION album; I never called myself a MARILLION fan, I didn't care for them during the Fish era and while "Brave" convinced me not to totally write them off, I was unprepared for the stylistic and sonic explorations on "Marbles". The last decade of development in rock has finally made a mark on them, and they ride a dangerous edge between attempting to modernize their approach and coming off as crassly trendy. Luckily they generally emerge with their dignity intact and the character of the band unblemished. Die-hard fans may be as troubled by these changes as they were when you-know-who left, but it's hard to imagine anyone who isn't afraid of a more modern sound (PORCUPINE TREE, for instance) really disliking this album.

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Send comments to James Lee (BETA) | Report this review (#30342) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, June 19, 2004

Review by loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars With deep conviction and an innocent introspective feel, MARILLION's double CD release "Marbles" will keep you rolling along. "Marbles" is a slow and sombre album full of gorgeous deep tones, carefully crafted melodies and songs and that special MARILLION flare. As a big MARILLION fan, Marbles sounds very different yet again and is another excellent piece of work from start to finish. There is a lot of great keyboard work and guitar accents throughout the album with deep bass tones. This double CD album pretty well stays on the softer side of MARILLION... not unlike tracks like "Afraid of Sunshine", "Cathedral Walls", House, When I meet God etc... Overall "Marbles" is a very fine album and although many will feel perhaps MARILLION's new direction is a bit too quaint, I dig it and I am into it.

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Posted Saturday, July 03, 2004

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Marillion are "Brave" again

Marillion's latest (at time of writing) album has the familiar feel of their Hogarth era output. It's more "Seasons end"/"Brave" than "Radiation"/Anoraknophobia".

It is both a telling and courageous move, especially after their apparent distaste in recent time for being labelled prog, that the album opens with a thirteen minute track, "The invisible man". This is indeed pure prog which passes through various emotions and time changes. There's a bit of "Seasons end" (track) cascading guitar, and a lovely choral keyboards backed section which finds Hogarth at his emotive best, as the band rocks out behind him. A wonderful opening track.

"Fantastic place" once again feels very "Seasons end", with some lovely guitar and "orchestration", building to a fine crescendo ending.

The final track, "Neverland" is the other feature track, running to 12 minutes. The highlight of the track is the excellent guitar work, with it's echoes of Dave Gilmour. The track is more reminiscent of the Afraid of sunlight" album, especially "Out of this world".

The single "You're gone" which Marillion fans managed through excellent collusion to get into the top 10 of the UK singles chart is also included here, and in truth makes for a better album track than single. The double CD version only available through the band's website includes an excellent 18 minute track, "Ocean Cloud".

As with most Hogarth era Marillion albums, for me "Marbles" is a bit too wordy. The band should have the courage to exploit their instrumental prowess far more. That said, this is Marillion's finest album since "This strange engine" (which I rate highly), and a welcome return to the type of music they do best, i.e. prog rock!

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Posted Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Review by The Prognaut
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Yet another disappointing posture taken by the band. Since reforms and changes started to manifest throughout the MARILLION commanded by Mr. H, the pure essence of the band started to fade away as well. Undoubtedly, the "Marbles" experience picks up from the worn out formula albums like "Afraid of Sunlight" and "This Strange Engine" sustained and ended up leaving behind. So merely, there are no possible traces of progressiveness and inventive to be followed in here. There weren't any at the time the retail version was released, so I wasn't surprised to still haven't found those in the double CD presentation. But I do think there's a reason for such things as "Marbles" to happen. The possible explanation I could've come up with, was to realize that after all these years, everything comes to an end since it had a beginning, everything becomes rusty and old since it was new and innovative sometime. The eternal recurrence to the foundations built on "Seasons End", "Holidays in Eden" and maybe on "Brave", incurs in losing perspective and transition. Maybe the basis, the representative sound of the reborn MARILLION after FISH, worked that first, that second and even that third time, but after compelling the posterior productions to follow those exact same steps in the exact same order, it all became not redefining, but repetitive and disturbing. This "second phase" MARILLION implemented a whole different instrumentation and a complete different way of songwriting. Yes. That, is practically impossible to overlook when comparing the before and after. But far beyond returning to the point of confronting both sides, there comes a time were the work of oneself apart from it all, from the past and the remains of what it used to be, has to outstand and has to shine with a light of its own. Many, I'm not generalizing; of the productions with HOGARTH on the microphone happen to be pretty peculiar. It's all about composing, writing, arranging, mixing and editing a brand new album after another, with two or three outstanding songs and then, fill the empty spaces on the total running time with pointless tracks that aimlessly display progression and a captivating, distinguishing mark. It isn't me being shortsighted here, it isn't me taking it all out on this MARILLION, it is the voice of thousands. Just like the show performed by the band here in Mexico City, the "Marbles" album goes from average to bad as the time to reach the end of it goes by. Media, fans and experts, define this last release by the English band under the terms of "bad, incomplete, pretentious and uncommitted". No more to say regarding that issue.

Now, moving on to the composition of the album in its entireness. There are, like in the rest of the productions after "Brave"; a couple of tracks that set off the rest in here. Such is the case of "The Invisible Man", a song that really made it due the effort and dedication put together in here. It certainly has got the seal stamped by Steve HOGARTH ever since he made it to the band, it contains the unidirectional trend the band adopted over the years and which happened to improve remarkably. I quite enjoyed it despite the blank moments it's got and the unappealing arrangements done to the acoustic fragments and the circular percussions.

Under the terminology of "great", like I just described up above; "Ocean Cloud" is another supporting anchor that avoided the entire production to irremediably sink deep down in itself. Surprisingly, Steve HOGARTH displays such an arrogant voice, so fulfilling and convincing along the perfectly handled wailing guitar of Steve ROTHERY, it made me think for a while the rest of the experience on CD 2 was going to be worthy to listen to. Here, the unexpected progressive changes, the swinging of one type of mood to the other and the back and forth struggle to resemble the track to the most powerful song ever written in this second period of the band, certainly appeared to be credible. It could've reached the heights where the epic and the memorable unite, but once again, the remains of the "three hit albums" saga, took place in here and took over the rest of the song. It is fantastic to feel though, that there's a display of effort. But it's never enough until you complete the mission of completing a full convincing production, and "Marbles", certainly doesn't appeal to that.

The regression to simple and plain, is perfectly reflected in pieces like "The Damage" and "Don't Hurt Yourself", where playful, indescribable lyrics float around with no purpose at all, just to push both songs away from another couple of instrumentals. But the inexplicable, the outrageous and shameful, is condensed in some other excerpts of that rock pop essence once worked out for the band during the nineties. I'm talking about "You're Gone" (and the Single Mix version all along), "Angelina" and "Drilling Holes". In my opinion, I wouldn't have added up these tracks to the final cut version, but a 2 CD set album has got to be completed somehow.

So, this 2 CD presentation album has several purposes, where some of those will be discovered by you over the constant sessions of listening to it; represented mainly by vindication after releasing a tendentious single retail version and obviously, by a possible full acceptance. Which happened to be not completed and empty. The purposes to me will relay on completing your album collection and for you to see that it's not about comparisons, it's about realizing how ungrateful time has been to this "renovated" neo prog band of the relentless nineties. Not indispensable, that's for sure.

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Posted Sunday, October 10, 2004

Review by Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is obviously a great addition to ANY rock collection. Because, let's be honest, there's few progressive moments in there. Of course, there is the guitar texture signature by Steve Rothery (who seem to abuse of fatty foods). And again, very capable Bono/ Tim Booth voice by pretty boy Hogarth. Just a pleasure to hear. Hogarth's voice carries you far far high in the sky, from rich middle-pitch tone to a higher ones with ease. I must admit that this record made me curious about the Hogarth period. I heard they're not all like that....shhyeah, that would've been surprising.

Once again, the music is similar to James and U2 in steel pedal atmospheres and floaty keyboards. I would really recommend this album to anyone who likes James, Radiohead or early U2 material. Sometimes, like on The Damage, Hogarth sounds EXACTLY like Tom Yorke, Radiohead tortured leader. This is hi-fi producted rock that will please the normal rocker who wants to get his ears into mature and deeper textures. But, don't expect snappy moments but Don't Hurt Yourself and You're Gone...which is brillant for a FM staple. On top, a big hurray for exquisite package and art cover. Did you noticed that the cover picture is actually 2 half faces making one: one of a boy and one of a girl. Wow!!

Please use intensively at night and ONLY at night. Sunlight could seriously damage magic moments and destroy the very purpose of the record; listening music at night is enhacing the buzz.

But since it sounds sooo badly like a cross of James, Radiohead and U2, I give it 3 stars for lacking creativity.

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Posted Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Review by hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Well it's quite a while away I listened to a Marillion album, a band I used to like when I was in my 20's. After Fish left the band they failed somehow to hit my attraction. So this one is their latest output and I'm now listening to it 3rd or 4th time but still can't get fascinated. The first track "The invisible man" reminds me pretty much to Radiohead in some way. Second one which is the first one of the "Marbles"-series is rather boring I've to say and the third one "You're gone" is a nice pop song and so on. The whole album is a nice pop rock one IMHO to listen once or twice but nothing special and actually I can't quite follow why it's rated so high even in the category of NeoProg. Only interesting for die-hard Marillion fans or maybe for those of Radiohead. For me worth for 2 stars!

P.S. The edition I reviewed is NOT the limited 2 CD's one listed here!

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Posted Saturday, March 19, 2005

Review by chessman
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I have to confess, I am one of those Marillion fans who prefers the Fish era. When they released 'Script' it was a blessing for Genesis fans starved of that type of music. And Fish's lyrics were always well written and almost poetical in flavour and intensity. None of those wishy washy wonderful world and everlasting love motives for him! He got down to the nitty gritty and told the world how things really were, with biting sarcasm and tremendous vitality. When Hogarth took over, the band changed. I saw them live on the 'Holidays In Eden' tour, and I have to say his voice was excellent live, powerful and clear. Unfortunately, on record his vocals sometimes sound thick and stilted, he doesn't possess the mystery and mastery that Fish has/had. Nevertheless, Hogarth has done well in practically making the band his own and changing their direction away from prog. 'Seasons End' I enjoyed in a way, and the first couple of tracks on 'Holidays', but they have also produced some very average material along the way. 'Radiation' 'This Strange Engine' and 'Brave' (yes! an album some rate higly!) were all run of the mill and strangely lacking in cohesion and melody. In fact 'Brave' may be my least favourite Marillion album of all. However, they have produced a couple of decent efforts. I personally quite liked 'Anoraknophobia', and I thought 'Afraid Of Sunlight' was maybe the best offering from the Hogarth era. Well, I did until now. 'Marbles' has really impressed me. The whole album has a nice melancholy air, and is especially nice to listen to through the headphones. I won't go into individual tracks. Suffice to say that most of them are good, the highlights for me being the little 'Marbles' breaks, especially the third one, 'The Invisible Man' which might be my fave on the album, 'Neverland' and 'Don't Hurt Yourself'. In fact, the only two I am not keen on are the very average 'Drilling Holes' which disrupts the flow of the album, and 'The Damage'. Hogarth does have an annoying tendency to sound like the Beatles at times, and not to good effect either. Still, this album is a high class offering, and will be in my top five Marillion albums for quite some time, along with 'Script' 'Clutching' 'Afraid Of Sunlight' and probably 'Misplaced Childhood'. A good return to form for the band here, with Rothery in particular sounding hungrier than in recent years. Worth a listen.

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Posted Saturday, June 18, 2005

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Marillion's latest release is definitely amongst their greatest. Nearly 20 years after the departure of Fish, Marillion adapted and changed styles with each passing album. From the AOR of Holidays in Eden to the ethereal beauty of Brave, Hogarth and Co. have changed like the tide over the past 16 years. Rothery with breathtaking lead and rhythm work, Kelly keeps the moody atmosphere at full tilt with lush keyboards, Trewavas utilizes many techniques in the bass-book and masterfully works around the framework of the song, Mosley drums with precision and accuracy even during the most complicated sections of the material, and Hogarth is masterful in his vocal and dulcimer work. In a word, the band is simply awesome.

The Invisible Man starts off slowly, with a droning down beat that quickly picks up pace as the band becomes more involved with the track. Trewavas gives moments of wonder with nicely timed harmonics as Rothery creates moody and melodic guitar lines. As Hogarth begins the vocal, one can already tell they are going to be going on a fun ride. The solo that Rothery takes towards the end of the song is among his best on the album. Marbles 1 is the first in a series of 4 Marbles songs simply about a child who loves marbles. Some nice echoing harmonics are featured as well as a catchy beat throughout the 1:45 timeframe. You're Gone and Angelina are two of the "poppier" songs on the album, with You're Gone being the leading single from the album (Don't Hurt Yourself also got its own single soon after).

Marbles II is a continuation of the Marbles theme of the album. Don't Hurt Yourself has a catchy chorus and a nice beat compliments of Trewavas and Mosley, you'd think after 20+ years of playing together they'd soon lose their lustre, but they compliment Rothery and Kelly nicely. Hogarth really goes all out on the vocal here, hitting falsettos during the chorus. Marbles III is the next incantation of the Marbles theme, expect more of the same from the past two. Drilling Holes contains some very emotional work from Rothery as well as some very inspired lyrics and vocals from Hogarth. Marbles IV is the final incarnation of the long running Marbles theme, and it finishes off nicely, with Hogarth asking, "Did anyone see my last marble?". Neverland is the conclusion to the album, a stunning 12 minute epic with magnificent keyboard work from Mark Kelly, as well as a heart-pounding guitar solo from Steve Rothery.

Overall, Marillion has outdone themselves again with this landmark release. Their 90's sound has come full circle with this release, a brilliant amalgamation of pop with progressive rock. Highly recommended. 4.5/5.

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Posted Monday, February 06, 2006

Review by E-Dub
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Scrolling through the reviews, it's great to see Marbles get such high marks and praise. The few bad reviews left me puzzled; but, then again, if we all agreed, the world would indeed be a dull place.

The thing that sticks in my memory regarding the deluxe edition of Marbles is how @#*&! long it took to arrive! A good 3 months after I ordered. Once it made it, however, I was treated to nothng less than shear brilliance! I have all of their stuff, but for a while it seemed that Marillion were going to float around with mediocre releases (primarily Marillion.com). Anoraknophobia showed some spark was left in the engine, but Marbles solidified that this is still a band with which to be reckoned. Since it's release they've released a live DVD and 2 live albums surrounding the Marbles material, and for good reason. It's something that Marillion are definitely proud of.

This CD has some instant classics. "Ocean Cloud", "The Invisible Man", "Neverland", and the beautiful "You're Gone" and "Fantastic Place" stand out. The latter two just grip my very soul with brilliant musicianship, and lyrics that makes it hard to believe they were written by a mortal ("I can see you in my minds rose tinted eyes. Somewhere you're drifing by--your heels rolling sparks on the lucky street" and "Say you'll understand me, and I will leave myself completely. Forgive me if I stare, but I can see the island behind your tired, troubled eyes). My only gripe is I wished the deluxe edition followed the single and started off with "The Invisible Man", "Marbles I", and "You're Gone" because I think it flows a bit better; but, that aside, it's understandable why Mark Kelly considers this to be their best album ever. Beautiful work!

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Posted Thursday, February 23, 2006

Review by evenless
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Marillion - Marbles

Funny that it took exactly 10 years for Marillion to come up with another great record like the 1994 epic "BRAVE". Actually 1995 album "AFRAID OF SUNLIGHT" was also quite good, but since then it has been quite dramatic until "MARBLES"! Well, I guess the 2 years they all put in this album really shows.

Steve Hogarth's voice is great and all and fortunately, after more than 10 years with the band, (almost) nobody is comparing him to Fish anymore. Some people still arguing who's the better one should stop this quarrel and just enjoy MARILLION.

In my humble opinion MARILLION has delivered an excellent album with MARBLES and let's hope they will continue the road they are walking on for a while. My only remark is that somehow MARILLION wants us to believe that music stores aren't willing to distribute double albums because the customer (us!) would not be interested in paying a few bucks more for a double album. I think this is completely ridiculous! You almost have to buy their albums/DVD's on www.marillion.com because if you don't you will actually miss out on some great music!

First I found myself with only half of the album as I purchased MARBLES in the local music store as I wasn't aware there was also a double album in circulation. They also did the same thing with the live DVD; MARBLES ON THE ROAD. If you were not aware there also was a double DVD version of it, you actually miss half of the show! So I just want to say one thing to MARILLION' ; "come on guys and from now on only distribute the double albums and no longer the cheap formatted single disc versions as we are not interested in them!" (Who would want to miss the great 18 minute epic "Ocean Cloud" on MARBLES?)

Well, so far about my frustration with the record companies. Just let me finish by saying that if you loved BRAVE, you will probably love MARBLES too! Maybe not too proggy, but the mixture between pop, rock and prog seems to work quite well for them. Go on and buy this album. (just make sure it is the double disc version!)

4,5 stars for the double disc version 3,5 for the "el cheapo" version

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Posted Sunday, October 15, 2006

Review by Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I cannot imagine or a more artistic, mature, sensitive, well-played, or emotional album. "Marbles" is a staggering success from start to finish.

More so than any Marillion album to date, the band's unique blend of artistic accessibility is at the top of its game-- and has never sounded more refined. The songs on "Marbles" ooze emotive virtuosity, and offer more variety than any other of the band's albums; there are amazing sing-alongs and extended masterpieces throughout. Each member of the band reaches new heights on their instruments, with Rothery's guitar playing destroying expectations with his most powerful solos to date. Trewavas and Mosely sound their most in-sync as well, playing very interesting and rhythms driving the band's dynamic songs; Trewavas in particular plays with more gusto here than on previous albums, making "Marbles" sound more bottom-heavy and grandiose.

Although every member is top-notch, h's vocals are nothing short of soul- shattering; "Marbles" is his finest hour, and features his most awesome use of range of phrasing ever. "Invisible Man", "You're Gone", and "Neverland" have the power to bring tears to the listener's eyes. However, the epic "Ocean Cloud" (found only on the extended edition) is-- hands down-- the best Marillion song ever recorded. Even after a hundred listens it retains its gigantic scope and power; truly amazing.

Enough raving-- get it now or listen to it again!

Songwriting: 5 Instrumental Performances: 5 Lyrics/Vocals: 5 Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

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Posted Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Review by Heptade
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Having just done a Deadwing review, here's another recent one by a band with a much-anticipated new release. Widely heralded as the best album of the H era, this one is much beloved. I have heard the double release and the single. I do agree that this is Marillion's strongest since Afraid of Sunlight, but I don't think it's a masterpiece. It does find the boys stepping back from their search for Brit-alternative acceptance and embracing their progressive roots at times, which is refreshing. There are many standout tracks, the two long bookends being good examples. H milks the emotional potential of his concept very well, and the band utilizes their expertise in Floydian atmospheres very well.

I do not enjoy the single "You're Gone" at all; it sounds very middle of the road AOR to me, but without a good hook or guilty pleasure factor. It's the kind of thing you'd expect to hear in the background at a shopping mall. I'm glad it did well for them, but it ain't no "Beautiful". "Fantastic Place", "Don't Hurt Yourself" and the Marbles interludes, on the other hand, are great atmospheric pop tunes, something the band has been getting better and better at. As always, when Marillion tries to rock hard ("Drilling Holes"), they fail pretty miserably, in my opinion. They are much better at mid-tempo and moody, as on the double CD song "Ocean Cloud", which is easily the match of the best stuff on the single CD version and tells a compelling tale. Rothery's guitar playing really shines on this one. In fact, Marbles represents a sort of renaissance for him as a whole.

Marbles is a very good album. It takes what was good about nineties Marillion and mixes it with a healthy respect for the past, with a couple of missteps. What is best about it is that it re-establishes a signature sound that was established on Afraid of Sunlight, a kind of progressive pop that relies a lot on ethereal atmospheres, which I like a lot. For a band that many had written off, it is a triumph indeed. Hopefully they can keep up the good work while not catering too much to the current market.

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Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Review by The Crow
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I became a Marillion's fan in the time "Anoraknophobia" came out... "Radiation" was my first album from the band. For me is their worst work, but I was catched with this music at the moment...

In the three years between "Anoraknophobia" and "Marbles", I heard the whole Marillion discography. And I saw that for me, "This Strange Engine" was their last great album. These trilogy made for "Radiation", "Marillion.com" and "Anoraknophobia" has its moments, but in comparition with previous efforts... Was not enough for me. But like every new fan from a band, my expectations were huge for the new release... And finally came out, with the name of "Marbles". And what can I say? It was better than I hoped, honestly...

Here we have a new concept for the band, being the marbles the link for this concept... And since the first song, The Invisible Man, you can hear a band with new energies, and ideas. But the best for all... That's pure Marillion (I'm talking of the Hogarth's era, of course). And the album that came to my head in this moment was "Brave". I've always seen a relation between the two albums. Maybe the production, the details, the feeling... And the care and love both albums are made.

And I don't care this album is really progressive or not... That is a thing is not important to me when I'm talking about Marillion. But nevertheless, this album is one of the proggiest from the Hogarth's era. Just hear The Invisible Man, Ocean Cloud, Neverland... Great prog stuff.

Finally, one of the better things from this album, is its variety... That makes this album very interesting to listen (for an open minded listener...), and never boring. From the atmospheric prog of Ocean Cloud, you go to the pop of Don't Hurt Yourself, then you go into the weird rock of Drilling Holes, and you can walk too into the bluesy taste of Angelina, after hearing the typical Marillion in Fantastic Place... I love variety, and this is maybe the most variated Marillion's album. And hering this band making new things like You're Gone with so much naturality and success after so many years in music, just says how good is this band...

Conclusion: the best Marillion's album since "Afraid of Sunlight" in my opinion, and one of the better from the Hogarth's era. Really great stuff... Not every song included here is a classic, but when I hear the whole album, the only thing I can think is... Masterpiece of modern prog rock, without a doubt.

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Posted Friday, April 20, 2007

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars As usual, there will be several releases for this album. Single CD (with different bonus tracks according the continent you are buying this stuff), and the two CD 's version which I am reviewing here.

Unfortunately, this one lasts for about hundred minutes...of mostly dull music. Hogarth should really get the leading role as "The Supernatural Anaesthetist". He is so emotionless, so flat (his vocal ability I mean), so boring !

The problem is that if you think that you'd better listen to the short version of this album, you'll probably miss the best of the two CD release (do you follow me ?).

There are a few good tracks on "Marbles" : "Genie" and "Fantastic Place" are my favorite songs. "Ocean Cloud" has some excellent moments as well; mostly a great guitar break from Rothery. I really wouldn' like to even think one second how poor would Marillion Mark II sound without him being on board.

One average song as well : "The Only Unforgivable Thing". If only Marillion Mark II would have release a forty minutes album, it would have been a good one. But like some other bands (like TFK, Cast etc.), they will feel like adding lots of useless numbers. But releasing ultra-long albums doesn't mean they are better ones. What a pity they do not understand this easy concep !

I really got a hard time while listening to this "work". Fortunately, I am getting closer to the daunting task of reviewing their official studio career. Two stars for "Marbles".

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Posted Friday, August 31, 2007

Review by progaardvark
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Finally, after almost nine years, Marillion finally put it all together to make something remarkable. Marbles became the band's most progressive record released since Hogarth took over lead vocals and since the Fish-era Misplaced Childhood. Though not quite as good as their masterpiece Brave, it contains more musical exploration than the band had done since their Genesis-inspired days. Admittedly some of the shorter numbers retain that mainstream touch and feel to them, the production on this one is top-notch giving Marillion an almost classic 1970s prog rock feel to this album.

Two versions of Marbles exists and if you are seeking it out, I highly recommend the 2-CD version, particularly because it includes the amazing nearly 18-minute Ocean Cloud, the best prog song the band has created since This Strange Engine. Other highlights include The Invisible Man, The Damage, Drilling Holes, and Neverland, but all tied together makes this one of the most enjoyable listens and releases of 2004. Not as great as their masterpieces, but an excellent release nonetheless. A must have for Marillion fans and highly recommended to newcomers interested in finding out what Marillion is all about. This one takes repeated listens and is sure to grow on you. Four stars.

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Posted Monday, October 15, 2007

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I will be reviewing the single disc. Quite the change in direction for the band as they become more subdued for the most part. Even Hogarth's vocals are almost whispered at times bringing to mind Mark Hollis from TALK TALK. I also thought of RADIOHEAD at times. As long as Hogarth is singing and Rothery is playing guitar I think i'll always like this band. I like this sound anyway as I am a fan of the other bands i've mentioned, as well as GAZPACHO's "Night" record which is in the same laid back vein.

"The Invisible Man" sounds a little experimental to open followed by lots of atmosphere.The reserved vocals and percussion with background synths work well. We're slowly building. Some good bass. The sound 5 minutes in is fantastic ! That sure sounds like sampled mellotron 7 1/2 minutes in. I love the brief angular guitar that follows. Pulsating synths.The vocals are getting more passionate. So emotional ! It calms right down with piano and reserved vocals. Slowly played guitar melodies follow. It eventually starts to build again 12 minutes in until passionate vocals and soaring guitar take our hearts to new heights. Incredible opening track. "Marbles I" is mellow with piano and relaxing vocals. "You're Gone" was released as a single and it did very well for them in the UK. It has an addictive beat throughout. The louder synths remind of PORCUPINE TREE. "Angelina" opens with the sound of someone getting into their car and playing with the radio. It features sleepy vocals with the music to match. Not a fan of this one.

"Marbles II" has a RADIOHEAD vibe to it. "Don't Hurt Yourself" is a pleasant and catchy tune. I like it better than "You're Gone". "Fantastic Place" starts slowly like "Invisible Man" with those Mark Hollis-like vocals. Great lyrics. Just an uplifting, fantastic song to drift away in. "Say you understand me and I will leave myself completely. Forgive me if I stare but I can see the island behind your tired eyes." Soaring guitar 4 1/2 minutes in. "Marbles III" is the best "Marbles" part in my opinion. Piano is joined by vocals and drums. It becomes emotional for me after a minute. "Drilling Holes" has a more aggressive sound. THE BEATLES spirit lives in this tune. Birds are chirping. Vocal melodies. Interesting song. "Marbles IV" is another mellow section. "Neverland" along with "Invisible Man" and "Fantastic Place" are my top 3 tracks. The guitar 2 1/2 minutes in is the best on the album. It simply soars as beautifully as Hogarth's vocals. The last 7 minutes of the song are pure bliss for me. No words, just listen.

Best release since "Afraid Of Sunlight". Edit : News flash ! I got the double cd version now as it has just been re-issued. Yay ! And more importantly i'm blown away especially by the track "Ocean Cloud" which moved me in a way that I haven't been for some time. For me this album is the best of the Hogarth era.

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Posted Friday, December 14, 2007

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Did anyone see my last Marble?

(This review is for the one disc edition of the album.) Clearly Marillion had lost their Marbles and found them again at this point in their career. With their Fish days long behind them the band finally settles into a niche a long ways away from any kind of music they played in the early days of the 80s. Marbles is no Genesis-clone album, but nor is it some kind of pop album. While the album certainly does have its poppier moments (what Hogarth era Marillion album doesn't?), it seems that the band really nailed a style on this album.

One of the odd things about the album is that it really isn't 'neo' in the way that many neo-fans are used to. While the album certainly is progressive, this is not an overly symphonic affair with most of the songs using the quiet/loud approach more familiar to the post-rock realm. Songs like The Invisible Man start off in a soothing and quiet way, a kind of way where every string that's played means a lot - this eventually builds to an emotional climax where the voice comes in and makes a sharp remark, and it's done so well that it can give you goosebumps. Some of the other songs on the album are more pop-oriented, but no less impressive. Don't Hurt Yourself was the band's choice as a single for this album, and what a great track it is. While this track is certainly the most pop oriented song on the album, prog fans will certainly be able to enjoy Hogarth's wonderful delivery on this track, and besides, what wasn't pop about a song like Kayleigh or Incommunicado in the band's early days? Other standouts on the album include the wonderfully heavy and aggressive Drilling Holes and the calm and moving Fantastic Place.

One of the very cool things about the album is just how it's all tied together. Throughout the album there's a string of short title track segments that tell the sorry metaphorical tale of a boy growing up and ''loosing his Marbles''. Marbles I-IV are each about 1-2 minutes long and each one of them is very quiet with Hogarth's voice dominating. While they're nothing particularly special if played on their own, in the context of the album they work together quite well to tell the story while keep the album together thematically.

The finisher for the album is likely one of Marillion's best works. While the band has produced some quality work over the course of their career, including some wonderful suites and epics, this one comes very close to taking all the cakes. Neverland is an amazing song on all accounts, from the soft piano opening to the start of Hogarth's vocals to the final climactic finish. The echo effect on Hogarth's voice near the middle of the song is truly chilling along with the haunting guitar chords that simply ring. Beautiful from start to finish.

While the 1-disc edition certainly does miss out on a lot of the action there's no doubt that even in its trimmed down form this album is an excellent addition to any prog-rock collection. If you're still sore about Fish leaving the band hopefully you can look past that to see the new style that the band has grown into by this point, because there's a lot to love about it. 4-stars for this majestic piece of music.

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Posted Friday, October 10, 2008

Review by lazland
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This is the finest work this band have produced, and, if I had a choice, would deserve 10 out of five stars for its sheer breathtaking brilliance and audacity. This album is a work of sheer genius and even makes Brave (which I gave five stars to) pale into insignificance.

The LP is bookmarked by two of the finest progressive rock tracks ever to grace the scene - Invisible Man & Neverland, which I feel represents this band's finest moment. The former commences slowly, and builds to a crescendo with Trewavas and Rothery especially adding to a sense of menace that Hogarth places on the tale.

The album is stated by the band not to be a concept album, but the theme is certainly linked by Hogarth's childhood memories of playing, and losing, his marbles!

Your Gone continues the band's fine tradition of great singles, and this charted at number 7 upon release. Prompted by some fine guitar work by Rothery and excellent rhythm drum work by Mosley, it is an uplifting piece considering the subject matter - it is basically a fine pop song.

Angelina is basically a great blues number, with Hogarth recounting sad blokes ringing a phone number for solace in the dead of night. Rothery's guitar sings to us throughout, and the song simply has to be played in the dark, loud, and preferably after more than a few beers.

Don't Hurt Yourself is another fine pop/rock single, but what follows is simply stunning. Fantastic Place features Hogarth soulfully recounting a beautiful island accompanied by Rothery playing a guitar solo in the middle that simply could have been written in heaven itself. I will never, ever, tire of hearing this song, and it is even better played live.

Drilling Holes is a fun track, which some would describe as a filler (literally!), but its pace keeps the listener intently concentrated upon the LP. And.. so to Neverland.

I love Suppers Ready. I love Thick As A Brick, Close to the Edge & etc. But none of them compare to this song. It is simply nearly 12 minutes of prog heaven. It is, without doubt, Rothery's finest moment. From the first moment of his guitar burst, the hairs on the back of the neck stand up, and his accompaniment to Hogarth's incredible conclusion of vocals is simply stunning. Words alone cannot possibly do justice to this track, and it gives the LP 5 stars alone without the fine music which precedes it.

I have reviewed a number of Hogarth era LPs now - all before it led up to this moment, and they really have been in a fine vein of form with this and subsequent LPs, especially Happinness is the Road. This, though, is the bees knees. Essential for any discerning progressive music fan.

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Posted Saturday, January 03, 2009

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
4 stars The unending surprises are what makes Progland so exhilarating, never quite knowing what new (or old) album will leap out of the blue and grab your attention by the scruff of the ears and take you on a magical mystery tour. I stopped following Marillion after This Strange Engine, more because there were so many more fish (pun intended) to fry in discovering prog acts. I have paid scarce attention to the lukewarm comments, editorials and assorted other stories about their flirtation with more commercial pop-prog. So I found this used copy of Marbles and since it was bandied about as another "Brave", I took the 12 dollar plunge. Briefly, this album has hijacked my CD player ever since, thoroughly enchanted by the rather clever music, the enthralling atmosphere and the capture of my admiration. I was being hypnotized slyly right from the sublime intro , "The Invisible Man" , a 13 minute marathon of wispy atmospherics, feverish vocals and simply grand melodic hooks that successfully blur the line between accessible and complex. The single album (there is a double CD that is The prize, allegedly) is book-ended by another epic piece, the blisteringly passionate "Neverland". In between, brief "Marbles" intervals serve as interludes between longer pieces, mostly well-crafted, hook-laden pop-prog such as "Angelina", "Don't Hurt Yourself", "Fantastic Place" and "Drilling Holes". There can be little argument that these gents are superb musicians, Rothery has proven over decades that he is a true master 6- stringer, capable of enflaming even the slightest flicker into a paroxysm of sonic delight, Mosley is a premier drummer of impeccable stamina and precision, Trewavas is a stellar bass player and Kelly paints the keyboards with unrestrained glee, never the show-off. Hogarth has been unjustly criticized as a one-dimensional vocalist but having seen the DVD live performances, one comes to the conclusion that he certainly can emote with the best of them. Funny because prog has so few vocalists that transcend and impress , which is why we continue to adulate and idolize singers who frankly haven't done all that much lately (Lake, Hollis and yes, even the temperamental Fish, whose recent work-the 13th Star- is back to form). I fully understand the purists who see Marillion more as a commercial band but many of us hard edged fans like a little sweetness from time to time and this album certainly delivers the goods. That being said, I am still perplexed by some of the prior releases and what came after and am in no hurry to plunge deliriously into a spree. "Marbles" will do very nicely and as long as Neverland, You're Gone and The Invisible Man continue to amaze me, paraphrasing U2 , I will follow. Lots of words have been expressed by my PA friends , so I need not get into the details and rehash what has been said. I will seek out the 2CD version as Oceancloud is allegedly a shining piece of music. Dedicated to Eric (e-Dub), the birthday boy . 4.5 shiny agates

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Posted Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars Marbles is an album where Marillion seemingly tried to bring us the fan's consensus of what Marillion should sound like. And apparently, going by the general appreciation of it, they certainly succeeded. Personally I'm not really convinced. They completely disregarded their updated sound and style from Marillion.com and Anoraknophobia and instead returned to the safe but trodden paths of all other Hogarth albums.

The stars are achieved by the strength of the wonderful epic Ocean Cloud. That really is one monster of a song, with excellent guitars and vocals culminating in a very moving chorus. Excellent. There's a few other long tracks such as Invisible Man and Neverland that are excellent as well. But apart from that, this is a fairly uninvolved and predictable Marillion album.

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Posted Thursday, September 03, 2009

Review by Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A reviewer's conundrum: How do you rate an album that you 1) don't feel in your gut is your style, and 2) find it fairly simple and over-stretched, but 3) keep coming back to it over and over again because when you're in the right mood it's just what the doctor ordered?

Well, I suppose I'll round up and give Marbles 4 stars. When something keeps drawing me back time and time again, I eventually have to stop analyzing and admit that I just like it. That's how I feel about Marbles.

Highlights: Invisible Man, Don't Hurt Yourself, and Neverland. The extended pieces are at first blush too extended, but for this dark, searching, and reflective atmosphere, taking a bit of time to really put everything out there is a good thing. Of the "singles", Don't Hurt Yourself is the catchiest to me without being cheesy, despite obvious pop touches such as the hand claps.

This probably works well because it feels like such a team effort, with Pete cranking up the bass at key points, and Rothery really cranking out some great fills to complement the vocals. No one is getting in anyone's way, but everyone also contributes nicely. Hogarth is not one I'd like to listen to often, but I have to admit that he put everything he's got into this album, and that's always respectable.

So, if you don't like U2, you won't like this. But if you'd like to hear U2 perhaps dig a bit deeper, Marbles might be close to what would come out of it. It's not an album to play for friends, to pump you up, or for many other situations, for that matter. But crank Marbles up during a lonely sunset, and you just might feel the strong presence of a friend who needs your shoulder to cry on.

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Posted Monday, July 19, 2010

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I had this double CD a long time already. And a friend rebuked me for not having written a review about it yet. All right, mea culpa. I donīt remeber hearing the CD since I got it some 3 or 4 years ago. I do have some prejudice against Hogarth-era Marillion. After all, Fish-era Marillion was pure symphonic prog. The new band (I refuse to think of Marillion as the same group, even if the musicians are still the ones that played on their classic stuff) is totally different: itīs hardly prog at all. They play a kind of alternative/pop stuff with some hints of prog here and there.

That said, I must admit I liked Marbles a lot. It is one of their best with the new singer. It has far more memorable melodies than most of what I heard from them since Seasonīs End or Hollydays on Eden. Unlike much of their late 90īs and early 00īs stuff, Marbles has less experimental tunes and much more straight forward songs. Steve Hogarth in particular is singing better than ever, but that was expected. he mixes very well his vocal techniques with the necessary passion and conviction. On the other hand the isntrumental parts are good, but a bit subdue most of the time, specially Hogarthīs guitar. Thatīs not really a bad thing, since everybody here is working for the music as a unit. A real teamīs work with no ego battles.

Marbles is one of the very few Hogarth era CDs that I hear from beginning to end without skipping a single track. Some songs are obviously better than others, and there is a little filler here and there, but that was to be expected in such long running time (again I must smit they are quite few in those two discs, considering much of what they were doing until then). Production is average. I canīt really point any highlights, but I do enjoyed the opening Invisible Man a lot.

Conclusion: if you forget that youīre hearing the same musicians (minus singer Fish) that made such symphonic masterpieces in the 80īs, then chances are that you can consider Marbles a fine album by a pop/alternative/prog band. I had some troubel rating this work. As iti is, I found ti to be very good, ok, and sometimes even bordering the excellent, but I doubt it would made an essential item to a prog music colletion. So it really deserves more than just a 3 star rating. I guess, for a prog site, that 3,5 stars is more fitting.

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Posted Thursday, November 18, 2010

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Marbles sees Marillion take the various musical lessons they learned during the trilogy of Radiation, marillion.com and Anoraknophobia and apply them to more progressive song structures and textures, resulting in what I consider to be the fourth full-blown classic of the H era (after Brave, Afraid of Sunlight and This Strange Engine). It's a thoughtful, mature, and subdued work which - like the late-period Talk Talk albums which seem to have influenced its intimate and at points mildly jazzy sounds - mostly avoids rocking out in favour of longer mood pieces. It comes in an abbreviated 1CD version and an expanded 2CD one; I strongly advise getting the 2CD edition, because it's got Ocean Cloud - the band's best prog epic yet - and now that a reissued version of the 2CD edition is available to retail there's really no point depriving yourself.

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Posted Monday, March 19, 2012

Review by Andy Webb
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Site and Forum Admin
5 stars Where do I begin?

Marillion should be no stranger to the common prog listener. They virtually created the controversial sub-genre of neo-prog and in many ways, at least in their early career, held the defining sound of the style. The band, however, was a laughing stock for most rock critics of their early years. In the digital age, there was simply no room for posh prog rock revival acts, and critics made no effort to hide their disdain of Marillion's fawning of Genesis, Pink Floyd, and the other big prog acts of the 1970s. However, after their iconic lead singer Fish left the band in 1988, the band's style began to shift dramatically. The exaggerated retro- progressive sounds of Script for a Jester's Tear and Misplaced Childhood that were accentuated with digital synths and an 80s outlook faded as the new headman, Steve Hogarth, entered the scene.

At first it was only a slight shift towards a more alternative sound rather than their typical grind. However, Hogarth seemed to push the band with more albums towards a broader audience, and the band began to lose sight of their progressive origins as they ventured into uncharted territories, for good or for bad. While Seasons End was a nice transitionary period, Holidays in Eden seemed to put the band on the path of a far more accessible sound. However, with 1994's Brave, Hogarth and co. seemed to have forged a new path entirely from the Fish era. Hogarth brought on a slew of his own stylings and compositional tricks and the band took into full consideration the new sounds that were emerging from the experimental scene of the 1990s to create the band's most well composed and most emotionally performed album yet. The band rode the waves of the album's success for their next few albums, but at some point along the way they seemed to stagnate in style. After 2001's Anoraknophobia, the band yearned for something new. So, they set out writing what would become their 13th opus, Marbles.

This album was a personal effort for the fans. The album was entirely funded by pre-orders and fundraising, and what a job that funding did. On the basis of production, the album is essentially flawless. The production quality is clean and transparent; each instrument, track, and voice is expressed to its fullest and warmest extent in a meticulously examined and particularly crafted mix. Nothing seems muffled, over-present, or overwhelming. But of course, an album should not solely be judged by its production value. But this album's production value is neck and neck with the content value.

When I said Brave was the band's most well composed and most emotionally performed album to date, that record was clearly broken by this album. This album, which sadly comes in two editions, a one CD and a two CD (the one CD version really shouldn't exist), is a delicious pseudo-concept album spanning nearly 100 minutes. The album has some of the band's longer songs, including the 12-minute "Neverland," 13-minute "Invisible Man," and my personal favorite, the 17-minute "Ocean Cloud." While these take the bulk of the album, the album is more dominated by the little tracks, especially the four-part title track, which is comprised of four vignette-type tracks that explore a touching concept of marbles as a symbol of innocence and the loss of this innocence over the four parts. But it's truly the individual tracks of the album that take the cake for this album. Songs like "Fantastic Place," "The Only Unforgivable Thing," "The Damage," and "Angelina" show Marillion in their most tender, emotional, powerful, dynamic, energetic, touching, and inventive mode. Hogarth shines as a lyricist, the compositions are incredibly well developed, and the band plays with a careful air of musicianship that accentuates feeling rather than simple virtuosity. The power that is held in many of the compositions, especially "The Only Unforgiveable Thing," "Marbles II," "Ocean Cloud," "Invisible Man," and "Neverland," is remarkable, showing a maturity in music not seen by most other bands of today.

After listening to the album 20+ times, many of the tracks take on a near drugging nature. A dark sense of mystery fear comes attached to "Invisible Man," a blissful state of comatose is inevitable while listening to the vast oceanic mass of sound that permeates the beauty of "Ocean Cloud" (my favorite Marillion album for those wondering), a deep sense of melancholy takes hold of me when I listen to "The Only Unforgivable Thing," a tender feeling of nostalgia is seemingly sewn onto "Marbles II," a playful sense of cool comes with "The Damage," a wistful and energetic nature seems to be energized by "Don't Hurt Yourself," an interestingly upbeat yet feeling of longing is associated with "You're Gone," an acute sense of loneliness permeates the airy flows of "Angelina," and a significantly dark and almost angry sense of aggravation comes with "Drilling Holes," and a feeling of satisfactory finality and determination is obvious while listening to the genius of "Neverland." While that's not every song, it's not hard to see how dynamic and controlling emotionally this album is.

If Marillion were ever to top this piece of art, I would simply be in shock. This album is truly their greatest work yet, exploring the band's most expansive creative ability and musical skill. The band, with this album, seemed to have found their marbles again after albums of losing bravery with experimentation after Brave. The band has discovered again the joys of taking risks, the profit in trying new things, and the best sound that they could possibly attain at this point in their career. I patiently await for Marillion to one-up this, but in the meantime I'm certain willing to spin this album time and time again. 5 stars.

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Send comments to Andy Webb (BETA) | Report this review (#771442) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, June 15, 2012

Latest members reviews

4 stars Marbles is Marillion's return to form after their wilderness years - post AoS/TSE, where the lamentable Radiation and Marillion.com saw the band shunning some of the cinematic and epic approach to attempt to appear relevant to the shallow and trendy early 21st century. Indeed, even Anoraknopho ... (read more)

Report this review (#1188359) | Posted by RedKnot | Sunday, June 08, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I used to have a problem with Hogarth-era Marillion: as a huge Fish-era fan, post-Fish Marillion just weren't the same and seemed to pale by comparison. Then I realised I should think of the two eras as completely different bands and stop constantly comparing the two. I'm glad I did because I rea ... (read more)

Report this review (#1116507) | Posted by jmeadow | Sunday, January 19, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars When I bought and heard MARBLES for the first time I said: "Wow, Marillion has practically reformed heir sound and worked intensely to create a memorable album". But, I was listening only to the single version of the album. Then, years later I could manage to hear the complete version with the ... (read more)

Report this review (#1023226) | Posted by Memo_anathemo | Sunday, August 25, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars It's a very boring work. Mostly it consists of slow laid back tracks, with spacy guitar, spacy keyboards, a little meatier bass, prolongated singing. Some if these songs are nice if lightweight (Angelina, for example) and would be welcome as breaks in a more diverse album. But not only one CD, b ... (read more)

Report this review (#997009) | Posted by Progrussia | Saturday, July 13, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Marbles is my favorite album and probably always will be so this review is probably quite biased! I discovered Marbles about 3 years ago while systematically listening to all of H era Marillion. At the time Marlbes didn't really grab me as much as Brave and This Strange Engine, but with repeated lis ... (read more)

Report this review (#955735) | Posted by dinghydan | Wednesday, May 08, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Hearing Neverland one remembers because this band is so good and beyond the norm. The bells of the end conclude the best possible deployment of such energy and emotion. Moreover, the lyrics touch me deep. Paradoxically Marbles enjoyed as an album both diverse and homogeneous, with three key props fr ... (read more)

Report this review (#918545) | Posted by sinslice | Sunday, February 24, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Marbles is Marillion's 2004 release and it came in both a single disc collection and a two CD set. Having heard that the best material was on the two CD set, I purchased it from marillion.com, which was the only way to obtain it at the time. I'm not sure whether that is still true in 2012 or not, bu ... (read more)

Report this review (#774611) | Posted by FunkyM | Tuesday, June 19, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The Arrival... in many ways, "Marbles" was to be an arrival for Marillion after 15 years of huge progression, experiments and exploration of all kinds of supplements that found their way into their sonic cosmos, 15 years that saw Steve Hogarth arrive and, one by one, change the face of this band. ... (read more)

Report this review (#610459) | Posted by rupert | Sunday, January 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars With this release Marillion reach soaring heights of powerful music that from the first track to last give some of the most incredible sounds to be found in the Marillion catalogue. To me this is their ultimate masterpiece from the spacey opening minutes of 'The Invisible Man' to the final incre ... (read more)

Report this review (#407287) | Posted by topographicbroadways | Thursday, February 24, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Although Marillion is far from being my favorite band of neo-prg (the more progressive rock in general) is a band that deserves to be respected.But "Marbles" is a disappointing effort from the band, which I can not appreciate.My knowledge of the band is not very wide, but I can say with certainty th ... (read more)

Report this review (#397071) | Posted by voliveira | Wednesday, February 09, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Here's a great album. If you want to get into Hogarth era, this is where to start. I am reviewing the two disc, but I would recommend either version. Hogarth shines as a lyricist on tracks like Neverland and the Invisible Man. The concepts to the album are very broad, dealing with being trapped, ... (read more)

Report this review (#321765) | Posted by Billy Pilgrim | Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars My first Marillion album- wow! The opening track blew my mind and seems to get better every time I hear it. I have one major problem with the album- "You're Gone" - which bluntly put, is too embarrassing to play in front of friends. But, it's one terrible pop song surrounded by genius, so I ju ... (read more)

Report this review (#283105) | Posted by hodizzle | Saturday, May 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Let me first state for the record: I am not, and never have been a Marillion fan. The Fish era is, IMO, horribly produced (especially the murky, soft, poorly captured 'dynamics' of Misplaced Childhood and Script for a Jester's Tear), and also often sounds so cheezy and outdated (especially Fugazi a ... (read more)

Report this review (#278558) | Posted by BrufordFreak | Monday, April 19, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Damn if this isn't prog then I don't want to be right! I've been sitting on this album for a few months and every time I turn it on it locks me down. I'm nearly left incapacitated by the emotions pouring out of every track every time I listen to Marbles. Hogarth has such a sad straining voice t ... (read more)

Report this review (#236801) | Posted by Ray Stokes | Thursday, September 03, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album is one of those rare, special things which only comes along once every few years. Emotional, powerful, deep. Not particularly progressive, but I don't think being non-progressive automatically loses it a few points. This is one of those albums which I would love to, really love to gi ... (read more)

Report this review (#204774) | Posted by Una Laguna | Sunday, March 01, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 2-disc version This is truly art that transcends time and place. It's music that rises above the sum of its parts. There is a real sense of emotional immersion here that seems to move the very music, itself. An almost improvisational ecstasy that loses itself in the passionate movements of t ... (read more)

Report this review (#203841) | Posted by The Progmatist | Friday, February 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Progressive rock is at least 40 years old, therefore in 21st century it's normal that many "prog" bands try to find new ways to create their "prog music". The way chosen by Marillion is a sort of modern brit-pop with new-age and fusion influences: prog doesn't exist. For more in "Marbles": - T ... (read more)

Report this review (#201581) | Posted by prog61 | Wednesday, February 04, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Marbles is an album that I like a lot, but am going to only give it three stars since so many of the songs do not even register on my personal prog meter. As such, I cannot say that it makes an excellent addition to a prog music collection. While I believe it to be very good music, I am just n ... (read more)

Report this review (#149479) | Posted by Lofcaudio | Wednesday, November 07, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The best album of the new millennium. This album hit me on the second listen. And after that it got exponentially better in each listen. The Invisible Man doesn't start things out well if you are new to the album. In other words, if you aren't willing to sit down and pay attention to this, the ... (read more)

Report this review (#140246) | Posted by SiberianKhatru | Monday, September 24, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars BEST OF HOGARTH ERA I really liked Brave and Afraid Of Sunlight, but i believe this overpasses them. It usually happens to me that when the harder to get into an album the better becomes with time. I had some mixed feellings at the begining, but they where slowly clearing up with each listen. ... (read more)

Report this review (#127290) | Posted by FranMuzak | Sunday, July 01, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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