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Marillion - Anoraknophobia CD (album) cover





3.36 | 530 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Marillion's first album of the new millennium is a vast improvement over their previous 3 albums, This Strange Engine, Radiation, and While This Strange Engine and had their moments of pure gold, Radiation left a lot to be desired, and luckily by the time .com came out they had improved everything that was wrong with it. This album, coming out two years after, shows even more improvement as the group was becoming involved in more technically advanced and more modern. The music on this album itself is a refreshing mix of well used keyboards and guitars with a solid foundation of bass and drums at its core. The songs on this album all are longer than the past few Marillion affairs as well, with 3 songs hovering around 9 minutes and one 11 minute track. Does this show album show a more progressive Marillion at work? To some extent yes, but to some extent no.

The album opens with Between You and Me, which is a glorified pop song. Now, all the pop songs on this album are high quality, very well produced, and very catchy on top of all that. This song's chorus is very catchy and I'm quite fond of the guitar work from Rothery on this one, really clever work from him here. Quartz is the first 9 minute song on this album, and it really drives one home with a fantastic groove kept alive by the powerful bass of Pete Trewavas. Steve Hogarth shines on this track with powerful vocals and very well written lyrics. The drumming from Mosley on this track is also top notch. Map of the World is the most blantantly pop song on the album, but it's also got an infectious chorus that will keep you singing it every time you hear it. The keyboard work on this track is stellar, as well. When I Meet God is a bit of an odd rocker that utilizes some looping voices towards the beginning and end, and the keyboards from Kelly bring back memories of the kind of things he was doing in the 80's.

The Fruit of the Wild Rose is the weak link of the album, in my opinion. It's very unfitting and it really disturbs the natural flow of the album. On top of that, it drags out of bit with an overly long jazzy instrumental section towards the end. Seperated Out puts the rocking juices back into this album. It really has a natural kick to it that Trewavas and Mosley drive home with terrific rhythmic approaches. This is the 21st Century is one of the best Marillion epics to ever be recorded. I say this because musically this song is perfect. It has interesting bits of experimentation from Rothery (his guitar tones and effects on this song are very different than anything he's ever done) as well as a great extended instrumental section in which each member can really flesh out what they are doing on their respective instruments. It's the strongest piece on the album and the best Marillion piece to come out since the title track on This Strange Engine. If My Heart Were A Ball It Would Roll Uphill ends the album with 9:28 of solid rock 'n roll. Strong riffs and chord progressions as well as extremely strong vocals from Hogarth are featured here, and it ends the album in a terrific and uplifting fashion.

In the end, Marillion's first album in the new millennium was a definite step in the right direction. Their next album, Marbles, is at par with this album, as that album had the same great balance of progressive rock and solid pop. Any Marillion fan will enjoy this, and any casual fan of progressive rock will find enjoyment in this album as well. 4.5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |


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