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Marillion - Seasons End CD (album) cover





3.75 | 870 ratings

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4 stars Fish vs. Hogarth. Seems to be the catalyst for any heated discussion with Marillionites worldwide. Some online groups ban the mere mention of a comparison for fears of an all out e-war clogging servers and computers. I don't claim to be a Marillion purist, as I came on rather late in the game; but, if there's one thing Hogarth brought to Marillion, it was a powerful lead voice with excellent range, and (eventually) a thought-provoking lyricist. Much of Seasons End was collaborated with John Helmer, so I consider Brave to be the first real testament to what Hogarth did to Marillion as a band. With that said, Seasons End still sounds great to these ears.

King Of Sunset Town: The bands introduction of H to the world...and what a way to do it. The first minute and a half or so is this swirling keyboard, bass, percussion interplay that is manufactured to tease the listener. At it's peak, Rothery breaks into a introductory solo as to reassure the listener that Marillion rises triumphant and ready to begin another chapter. We get a good idea as to what Hogarth is capable of as a vocalist, as his voice reaches heights never before heard in Marillion. An awesome choice to open Seasons End.

Easter: Hogarth's gift to the band, and as it turns out, to the rest of us. I remember hearing this for the first time and hitting the 'repeat' button on the player several times. Just absolutely beautiful, with a classic guitar solo by Rothery (This could be one of the greatest solos ever). The song just ebbs and flows in 3/4 time until the powerful ending sequence kicked off by Trewavas slamming the bass pedal. Brilliant!

The Uninvited Guest: Very sinister in feel and moods. It reminds us that we all have little skeletons that need to be pushed back into the closet now and then. "I'm the evil in your bloodstream. I'm the rash upon your skin. You made the biggest mistake of your life the day you let me in. And you can fly to the other side of the world, you know you'll only find I've reserved the seat behind you. We can talk about old times." Footnote: the only track on Seasons End that the previous vocalist could've pulled off.

Seasons End: In the same vein as "Easter", just a seemingly quiet song with a powerful layer throughout. And yet another brilliant solo bestowed upon us by Rothery.

Holloway Girl: Along with "King Of Sunset Town", this really showcases Hogarth's voice. Although a fine vocalist, Fish never gave me goose flesh the way Hogarth can. One of the songs on his debut with Marillion where he simply steals the show. "In deepest darkness, the faintest light looks bright".

Berlin: As H says on the Stoke Row DVD, this song became a "quiet nostalgia" given the collapse of the wall several months prior. Still, a moving song that is as dark and brooding as it's subject matter, the band simply launch into an all out assault that gives us a sense of the brutality and bleakness in Berlin.

After Me: A beautiful acoustic track with touching and sensitive lyrics. Again, Hogarth presents vocals unheard in Marillion music. Just a nice little addition to Seasons End.

Hooks In You: Pop. Pure and simple. Probably one of the shortest Marillion songs, it was the choice for Marillion's first single with H. Not sure I agree with that choice. I've read where people thought it was Bon Jovi at first. Not sure if I'd go that far, but it is what it is. Still, great guitar work by Rothers. Kelly's keyboards sound uncharacteristically dated, but it doesn't overpower and one might not even notice it.

The Space: A song that didn't strike a chord with me at first, but I've grown to like. Exquisite keyboard work by Mark Kelly and the slicing guitar of Rothers, Hogarth is actually overshadowed a bit on this song. It's not like on "Berlin" where the music is as equally powerful as H's voice. "The Space" just sort of flows along vocally, and the musicians make an impression. It's not until the end when H's signs off with soaring declarations of unity and how the world can truly be a small space.

E-Dub | 4/5 |


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