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Marillion - Seasons End CD (album) cover





3.75 | 874 ratings

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Theo Verstrael
4 stars OK, Fish left with slamming doors and the boys were to find a successor that could bear the burden to make Fish history. We now know that Steve H. was the perfect choice, adding so much more to the band than just a new singer. But back then we as fans of the old Marillion were more than worried. I still am embarrassed about the ongoing discussions that started after the release of 'Season's end' because they did not give full credit to Steve Hogarth and the other guys in the band. But that seems the way it always goes. I was worried too what the new direction would be. 'Season's end' was to me the immediate proof that Marillion was really the great band they had proven to be in the Fish-era. I immediatly liked the album very much because of its variety of rocky and quiet songs but especially because of the distinctive new sound. Marilion proved for the first time that they really wanted to evolve theiur own unique style, no matter what major labels expected. They proved that they wanted to stay independent, serious musicians who want to play the music they believe in. And how right they were! The album couldn't start better than with 'The King of Sunset Town', a beautiful and very characterictic Marillion-song. Catchy melody after a slow start, great guitar work by mister Rothery and very effective keys and drums. 'Easter' is for me one the best songs Marillion has ever recorded. It is so beautiful, in melody, in lyrics, in music, it is for me an absolute favourite by the band. Quite an achievement when you just lost the dominant front man! It is too bad that they don't play it anymore at their concerts. 'Uninvited guest' ranks among the weaker songs on the album. It is a rather simple rocker, quite listenable but nothing special. And definitely not up to the quality standards Marillion should use. The band recovers with the title track that with its more than 8 minutes offers a beautiful, romantic atmosphere. The band is in np hurry at all, the song evolves in a slow pace and sounds almost as a ballad but the melody and breaks are, in my opninion, too complex to consider it as a ballad. It is a trademark for Marillion however, they were to record a lot more of these slow and almost ballad-like songs in the many years to come. 'Holloway girl' and 'Berlin' are somewhat in the same vein as the title track. Excellent melodies, quite a slow pace, haunting guitar solos and very, very good singing. Alas that can not be said of 'Hooks on you' which to me is just a bad Marilion song. Simple, not effective, not special, not melodic, just a poor attempt to sound like a rock band (what they would do a couple of times more, alas). It is also in strong contract with 'After me', a small nice song that works extemely well on the album as a sort of break from the intense songs that surround it. The album closes with the very strong 'Space' that, for my part, could have lasted much longer. The rerelease contains a lot of nice bonus material, including tow singles that were never released on a album. I could have done without the alternative mixes and demos but for collectionists they may be valuable.

From 'Season's end' on Marillion would go to deep lows (Radiation ..) and, fortunately, very high peaks (Brave, Marbles, Happiness is the road), showing that they rank among the best bands ever. And with this album they gave their first proof of originality and independance. A fully deserved 4 star!

Theo Verstrael | 4/5 |


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