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Fish - Raingods With Zippos CD (album) cover





3.68 | 261 ratings

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4 stars This album was a follow-up of the previously successful album "Sunsets on Empire". This time, Fish collaborated with Mickey Simmonds while on guitars he still employed Steve Wilson and Robin Boult. Frank Usher is no longer here with this album. Compared to previous "Sunsets on Empire" this album fails "a bit" in some dimensions. First, on composition, there is something lacks in terms of musical integrity especially the transition pieces or bridges that connect one segment to the next; most of them in this album are not done smoothly. Exception is on the epic "Plague of Ghosts". Second, the melody line is not that catchy as previous album, in fact in some segments I can feel like being bored with the song due to its repetitive notes. Having explained this, it does not mean that this is a bad album at all, I am just saying it that it's weaker than its predecessor. However, the epic "Plague of Ghosts" is really a masterpiece and it has the same quality as Marillion's Misplaced Childhood Side A. It's really great!!!! In fact, this epic makes the purchase of this CD is a worthwhile investment. Buy it!

"Tumbledown" (5:52) starts nicely with Mickey Simmonds exploration of piano solo that sounds really good and it moves naturally from one segment to the next. The only problem is when the music (all instruments) starts to roll together there sounds like a "disconnect" between nice piano introduction with some classical touch with the music that follows. It's not just a matter of connecting notes that are not smooth but the song nuance is completely different. The piano introduction sounds like setting an overall tone about dark music but when the music enters in upbeat style with happy mood - so there is a flop in nuance that has previously been created by piano but it's not caught nicely with similar nuance of the following music. It's not a bad song at all, but for sure there is a serious disconnect of the nuance.

"Mission Statement" (4:00) is supposed to be a great musical composition as the name of the song implies something serious about life destiny. Unfortunately the music is quite boring for my ears. "Incomplete" (3:44) is a good mellow track with good melody featuring Elisabeth Antwi as female lead vocal. It continues with another light song with ballad style "Tilted Cross" (4:19) with Nicola King as backing female vocal. The arrangement is unplugged version, using mainly acoustic guitar. Next is an excellent rocker written by Alex Harvey and H McKenna. Steve Wilson contributes guitar work as well. It's an excellent track especially the guitar riffs, violin solo as well as Fish singing style. This track I usually selected for a program in local FM radio. I do enjoy the guitar riffs. Even though the structure builds on repetitive notes, but it still an enjoyable track.

"Rites of Passage" (7:42) is a nice mellow track with great opening part using soft keyboard work followed with powerful singing by Fish. The composition is strong and it backs the lyrics - which basically talks about a love story - really well. The basic rhythm section reminds me to Peter Gabriel's "Blood of Eden" even though it is different in melody. It shares the similar style with Blood of Eden but less melodic. Fish uses his usual words like "self-penned" he ever used with Marillion. The passage goes like this at the end: "In your self-penned dramas, where each stolen kiss just goes to prove that happy ending don't exist..". The ending part with piano an string orchestration is really great! This is another great track after "Cliché" even though it's less melodic.

"Plague of Ghosts" is an epic that comprises 6 sequels : i) Old Haunts (3:13), ii) Digging Deep (6:49), iii) Chocolate Frogs (4:04), iv) Waving at Stars (3:12), v) Raingod's Dancing (4:16), vi) Wake-up Call (Make It Happen) (3:32). The first sequel starts with an ambient mellow style while Fish is singing and the background music is spacey in nature dominated by keyboard sounds and effects. It then flows into music with loop / sampling methodology which moves the music in crescendo and upbeat mode in second sequel "Digging Deep". I do enjoy this track. As usual, Fish gives his narration powerfully. The guitar solo is really fascinating especially with captivating arrangements: loop music and firm drumming as beat keeper. I like the howling guitar solo that starts at approx 3:28. At appox 4:40 the music moves in a new platform with better nuance - a bit of symphonic even though the beat is like a disco music. It's really nice sequel! The song ends beautifully with an ambient break followed with Fish narrative that opens the third sequel "Chocolate Frogs". Well, it reminds me to the side A of Marillion's "Misplaced Childhood" album. It's really nice having this ambient break. Fish then sings powerfully while the music is still in ambient mood depicting like he is in the cave or something like strange place. It's really great nuance. At the end of this third sequel, another musical loop enters which bring to seamless opening of fourth sequel "Waving at Stars". It's another great musical piece centers around thematic singing of Fish. The work of keyboard, piano and music loops have made the ambient richer and it's pleasurable to enjoy. It continues seamlessly with great piano work to fifth sequel "Raingod's Dancing". All transitions happen smoothly between sequels. The electric guitar solo part is really stunning here. The epic ends with last sequel "Wake Up Call (Make It Happen)" beautifully.

Overall, you might say this is weaker than its predecessor. But, the epic "Plague of Ghosts" is really a killer and it reminds me to the glory days of Marillion. In fact, I'd rather listening to this epic than any song of Marillion under Hogarth era! I mean it man.! Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |


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