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Marillion - Seasons End CD (album) cover





3.75 | 870 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
3 stars After the turbulent departure of frontman and lead singer Fish after a string of majorly successful albums interpolating progressive rock into the synthpop and new wave laden 80s, MARILLION didn't even think of calling it a day and opted instead to reinvent their sound with a new singer with Steve Hogarth, former keyboardist / vocalist of The Europeans. The differences are striking from the very first track on SEASONS END, an appropriately titled fifth album that signifies a change of guard in the lead vocalist department and an abrupt change from the energetic raucous 80s MARILLION into a more placid, gentle and breezy version of the band.

Unlike the previous albums, this one is not a concept album of any kind and is simply nine tracks that are unified only by their overall sound which eschews the synth new wave leanings of Fish and emphasizes progressive rock aspects placing the keyboard runs to be a subordinate underpinning to lush melodic developments and gentle pastoral passages through chord progressions and less metaphorical allegories and more on tangible real life situations ranging from the Tiananmen Square protests to climate change.

While i admire the band's desire to continue down the road of progressive rock, this is where two very separate paths diverge, namely those who love Fish-era MARILLION and find a successor impossible to live up to (this is my position) and those who see the band as a totally new incarnation that shouldn't be compared to the previous era. While i am by no means a purist when it comes to bands evolving and replacing key members, i have never found myself connecting to the Hogarth era of MARILLION. His performance style is more subdued and he lacks the magnetic persona that Fish projected with authority. While his vocal abilities do fit in well the band's new style of progressive rock, the problem i pretty much have with this post-Fish era IS the style itself.

While this first Hogarth album does attempt to rock at points it is apparent that the band have gone for a softer and more laid back approach creating a lush fluffosphere of prog that i don't find particularly appealing. As much as i try to get into these Hogarth era albums, i just find myself bored to tears as the diverse elements that i loved about Fish-era albums always bring me back to those instead of wanting to hear the newer ones. SEASONS END is probably the album i can connect to the most of Hogarth era albums simply because at this point the band hadn't toned down all the parts to a whisper yet. There are moments of grandness here and there and despite my not digging the Hogarth vocals nearly as much as Fish, this is a decent reinvention of the band that unfortunately would go in a direction that i haven't had the desire to follow.

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |


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