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Marillion - F E A R (F*** Everyone And Run) CD (album) cover





3.77 | 444 ratings

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5 stars FEAR, or, to put it a little bit more bluntly, Fuck Everyone And Run, is the eighteenth studio album by Marillion, keenly anticipated by those of us who crowd funded the venture via Pledge Music what seems like eons ago. When my cd arrived, gloriously on time, on 23rd September, it was signed by the band, and I took myself into the dungeon of my study to immerse myself into new music by my favourite band.

A little over an hour later, I went back into the sitting room and the metaphorical bosom of my lovely wife. "Well, how was it?". "Erm, okay, well, I'm sure it will turn out really good". Not exactly a ringing endorsement, in all honesty.

This feeling stayed with me for the first three listens. Then, over the next couple of listens, the album began to connect. And, then, it hit me.

This is not an album that you walk away from early thinking it has classic written all over it. It is just about the slowest slow burner I have ever known. But, when it does hit you, by God, it is like a sledgehammer, because this is an extremely special piece of work.

For me, it was towards the end of the second phase of El Dorado, The Gold, when the band do what they have always done at their best, a multi-layered wall of sound accompanying a deliciously beautiful Steve Rothery solo.

The piece itself introduces us gently with some birdsong, before a rather ominous second sub-section, with Kelly roaring, announces itself to us with a delicate interplay between the band, a gentle piano recurring throughout the work, before said wall of sound asserts itself with some huge passages of wonderfully produced power - no review of this album, by the way, could go without mentioning with a great deal of respect the work Mike Hunter has put in to bringing out the best of his musical charges. The FEAR sub-section then brings the listener into the intensity and emotion of all that follows perfectly.

I do not think that the band themselves have ever sounded better. Mark Kelly is plastered all over this work, with a mixture of intelligent sounds that deceive with their apparent simplicity, although the key word here is apparent, because his efforts simply lead the band in both direction and tone. This is quite simply the sound of a keys player who has become the genre's finest modern exponent.

Steve Rothery adds some lovely trademark touches (and it is still the case that a towering Rothery performance is the key to a towering Marillion performance), whether it be by virtue of his effectively rhythm guitar backing swirling keys, to lead guitar bursts which make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, whilst Pete Trewavas and Ian Moseley are quite simply doing well what they have always done well, leading the charge with a backdrop which, at turns, excites, and then drags the music back to the mellow places it intended.

And what of the vocalist and lyricist I admire above all others, a certain Mr h? The title of the album is stark, to say the least. Fuck Everyone And Run. Fuck them all. The rich bastards responsible for digging ever deeper the grave of poverty of ordinary people around the world. The abandonment of the traditional country, and values, on the sword of run away capitalism. This, combined with some deeply personal lyrics as well, Is a forceful statement by a man who is approaching his sixties, and feels he has to make his feelings clear to the world, and life, before it becomes too late. He manages it with aplomb, not a celebrity moaning in the pages of a cheap "lifestyle" mag, but setting his thoughts out plainly in a wonderfully sincere work of art.

And the songs? Living In Fear, which follows El Dorado, is one of those hugely enjoyable Marillion tracks which combines progressive rock with commercial sensibilities, and fairly races along, with the band moving things along at an incredible rock pace, pushing Hogarth's vocals to the very limit. The Kelly lead two thirds in when there is a short pause in the intensity is lovely, this before the pace becomes something akin to Usain Bolt on speed, with a soaring guitar and band accompanying a choral mix of screams.

What follows next, though, is simply a classic, a track which deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as past glories such as The Great Escape, Neverland, Real Tears for Sale, and The Invisible Man. The Leavers is a staggering creation, and one which, above all, requires a very patient set of listening sessions before being fully appreciated. The track itself is split into five sub-sections, telling the story of The Leavers and Remainers. It is not, by the way, a reference to the Brexit debate in the recent UK Eu referendum - the lyrics were, I believe, written well before that. As with all of the finest lyrical songs, there is ample room for the listener to put his/her own interpretation on what the writer is trying to convey. My take on this (and I have not seen any documentaries explaining this, as I believe such programmes rather spoil the fun) is that we are, as a race, split between two differing tendencies, those who will fight for all they believe in and tough things out, including their support for favourite bands, loved ones, causes, and those who simply leave, sometimes because they feel they have no choice, but find themselves in tremendously difficult circumstances sometimes as a result, including the opprobrium of the people's they encounter, unfairly most of the time.

Whatever Hogarth's intent, this track has some sublime moments. It features all that is best about the later work of this great band, from staggeringly intense rock, to the sublime interplay, delicately phrased, between Rothery, Kelly, and Trewavas (who is more and more a bassist in the Squire and Entwistle tradition of playing lead with his bass) on part three. The piano work on this, by the way, adds such a delicate layer of subtle beauty to proceedings that you stare agog at the speakers, with this and Hogarth's fragile voice crying at you. Then, midway through part four, Jumble of Days, one of the most urgent of Rothery solos cries out plaintively, with an incredible wall of sound from Kelly backing. The intensity of the music towards the end, "you won't be much use to us dead", is astounding. The pace relaxes again in the intro to part five, One Tonight, with some delicate guitar and piano underlaid by a sensitive Trewavas riff, before there comes one of those rare moments in music. One of those moments, when the band turn up the intensity to White Heat, before Hogarth, who has never sounded better than in this section, cries out with such feeling to break your heart, "We Come Together", and then Rothery sings to us against a backdrop of pure lovely noise, and at the end you really just have to hit the pause button, have a drink, have a cigarette, just simply take a break to recover. Simply wonderful, and up there at the top, end of.

White Paper is the most personal lyrically on the album, with those lovely keyboard textures backing Hogarth bearing his soul. This is a mournful and deeply moving prog ballad, accompanied by bursts of urgent energy musically, and has nothing of filler in it whatsoever.

The album has three tracks, spilt into sub-sections, over fifteen minutes long (and if that does not have true prog fans slavering at the mouth, then, really, nothing will), and the last of these is The New Kings. This was the track made available a few weeks prior to the official album release as a download to keep us "pre-orderers'" happy. I gave it a few listens, but it was not really until I heard it in the context of the whole album that I really began to appreciate this fine piece of music.

It is, by far, the most political lyric ever set to music by the band. It continues a fine tradition begun, all those years ago, by Forgotten Sons. Indeed, I would place a fair wager that a certain Mr Dick would rather wish he had written this. Quite honestly, it does not really matter what your politics, because Hogarth sets to music the indelible unfairness of a system which allows such avarice and greed to go unchecked, with such awful consequences to the rest of the ordinary population. Musically, it takes the themes of the opener to their natural conclusion, and it is here that the track works so well. The cover of Brave proclaimed that we should play it loud, with the lights out. This one is exactly the same, because it absolutely soars in places, and is incredibly intense, with Moseley and Trewavas never sounding so good at shoving the music along, a lead rhythm section to beat all others. I adore the female vocals which adorn parts of sub-section four, Russia's Locked Doors. We are all, in one way, or another, working for The New Kings, who are truly "too big to fail", and the band provide us with an incredible wall of sound to emphasise the pain and intensity which those lyrics correctly convey, especially when we listen to the emotions plaintively put across at the staggering and scary happenings when a passenger jet, full of innocent families, is brought down by Russian state missiles. The closing section, Why Is Nothing Ever True, is as heavy as the band have ever sounded, and the dripping venom of the lyrics panning those who got us all into this sorry state hit home with unerring accuracy.

To close, we have the inevitable short comedown that is Tomorrow's New Country, an opportunity for us all to come down as gently as is possible, given the raw emotion which preceded it.

This is an incredible album. It is an album which absolutely demands repeated listening, not just to "get it" in the first instance, but to grow to appreciate just what a work of staggering musical art it is. This album is right up there with the band's finest. It deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Script, Brave, This Strange Engine, and Marbles. I cannot award it anything less than a masterpiece rating.

A final thought. There are not many bands on this site who, eighteen studio works in, can still lay claim to being able to record and release such vital and relevant music. For those of you "neo-prog haters", I can only say this. Marillion have, once again, shown themselves to be the masters of intelligently written, and intensely performed, progressive rock. This is not traditional neo. This is traditional fine rock music, end of.

A masterpiece of modern progressive rock music, which comes extremely highly rated.

lazland | 5/5 |


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