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Marillion Brave album cover
3.98 | 1196 ratings | 78 reviews | 44% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1994

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Bridge (2:52)
2. Living with the Big Lie (6:46)
3. Run Away (4:40)
4. Goodbye to All That (12:26) :
- i. Wave
- ii. Mad
- iii. The Opium Den
- iv. The Slide
- v. Standing in the Swing
5. Hard as Love (6:41)
6. The Hollow Man (4:08)
7. Alone Again into the Lap of Luxury (8:12)
8. Paper Lies (5:49)
9. Brave (7:54)
10. The Great Escape (6:29) :
- i. The Last of You
- ii. Fallin' from the Moon
11. Made Again (5:01)

Total Time 70:58

Bonus CD from 1998 EMI & Sanctuary remasters:
1. The Great Escape (orchestral version) (5:18)
2. Marouette Jam (single) (9:44)
3. The Hollow Man (acoustic) (4:10)
4. Winter Trees (single) (1:47)
5. Alone Again in the Lap of Luxury (acoustic) (2:43)
6. Run Away (acoustic) (4:27)
7. Hard as Love (instrumental prev. unreleased) (6:48)
8. Living with the Big Lie (demo) (5:12) *
9. Alone Again in the Lap of Luxury (demo) (3:17) *
10. Dream Sequence (demo) (2:36) *
11. The Great Escape (Spiral remake) (5:51)
12. Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer" (instrumental) - hidden track after 26' of silence

Total Time 51:53

* Recorded in 1993 at the Racket Club, previously unreleased

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Hogarth / lead & backing vocals, keyboards, percussion
- Steve Rothery / guitars
- Mark Kelly / keyboards, backing vocals
- Pete Trewavas / basses, backing vocals
- Ian Mosley / drums & percussion

- Tony Halligan / uilleann pipes
- The Liverpool Philharmonic / cellos, flutes
- Darryl Way / orchestral arrangements (10)

Releases information

Artwork: Bill Smith Studio

CD EMI UK ‎- CDEMD 1054 (1994, UK)
2CD EMI ‎- 497040 2 (1998, Europe) 24-bit remaster by Peter Mew w/ bonus CD
2CD Sanctuary Records ‎- NR 4512 (1998, US) 24-bit remaster by Peter Mew w/ bonus CD

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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MARILLION Brave ratings distribution

(1196 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(44%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(34%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MARILLION Brave reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by maani
5 stars If Genesis had never existed, Marillion would have been Genesis. (However, if Genesis had never existed, there may never have BEEN a Marillion. How's that for a conundrum!). Brave is not only Marillion's best album, it is one of the greatest concept albums of all time, ranking comfortably alongside Pepper, Dark Side, The Lamb, et al. Based on the true story of a young woman who was found wandering on a bridge - but who could not or would not speak with authorities, and was never identified despite national outreach - Marillion imagines a "life" for her, evoking a melancholy (but not morbid) atmosphere, bringing to bear all of their well-honed prog-rock sensibilities. Moving beautifully between ballads, rockers and extended "atmospherics," few bands today - or yesterday - match the maturity of the sound. No prog-rock collection is complete without it.
Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Actually the high point from this era , this has moods that have been absent since Script . If I was mean I would say that this album is the only worthwhile since Script. This concept album has lots of real moments in its first half, but tends to drag on a bit after. Don't let me be a party pooper and if you like this band , this is a gem.
Review by loserboy
5 stars This is another one of the classic prog recordings of the '90's in its entirety. Centered around a bizzare concept-story line of alienation and psychedelia, MARILLION have struck gold. This is by far their "brave'st" release so far and it works well! Each song builds on one another here and builds like a good story up to the climax near the end of the record. Along the way we are treated to the tasty riffs of Steve Rothery and the unmistakeable core of strong musicianship from MARILLION. The songs are well written and I like the length of this cd as the story seems to need the space in its entirety...there is no filler here or weak moments, but a powerful release. The sound quality is quite excellent and provides great dynamics for the audiophiles out there....

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I've tried to understand why I do not give the perfect note for this album, and here is the explanation:

There is something new here compared to the FISH era: the organ-like keyboard is omnipresent and this really irritates me. MARILLION is a crystal clean modern sophisticated sound band, and definitely putting an organ in the tracks doesn't work: leave that keyboard to the 70's prog bands! The rythmic distorted electric guitar is disappointing: the distortion is very annoying because there is a flagrant lack of bottom and cleanness in the guitar sound: it's like if you cut all the low frequencies of the guitar sound. This creates tremendous losses of power and presence coming out of the guitar sound. The best example of this is on "Hard As Love" and "Paper Lies": the guitar sounds like the cheapest razor on sale at Zellers; you turn up the volume, and it becomes worse. This means that the distortion level/cleannesss were badly tuned. And on these tracks, you have this annoying organ in the background: awful! The guitar solos are not bad, but the powerful crystal clean sound like on the "Fugazi" album disappeared: we are extremely far from the quality sound of the guitar solo on "Jigsaw", for instance. There is bizarre psychedelic stuff in some parts (Hoggart influence?). Not really for me.

Let's now talk about the good points:

The bass is very good: complex, good presence; I think this is their best album for the bass. The rythmic electric distortion-free guitar notes is like the ones on "Clutching at Straws" and "Season's End": addictive, clean, pure and well played. All the other keyboards except the organ give extremely impressive parts. They are very various and never repetitive.

This record is very progressive! The musicians do not stuck for a long time on a specific pattern; I must admit that the pattern changes are made in a very subtle and refined way: never irrelevant! The drums can be very various too: from gentle cymbals arrangement to more elaborated patterns.

It is quite simple: I would easily give 5 stars to this almost masterpiece if it was not the outdated organ and the bland electric guitar mentioned above!

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Severnth sojourn

Often cited by fans as post Fish era Marillion's finest hour (and a bit), this concept album certainly finds the band in a confident, if somewhat depressive mood.

This is not an easy album to get into. Unlike most of their albums, there's nothing which is instantly accessible. The pace of the album rarely changes although the 5 part "Goodbye to all that" does manage to get going now and then, and "Paper lies", the eighth track, finally finds the band waking up, even if it is all too briefly.

The closest the band comes to obvious accessibility is on the delicate "Hollow man", which became an inappropriate (for Marillion) single.

I do enjoy the music of Marillion immensely, but with "Brave", I really can't see what all the fuss is about. It's a doomy, depressing work about a young girl who commits suicide (or does she?), by jumping off the Severn bridge (which links Wales with England).

The album is similar in many ways to Pink Floyd's "The final cut". There are far better Marillion releases than this.

Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I've listened to BRAVE many times over the past few weeks -- and I'm re-listening to it as I write -- in an effort to "get" it. Esteemed fellow Archives reviewers Maani and James each give this 1994 Hogarth-era album the highest possible rating of five stars, but, for my tastes, I really can't go much higher than two stars.

What is it about this, my first post-Fish Marillion effort, that I find less than satisfying? Well, unlike some who have given low marks to Hogarth's vocals, I like his singing fine, and think that, if anything, Hogarth's taking over the mike from Fish has given Marillion a more original, less overtly Genesis-inspired sound. That sound has been updated since the MISPLACED CHILDHOOD era, and, unlike another reviewer, I have no problem with the inclusion here of organ with the more modern instruments and sounds. Though I have no complaints with the vocals or the overall sound of the disc, I do have "issues" with the album's theme, and the songs which serve as vehicles for its "message."

BRAVE deals with the unpleasant and all-too-brief life of an abused runaway teenage girl, who committed suicide by throwing herself from a bridge. I don't want to enter into an overlong analysis of suicide here, but I will say that I -- perhaps understandably -- find it (as with Floyd's THE FINAL CUT) to be a decidedly depressing theme for a piece of music. Nor do I believe that taking one's own life is an act of "bravery." I feel that suicide is a desperate, fearful and angry act of ultimate VIOLENCE by those whose mental state has deteriorated to the point that rational thought is precluded. Rather than merely ending with the death of the immediate "victim," suicide devastates the lives of too many people for me to regard it in any sort of positive light. I just can't "get behind" such a theme, and truly enjoy (let alone sing along with) such gloomy material.

Depressing lyrics and theme aside, I also find BRAVE's music to be too weak overall to permit extended enjoyment. There is some strong material here -- "Hard as Love" and "Paper Lies" are very effective "arena rockers," and merit listening, but much of what remains is by turns plodding, overblown, and (there's just no getting around it) rather a "downer."

Thus, BRAVE is not a bad album, as such, but an average one. Now that I have reviewed it, and in light of its sobering subject matter, it is not a disc that I expect to re-visit in its entirety very often, if at all. Rather, BRAVE is another good candidate for my CD player's "program" button. As with suicide, look (within) before you leap....

Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A Brave Move

I've listened to many of the post-Fish albums now, in the vain hope that I might somehow come to terms with Hogarth's singing style. I find it "precious" and somewhat contrived - in other words, not to my taste. On the other hand, he has no problems with intonation, uses a palette of different singing styles, and avoids the obvious in the melody lines - which is always a good thing.

As ever, the lyrics are sixth-form standard, generally contrived to get the rhyme or, where there is no rhyme, the mechanics stand out uncomfortably - here's an example of both;

"The clash of religions The loaded prayers Information The face of starvation and the state of the nation"

I suppose h is trying to be contemporary - but my feeling is that he writes for his audience, not for himself - this latter is, for me, one of the hallmarks of a great lyricist, that the audience is largely irrelevant and the inner poetry is everything; Although the concept of "Brave" is not a bad one in itself, the subject matter may not be to everyone's taste and the presentation leaves me somewhat repelled. To sugar my bitter pill of criticism, however, the concept is kept up the whole way through the lyrical content of the album, which is no mean feat.

There's not too much to criticise in the musicianship on this album - where later albums like "Anoraknophobia" were very beige in style, with the uncomfortable feeling of having been designed for FM airplay, the music here is recognisably the same Marillion who wrote "Script For a Jester's Tear", with an underlying Celtic (Scottish) flavour, most noticeable in the title track.

Kelly uses string pads and piano sounds to create some beautiful ambience, but not as many solos as I would like - in some places I find it too understated. Rothery counterpoints this ambience with his hallmark understated guitar - but also unleashes that beast at just the right times. Trewavas keeps it very solid on the bass - which is very well produced indeed - but seems a little short on inspiration.

"Hard As Love" is on the surface a stand-out rocker of a track, and somewhat commercial, but all kinds of little "proggy" elements can be heard to shine through - and that organ solo is superb - a nice surprise, given that Kelly's solos normally tend to be delicate and haunting melodies rather than raunchy seventies Hammond rockers.

"The Lap Of Luxury" sees the beige style I mentioned earlier starting to creep through - although Marillion attempt to counter this by making it overly busy in places to the point of harmonic dissonance. This track is a rare instance of filler, until the last two minutes or so, which work surprisingly well.

It's good to hear a band pushing the envelope of their own style, and there is really precious little by way of contemporary music to compare Marillion to - the influences that permeate this album are quite amazingly diverse; even 1980s rock is not ignored in the quest for the Marillion Holy Grail.

If you don't like the flavour of 1980's rock, then this album may not appeal to you. If, on the other hand, you can listen with an open mind, this will become an album to revisit. An excellent addition to any prog rock collection and definitely better than just "Good" - but I would hesitate to call it essential. Three and three quarter stars!

Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars First of all, I haven't followed the band in so long I really didn't know they'd changed singers...I left before Fish did. "Brave" almost makes me wish I'd paid a little more attention, for it is not the MARILLION that I remember. There are unique sounds here and an expressive quality more subtle and effective- Hogarth really changes the overall character of the band. Not that I'm in love with his voice- at best it resembles WATERBOYS Mike Scott's plaintive, wavering tenor, at worst just amateur hard rock- but it does help coax an emotional depth out of a band I previously thought was a little sterile-sounding. They are obviously an older, wiser band than they used to be.

The title song appropriately sums up the feel of most of "Brave"- after a free-flowing vocal over warm synth sounds, we get a prolonged buildup with some exotic textures- including some nice piping by guester Tony Halligan. Slower ambient passages dominate the album, with the fewer harder-rocking moments strangely more common in the middle. The opening track "Bridge" establishes a recurring piano motif (a close cousin to "The Great Gig in the Sky") and sets the album's overall melancholy tone. Added to this, the ambient environmental sounds and the texture of many passages (the more rocking parts of "Living With the Lie", the leslie-ish guitar in "The Hollow Man", and more) generate an unmistakable FLOYD quality, especially "The Wall" and "Final Cut" era, but done with enough of the band's own character to avoid being derivative.

I'm afraid I can't completely follow the details of the story even after repeated listenings, but the positive side is that the narrative never seems to take precedence over the music, which is a big point in their favor. A girl commits suicide, this I'm sure of. It seems to have the same 'streetwise' leanings that characterized "Lamb Lies down on Broadway" and "Operation: Mindcrime" (songs like "Runaway" and "Goodbye to All That", among others, definitely bring QUEENSRYCHE's album to mind) but is neither as mystically surreal as the former nor as conspiracy-cyberpunk (or as metal) as the latter tries to be. The range of the band is most apparent on "The Great Escape", which is really quite good; soaring and emotional like the best moments from "The Final Cut". And what concept album would be complete without a sensitive, climaxing coda? "Made Again" fills the bill nicely and has some nice, organic keyboard and guitar playing to finish off the experience on a good note (no pun intended).

Steve Rothery's range and skills are showcased here, from standard hard rock and blues rock basics to a surprising palette of unconventional ambient sounds, with some occasional lapses into an over-processed 80s style and tone. Speaking of which, "Hard as Love" and "Paper Lies" both start unpromisingly mediocre- maybe I'm out of line thinking of BON JOVI- but I'm sure they're live crowd-pleasers. To make things worse, "The Lap of Luxury" blasts a seeming tribute to "Spirit of Radio" before launching into an overwhelmingly 80s guitar backing ("Is This Love" by WHITESNAKE is an infamous example of this bland pop sound). Generally, production is a bit strange on the album- the pianos and guitars often sound a bit plastic, and there seems to be missing chunks of the frequency spectrum that the music never fills; I suppose it's the sound of a 70s-influenced 80s band coming to grips with the 90s.

Much of the musical and narrative territory here has been covered already, but MARILLION makes an admirable, accessible album out of aging ideas. I think hardcore proggers may want to look elsewhere for innovation; however, for classic rock folks (or 80s rock folks especially) just getting into progressive music, this is a pretty decent transition, and it's ambitious enough to impress longtime fans. I just might owe the band and the fans an apology for dismissing them for so long.

Review by Tristan Mulders
5 stars Marillion - Brave

This is one of the few (neo) progressive rock albums that I really consider to be a masterpiece. This is one of the darkest albums I have ever heard up to this very moment. I am not trying to exaggerate things: from the first note of opening track Bridge until the final note of the Fallin' from the Moon segment of the The great Escape so; it is all dark and depressing, complex and most important ambient.

Brave is a concept album based on true events. Some parts are fictional.. others are not. The concept saw the light of day when vocalist Steve Hogarth heard a police broadcast on the radio about a girl that was found wandering on the Severn Bridge, near the city of Bristol. This girl refused to speak and therefore the police did not know who she was and where she was coming from. As a last resort they tried to approach relatives of the girl via the media.

Steve Hogarth came up with a fictional background of the girl, which is what you find in the contents of the Brave album. The story basically reaches back into the girl's childhood up to the very moment when the police find her on the Severn Bridge. Hogarth's lyrics are not as cryptic as those of his predecessor Fish on Marillion's other concept album Misplaced Childhood, but they still tell the story in a way that the listener is still a bit left in the dark about what is really happening. It is all a bit suggestive and perhaps this is the charm of the lyrics and story. The story is not given as a fact; it is left to your own imagination, with Steve's lyrics as a rough guideline for your own interpretations.

It is not an easy digestible album on the first listening, because it is quite intense and emotional, but it also centres on all kind of negative feelings. This is noticeable right from the start with the mostly instrumental opening track Bridge. This introductory song is one out of two mostly ambient songs on this album. The thick keyboard atmospheres and sounds welcome the listener and it is immediately clear what the overall vibe will be on this album: DARK. Sounds of police broadcasts and water noises are great additions to this already very moody song. These samples also create a good introduction to the beginning of the story about a misplaced girl.

Slowly the keyboard layers disappear and a guitar starts to play. The sound of the guitar is very reminiscent of PINK FLOYD's David Gilmour. Living with the big Lie is the first true album track. Lyrically, it more a general thought about society and its values nowadays, but musically seen this is one of the heaviest songs on the album. Slowly the song progresses from the minimalist introduction into a heavier outburst of guitar soloing towards the end of the song, before the song slowly fades into the beautiful melodramatic ballad Runaway.

Runaway is one of my favourite Marillion songs. Especially H (Steve Hogarth)'s vocals are great and accompany his wonderful lyrics in a superb way. His singing clearly projects the anger that is shown in the lyrics, but without sounding angry, simply emotional.

The twelve minutes long suite Goodbye to all that concludes the album's first and perhaps most depressing half. This five piece suite starts off with the piano and vocal driven segment Goodbye to all that, before heading off into my favourite instrumental section of the album: Wave. This piece starts off with a kind of 'jam session' in which all individual instruments create an atmosphere that slowly builds up to a climax before continuing with a more up-tempo interlude, that fluently crosses over into the dark and mad part Mad. I am not joking; this song simply sounds as if Hogarth has literally gone mad. The final three parts of this lengthy suite are mostly ambient and spacey with a lot of use of effects on the various instruments. Especially Pete Trewavas' bass guitar performance on this section is great, very subtle but also very professional. The whole thing builds up into a gigantic climax towards the end of the suite; showing a huge contrast to the ambience of the previous minutes. And then all of a sudden the noise dies and there he is, Steve Hogarth and his little piano. Are you still with us? The outbreak of noise must have woken you up if you dared to fall asleep ;-)

What is coming up next was a bit disappointing, even after several listens. Hard as Love is pretty much a standard rock song. It does not gain any momentum with the first half, but then, just when I though all hope for the track was lost: mid section begins: cello's and piano, this is still a progressive music piece! The composition changes from being an unoriginal rock song into an up-tempo, but interesting tune. It is partially quite aggressive to be really honest.

The hollow Man is a nice change of pace and atmosphere after the previous rock segment. This is a semi-acoustic music piece. The vocals are lovely and the pianos sound great. When halfway through the song the sliding electric guitar begins to play the track really lifts you off this earth. Certainly one of the most intense songs Marillion has ever written. Although one has to be in a certain mood to fully enjoy it.

Okay Marillion must have had their fingers twitching out of nervousness, because that was the end of our little quiet and gentle section. Alone again in the Lap of Luxury picks up where Hard as Love ended and shows again that these guys can rock.

Yes it is one of the poppy songs -also being one of the album's singles-, but it is definitely are more memorable and coherent track than Hard as love. The song consists of three different movements. The first part is a pop rock song with a great sound in the verses and a great guitar solo included. The second part is where the band begins to improvise with the composition of the first part and the song is steadily getting heavier and heavier with some nice soloing by mister Rothery. The final segment of the song is called Now wash you hands. This little piece of art is a short dark interlude that connects the song to the next up tempo rock Paper Lies.

Despised by most Marillion fans, this is a tune that does not seem to have connection whatsoever with the concept of this album. I personally do not dislike the song, but I do agree it is a bit misplaced in the album's context and therefore spoils the mood a bit. It would be better off as a b-side to one of the singles. As a plus point: this song includes Mellotron sounds! But it might as well be an organ, I can hardly tell the difference -how shameful-

Now the most depressing part of the albums starts. Beginning with the album's title track Brave. This is the other mostly ambient track. It starts off pretty weird, but in this case that is a good thing. The song lifts the listener up to higher regions after the ambient rhythmic session begins. This song includes bagpipe!

What should have been the last son on the album, if it was up to me is the song The Great Escape. This the most emotional track on the album and it suggests that girl in the story eventually commits suicide on the Severn Bridge, by jumping from it in the deep dark water. I suppose this is not what the record label wanted so they included the final track Made again on the album, to have a more optimistic and uplifting ending.

The closing track is a mostly acoustic song that shows some obscure kind of relief to the album's concept. Although I rather saw it not included on the album, it is a great song on its own. Especially the last minute of this song is highly regarded.

As you might have noticed, this is quite an intense album and I personally, with it being my favourite Marillion album, have to be in a certain mood to enjoy it.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Staring out over the bridge. A million photo flashes from the water down below ."

I did not expect much of this album when it was first released as their previous album "Holidays in Eden" was kind like a pop rock album especially with song like "No One Can". Even though I like the epic that comprised three songs in one piece of music: "This Town", "The Rakes Progress" and "100 Nights". It reminded me to early Marillion album especially on Rothers work. Nothing wrong with the album at all - it's just that I didn't get used to it especially remembering the early days of the band. So I purchased "Brave" in cassette format because I just wanted to test the water before collecting in a more expensive format, the CD. My first reaction was that it's not the kind of music I really enjoy even though I had followed the guidelines at the sleeve: "Play it Loud with the lights off". So I put it on a shelf. Until couple of months later I visited Bandung, meeting my dear prog-mate I'an Arliandy of Yess Bandung. I was quite surprised, really, that I'an adore this album and he recommended me to have the CD because Brave should not be enjoyed with a cassette format. As I admire I'an especially in introducing me "So here I'm once more" thing at first time in his small cassette store, I finally purchased the CD. I started to appreciate the band with this philosophy: "Get rid of everything in your mind about early days of marillion - or if you cannot do it, just pretend that this album is not being played by Marillion. Enjoy the music!". With this philosophy, I can then be more open to welcome any stream of music that flows into my mind and my heart through my ears.

And so here I am with my view .

The album starts off with "Bridge" (2:52) in an ambient nuance through the keyboard soundscape followed wonderfully with a floating piano touch and soft Hogarth voice "Staring out over the bridge ..". Oh man .. what a killing piece here. Performed in a very mellow style, this short opening sets the overall tone of the album. "Living with the Big Lie" (6:46) continuous seamlessly with soft keyboard touches accompanying low register notes voice in - still - very slow tempo. The music increases into higher point when the lyrical part enters "The babble of the family ." and it moves in a crescendo with a great organ / keyboard work augmented with stunning guitar by Rothers. "Run away" (4:40) is a nice song with excellent melody and this was the first song from this album that I could accept well at first listen. "Did you cry when they dragged you home. Put a lock on the door and the telephone ." is a very nice opening with a mellow music at the background. The killing part is when this track enters approx min. 2:35 with great piano followed later with wonderful guitar solo which reminds me to early Marillion. Hogarth voice is excellent! One of my favorite Marillion tracks.

The fourth track is an epic (a very good one) "Goodbye to All That" (12:26) that comprises five parts, opened with a floating soft piano touch that accompanies Hogarth voice. It's basically like the opening part of first track "Bridge". The music moves into crescendo through soaring keyboard sound and the tempo turns faster. Guitar and keyboard work together to form a rocking style of the music The guitar solo part is also awesome! I really like this rocking part. The music then suddenly turns into what I call a truly mellow music with excellent soundscape exploration of sound effects coming from keyboard, guitar, etc. Yes, this is the segment that it can bring you to another world especially if you listen to it loud will all lights turned off and only your power amp lamps be the lights. I also enjoy the inventive bass lines by Trewavas in the middle of the track augmented with guitar sound effects. Oh man .. it's killing me! I won't write a novel-long review about this track but it's a magnificent epic! It reassured my confidence with the band for their future.

"Hard As Love" (6:41) is basically a rocker with great guitar work even though the music is a bit rough for my ears, especially on its melody that is not smooth enough. But I love the energy projected by this track. "The Hollow Man" (4:08) brings the music back into a piano-based mellow track. "Alone Again Into the Lap of Luxury" (8:12) is a medium- tempo track with great guitar work at the opening part. The music flows smoothly combining Marillion's style and a touch of pop music. "Paper Lies" (5:49) is a relatively fast tempo track with a rocking style in straight forward structure. "Brave" (7:54) starts off with an ambient long sustain keyboard layer (in a away it reminds me to the opening of Peter Gabriel's Secret World DVD just before "Come Talk To Me"). Hogarth sings with his heart here. "The Great Escape" (6:29) continues the music nuance of this album opening part "Bridge" but this time with different style. I really enjoy this track especially when the music gradually moves into higher point with excellent voice combined with great guitar solo. "Made Again" (5:01) starts off beautifully with a simple acoustic guitar work and excellent voice in mellow style.

Overall, this album is very potential to be considered as masterpiece as the composition is quite tight (excellent arrangements and structures). What I think is missing is that in a way Brave has some disjointed parts that reduce its coherence as a concept album. OK I can accept that 90% of the songs are mellow ones and very dark, but actually I also want to hear the band also composed some energetic songs and made it a balanced album. But I agree that this is the finest post Fish-era Marillion albums and I really enjoy this album. Borrowing words from my prog-mate (Icann) who ever met each member of the band (plus Fish) "in person" sometime in 1997 during their US concert, I need to express a honest gratitude to Marillion: Thanks for being in my life!. Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours, GW

Review by The Crow
5 stars I think itīs simply one of the best english prog albums released in the 90īs, and of course one of the best Marillionīs efforths...

I believe that Brave was an album that had a lot of influence en the 90īs beginnings. In my opinion, a lot of english bands was influenced by this work, like Blur (they entitled one of their works "The Last Escape", just like one of the best Braveīs songs...), Oasis and Radiohead, of course. Hearing some Radioheadīs passages, Brave comes to my mind. And I like it a lot, because in the 90īs most of the prog bands from the 70īs and 80īs had lost a lot of their popularity and their quality. But Marillion they were still releasing very good and influential material, like this magnificent album or the later Afraid Of Sunlight, the best Marillionīs album in my humble opinion.

Brave is a conceptual album with a little confusing story, but with great lyrics made between Steve Hogarth and John Helmer. The music itīs just incredible: very well produced by Dave Meegan, very well executed (with a lot of overdubs and an impressive instrumental developement...) and with a really strong songwriting. Here we can hear totally progressive passages (Goodbye to All That, The Great Escape, Brave...), the usual Marillion pop oriented catchy songs (Runaway, Alone Again In the Lap of Luxury, Made Again...), and the typical hard-rocking Marillionīs songs (Living With The Big Lie, Hard As Love, Paper Lies...)... This is a very variated album, with a lot of details and sound effects, that grows in every listening on you... Because every time you hear it, you will find new things, new sounds...

The albumīs mood itīs also very changing. Maybe the predominat feeling itīs of melancholy, even sad sometimes (Bridge, Runaway, The Hollow Man...). But thereīs also a lot of positive feeling here, with beautiful and romantic lyrics (Made Again, Fallen From The Moon, Alone Again...). And some moments with a lot of epic and strong feeling too (some passages of Goodbye to All that, Hard As Love...) Just like a really good conceptual album!!!

Absolutely recommended for every prog lover (of course, not for metal heads...) and for all these people who says that Marillion died the day when Fish left the band...


Review by Marc Baum
5 stars I've listened to many dark, depressing cds from genres of rock 'til metal, but Marillion's "Brave" remains one of the most. If you feel depressed, this cd makes you feel even more. Not for the faint of heart, this tour de force of post Fish-era Marillion forces a very intense and deep listen from the listener. The story of a schizophrenic, disillusioned girl, who commits suicide in jumping off a bridge may be frightening in first place, but allways brings on some uplifting moments in such songs like "Hard As Love" and "Paper Lies", which are the only misplaced ones on this album though, they sound too radio-compatible for my taste. That mustn't mean that it's bad in general, but somehow fits not to the main mood of the record, which is all about lost hope and sadness. The strongest pieces are the accesible "Living With The Big Lie", "Runaway" and the wonderful "Alone Again In The Lap Of Luxury", the complex, at the same time very atmospheric epic "Goodbye To All That", the challenging title piece or the superb highlight "The Great Escape", which sets up the crown and makes "Brave" in truth kind to a small masterpiece.

At the beginning I was a bit confused about the (for Marillion standards) unusual dark complexity of the whole record, but after some spins it showed off it's strong deepness, which is also the reason for disappointing less sold copys of the record and EMI forced the band to produce the more lightful, accesible follow-up "Afraid Of Sunlight".

The fact, that the record is more for a small group of listeners, makes it so interestening. Steve Hogarth shows here, that he is a excellent singer and really was the right follow-up to Fish, who pulled down the songwriting skills of the group with his alcohol/drug-concept "Clutching At Straws". Steve Rothery brings also on some of his best guitar work that he made for Marillion and is able to show all of his talents on "Brave". The album has grown on me like a little tree and makes me to recommend it to all, who enjoy modern progressive rock. For those, "Brave" will probably grow to a masterpiece.

Rating: 9/10 points = 92 % on MPV scale = 5/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music

Review by richardh
2 stars I find this one of the dullest concept albums ever released.Desperately lacking in invention and good tunes with occasional nods towards Pink Floyd (but nowhere near as good).I saw Marillion on the Brave tour and it was a tedious experience as well so this is not something that goes down well live either.Not a masterpeice by any stretch.
Review by E-Dub
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Where to start with Brave? Personally, I can start with the fact that it's the best CD I own. Period. For 70 minutes plus, the listener is brought in to accompany the girl for whom the album is dedicated through the darkness of betrayal by a loved one, to her own personal struggles in dealing with it. The subject matter is sometimes disturbing and bleak; however, what Brave gives us is hope through the words and the music. One may view it as dark; but, on the contrary, the message in Brave is of hope and light in an otherwise sinister world.

It begins with the sublime and powerful "Bridge/Living With The Big Lie" and one cannot help but notice the passion in Hogarth's voice (I would loved to have been a fly on the wall to see him record the vocals). From there the music goes over peaks and valleys, but never becomes stagnate (albeit, "Paper Lies" seems out of place).

The final 15 minutes of Brave is nothing less than breathtaking. Ending with their masterpiece "The Great Escape" and the optimism of "Made Again", I sometimes am spent emotionally by this time. "The Great Escape" especially is moving, capped off by the always amazing Steve Rothery just making his Fender Strat weap during the "Fallin' From The Moon" portion of the song. I cannot single out a best of moment of Brave because it's all a memorable journey from beginning to end. I've only within the past few years re-discovered Marillion (most notably the Hogarth era); however, they've quickly become my favorite band and have added so much to my life. Brave especially brings a little something to me emotionally. For almost 20 years U2's The Joshua Tree was the best CD I owned. Although I still am taken in by it, U2's own masterpiece loses out to Brave. Yes, it's THAT good.

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Marillion strived to create an overly atmospheric album in Brave, creating that atmosphere by recording every little nook and cranny of the castle in France in which it was recorded at (Steve Hogarth mentions that with this remastered version you should be able to hear the ghosts). Anyway, after the overly commercial sounding Holidays in Eden, the band wanted to take a more progressive direction with the next album. Spanning over a 15 month period, the writing and recording of this album was creative and very ethereal in approach.

The album itself, a loose concept about a runaway girl who commits suicide, is as I said a very ethereal and atmospheric album, with nice touches of organ and swells of guitar. The rockier sections, though, really rock, Rothery showing that he is no slouch on the guitar almost 100% of the time. Mark Kelly plays a variety of keyboards, from organ to touching pianos to anxious synths, regardless of what he plays he's great at it. The rhythm unit, consisting of Pete Trewavas and Ian Moseley, are tight, cohesive, and they keep perfect rhythm while the other three do their thing.

The album goes through many different moods, from melancholy (Bridge) to triumph (Made Again), but regardless of the atmosphere the band is spot on with the emotions. The lyrics by Hogarth and outside writer John Helmer describe these emotions brilliantly and Hogarth expresses them magnificently with emotional performances on every song. It certainly sounds like he put his heart and soul on this record. My personal favorite piece on the album is The Great Escape, which begins sadly with only piano and Hogarth, then it reaches a peak at the 1:30 mark with The Last of You, possibly the most chilling section of the album. Hogarth really shines here with his dramatic vocal (he seriously put all of his effort forth on this one). Rothery's riffing is impeccable juxtaposed against Kelly's excellent keyboards and the precision of the rhythm unit.

Overall, this album is the masterpiece from the Hogarth era. It's hard to top the messages that are conveyed here. In my opinion, only Marbles really rivals this album in terms of the Hogarth era in quality and creativity in compositions. Fans of Marillion, or music in general, do yourself a favor and get this album, you won't be disappointed. 5/5.

Review by Heptade
3 stars This is one of the most lauded and reviled entries in Marillion's catalogue. The truth, as always, lies in between. The band invested a lot of time, money and emotion in this concept album about a suicidal, abused teen girl. Hogarth certainly brings a lot of angst to his vocals and tries to bring the tragic story to life, but one still can't help feeling that his intensity is a little more stylized than Fish's. Nonetheless, comparing the two is pointless, of course. They are two very different characters and singer. This was a new era, and the band sounds different. They sound like they are trying to modernize their sound, less keyboard solos and more songcraft. There are more atmospheric and ballady pieces, which is where H-era Marillion shines, particularly on "The Great Escape", which starts from a delicate whisper and builds to an agonizing climax based around one of Rothery's best solos. "Made Again" is a beautiful acoustic ballad, and "The Hollow Man" is a fine Beatlesque piano-based ballad. The band's much worse when they try to rock. "Hard as Love" and "Paper Lies" sound more like Foreigner than Marillion, as H shrieks and emotes shamelessly over generic AOR backing. Another problem is the remastering done in 1998. I know that preserving dynamics is important, but I find myself fiddling with the volume knob during quiet bits, only to have my head blown off by a loud section. I only have this problem with Marillion albums, so there must be a connection...anyway, this is a good album with some of Hogarth's best tunes and Steve Rothery's best playing. However, it also contains some embarrassingly 80s ish AOR moments as well. Marillion's next album, Afraid of Sunlight, would take care of those issues by giving up any hard rock pretences in favour of experimentation and atmosphere, and it worked brilliantly. This one is still worth having, though.
Review by evenless
5 stars What can I possibly add to the long and good reviews already written about Marillion's BRAVE ?

Not much, as we already know that this is a pretty dark concept album about a girl who wants to commit suicide by jumping from the Severn Bridge between England and Wales. The story explains everything that had happened to this girl to make her commit this horrible act of self-destruction. Therefore I will limit myself by explaining how I got to love this album.

Of course, when "BRAVE" was issued I had already heard some Marillion tracks, but mainly from the Fish era. "BRAVE" was lent to me by a friend who knew I also liked various kinds of rock music. I certainly did not expect to be so pleasantly surprised! Before this album I did not really know Marillion and because of this album I got interested in them. Both in the "Fish Marillion" as in the "Steve Hogarth Marillion". I still think "BRAVE" is Marillion's (SH's era) best effort till date, with "AFRAID OF SUNLIGHT" and "MARBLES" followed closely after it.

Conclusion: if you like Neo Progressive and don't own this album yet go buy it! If you don't particularly like Neo Progressive, but you have any interest in music at all at least give it a chance!

Excellent album! 4.5 stars

Review by Prog Leviathan
4 stars The first, and only, fully conceptual album from Marillion (minus Fish) remains one of their most dynamic and impressive. As a whole the band has never been tighter and more focused with what they are playing, particularly the rhythm section; Trawavas cranks out some mean licks on this one. h himself delivers many passionate deliveries-- especially during the excellent "Living with the Big Lie" and "Runaway". The band is at its most intense, and most delicate throughout this album, and the contrast between the two do wonders for the piece as a whole. The nature of the songs make them best if played in one sitting, with the lights off... and when ready to feel depressed.

A highlight from their career, and has just enough power to make one feel goose-bumps from time-to-time.

Songwriting: 5 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars When I started my second batch of reviews I did not know the daunting task I would be confronted with. Reviewing (almost) the entire catalogue of bands like TFK, Cast, Mostly Autumn and Marillion is quite time consuming. Not only will those bands produce lots of albums, but they will as well release very long ones (lots of double CD sets as well).

As I have already mentioned, I discovered Marillion quite recently (2001) with "Misplaced". "Script" followed in 2003 and based on that I purchased almost their entire catalogue (up to "The Strange Machine") without knowing that Marillion was made of two bands. The genuine one and the Mark II one. Unlike Purple, this Marillion Mark II will be a difficult story for me and won't appeal to my musical taste.

Between the time of purchase (2004) and this review, I guess that I have listened to this work about three times. Even "Season's End", "Holidays in Eden", "Afraid of Sunlight" or "The strange Engine" have scored substantially better. I have never been able to enter into this soporific and dull "concept" album.

But since I saw all these high ratings, I thought that there was maybe something more to get out of this album. The remastered version offers a very nice and instructive leaflet with the history of this recording, how the project evolved etc. This is the most interesting part of the whole.

From the mouth of Steve (Rothery), we'll learn that as a new father, I quote : "he felt very hard to be creative after getting only a couple of hours sleep". I bet you !

The band was already been writting for a few weeks, when Steve (Hogarth) came with a broadcast news about "the girl on a bridge" as a starting point for the theme of the album. What a great idea !

They decided to work with Dave Meagan again (he worked with Marillion on "Fugazzi"). He was mainly appointed because : "we loved the vitality in a lot of Dave's work". I guess he left his vitality outside of the studio because apart from extremely melancholic (and boring) tunes there is not an inch of vitality here.

Just listen to the long suite "Goodbye To All etc.") to be convinced. These are really very dull twelve long and useless minutes. Don't worry, with "The Hollow Man" you'll get an additional four minutes of the same treatment. Boooooring, I tell you.

And when the band tries to be a bit more dynamic, they will produce a track as "Hard To Love" which is a PITA all the way through.

Steve (Hogarth) will be more explicit about the "concept" : "The Bristol police had picked up a young woman wandering on the Severn Bridge who refused or was unable to speak to them. In desperation the appeal was broadcast to the general public in an attempt to discover her identity".

So, actually no trace of a suicide here. Sorry folks, it is not as dark as that... The first bearable track (IMO) will be "Paper Lies". Somewhat dynamic, just to wake you up. But it is already the eighth song of this (very long) album. At least a bit of rocking to escape the general mood.

About his appointment, the producer, Dave Meegan admits that he thought that : "it was an odd choice since most of his productions were almost exclusively indie style". But Mark II Marillion wanted an album between progressive and indie...

My preferred song of the whole double CD set, will be the almost all-instrumental (just ruined at the end by some "vocals" form Hogarth) "Marouette Jam". It is a very pleasant song : spacey and psychedelic. Not really in this Mark II tradition. The other songs featured on the second CD are not worse than on the first one. Acoustic and demo versions of the original songs.

All in all, I have been suffering for over two hours to write this review. I am afraid that some more dark times are ahead of me when I see the list I still have to review from Mark II Marillion.

Two stars for this one.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars The band was determined not to make another commercial record like their last one "Holidays In Eden". I would say they were very successful in accomplishing that goal.This is a concept album that was built around a news clip that Hogarth heard on the radio, about a girl who was wandering around on a bridge, not able (or willing) to give her name to police.This story was spread across the news in hopes a relative or friend would recognize her and come forward. Hogarth was touched deeply by this and was moved to make up a story about what this girls life must have been like to bring her to this place. It would be a story of her being abused at home leading to her running away and becoming a homeless person. So yes, this is a dark and moody record for the most part.

"Bridge" opens with the sounds of water splashing below, along with eerie and spacey sounds.The vocals and synths standout on this tune. "Living With the Big Lie" continues in the same mood until 2 minutes in when the song blossoms to a full sound. Rothery shines as this contrast continues. "Runaway" has some sampling but Hogarth's vocals are the focus. What a beautiful solo from Rothery as Hogarth becomes quite passionate. "Goodbye To All That" is one of the better songs on this record. I like the way it builds.Tempo changes and fantastic drumming, Rothery then tears it up. It becomes very atmospheric 6 1/2 minutes in but not for long as tempo and mood changes continue. "Hard As Love" is uptempo for the most part. It doesn't do a lot for me for some reason though. "The Hollow Man" has fragile vocals and piano in the beginning and it developes from there.

"Alone Again Into the Lap Of Luxury" is a good song with some nice guitar late. "Paper Lies" for me doesn't cut it at all. Now up to this point in the record I would say it would be a 3 star rating, good but nothing to write home about. This all changes with the last three songs. Almost 20 minutes of amazing music, especially in light of the concept of this album. Lets just say it is worth the wait to get here, and you will be writing home. "Brave" opens with uillean pipes giving it a Celtic feel as vocals and synths follow. The instrumental melody that comes next sounds cool. "The Great Escape" is in my opinion the best song on the record. It's so powerful and emotional. Hogarth's vocals just before the 2 minute mark are the highlight of the album. Soaring guitar as well. "Made Again" features acoustic guitar, piano and fragile vocals for 2 minutes when it becomes quite uplifting with strummed guitar.

Well we certainly have 3 very different albums to start the Hogarth era of MARILLION off don't we. It's hard for me to say this is better than "Seasons End" only because I have such a soft place in my heart for that one. So I won't say it.

Review by Dim
4 stars When this album is put in the three star section, you know somethings wrong!

Well, I dontknow much about this band, except this album, WHICH IS EXCELLENT!

I've heard people talk that Hogarth has no voice and no emotion, complete Bull****. I have trouble listening to the title song without crying like a baby ; ), but seriously, listen to the last three tracks and tell me Hogarth is bad at what he does! Now as amazing as this album is, I would have to say that the epic of the album, Goodbye to all that, is probably the least enjoyable. Because it has five minuetes of sheer nothing, but weird ambient noises, the ending of the song is quite spectacular though!

Just about every song is about a four star plus, the big lie, and hard as love, are quite un inspired, but have some very nice guitar work. Living in the lap of luxury, is another one of those songs, but Rothery's voice is jst too good to ignore.

Well I might as well give you the concept of the album...

So, it's about a society hating girl, who thinks the world that she live in is just made of lies from the government, parents, school ect ect. She even trys running away, but eventually gets found "cries while she is being dragged home", I'm not sure, but I think she is an opium addict and fantasices aout living the high life. Eventually she throws herself off a bridge and dies. She wakes up in heaven, or some other life in the last song... which is also beautiful, and ends on a high note.

*EDIT* Well, I simply Overated the album, a couple of completely non prog songs is in no way deserving of five stars.

Well there is Brave in a nut shell, but you have to listen to it to understand... SO LISTEN TO IT!

Review by Matti
5 stars I feel I owe Marillion this, since I have only given them some 2-star reviews of minor items. Brave was several years my favourite prog album. Before it they had almost dropped out of my listenings. Indeed, what a leap it was from the dull and commercial Holidays In Eden! Especially for Steve Hogarth this was the moment of truth; both as a vocalist and as a lyricist he helped Marillion to reach new levels of expression unseen at the Fish era. His sensitive style is totally different from Fish's, as is the musical style of the whole band too. Naturally it can't please all old fans, but I believe the band feels more at home with Hogarth.

Brave is not an easy album to get into (or rather, you either love it or you don't), but one can really sense that it's done with the deepest dedication and ambition. It's a 100% concept album, telling a sad story of a young girl. And it's very dark and sad itself, asking for a specific listening MOOD with full concentration - with the lights off, as the liner notes tell. Probably it's the sadness that puts it off for some, and also the reason why I listen to it nowadays clearly less than in the nineties.

I won't go much into track details, there are many reviews here to do that. What I most enjoy in Brave are the dreamy, wavy instrumental sequences - the one in 'Goodbye To All That' and the latter half of the title track. 'The Hollow Man' may be the best sad ballad ever by Marillion. I also love the passionately melancholic chorus of 'Runaway Girl', the breathtaking Neo Prog of 'The Great Escape', the delicate and gloomy opening track 'Bridge', and the bright and fresh cathartic closer 'Made Again'. Yes, I must say this is one of the prog masterpieces of the nineties, no less.

Review by progaardvark
COLLABORATOR Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
5 stars After failing to reach a wider audience with the mainstream Holidays in Eden in 1991, Marillion took a brave step (pardon the pun) and went back to their progressive roots with Brave, the band's first true concept album since Misplaced Childhood (or Clutching at Straws if you're inclined to think of it as one). Instead of returning to their Genesis influences of earlier albums, Marillion took on a more Floydian feel with Brave. This is most noticeable with the many sound effects throughout the album and the depressing, moody, and deep atmospherics. The concept was based on a news story Hogarth heard on the radio about a girl who was taken into custody by police after she was found wandering around Severn Bridge (between South Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire, Wales). The girl had no idea who she was or how she got there. Hogarth developed the story around her and what might have led her to her present state on the bridge.

This was probably the most ambitious project in Marillion's recording history, taking nine months to write, record, and produce. I have to say, Marillion really did an exceptional job on this. Further, they managed to move their sound into new territory as it sounds really different from previous efforts. The concept and lyrics are also well written and Hogarth's delivery is fantastically done. The haunting atmospherics and sounds are remarkably well done. In fact, it has been said that Radiohead's OK Computer was partly influenced by Marillion's Brave.

Brave was a remarkable achievement during an era where this type of music was often frowned upon. Not quite as good as their masterpiece debut in my opinion, but definitely well deserving of five stars. Highly recommended!

Review by Moatilliatta
5 stars If there was still skepticism about the future of Marillion after the departure of Fish (which after Holidays in Eden would be warranted), Brave should abate it all. This is the bands most ambitious outing to date: a 70+ minute concept album taking a look at a runaway teenage girl on a bridge, contemplating suicide and what led her to such a situation; it was inspired by a story Steve Hogarth saw on the news. The atmospherics, one of the strong points of Hogarth-era Marillion, get even more ethereal here, Hogarth's vocals are his most powerful, the guitar solos are as impassioned as ever, and the rhythm section continues to be solid. I don't want to get too deep into this album, but I will say that every song is a highlight in some way, and it is the most gratifying of Marillion's works, along side their debut.
Review by lazland
5 stars Thankfully, after the lacklustre Holidays in Eden, the band gave us this, the first of the truly great classics which the Hogarth era has provided us with.

I cannot find a fault with this LP. From the opening bars of The Bridge (surprisingly very good live, even on its own - see Marbles live DVD), to Made Again, Hogarth tells the story of a teenage runaway who ends up killing herself from jumping off the Severn Bridge superbly. Apparently, Hogarth got the idea from listening to a news story.

Hard As Love is a strong, rocking anthem to abuse, with Hogarth shouting out the lyrics as if he were the victim. The Hollow Man (the single did not chart) comes down miles to a quiet introspective gloom.

Alone Again in the Lap of Luxury follows the tradition of strong singles, whilst Paper Lies rocks with the unfairness of the news media. Again, on this, Hogarth drips with passion and scorn against his target.

Brave, the title track, gives the backdrop to the inevitable end, and is a thoughtful ballad. And then comes the ultimate song... The Great Escape. I defy anyone listening to this track not to be moved at the tragic outcome of a young life, and I swear that Rothery's guitar sings in mourning to us. It is quite exceptional.

The band sound like a fellowship on this work. It is as if they had decided their fate - not to be shackled to the whims of EMI and other majors, but to break free and make music that they loved and pass on that passion to fans. All the members of the band contribute, but I especially rate Kelly & Rothery's sounds. The latter has rarely had better days!

This LP marked the passage from being a mere fan to being fanatical about the band. It is in the top three of my extensive collection, and I would rate it as being an essential addition to any collection. Certainly, it is the finest concept piece I have.

All sceptics of the H era should give this a chance.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Superb, beautiful album

While not the biggest Neo-prog fan you'll find at PA, I have to join the side of those who proclaim "Brave" to be a great album. Oddly enough I don't consider it to be "sad" or "depressing" as many do-but then I don't consider "The Wall" depressing either. What I hear in Brave is uplifting musically and without a question one of the most beautifully and delicately constructed albums of the 90s. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. The story may be a sad tale but the music parts are often so beautiful that they lift me up rather than make for a melancholic album.

Brave is one of those subtle albums that take many plays to truly reveal all the intricacies of its hand. It is a long conceptual feast of ambient and moody landscapes telling the story of a troubled young woman, but I actually believe it is meant to be a more sweeping social commentary on our fading humanity, life priorities, etc. I love the fact that besides the fairly obvious rock of "Hard as Love" the band has made a very uncompromising album, placing texture and detail above crowd pleasing. It is definitely a more Floydian work than anything Genesis influenced, it sounds almost like taking the slow, brooding portions of "Shine On Your Crazy Diamond" and melting it into the lyrical short story style of "The Final Cut." You have Hogarth telling the story but doing so between these long delicious instrumental sections that are all about sound and atmosphere.some of the sections rock but most are just content to ooze melody and emotion. Pure music that takes time to appreciate but rewards tenfold once the connection is made. I find all of the performances to be exceptional across the board, dramatic, full of life and conviction. "Runaway" is a highlight with guitar work that grabs my head and my heart, a great solo but also dramatic buildup throughout, and these lovely drop-offs at the end of the build-ups. The only problem I have is the same one I have with The Final Cut. In the chasm between the soft and loud portions of the album it is really obnoxious dealing with the volume extremes. The soft portions can be very quiet and so I turn them up quite a bit because I want to hear everything.then you get absolutely pummeled when the rock kicks in, and that does drive me crazy.but I'll deal with it. The album's weakest moments without question fall into the 14 minutes devoted to "The Lap of Luxury thru Paper Lies" where you get some standard, rather boring sing-along rock. Given the length of the album it would have been perfect to condense this section way down-keep enough of the better parts to advance the narrative but perhaps cut down the repetitive parts. "Hollow Man" features some great lyrics about those who are essentially already dead as they slumber through work-a-day existences with "lies behind their eyes." In the finale of the final three tracks the band nicely wraps the album while going out with a bit of sunlight and hope.

"Brave is all about the spiritual aspect of life dominated by the non-spiritual, so we filled the songs with as many sounds and pictures as we could dream up-I sent out sound engineer out at dawn one morning to record silence for the beginning of the album!...I think of Brave like a Christmas cake full of hidden ingredients which only reveal themselves gradually. I can still listen to it and discover moments I don't remember being there before." [Hogarth] He also says that they had mikes set up everywhere in the Chateau Marouatte in the hopes of picking up "ghosts" and that he can feel them throughout the album. His advice is to play the album alone, in one sitting, loudly, and in the dark for maximum results. Hopefully you will hear some passing ghosts. There certainly is a presence, something hard to articulate, that hangs in the air throughout Brave. It is an achievement to package that kind of feeling into music that is entertaining.

This is my first Hogarth-era studio album but if it is representative of the quality of the era, then Marillion is miles ahead of the other bands I've heard from their genre. I look forward to hearing some of their other titles. It is a real shame they blew the film version of Brave, this music deserved so much better. Brave is a fantastic album that I would recommend to anyone into concept albums.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Marillion's 1994 release is one of the most boring albums I have ever heard. It mostly fluctuates between insipid keyboard-based droning to uninteresting rock, and the engaging moments are few and far between. The sputtering effects applied to the vocals are something of an interesting distraction; in some places, it works, and in others it just sounds bad. The volume is also something of an annoyance; when it's quiet, it's almost silent, but things can become very loud without warning, making me reach for my volume control an uncomfortable number of times. The bottom line is that it's just hard to stay awake.

"Bridge" The first couple of minutes of this album consists of a sleepy atmospheric synthesizer and quiet vocals.

"Living with the Big Lie" The second song shows promise despite a lethargic introduction, especially with the heavier moments in play. The spirited guitar work sits nicely against the chunky bass and the seemingly improvised vocals toward the end. This is one of the better tracks, however, which is not saying much.

"Runaway" Clean guitar begins a more straightforward, late 1980s-sounding rock song. The bass and piano interplay in the middle makes for one of the best moments of the album.

"Goodbye to All That" On this longest track, drowsy, synthesizer-based parts are interspersed with heavier fare. A riff somewhat similar to the introduction to "Tubular Bells" comes in, followed by a more exciting section in 7/4 time. The guitar solos and the eventual guitar swells are really the highlight of the piece. It's easy for this sprawling song to lose my attention, but it is by no means bad work, and it does end spectacularly.

"Hard as Love" This is classic rock music, and sounds similar to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It slows down (of course), to quiet piano, vocals, and a slide guitar leading back into the edgier part. There's a riveting organ solo thereafter, but it's a bit out of place with the rest of the music. I honestly can't decide if I like all the curt reverb on the vocals.

"The Hollow Man" More quiet vocals over piano begin this track. There isn't much else to it than that.

"The Lap of Luxury" A speedy guitar lick kicks off this second long piece, but rather than be a hard rock song as expected, it's another clean guitar-based 1980s-sounding pop song. I could honestly see this as a popular Rick Springfield number.

"Paper Lies" This song is more like a heavy John Cougar Mellencamp song- not my thing at all.

"Brave" The bagpipe introduction is a nice touch, but it fooled me into believing I would actually like the song itself. Yet again, this is a synthesizer pad and vocal song exclusively until over four minutes in, and then it remains uninteresting, as the clean guitar and bass just add to the monotony.

"The Great Escape" By now, I would think Marillion would shake things up, but this one is just more dull music with drowsy vocals. Steve Hogarth's singing does get interesting after a bit, however, but things return to the bland rock that over half the album seems to consist of.

"Made Again" Of course, this album wouldn't be complete without another wearisome soft song. The acoustic guitar adds much need variety to the album, but by this point, it's too little and too late.

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A brave attempt.

Even though it is one of the most highly acclaimed albums in the Neo-Progressive subgenre, Marillion's Brave is not all it's cut out to be for every listener. With the most sincerest of apologies to a great contributor and friend of mine through this site (who labels this album as his favorite of all time), this Hogarth-era Marillion album is lost in translation, between where they were and where they are now. A truly transitional album that at one time combines everything that they did with Fish and everything that they would do even to this day, it comes off as a stew of inspiration that never manages to get its hold on what it's trying to do.

One of the main problems with the album is that it always attempts to use the slow-climactic-build on every single song, often times defeating the purpose of the song in the first place. If you were to start just about any song it would be near deafening silence, and granted ? sometimes this style works very well. Hell, it even worked well for the band on their album Marbles some time later, but here it just doesn't work. While each song does get going eventually, the problem is that the attention span of the audience isn't always able to keep up with the constant break in momentum. On some occasions the songs are mixed so low that the album becomes simply difficult to hear without having to constantly toy with the volume nob.

Of course, this should never detract from the songwriting on the album. And being that it's a concept piece, the narrative of this album is of utmost important. It's an impressive one at that, the story of a suicidal girl at the edge of a bridge recapping her life and how she got to her position at life's edge. The songs themselves can be truly captivating, heart wrenching and downright emotional ? but rarely are they pulled off to the degree of accuracy as they were on albums like Misplaced Childhood or would later be on Marbles. Granted that on a true concept album, not every song is going to be instantly accessible or memorable, so long as they all contribute to the overall construction of the tone and story, but Brave seems to dance on the far side of story telling, forgetting themselves musically.

Still, there are a number of classics throughout the album. Even the most cynical Marillion critic will have a heart enough to accept quite a number of these songs as great, be it in a progressive realm or not. They may not be as overly complex as their forefathers, but that's simply the modern-ness of newer Marillion taking its course. Which is refreshing in the long run, really, since if everything just sounded the same then we'd have to pick fun at that fact instead (and this is something that neo-prog often gets hit with anyways). Songs like Living With The Big Lie and The Lap Of Luxury showcase Hogarth's voice at it's best, most emotional and powerful. In songs like this the man can shake you right to your core. Other impressive outputs on the album include the somewhat out of place, but still beautifully fragile Hollow Man with it's haunting melodies and Hard As Love - one of the few pumping rockers on the album, along with the equally charging Paper Lies.

While this review may seem to be trying to take the piss out of the album a little more than it needs to, there's no doubt that this is a very good album from a classic band. Anyone keeping their expectations in check who happens to enjoy the later era of Marillion will find a lot to like in this album. People who expect either extreme end of the Mariilion sound spectrum are going to be in for something of a surprise. Certainly an album to be listened to with patience, although if after a year or so it still doesn't catch on then the album may just not be for you. May I recommend a game of Marbles to ease your mind? 3 stars out of 5 for a very good, but ultimately inaccessible album that may not be everyone's cup of tea.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Brave is a turning point in the Marillion's catalogue. The change doesn't come from a sudden increase of compositional quality though, Brave is a good album overall but hardly outstanding. No, the turning point is that they finally learned how to bring Hogarth's voice into play.

At its best moments, Brave finds the answer to the question that had been nagging Marillion for two albums: "Where do we go from here?" Well, they finally use Hogarth's voice for what it's good at: emotional and atmospheric rock songs, sometimes epic sometimes poppy, and supported by music that is more laidback and spontaneous then the bouncy prog they did with Fish. Good examples are the slowly developing Living With The Big Lie and the elegant Runaway.

It follows the same pattern of Clutching at Straws, meaning it's a number of mostly individual songs that are patched together to form some kind of conceptual unity. Unfortunately the experience is not consistentently good. Some of the tracks seem to wander around without much of a point. Goodbye To All That for example brings 12 minutes of harmless prog muzak with some occasional outbursts that are hasty rather then purposeful. But the most awkward moments come when Marillion still considers a career as an arena pop act, Hard As Love, The Lap of Luxury and Paper Lies especially, veer off in contrived pop directions that I won't go along with.

But there is magic as well. The three closing tracks are absolutely stunning. Especially the brooding Celtic beauty of Brave is a most outstanding track in the Marillion catalogue. It introduces that repetitive guitar picking, an element from post-rock and indie that would become an important influence in their sound. The Great Escape is a big and dramatic gesture full of echoing pathos. The over-reverbed production makes it sound rather dated now but it remains an emotive highlight. Made Again as a fine semi-acoustic closer and provides a bit of sonic variation to the generally big sound.

On the next album, Marillion would perfect most of what they tried to achieve here. But that doesn't seem to be the general point of view. As it stands, Brave is a competent and ambitious album, but too uneven for excellence. 3.5 stars

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Brave was the album that once again showed the fans that Marillion were still capable of producing new original music and that the spark was still glowing ever bright!

This album is a comeback to the familiar territory of moody concept albums that the band pleased their audiences with so much in the '80s. The new spin added to this particular storyline is its extremely dark subject matter and no real moments that lighten the atmosphere. I think that this approach probably didn't win Marillion any new fans due to the lack of any single-oriented material but at least it satisfied the existing fans tremendously.

Since it was one of the first Hogarth-era albums that I heard it was met with mixed feelings on my part and once that first impression settled in it was difficult for me to ever really give this material a proper chance ever again. I realize that this is highly unfair but the main problems for me are the album's length and highly depressive tone. Still, I have full empathy for everyone who enjoys this material since there is enough subtle beauty here if it's given the chance to grow.

It's clear that the band didn't want to make another melodically-driven album and instead it's the atmosphere that has taken the pilot seat this time around. I would like to recommend seeing the accompanied Brave: The Film that highlights some of the story elements much better than the music. Originally I saw it on a bootlegged VHS but now that it has been released on a proper DVD there's just not excuse to pick it up!

The movie version, together with the unexpected change of music direction, makes the album version of Brave slightly less important item compared to other Marillion releases for anyone interested only in the most essential material. As much as I like The Great Escape it still doesn't come near the perfect ending of Misplaced Childhood nor is the overall quality of the material qualifies for any comparison to Clutching At Straws. I miss those really memorable moments that would make me want to play this album just out of the blue without starting to think about the concept and direction of this material.

***** star songs: The Great Escape (6:30)

**** star songs: Bridge (2:56) Living With The Big Lie (6:46) Godbye To All That (12:27) The Hollow Man (4:08) Alone Again Into The Lap Of Luxury (8:13) Paper Lies (5:48) Brave (7:56) Made Again (5:02)

*** star songs: Runaway (4:41) Hard As Love (6:42)

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars After a long time of listening Fish's MARILLION and considering them a "B" class Prog band, I caught the flavour and started to respect more an more the band, but when I had converted into a fan, "Fish" left and the ghosts of the past (GENESIS) came floating around them.

From the first instant I suspected they would follow the path of GENESIS, but still hoped they would have a couple good albums like the Charterhouse School boys when Peter left, but I was wrong, in MARILLION the change was almost radical.

After the very decent "Season's End", everything was downhill, not that the guys became bad musicians, because you can't change from one album to another, but the music of "Holidays in Eden" was an absolutely dull mixture of AOR, Rock and Adult Contemporary.

At that moment I decided not to buy more "MARILLION" releases, but read so many good reviews of "Brave", that had to give it a chance, something I still regret.

"Bridge" works as an overture, it's almost an instrumental (the vocals really don't count), a bit experimental, but totally lack of appeal for me, seems that they had a good idea to start the track, but never were able to develop it and it's frustrating to notice how they don't know where to go. But when you believe can't get worst, the new singer "Steve Hogarth's" with a touch of late Phil Collins joins the disorder that leads nowhere.

"Living with a Big Lie" starts soft and boring, with a long intro that invites to sleep, but suddenly they the music goes in crescendo and leads to a strong but anodyne explosion of strength, just to fall again into the initial oblivion and explode again, but without any coherence or structure. All what they had achieved during the "Fish" years seems lost.

"Run Away" offers nothing new, the same feeling of emptiness invades me...Are this guys trying to play Prog, Pop or AOR? I simply don't know, for God's sake, when Mark Kelly and Steve Rothery add some power, "Hogarth" enters and takes it back to that tedious mood, at least the instrumental breaks are quite decent.

"Goodbye to all That" begins as a dull and anodyne ballad boring to an extreme, but hey, a radical change surprised me, while "Kelly", Trewavas", Rothery" and "Mosley" give their best, "Rothery" doesn't ruin it, it was about time this guys gave some signs of life. The quality is there but it's obvious "MARILLION" needs a leader capable of taking them at least near to what they did in their early years and "Hogarth" isn't him.

Hey is it "Hogarth" or a "Bon Jovi" wannabe trying to make th8is guys Rock? For God's sake, what a lack of originality, if it wasn't for the excellent organ this would sound like the music of "Young Guns II" (Blaze of Glory) but without the charisma of Bon Jovi. Even when not original, it sounds good, but Hogarth manages to pull back the band towards that depressive mood that by this point tempts the listener to blow his brains, a mood that becomes even darker and sad with the forgettable "Hollow Man", not recommended for Prozac patients, they make Kurt Cobain sound as the image of optimism.

"Lap of Luxury" again reminds me of "Bon Jovi", I'm sure the song pleases the crowd in each concert, but it's one of the most in transcendental songs I ever heard by this once great band. At least "Paper Lies" shows a band frying to Rock (if there's not a bit of Prog, they really need to Rock), but again they become predictable and boring

Well, it's time for "Brave", so we can expect for the best song to take the title of the album...But what? another anaesthetic song with absolutely no changes or interesting moments, hardly ever head a more soporiferous piece of music.

Well at last one good song, "The Great Escape" is not a masterpiece but at least "Hogarth" manages to add drama and emotion as never before, but the best is the instrumentation, this is the band that used to play with "Derek William Dick", the guitar solo by "Rothery is breathtaking, "The Great Escape" is the only song that saves the album from one star rating, because "Made Again" is decent but not enough to boost a rating.

The copy that I bought recently has a second CD of bonus tracks, but as usual I review an album as it was released originally.....................Two stars is the higher I can go.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars I really don't get this band. Early on in their career, the keyboardist in my band would rave about these guys. We even played a cover of one of their songs. But to me they were, at the time, an imitation of the lesser moments of the best years of Genesis. I suppose you could have worse aspirations. Then thier singer left. I'm surprised their drummer didn't move into the role.

The music, for the most part, went downhill after the departure of Fish. But not so far down as Genesis. The majority of the songs on this album I would not classify as prog. It's more like arena rock. Well done arena rock, with some fair keyboard sections occasionally, but really nothing more. And Steve Hogarth's voice is oddly reminiscent of Supertramp's Roger Hodgson. Not that that's a bad thing.

The only exception is Goodbye To All That. At twelve and a half minutes, this piece actually has some inventive and interesting sections. But it doesn't save the album.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars While the sound of this album is very good--very lush--and I very much prefer Steve Hogarth's voice to Fish's, but the story is lost on me (cuz I'm not a lyrics guy) and the music does not represent, to my mind, the emotional impact that the story is supposed to convey. I love the idea, but I don't feel it delivers. Still, this is probably my favorite Marillion album.

Favorite songs: "Bridge" (2:55) (10/10); "Brave" (7:56) (10/10); "The Great Escape" (6:30) (9/10); the first half of "Living the Big Lie" (6:46) (8/10); and "The Hollow Man" (4:10) (8/10). (I guess I like the slower, more melancholy side of Marillion and Hogarth.)

3.5 stars rated up for wonderful production and effort.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
2 stars I had controversial feelings about Brave since when it was released. I 've been very conservative respect to CDs, but this was the first Marillion album with a length that made impossible a vinyl release, I think, so I had to buy it on CD and it has been one of my first CDs.

The previous two albums were transitional, collection of songs instead of concept albums like Misplaced Childhood and Clutching at Straws (the second just based on a concept). Brave signs the return of Marillion to a full concept album.

The problem that I have with this album even after 17 years is that even if I like any single song I've been rarely able to listen to the whole album in one shot. "Living With The Big Lie" is an excellent song, for my tastes "Runaway" is even better, but since "Goodbye to All That" i start getting bored. The light-dark atmosphere is almost the same on all the songs and this is one of the problems.

Also Goodbye to All That is a good song taken alone. From a musical point of view it's fully in Marillion's style, I can imagine Fish singing it, but when it comes I'm already tired.

So what's the reason of my feelings? Probably exactly this. Those songs seems to have been written thinking to Fish and don't fit well with Hogarth's voice. If you think to the two previous albums, the best songs are those that seem written for/by Hogarth. It's like Marillion, maily Rothary and Trewavas have taken inspiration from Fugazi and Misplaced Childhood as can be clearly heard in the slow instrumental part in the middle of Goodbye to all that, even after Hogarth has whispered some phrases (that's why I consider this part instrumental).

Going ahead, the first album's song that I don't like is "Hard As Love". The chorus is nice and this song is good for Hogarth, but the stanzas are uselessly hard. So it's not question of singer, here. It's only a song not good as the previous, even in the slow part.

I find "The Hollow Man" a bit boring, even if also this song has some good moments. "The Lap Of Luxury" is totally borrowed from "The Last Straw", "Paper Lies" is nothing special to me, but in this case it may be my problem: getting bored before it's a song that I've listened to less times.

Well, the title track is fantastic, instead. I really like the pipes at the beginning, however also this song is good alone but when it arrives, close to the end of the album, it's too late for me.

The last two songs aren't bad but they don't give me any particular feeling.

I've been thinking to this album for a long time trying to decide if I like it or not. Basing on how often I listen to it I think the answer is the second. I'd like to round up its 2.5 stars to 3, but I want to be honest with myself. It's not poor, but you have to be a fan of this lineup to really appreciate it.

Review by Chicapah
4 stars About half a decade ago this website not only rejuvenated my dormant love for progressive rock but it also introduced bands unknown to me that were courageously carrying the prog banner proudly despite a total snubbing of their craft by the popular and effete media. One of the first groups that caught my eye (due to their high ranking) was Marillion but when I finally got and absorbed their heralded debut, 'Script for a Jester's Tear,' the album's amateurish drumming was, frankly, a turn-off. However, I didn't give up on them and I'm glad I didn't. 'Fugazi' (mainly due to Ian Mosley taking over on the tubs) was an improvement but both 'Misplaced Childhood' and 'Clutching at Straws' were 5-star records that knocked me completely out. I knew that if I went forward in their discography that I'd have to deal with Fish, their charismatic singer who played a major part in making those two albums extraordinary, being long gone and I therefore resisted collecting more of the band's catalogue due to fear that it would be a let down so I explored other groups instead. Recently I came into possession of 'Brave' and decided it was time at last to hear how the band had fared after the big man went solo. Seven years and two albums after Fish's departure seemed a long enough span for Marillion to have redefined themselves so I spun this disc from '94 with an unbiased, open mind. I suspected that, since four core members were still intact, they hadn't foolishly disowned nor abandoned their prog upbringing so the real test was whether or not Steve Hogarth could hold a candle to his predecessor.

The ominous opening to 'Bridge' gives the impression of approaching doom but then Mark Kelly's beautiful keyboards enter and all is well with the world. On 'Living With the Big Lie' I got my first taste of Steve's voice and his initial soft approach reassured me that they hadn't gone wildly radical when choosing a new front man. The band constructs a delicate background before Ian Mosley's drums burst in to make damn sure that I know without a doubt that it is, indeed, the mighty Marillion I'm listening to whether I miss Fish or not. Steve Rothery's guitar work is suitably menacing and it was good to hear that the group still paid attention to the crucial importance of a song's dynamics. Being a concept album I expected the lyric content to be vital and, while I consider the record's 'teen-in-trouble' premise to be anything but novel, I do find randomly scattered lines like 'The beauty of your mothers eyes/the pain when you fall/you drink it in and marvel at it all/but you never really figure it out/you get used to it,' above average. 'Runaway' is next and its subtle intro leads you into a very dramatic atmosphere that ebbs and flows. I appreciate the dense depth of field they erect behind Hogarth but the tune lacks that magic moment that could've pushed it over the top. Things get better on 'Goodbye to All That.' It's a more complex number that presents several intriguing musical aspects to be pondered. I'm particularly impressed with the excellent blend of keyboards, synths and guitars. The number's drifting, ethereal movement is wholly satisfying and they show true patience in letting the song build up gradually before dissolving to just vocal and piano and then climaxing with a grand finale.

'Hard as Love' is a bullish rocker fueled by Ian's punchy drums and an aggressive, almost Spinal Tap-ish countenance. The weak verses and chorus aren't that memorable and the latter going gets a little too frantic for my tastes but the lovely bridge section saves the track from overkill by providing a few seconds of needed perspective. I detect a heavy Peter Gabriel influence running through 'The Hollow Man' yet in this case it's a positive tint. I especially like that they kept the tune's arrangement simple and didn't try to make it more than what it is. A strong rock beat drives the beginning of 'Lap of Luxury' confidently but the slick Phil Collins vibe that Steve's singing drenches it with so dominates the tune's personality that it becomes too familiar in a negative way. The 2nd half of the song is a predictable, noisy descending chord pattern with a lot of fierce guitar riffs but I do like how it eventually levels out into a dream-like coda. 'Paper Lies' is another straight-ahead steamroller that causes me to ask aloud, 'Whatever happened to their penchant for odd time signatures?' The tune's best moments come when they veer from the formula crossover mindset and let their collective imagination steer things in more engaging directions. A cosmic segue takes you into 'Brave' and the remainder of the record is well worth the up and down journey involved in getting to this point.

An extended drone precedes Hogarth's penetrating vocal, preparing you for a song that transcends the norm. He delivers his best singing performance thus far; bolstered by the fact that here he doesn't remind me of anyone else at all. The track evolves gracefully, transporting me upward into a higher, hypnotic stratosphere and it reminds me of what I adored about this group. 'The Great Escape' is large-scale, towering symphonic prog rock that's deliciously cavernous and captivatingly massive. This is what I can't get from any other genre and when I hear it I relish it with fervor. My hat's off to Steve here because his voice meets with aplomb the challenge this demanding kind of material presents. It's the apex of the album due in no small part to its melodic structure and the exciting peaks and valleys they tightly traverse with ease. Rothery's Spanish guitar gives the closer, 'Made Again,' a fluid opening that I didn't anticipate. It's a pretty tune with a quiet, pensive aura and the words imply that the female protagonist has somehow gone to heaven or achieved enlightenment. 'Like a bright new morning/like a bright new day/I woke up from a deep sleep/I woke up from a bad dream/to a brand new morning/to a brand new day/like the whole world has been made again,' Hogarth croons. A crisp 12-string guitar then enters and takes over, filling up the spaces as the group expertly adds layer upon layer of rich sounds to fasten a classy ending on the project.

While 'Brave' didn't change how I feel about their Fish-era instances of brilliance that thrill me to this day, I will confirm my deeply-felt relief that Marillion proved themselves quite capable of maintaining their poise during the difficult post-Fish transition and reestablishing themselves as viable and worthy 21st century representatives of the progressive traditions they'd so valiantly upheld during the dark ages of the 80s and early 90s when prog was considered an out-dated pariah. Their dogged persistence has been an inspiration to proggers all over the planet and they deserve recognition accordingly. Plainly, 'Brave' is a fine record. Three and a half stars.

Review by Warthur
5 stars With Brave, Hogarth-era Marillion finally hit its stride, producing its first masterpiece which is easily the peer of the very best Fish-era releases. Taking the iconic concept of exploring the pressures and trauma which lead a teenage girl to mutely contemplate suicide on the Severn Bridge, the band adopt what I would consider to be a true crossover prog sound, combining their progressive approach with a wider range of mainstream genres than the light indie pop which informed Holidays In Eden.

From the dance music rhythms which worm their way into the twisting, turning bad acid trip of Goodbye To All That, to Mark Kelly's organ line hidden within Hard as Love which lends a certain 60s vibe to the piece, to the mingling of New Age and mild folk influences on the title track, the album sees Marillion finally hit on their H-era sound: emotional in a confessional way as opposed to emotional in a theatrical way (which was the Fish-era approach), not afraid to include sounds from the retro to the utterly modern, and drawing on rock, pop, and other musical traditions to enrich and embellish the sound.

It's also structured remarkably well, with the somewhat lighter songs Hard As Love and Paper Lies helping the pacing by allowing the listener to take a breather after the emotionally raw material that precedes them. Lyrically, H and John Helmer pull no punches, masterfully evoking the confusion and hurt attendant with being a teenager and hinting at the abuses and mistreatment which makes it all too much for the story's protagonist. And it all comes together with the album's magical, moving, incredible closing movement - the rage-filled confrontation of The Last of You, the surrender of Falling From the Moon, and the blissful catharsis of Made Again.

It's down to the listener to decide exactly how the story has ended - on the vinyl version, the band included a clever double-track trick which meant that the album could end with just a bunch of water noises or play the redemptive Made Again, but I actually think there's plenty of intriguing room for interpretation in the regular CD track listing. Our heroine has been "made again" and feels able to face the world anew, but what form did this take? Did she find religion, a political cause, a new favourite band? Did she meet a new friend, a new lover, a sympathetic therapist, or a kind mentor who helped her work through her issues? Is she essentially singing to herself in praise of the inner strength she found to choose life? Has she in fact died and entered a better state of being, or been reincarnated into a new life wiser for the lessons of her previous one? Was she saved by someone's intervention on the bridge, or was it the recollection of some kindness in her past which helped her see the world in a new way?

You could, conceivably, come up with a different answer every time you listen to the album, which is the beauty of it: the narrative structure is strong enough to figure out in general terms what the deal is, but there are enough ambiguities (what stops her jumping, does she in fact jump after all, who's this bastard who's caused her so much misery and what exactly did he do, etc.) that each listen-through opens up new possibilities in the story - just as each repeated listen reveals new secrets and influences and embellishments in the music.

I think it's one of the greatest achievements in progressive rock.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Marillion had attempted to reach a wider audience with a more pop-oriented album called "Holidays in Eden" which was released back in 1991. When that failed to accomplish that goal, they returned to their progressive sound with this much better album "Brave", released in 1994. Overall, this was their 7th studio album, but only their 3rd with lead singer Steve Hogarth, and the band was trying to figure out what their overall sound should be without Fish at the lead singer position. The rest of the band consists of Steve Rothery on guitar, Mark Kelly on keys, Pete Trewavas on bass and Ian Mosley on drums.

The original vinyl edition, and all the vinyl reissues contain a double groove throughout side 4, which gives the story in this concept album two possibilities as endings. Even so, there is room for interpretation on the second ending, but it hints at a sad ending. The CD contained the happy ending which is the one that most listeners are familiar with, but it did not have the sad ending. However, there was a 50 minute film version released a year later, which uses the sad ending.

Things start off with "Bridge" which starts off with a mostly instrumental opener. With a background of a ship's horn and such there is a sad melody established by synths and vocals eventually start staying pensive and sad. This continues into the next track "Living with the Big Lie". Continuing with the same pensive, sad sound, it eventually shifts to a major mode and the entire band joins in as the tempo increases and things become more intense, culminating in an excellent guitar solo. Things soon calm down and then intensify again. Hogarth's dramatic vocals are perfect for this symphonic style the band was shifting to. "Runaway" has more of a rock ballad feel to it, but with a more complex melody than most ballads, even though the structure is more standard than the previous track, yet it is still heartfelt and lovely.

"Goodbye to All That" is a 5 part suite which chronicles the main character's fall from grace. Starting with the slow section called "Waves" we get a short introduction, but this soon morphs into a darker and much heavier track with "Mad". Hogarth's vocals exude chaos and insanity and the guitar solo reinforces that. Things calm as we enter the next section called "The Opium Den" as the keys take over along as a echoing guitar plays softly along and whispered vocals try to soothe. Things get a bit psychedelic and disjointed after a while as the music floats along and subdued vocals continue with occasional effects. A quiet percussion pulls things back together and eventually brings the music back to the surface. A wild guitar effect represents "The Slide" subsection, and then the final section "Standing in the Swing" consists of electronic piano and vocals. After a while, intensity builds again for a climatic ending, which actually flows into the next track.

"Hard as Love" begins as a more straightforward rocker, but still a very emotional, yet heavy track. The middle section slows quite a bit and becomes pensive with keys, soft guitars and mellotron. This builds again becoming even more intense this time culminating in a great organ solo. "The Hollow Man" is a slow piano/vocal ballad. Halfway through it is joined by soft percussion, mellotron and guitar.

"Alone Again in the Lap of Luxury/Now Wash Your Hands" starts immediately with the full band in a mid-tempo track. The first section is quite straightforward with nice harmonics on the chorus, but there is a blistering guitar solo on the instrumental break. Things intensify a bit after another verse for an extended guitar solo. The 2nd section is more atmospheric and fairly short and a small vocal section ends the track.

"Paper Lies" is a sudden upbeat track and is another straightforward rocker that could have been an accessible single as it sounds quite radio friendly. The tempo slows on the bridge but picks back up again. "Brave" comes directly off the high of the previous track starting with a sustained keyboard drone which is joined by a celtic sound. Vocals start with a more pensive atmosphere and a beautiful melody. There is a change in the feeling at the halfway point of 4 minutes as the keyboards bring in different textures and sounds and things brighten up. Voices and laughter ring out in the background as an echoing vocal floats over the shimmering synths.

"The Great Escape" begins with a more melodic vocal and soon the band and vocals swell to an emotional and dynamic track in the first subsection called "The Last of You". Another great guitar solo strengthens the power and emotion of the song. The 2nd subsection "Fallin' from the Moon" has a stately feel as it gives the impression of resolve, but it seems to end quickly. "Made Again" is the last track, at least for the happy ending and the original CD. Beginning with a brighter sounding vocal and a lone guitar, after 2 minutes, things turns even brighter as acoustic guitar establishes a rhythm and there is a theme of rebirth and cheerfulness.

On the vinyl edition, the 4th side features the 2nd groove that gives you a sad ending to the story to the album where the main character makes the decision to end it all. "The Great Escape (Spiral Edition)" has a more dramatic and darker sound than the first ending and the vocals are angrier but turn sad and dark in the end. On the vinyl after this, there are 6 minutes of water and wave noises, while on the re-issued CD version, there is only 1 minute of the sound effects which fades for 26 minutes of silence. If you persevere for that long silent break, you get to hear a goofy version of Joplin's "The Entertainer" with the band joking around.

To the date of the release of this album, this was the best Marillion album to follow Fish's departure. Hogarth proves his ability to sing emotional and complex vocals and the band proves they can pull off making an album that is both progressive and accessible. There are sections that do lack progressive moments and are quite straightforward, but there are also tracks with progressive elements, so most everyone is happy in the end. The story is also powerful and well presented in the lyrics and the emotion of the entire band. Still, it's not a perfect album, but it is definitely excellent with many high points and it shows that Marillion still has a creative edge, however that would disappear and reappear in the years to come.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
2 stars Having bent to EMI wishes and decided to go commercial for their previous Holidays In Eden, Marillion made concessions they rather forget now, like letting the recording company decided for a pop producer (Chris Neil) and even going as far as letting the guy "teach" how to write "simpler" songs. Unfortunately although the results were far from bad, the band ended up feeling cheated, for the massive success that was promised did not come with the new direction (the singles did make to top 40 in England and the album reached a respectable number 7, but they had made no impact at all in the american market, their main target). Worst still, the move had also the side effect of alienating part of their strong fan base. Feeling they had "sell out", the group vowed never to bend to outside pressure ever again. They did. And Brave was their first step towards that goal.

Well, that might have explained why they made such a radical change: the new CD would be a concept album (their first with Steve Hogarth) and, sure enough they made no concessions at all this time. The album had a depressive theme (an abused teenager tempted to commit suicide), there were no easy listening stuff for singles and the album was too long for a vinyl release at the time. I guess we should applaud their decision in terms of artistic integrity, but did all this translated into a real good album? And I must say I tried very hard to like this album thru the years and still I found it one of their least appealing albums, if not the least appealing of all. Unlike most of my friends at the time who saw it as "return to form" of sorts from Marillion, I only saw a work that is lacking good melodies, inspiration and flow. Although I can not really point anything really bad, this is surely Marillions most boring stuff in years. It seems to me they decided to do a "non-commercial" at all cost and overdid it. Nice melodies and strong hooks were frequent elements of their songs since the beginning and nobody called them sell outs then. Like Sagaīs Generation 13 the group decided to make Brave a kind statement of "seriousness". Like most concept albums the music here sounds more like a background soundtrack to a story.

Not that this album does not have good moments. It does. Runaway is probably the best moment, a very moving number. The acoustic closer Made Again is another fine tune, that lifts the mood a little, but then it is too late. Some other exquisite instrumental bits and the occasional burst of energy can be found in this 70+ minute record, although, as a whole, I found it to be too depressive and monotonous for my taste. Definitely not for newbies.

Rating: Two stars.

Review by Hector Enrique
4 stars Pressed by the questions about the very accessible "Holidays in Eden", Marillion were facing dark clouds on the horizon of their post-Fish era. And it took three long years to finally find the formula that put them back in an expectant position in the progressive scene: "Brave", their seventh album. A profound reflection on the failed suicide attempt of a teenager troubled by her meaningless life, a real event that Hogarth masterfully recreates from fiction, supported by the substantial instrumental contribution of the band.

Laden with melancholy and shadows from Mark Kelly's opening dramatic synth chords mixed with the fluttering of water in "Bridge", the album painfully transitions through the hopelessness of "Living with the Big Lie", the instrumental intensity of "Run Away" guided by Steve Rothery's guitar arpeggios and solos and Kelly's keyboards, and the transporting hypnotic whispers and psychedelic musicality of "iii. The Opium" and "iv. The Slide", sections of the extended "Goodbye to All That".

And after some more hard-rocking passages like "Hard as Love" and the sensationalist "Paper Lies", the introspective mode of "Brave", the album's title piece, showcases Hogarth's heartfelt vocal performance before giving way to the orchestrated "The Great Escape", summing up the feel of the whole work with the singer again at the helm until the final, watery sounds that give a circular effect reminiscent of the beginnings of "Bridge".

But as nothing is over until it's over, Marillion don't let the gloom take over the story completely, and it's when finally the acoustic and rhythmic "Made Again" emerges peacefully to convey the message that, despite everything, there is always hope. A beautiful closing track.

The conceptual "Brave", one of the best works of the Hogarth era, gave a new impetus to Marillion's career going forward.

Very good.

4 stars

Latest members reviews

5 stars After Marillion released their sixth studio album, "Holidays In Eden," which comprised of mostly pop rock music, the band returned to their progressive roots on "Brave" and succeeded with flying colors. This was my introduction to h-era Marillion, and while I think there are better starting points t ... (read more)

Report this review (#2938026) | Posted by Magog2112 | Friday, July 7, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars MARIILION and its concept in its HARILLION period, interesting! 1. Marillionian intro bridge, yes I have to find something; latent, progressive, melancholic, effectively gentle; in short between the mermaid fishing port and the snowy lakes of Scandinavia, a bridge between two continents 2. Livin ... (read more)

Report this review (#2311620) | Posted by alainPP | Sunday, February 2, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I've only very recently become aware of Marillion's music after listening to Steven Wilson endlessly, but after hearing of Wilson's appreciation of Marillion I decided to delve into 'Brave' - and what a masterpiece of music it is. The album is a glorious attempt at imagining the life of a young ... (read more)

Report this review (#2190425) | Posted by DominicS | Sunday, May 5, 2019 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Being such a Genesis fan, I decided to give several Marillion albums a listen after reading all the comparisons with the former band. I know those comparisons mostly extend to the Fish-era albums, but after leaving those albums disappointed, I figured I'd give H a chance. I decided to stick to his ... (read more)

Report this review (#1588400) | Posted by BunBun | Monday, July 18, 2016 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I am/was a huge fan of Fish-era Marillion and Brave was the first post-Fish Marillian purchase I made shortly after its release. Although I quite enjoy a lot of Hogarth-era Marillion, despite some twenty years of trying I've never managed to get into this album. For me 'Runaway' is the stand-out ... (read more)

Report this review (#1386015) | Posted by jmeadow | Sunday, March 22, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Brave is an album that I've come to love over time. My first experience with Marillion after Fish's departure, this album was certainly quite an experience when I first got it, but it took several listens and quite a bit of time to actually sink itself in. A concept album, Brave has a brilli ... (read more)

Report this review (#1285922) | Posted by Obsidian Pigeon | Monday, September 29, 2014 | Review Permanlink

2 stars More of an exercise in hypnosis than an album. Possibly the most boring, unrewarding, tiresome album ever to be called a classic. Once the closest thing to the "bad-boys" of prog, I always greatly appreciated Fish-era Marillion for their brutal portrayal of indulgences, unashamed poetry, and ... (read more)

Report this review (#1168595) | Posted by TwoCents | Thursday, May 1, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After the "pop" music flavored previous album released by Marillion (Holidays in Eden) I really didn't know whether this album would impress me much. The fact that this is a concept album drew me to it and I hoped that it would be a return to form for the band regarding their progressive side. ... (read more)

Report this review (#1005095) | Posted by sukmytoe | Thursday, July 25, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I labored over the star rating for "Brave" for a while, because I can't consider it the masterpiece that many of the other reviewers on this site do. It takes a whole lot to earn your five stars in my opinion, and Marillion is not one of the few bands who does if for me. I do agree that "Brave ... (read more)

Report this review (#985567) | Posted by thwok | Tuesday, June 25, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Listening diary 3rd October, 2021: Marillion - Brave (progressive rock, 1994) I think a lot of my issues with H-era Marillion are here in microcosm - it's just too damn long. 71 minutes, for what is honestly about 25 minutes of good ideas. Those ideas, when they do blossom into longer passages, m ... (read more)

Report this review (#833752) | Posted by Gallifrey | Saturday, October 6, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The monument... Before I say anything more about this album, just let me say this: "Brave" is one of the best albums in the entire history of rock-music, a shimmering, disturbing, heart-wrenching dark diamond digging deep into the precipices of human existance, a "monster" screaming for empathy ... (read more)

Report this review (#610444) | Posted by rupert | Sunday, January 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I think that once Fish left, they should have changed their name to Ambien, because Steve Hogarth puts me to sleep. This album is SOOOO incredibly boring and dull and I can not get into to it, and its supposed to be best of the H albums. Today I tried, for the third time to get this album to click, ... (read more)

Report this review (#459219) | Posted by Phoenix87x | Saturday, June 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'm beginning to think that I like Marillion with Hogarth than Fish (please do not Thrash fans of Fish). This concept album, "Brave" is a thousand times better than "Script for a jester tear" and is along with "Misplaced childhood". The story of the album is dark, and its music in general also.The s ... (read more)

Report this review (#396380) | Posted by voliveira | Monday, February 7, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The only other Marillion albums I've heard are Script For A Jester's Tear and Misplaced Childhood, their two most acclaimed on this website. Recently, I bought Brave and Clutching at Straws, and I've managed to listen to both several times. Of the two, one of the Fish-era and one H-era, this one ... (read more)

Report this review (#379700) | Posted by Mystery | Thursday, January 13, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Brave is a concept album that represents a return to a more proggy sound for Marillion (following the more rock-oriented Holidays in Eden). There are many reviews in these Archives that discuss the concept subject matter of alienation and suicide but this is not an "in your face" concept. The albu ... (read more)

Report this review (#358947) | Posted by KeepItDark | Monday, December 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I can't believe it's been 16 years since the release of "Brave". Marillion have always been to me exactly the same as any prog fan I suppose: one of the best prog band in the 80's and the leaders of the neo-prog movement. I have to admit I am a "Fish-type-of-fan", although it was with Hogarth ... (read more)

Report this review (#299466) | Posted by DeKay | Friday, September 17, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Why this album is so special? I don't know... Maybe becouse of atmosphere? interesting concept? great lyrics? deep sound? I had to spend many hours with "Brave" to "understand" that album but... I'm not dissapointed! After two years I need to say that "Brave" it's my favourite album! Amzaizing "The ... (read more)

Report this review (#240550) | Posted by mistermasyl | Sunday, September 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Well, here it is, Brave. Marillion's creative peak ( so far ). With the addition of Steve Hogarth in 1988 the band assembled what has become their strongest and longest surviving line-up. This collective remain innovative, but their secret strength lies in their accessibility. Progressive, yet n ... (read more)

Report this review (#210813) | Posted by Progfan1958 | Thursday, April 9, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The third album from the post-Fish Marillion is seen by many as their finest achievement up to that point. For me, however, it has always been an album I've never been able to like as much as I wanted to. It has all the ingredients for a great concept album - a decent story about a runaway gir ... (read more)

Report this review (#161857) | Posted by Lazarus | Friday, February 15, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I have just recently been introduced to Marillion and have been pleasantly surprised with what I have heard so far. Unlike most people who start with the earlier Fish albums, my initial taste of this British group was with the albums Marbles, Brave and Afraid of Sunlight (which happen to be the ... (read more)

Report this review (#148609) | Posted by Lofcaudio | Friday, November 2, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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