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Fish - 13th Star CD (album) cover





3.79 | 276 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Heartbreaking, but so rewarding.

Fish's latest (and perhaps final) solo album has been called his best offering to date, and it may very well be. Since his departure with Marillion The singer has boasted a wide discography neo-prog albums that have sparatically done well or flopped, but this one is sure to please just about any prog fan. Like many neo-prog albums these days the album is dark and brooding, clearly over love lost since just about every song on the album deals with a break up in some way or another, but the lyrics and music are done so well that is doesn't come off as ''feeling sorry for one's self,'' but rather just very good and dark prog. As far as style goes, it's hard to compare this effort to anything done with Marillion other than Fish's voice itself - the music is darker, shadier and generally less welcoming, but it is very much something that the general population would label as 'prog rock' with each song being fairly lengthy and imploring the use of off kilter time signatures that makes every song rather 'mid-paced', but gives it an incredible amount of longevity with the listener.

One of the best parts about this album is just how even it is. None of the songs stand out against one another, they're all very even, and this means that there's no weak points on the album. The fact that there's no overwhelming high points on the album also means that there's never ''just that one song'' that you're always waiting for, or will skip ahead to - making this a very solid offering. From the opening tune, Circle Line you're bombarded with a plethora of eastern influences, hard riffs and almost trip-hop moments that blend together along with Fish's emotional voice and it all works so well. Songs such as Zoe 25 and Miles De Besos work mostly off the lyrics to tell a sad tale backed by a full and richly melodic soundscape. Other songs are a little bit more on the upbeat side such as the heavy Manchmal or the almost be-boppy Openwater, but it all flows so well that none of the songs seem out of place at any given time.

It's a little bit difficult to go into detail about every single song because while they're all very different they seem to follow a theme which keeps them in line with one another. All that can be said is that by the end of the strangely heart-string plucking title track, 13th Star you'll be feeling rather uplifted from the whole experience - even if the album is rather dreary on the whole. Perhaps it's just the simply wonderful instrumentation throughout the disc that makes it just so pleasing to the ear amongst the dark themes, but something works, whatever it is.

This is a very strong album which is sure to please any prog fan who likes traditional prog rock put into a concise form with sharp moments abound - even if it is a little darker than some other albums out there. 4 stars out of 5 for an emotional rollercoaster of an album put to some of the best music to come out of the neo-scene in quite some time. While it would be unfortunate if Fish never make another album again, this would definitely be a high not to go out on. High recommended.

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |


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