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Marillion Radiation album cover
2.79 | 594 ratings | 35 reviews | 6% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1998

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Costa Del Slough (1:24)
2. Under The Sun (4:13)
3. The Answering Machine (3:48)
4. Three Minute Boy (5:59)
5. Now She'll Never Know (4:59)
6. These Chains (4:49)
7. Born To Run (5:12)
8. Cathedral Wall (7:19)
9. A Few Words For The Dead (10:31)

Total time 48:14

Bonus tracks on 1998 Canyon release:
10. The Space...(Live *) (4:12)
11. Fake Plastic Trees (Live *) (Radiohead cover) (4:56)

* Recorded at the Walls, Owestry, England June 1998

Bonus tracks on 1998 Velvel release:
10. Estonia (Acoustic studio version) (6:43)
11. Memory of Water (Big beat mix by Silent Buddhas) (8:05)

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Hogarth / lead & backing vocals, piano, percussion
- Steve Rothery / guitars
- Mark Kelly / keyboards, backing vocals
- Pete Trewavas / basses, backing vocals, acoustic guitar (5)
- Ian Mosley / drums, percussion

- Erik Nielsen / backing vocals, technician
- Viki Price / backing vocals (4)
- Jo Rothery / backing vocals (4)

Releases information

Artwork: Bill Smith Studio with Carl Glover (photo)

2LP Madfish - SMALP996 (2013, Europe) Remaster/remix by Michael Hunter, entitled "Radiation 2013"

CD Raw Power - RAW CD 126 (1998, UK)
CD Velvel ‎- 63467-79760-2 (1998, US) With2 bonus tracks
CD Canyon International - PCCY 01281 (1998, Japan) With 2 bonus tracks
CD Abril Music - 4107003-2 (1999, Brazil)
CD Sanctuary Records - SMRCD222 (2006, Europe)
2CD Madfish - SMACD996 (2013, Europe) Remaster/remix by Michael Hunter, entitled "Radiation 2013", w/ bonus CD including original mix from 1998 by Stewart Every

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy MARILLION Radiation Music

MARILLION Radiation ratings distribution

(594 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(6%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(17%)
Good, but non-essential (39%)
Collectors/fans only (29%)
Poor. Only for completionists (9%)

MARILLION Radiation reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by The Prognaut
2 stars "What??? You've gotta be kidding me!!! $18 bucks for this CD!!! I can't even recognize the essence of the band, I mean, judging by the cover I'd say it has nothing to do with MARILLION. but what the hell, I've been faithful to the band all this years, I have put up with HOGARTH's crap so long to cave in at this point. I even sidetracked my repulsiveness for "This Strange Engine". hmmm." thought I, as I came forward the cashier at the music store. I even had the time to have second thoughts about purchasing the CD or not while I was standing in line, but still, I bought the damn thing. O.K. My mistake. Getting this CD is one of the most regretful things I've ever done in my short life. Now that I have unloaded that weight off my shoulders, I can peacefully breathe and carry on with this review my fellow proggers.

When purchasing this album I noticed that a couple of songs from "This Strange Engine" where included, "Estonia" and "Memory of Water" respectively; each one preceded by a couple of legends: Acoustic Studio Version and Big Beat Mix. There I got lost. Then, when listening to them, and especially when lending my ears to the "Memory of Water" mix version, there I got pissed off. Unbelievable, I just couldn't believe such abomination perpetrated not only against the good name of the band, but against the music industry altogether. That specific "song" fits perfectly with the techno, trance, house or whatever you wanna call it genre, not prog rock de-fi-ni-te-ly.

The other thing that caught my attention right away, was the front cover to this meaningless album. Hideous. I understand the Mark WILKINSON era with MARILLION was clearly over years ago, but going through Paul COX ("Afraid of Sunlight") and in this case, Carl GLOVER, was way off limits. The artwork was one of the things that used to distinct, to tell MARILLION from some other prog bands, and it gave that special touch the album intertwined perfectly with the music contained inside the album. This is an outrage.

Now, I know I may sound off very strict and severe and you may think I am overreacting for no reason, but in that specific order and to avoid the finger pointing in my direction, I will bring out the positive details I discovered in between this musical mayhem. I found "Now She'll Never Know" and "These Chains" as the pieces standing up for this sunken ship and the reasons I'm giving it two stars (one a piece); I perceive some corniness in their lyrics and in the musical composition as well but you won't let me lie that sometimes the well canalized cheesiness gives us a good reason to stand listening to such things as "Radiation".

I hold no grudges to this recording, I'm not even resentful with the final result when released. I am disappointed somehow, the mixture of musical essences and the blending of sounds put together in here confuse me. I'd say buy this album only if it's strictly necessary for you to believe what I'm saying and to prove me wrong.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I had a specific experience with this album. Sometime in 1999 my firend who studied in the USA took a holiday back to Jakarta and brought me two CDs: Kettle of Fish and Marillion "Radiation". I tried to spin "Radiation" and failed to continue listening after half- way through the CD and I returned the CD back to my friend because I didn't think that I can enjoy the music produced from the CD. Time went by and there was time (I think sometime in 2004) I thought that I needed to collect all Marillion's albums Hogarth era because I already got into deep in loving the band during their early years (Fish era). And last year I got the "Radiation" CD with a bargain price (US$ 6) and did not spin it right away and let the CD being wrapped with its plastic. I spun the CD back after I could enjoy the band's pre-ordered "Marbles" CD. Marbles gave me a new horizon in accepting Marillion's direction nowadays. It's probably due to massive investment (GBP- wise) to acquire Marbles, I forced myself to enjoy album and I succeeded with this effort. So I did open the plastic strap that wrap "Radiation" CD, and here we go my views .

For sure, this is not a good album to start with Hogarth era's Marillion. One should try enjoying Marillion "Brave" before moving forward into other albums of Marillion's Hogarth era. By putting Marbles and Brave into perspective, I could see the other angle to enjoy "Radiation". First off, forget about expecting the band would play any symphonic kind of prog music nor neo prog. Not at all. This is totally different style that if you "unlearn" everything you know about early Marillion, you might be able to enjoy it.

The album kicks off with a short musical loop "Costa del Slough" (1:24) which features neat acoustic guitar work accompanying distant vocal singing style. It flows nicely to "Under the Sun" (4:13) which is a rocker with a good combination of keyboard and rocking guitar sounds. I can see through this track either Hogarth or Steve Rothery (guitar) have forced themselves beyond their boundaries. Yes, Hogarth tries to perform in rocking style while Steve tries to produce guitar work that blends howling sounds and classic rock style reminiscent of 70s hard rock scheme with bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath or Ten Years After. It's a good track overall. "The Answering Machine" (3:48) continues with a rock spirit even though it has an unclear composition and it lacks cohesiveness as a song. "Three Minute Boy" (5:59) is a pop outfit like Bee Gees. Good guitar solo.

"Now She'll Never Know" (4:59) is a nice song which starts with acoustic guitar rhythm accompanying Hogarth's floating singing style. The keyboard work that enters later has enriched the song textures. It's a relaxing and cool music with completely floating style especially with Hogarth's singing style. "These Chains" (4:49) is a ballad with acoustic guitar as main rhythm section punctuated by a piano work. The songs gradually increase into high points to chorus. Those who have been longing for Steve Rothery's guitar solo, this track gives you with cool guitar solo and nice ballad music.

For blues mania, "Born to Run" (5:12) can be a good thread as this track is heavily influenced by the blues. With floating singing style, the guitar fills sound very smooth. I have never imagined before that Marillion would have ever played blues music even though the tempo is really mellow. "Cathedral Wall" (7:19) remarks the band's revitalization of his mostly mellow style before. The album concludes with "A Few Words for the Dead" which moves the music really slow and quiet with some ambient / spacey style.

It's a good album. Keep on proggin'

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by E-Dub
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Marillion's Radiation is middle of the road disc for me--not my favorite, but I don't loathe it, either. This disc was during their mid to late 90's period, which saw greatness in spots ("This Strange Engine"), but inconsistency, as well ( Radiation, you could say, is the middle child that lacks direction and really doesn't have an identity.

The disc starts off with a scratchy old vinyl sounding diddy which highlights Marillion's humor in "Costa del Slough". Funny lyrics, but an odd tune that is a tongue in cheek song about the environment and the depletion of the ozone layer. A minute and a half of that gives way to the crunching guitars of Steve Rothery for the song "Under The Sun". Very intense song with some nice vocals by H and keyboard work by Kelly.

"The Answering Machine" is a fine song, but not a favorite of mine. The same goes for "Three Minute Boy", which is quite lazy in spots until the ending, which sees the pace picked up a bit.

Radiation isn't all bad. "These Chains", "Cathedral Wall", and "A Few Words For The Dead" are excellent Marillion songs. "These Chains" could be one of Hogarth's finest vocal performances, accompanying very lush melodies. The discs showcase song, however, is "A Few Words For The Dead". An absolute stunner! The first half is very soft, very bleak in sound; however, the mood changes from pessimism to optimism with Hogarth suggesting "Or you could love," and the band just unleashes in that usual Marillion-esque power that makes me shake my head in amazement. Excellent song!

As a footnote: I think I prefer the version of "The Memory Of Water" as a bonus track than the more acoustic version on This Strange Engine. The second version is extremely powerful that's anchored by Trewavas' thumping bass, and kicked up the arse guitar solo by Rothers. This band can totally rock at times.

Like I said, Radiation isn't bad...just not great. And greatness would soon come in the form of Anoraknophobia and (especially) Marbles. We just had to be patient for a couple of albums.

Review by The Crow
2 stars Yes, maybe this is the worst Marillon's album... But still have some good moments!

After the excellent and different "This Strange Engine", Marillion made another different album, a step further in the rupture of Marillion with its past. Almost anything of the Fish's era is here... "Radiation" is just a rock album, maybe alternative rock album, with some prog elements. The evidence of Radiohead is pretty evident here, but of course, we have to admit that Marillion itself influenced the brit pop and rock with "Brave" and "Afraid of Sunlight"...

But the experiment failed in my opinion... Really, songs like Under the Sun and The Answering Machine is not the thing I hope from a band like Marillion. Rough production and Hogarth's singing, a steril attempt to achieve a more agressive sound... In my opinion, the pure rock tracks by Marillion are not very good, so this album fails in so many moments in my opinion... And the blues experiment of Born to Run is another strange track that doesn't fit with the Marillion's career, and obviously this was not the way to follow... Now she'll never know is beautiful, but a little boring, although Hogarth sings with a lot of passion here.

Best songs: Three Minute Boy (good verses, and great breaking and guitar solo at the end...), These Chains (maybe the best song of the album, with another good guitar solo, but not a classic, of course...), Cathedral Wall (weird track with good keyboard work, with some feeling of desperation, a good one...) and A Few Words for the Dead (not great, but the oriental feeling of the song is pretty original for Marillion, and the final verses are pretty nice too... Maybe not a memorable suite, but a good ending).

Conclusion: a very irregular album, only indicated for fans of the Marillion's Hogarth era... Nevertheless, if you like the alternative rock in the way of Radiohead, maybe you will enjoy this album too.

My rating: **1/2

Review by Tristan Mulders
4 stars Marillion - Radiation

After the overly acoustic "This strange Engine" album, Marillion decided to come back with a more rock-orientated album: "Radiation". Despised by half of their fanbase, loved by the others. I can understand both perspectives, because the album is indeed one of a kind. The influences for the songs presented here are obvious: The Beatles and Radiohead.

I myself am part of the pro-Radiation movement and really love the album. Especially the raw production, which is really a contradiction compared to the previous "This strange Engine" album, is remarkable. The sound perfectly fits the songs, but sometimes it is a bit difficult to notice individual instruments in the overall mix, mainly the drumming.

There's absolutely no filler included here, according to my taste, each song is good on its own. The album consists of three different 'movements'. The first four songs are all uplifting rock songs, whereas Now she'll never know, These Chains and Born to run are slightly more emotional songs than the first set of songs. These songs are also 'darker' and more moody.

The final set of songs are the prog rock songs. Cathedral Wall is a metal prog song which includes some ethereal keyboard playing and heavy guitar work. Hogarth's vocals also sound very eerie and he even screams during some parts of the song. The title of the track fits the song perfectly, it sounds as if you indeed are inside a cathedral and there's a wall of noise coming at you.

Closing the album is the 10+ minute beauty that is A few Words for the Dead. Basically discussing the poetic significance of good and evil, the song's lyrics work as a clear division between the two parts of the songs. The first half of the song is very ambient and atmospheric and makes the listener wonder if he or she is in the middle of the jungle. The lyrics are a bit 'disturbing' and portrait the role of 'evil,' but they surely fit the dark mood of the music.

Halfway through, the song changes into something joyful and uplifting. Hogarth's voice certainly sounds more beautiful now and he really shines. The music switches to a higher pitch of sound, which accompanies the positive lyrics superbly.

The song is definitely prog, but not in a show-of kind of way. The various instruments do not fill any solo spots within the composition, but the overall changes in tempo combined with the weird keyboards and samples make it a worthy piece of music for any prog rock collection. Funny thing to mention is that in the CD's booklet the lyrics for the final song have different colours regarding whether it is from the perspective of good or evil :-)

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Marillion's final album of the millennium is more or less a weak spot in the career of such a great group. I consider this to be the weakest Marillion album, but I wouldn't consider it to be a total waste of your money, but more of a purchase that you will either love or hate. Now, this album is drastically different than anything Marillion had done thus far. It's a very guitar oriented album, and the keyboards never truly get a chance to shine in the spotlight. This album is in no way a progressive album, save for quasi-progressive songs Cathedral Walls and A Few Words for the Dead, which save the album from being a total abomination. The musicianship, as with every Marillion album, is creative and top notch, but I just can't get into the songs on the album, and I find it hard to keep my attention focused on this album. It's not bad, it's just not terribly good. I don't hate this album, I just think that there are a lot better Marillion albums out there.

Costa del Slough opens the album with a chaotic, almost dissonant blaze of every instrument as well as an atmospheric vocal performance in the very beginning. It doesn't really do anything to make the album any better and it acts more as noise than actual music (except for the little acoustic ditty in the middle). Once Under the Sun one can immediately see that Marillion's sound is different. It isn't progressive in the least bit, but it's well produced pop. This song is very guitar oriented, and the only keyboard thats really prominent are these little spacey ascending riffs. The Answering Machine is brings back memories of Holidays in Eden, only it's more modern sounding. This song is probably one of the poppiest things Marillion had ever written. It's not bad pop, but it's not a terribly inventive or creative song. Three Minute Boy is a mellow piano based piece. It's one of the better songs on the album, in my opinion, with a big Beatles influence in the chord progression and choruses. Now She'll Never Know is an acoustic based piece with some emotional vocals from Hogarth. It's an interesting piece for the most part, but I feel despite it only being 5 minutes that it drags on a bit.

These Chains is a bit of a forgettable tune. It brings a bit of a blues influence into the group. Rothery's solo in the middle really saves the song, as it's dynamic and interesting. The Beatles influence can be heard here with the orchestrations that occur after the solo. Born to Run is also a bluesy tune, not terribly interesting, though. No instrument really gets a chance to shine, and there's nothing particular strong about this song. Cathedral Wall is a 7 minute wall of sound. Nothing can escape this wall of soaring synthesizers and muddy guitar chords. The harmony vocals and the chorus riff are catchy and concise. This song is a bit of a sampler of what would come in the future for the group with albums like and to a lesser extent Anoraknophobia. A Few Words for the Dead is the most progressive song on the album. It has a very ethereal and ambient introduction and towards the middle it turns into a different affair with more rocking sections. It ends the album well, but it wouldn't take that much to end this album well.

In the end, Marillion's last studio album of the millennium is a love/hate affair. While I like some of the songs on this album, I feel underwhelmed and disappointed by this release. Like Holidays in Eden, you should look for this release towards the end of your Marillion collecting spree. 2.5/5.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars.This record must be really bad, i mean it's the lowest rated of all Marillion's studio albums on Prog Archives as well as on another music rating site. And that wouldn't be so bad if it was the lowest rated at say 3.5 on average, but 2.67 as i write this ? Ouch !

After repeated listens i was pleasantly surprised how much I liked it. I found the middle of the record really dragged for me though, especially the song "Born To Run", songs 5-7 just seem uninspired. On the other hand i loved "Cathedral Wall" and "A Few Words For The Dead". They are very atmospheric and a real change for the band, and I applaud them for it, and for doing it so well. "3 Minute Boy" is a blast ! One of the few songs that i can ever remember actually singing along with during the chorus THE FIRST TIME I HEARD IT ! Great song ! I also really like "Under The Sun" another good sing-along chorus.

Overall this may be an experimental album for the band .Which i think being progressive is all about changing and trying new things. Which obviously didn't go over to well with their fans. The other thing that i noticed about this recording is the humour and the the wit. I think they had a good time making this one.

Review by Cristi
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover / Prog Metal Teams
4 stars Radiation is probably Marillion's most contraversial album simply because it's totally different from any previous works. But this is one reason why I love this album the first listen. Actually I was a bit shocked and disappointed that so many people dislike or reject this album; the album is varied and there is a lot to enjoy for any prog listener IMHO. There are new, surprising songs - the acoustic Now She'll never Know (amazing song, nice atmosphere), the bluesy Born to Run (great guitar work),, the heavy, darker Cathedral Wall (brilliant song IMO). The opening acoustic song flaws amazingly into the rocker Under the Sun (I love the keyboards and the guitar here); The Answering Machine is a lot of fun, having some nice keyboards. Three Minute Boy is one of my favourite Marillion songs - great vocals from Hogarth (as usual) and great guitar work and some nice piano. These Chains is also made in the manner of Three Minute Boy, with a great guitar solo. And last but not least A Few Words for the Dead is an amazing, atmospheric epic.

Therefore I think no prog listener should miss this album: you got great musicianship and very good lyrics . I agree to the idea that Marillion had a lot of fun creating this album.


Review by Prog Leviathan
1 stars A big misfire when compared to the excellence of the band's previous 4 releases. "Radiaiton" features very few new ideas and very little to warrant repeated listens save to remind oneself how much better their other albums are.

The biggest problem is its song writing, which is bland and unoriginal. "Three Minute Boy", the song everyone remembers from this one, is comparable with the mediocrity of "Holiday's in Eden"... "These Chains" is even worse. Where is Rothery's beautiful guitar work? Where is h's meaningful writing?

Unfortunately there isn't anything to redeem this album of it's stumbles; "A Few Words for the Dead" tries, but by the time the closing track gets up to speed one is likely going to be too jaded to care. Fortunately things getter better with successive albums... eventually.

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 2 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 1

Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars This album starts like a nightmare. The opener is just a bunch of noise while "Under Son" offers an awful sound. Drumming is extremely weak and the solo guitar break sounds almost heavy metal. Only the chorus is bearable. The last one of this infernal trio is "The Answering Machine". Weird rhythmic guitar (noisy, exaggerately trash). Surprisingly enough, vocals are the most pleasant part of this song. While you know my extremely limited enthusiasm for Hogarth, it should give you an indication of how this album sounds so far.

The first good moment available is "Three Minute Boy". A strong rock song with loads of great guitar (finally). The accent so far is definitely on the rocking side. It breaks the dull mood that Marillion Mark II has shown since 1989 but this drastic change was rather unpredictable. The following song "Now She'll Never Know" is 100% in the style of their most boring numbers. The "palme d'or" of dullness and insipidity. Difficult to remain awake during these five minutes. Excessively useless as "These Chains". Another pure Marillion Mark II typical song : lifeless, flat, inconsistent. The melody of the chorus saves it a little bit. Rothery will perform a good (but too short) guitar solo. Did you say poor ?

The only difference with the next "Born to Run" is the bluesy mood. It is the first one of the genre for this band. It is extremely boring as well. Still, a very nice guitar break comes again to the rescue. Hogarth shows all the limitations of his vocal style (how can this guy be the Marillion II singer, will remain a mystery for ever). I hope I should have been born to run to do so while listening to this track.

"Cathedral Wall" is more interesting. A great intro, a strange mood with some powerful passages (almost grunge at times). It is the most complex of the album so far. Several theme changes (from slow and almost decadent to weird and strong). This song is difficult to approach but is my fave of the album so far. At times, this track reminds me of the band "Suicide" (late mid-seventies). Somewhat scary and disturbing.

The closing numner "A Few Words for the Dead" starts with a very Crimsonesque mood ("Islands") for about two minutes. This long song (over ten minutes) is rather experimental with almost no structure. Incoherent backing band, displaying here and there some "sounds". These ten minutes sound pretty long and the Oriental influence that can be heard at half time won't keep you interested, I'm afraid. The last section features a good melody and nice vocals, but to be honest it won't change my opinion about it : weak.

Rating of this "work" is pretty easy. Two average songs, some good but too short guitar breaks as well as two or three nice vocal passages : one little star for this little piece of music. Avoid it by all means.

Review by progaardvark
COLLABORATOR Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
2 stars After the masterpiece Brave, the excellent Afraid of Sunlight, and the mixed bag This Strange Engine (but a hopeful return to their prog roots with the title track), Marillion continued to spiral down into mediocrity with their 1998 release called Radiation. On this album, Marillion took a more AOR/alternate rock approach and it shows, but not in a positive sense. Hogarth seems to strain his voice to fit this style of music and would have been better off using his wonderful approach used on Brave and other better albums. I can't blame a guy for experimenting with new styles, but when it comes off as a failure, why release it? I guess something has to pay for those recording studio bills and endless boxes of macaroni and cheese (yummm!).

The production on Radiation seems to have slipped a bit in quality compared to earlier albums and that may be due to time constraints the band had at the time. Lyrically, it's about on par with other average songs of the Hogarth era. The only song that stands out for me musically is Cathedral Wall. It has some nice keyboard lines and kind of hearkens back the the Afraid of Sunlight album. Overall, this was a disappointment for me. It's not bad, but it's miles away from the greatness of Brave and Afraid of Sunlight. If you're interested in the Hogarth era, start with those. This one is only for collectors and die-hard fans of the band. Two stars.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars We might be wrong

Marillion's tenth album (on the sleeve the 10 is reflected in the letters IO in the album title and the band name) "Radiation" finds the band making a conscious and concerted effort to change their style and sound. Denying at the time of its release that they had ever really been a "prog" band, they seem here to have deliberately tried to ensure that there is as little as possible which might qualify for that tag.

Cited by fans and critics as borrowing heavily from the music of Radiohead, while the band themselves deny any such overt influences, they do admit that Radiohead albums were on their playlist around the time the album was recorded. The brief introductory track "Costa del Slough" is certainly off-beat enough to put long terms fans on their guard. "Under the sun" though offers a level of reassurance, lyrically at least, as the theme mirrors that of the title track of "Season's end". The off key lead vocals and harsher overall sound though are more difficult to digest.

"The answering machine" is more in line with the type of music which appeared on the previous "This strange engine" album, although the vocals here are deliberately distorted (as if heard on an answering machine). "Three minute boy" is apparently a nod lyrically towards Oasis (the band). Musically, it comes much closer to songs on former Hogarth Marillion albums, while building to an anthemic chorus with hints of "Don't look back in anger". The track introduces a softer core section for the album, with "Now she'll never know" and "These chains" being more traditional Marillion songs.

"Born to run" (not the Springsteen song) is a melancholy dirge, rather spoilt in my opinion by a clumsy drum beat. The two longest tracks are saved till last. The 7 minute "Cathedral wall" has a wonderful blast of synth upfront, then settles into a Porcupine Tree like mid-paced piece. A sinister cacophony builds midway before suddenly giving way to an almost inaudible conclusion. This track alone would make the album worthwhile. From here we merge seamlessly into the 10+ minute closing track "A few words for the dead". This is one of those growers, a song which at first appears lacking in substance, but which gets under the skin and imposes itself after repeated listening.

In all, a decent album by Marillion which is not quite as radical as the band and some others would have you believe. If you enjoy the music of Hogarth era Marillion, chances are you will find something here to enjoy too.

The bonus track on the Japanese release "Fake plastic trees" is a cover of the Radiohead song. It was also included on the CD single version of "These chains".

Review by lazland
4 stars I cannot understand for the life of me why the ratings are so low for this LP. Recorded in my old home town of Oswestry, I think this is a very underrated piece of work.

Costa Del Slough is a rather amusing opener, followed by a rocking rant against global warming in Under The Sun, featuring some fine Mark Kelly keyboard work.

The Answering Machine is a very good single which gallops along at a fair old pace.

Now She'll never Know & These Chains are the tracks which link this LP together - they are fine, moving ballads with Hogarth particularly plaintive in his vocal treatment - again, Kelly is on fine form. I find the These Chains ghostly chant to be particularly effective and moving.

Born To Run is a rather throwaway track, but the LP comes to a forceful conclusion with Cathedral Wall & A Few Words for the Dead. Again, Kelly's keyboards are very much to the fore, and Hogarth is in fine vocal form as he belts out the conclusion. The end track sees the band complement Kelly & Hogarth in some beautiful chord and drum work. This really is Mark Kelly's finest moment as the band's keyboardist.

This is not an album you will give anything over three stars on the first few listens. It is a definite grower, but if you give it a chance, you will be amply rewarded. As for the Radiohead comparisons, Hogarth himself did not help matters much when he compared the band to Yorke et al. I think that he meant that the music they were producing was no longer traditional prog rock and had more in common with Radiohead - I agree. It is truly progressive and not stuck in the past - no bad thing? Having said that, if you like Radiohead, you will like this. Also, if, as I do, you love Yes, Genesis, Fish era & etc., then you will still find a lot to like in this LP.


Review by progrules
2 stars This is the first of a long line of Hogarth-era Marillion albums I'm going to review from now on. And to be fair and warn in advance: I'm not a fan of this Marillion to say the least despite my huge love for the neo progressive subgenre. In my view Marillion became a borderline progband when Steve Hogarth entered the band. On itself a good thing he did because if there wouldn't have been a follow up for Fish it could have meant the end for the band and there would only have been 5 years of history for this band and they wouldn't have been as prolific as they are now. All true but still I stick to my statement because it dominates my feel for the band.

With this album from 1998 we might have a good example of what I mean. And it could also be one of the lesser albums in their career. It already becomes clear with the useless short opener of 1,5 minutes that has no substance at all. Next track Under the Sun isn't really giving much hope as first real song and neither is third The answering Machine. Some nice elements like Kelly's keys perhaps but like I said, it's hardly prog, even neo prog (not just an opinion by me by the way, I heard this statement more often about Hogarth-Marillion is in between pop music and neo prog). And this is besides the songs themselves mainly caused by the sort of voice of Steve Hogarth. He has a very good voice, no problem but it all sounds too mainstream, a prog voice has to be a bit out of the ordinary I have the feeling after listening to more than hundred of these voices. Three minute boy sounds like a Black Crowes song for some reason, not bad but it simply proves my opinion. Now she'll never know is a common ballad also here nothing special. These Chains is another nice song but this is hardly meant positively. There is simply nothing going on here, again no progressive elements, a 20 second guitar solo by Rothery being the highlight. Born to Run is the third easy listening song in a row making the whole thing somewhat dull by now. Again some fine guitar tries to save the song but it's too little I'm afraid. It's as if they heard me because next up Cathedral Wall starts almost heavy to quiet down after a few seconds already. These heavy and quiet moments will keep alternating on this track. One of the better, this one but that has also to do with the disappointing level of the other tracks. The only (short) epic on this album is the closing track A few Words for the Dead. This one starts a bit strange, pretty progressive for sure so they are making up for the poppy first 7 songs with the last two but I'm afraid it can't save my judgment for the overall score anymore.

This could well be their least album ever, I'm curious how that will turn out with all the other reviews of Hogarth-era Marillion. I predict a lot of three star ratings, maybe even all of them. Because that's the feeling I have with the band's efforts in the last 20 years. I will be as fair as possible on this of course because that's my duty and I have no reason to bash them all the time. It's just that it has turned out one of my least favourite neo bands through the years. Can't help it, fortunately for them overall most progfans still think they are the best neoband ever so that means I'm probably a minority. It's how it is, this one will have to settle for two I'm afraid (2,4).

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Radiation is an album that lacks identity. There are some good songs but it misses the coherence and personality of the preceding and following albums. My guess is that it mostly consists of unused material from the previous releases.

It also feels a bit rushed. The Answering Machine for instance is the most folksy kind of Fish-era prog they had done in a while but the muddy production doesn't do it much justice. Also Under The Sun could have benefited from a more prominent drum presence and less reverb, but it's Hogarth's voice that takes the spotlight.

Radiation doesn't conceal Marillion's flirtations with the current indie-rock of Radiohead. Three Minute Boy and Now She'll Never Know are good Radiohead-studies. Unfortunately, These Chains indulges in the type of sentimental 80's pop that they had done on Holidays In Eden. The best is kept till the end. Cathedral Wall is an adequate modern prog song of the kind they would further explore on the subsequent albums. A Few Words for the Dead takes some time to develop but it turns out quite lush and melodious after a couple of listens. Again a more modern indie-edge can be perceived.

Radiation is a transitional albums that falls inbetween a number of older Hogarth-era albums that were generally much appreciated and the two subsequent albums that would be less popular with fans. Given my preference for the latter, I can appreciate this album for introducing some of the elements that made me appreciate and Anoraknophobia so much.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Oh dear, something went really wrong with this one!

After steadily growing with every new release in the '90s Marillion lost some of their momentum with the release of This Strange Engine in 1997 followed by this release only a mere year later. Maybe it was the newly obtained Internet community that made the band feel obligated to produce their albums a bit faster than what they did earlier but that's what I think is the main problem with their late '90's output. If only the band could combine the best bits of This Strange Engine, Radiation and on one cohesive release then it would have easily become one of their best albums. As it stands today these releases all fall short in the quality of their material.

You might object by saying that Brave was succeeded by Afraid Of Sunlight within the same time span or even mention the early days where the band did an album each year. This is all very true but that's actually the right thing to do as long as a band is on a creative streak. This is definitely not the case with Radiation where Marillion basically rehashed the same formula that they gave us on both Afraid Of Sunlight and This Strange Engine. This means that the album doesn't really offer any real worth a while material and instead just gives the already established fans base something to hold them over until the next album.

It all starts quite promising with the two lighter tunes Under The Sun and The Answering Machine but towards Three Minute Boy I started to feel that Marillion was trying too hard to show how much fun they were having here and it didn't come off as a genuine reaction. I realize that this type of criticism comes down to personal opinion and there isn't really a way to prove whether the band was genuine or not but this still doesn't take away from the fact that the music here us completely void of any stand-out moments. The material on Radiation might not be completely terrible since Marillion does play it safe most of the time but this just gives the naysayers that criticize the band for not being progressive enough all the more proof to strengthen their argument.

I don't know if it's the timespan, uninspired performance or the loose direction that makes it a weaker release but ultimately that's exactly what Radiation represents. A perfect example of collectors/fans only material.

**** star songs: Under The Sun (4:13) The Answering Machine (3:48)

*** star songs: Costa Del Slough (1:24) Three Minute Boy (5:59) Now She'll Never Know (4:59) These Chains (4:49) Born To Run (5:12) Cathedral Wall (7:19) A Few Words For The Dead (10:31)

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
2 stars After having had controversial feelings about Hogarth, I think that the reason of the low rating of this album stays just in his voice. Let's forget "Costa Del Slough" even with the nice ragtime guitar, and I didn't imagine that Rothary was a finger-picker, too. Under the Sun is not a bad song but it misses something.

It's with "The Answering Machine" that the reason becomes clear. Try to imagine Fish whispering instead of Hogart crying on the same chorus and you'll discover that the band is playing old style, this song could stay on Clutching at Straws, and maybe for this reason Hogarth appears to be misplaced.

Things change with "Three Minute Boy" that seems to be built for Hogarth. A good melodic song on which Hogarth's voice sounds appropriate. Not the same on "Now She'll Never Know". The initial high-pitched singing makes me think to a sort of dry-throat version of Demis Roussous. The keyboard sound seems stolen from Beatles and the song is a bit boring. One waits for a crescendo or a vocal explosion but it doesn't happen. Too long.

"These Chains" isn't much better. At least there's some rhythm brought in by the acoustic guitar. This country-rock flavor is interrupted by the chorus that's not so nice. "Born To Run" (very slowly let's say) seems a R&B slow song of the 60s. Think to Percy Sledge, this kind of things. Is this what we look for in a Marillion album?

"Cathedral Wall" is more rocking. Not a masterpiece, but at least it keeps me awaken, except for the interlude with Hogarth singing like he was drunk.

Said so, when it comes to "A Few Words For the Dead", one hopes that they are really few. What comes is something that one doesn't expect from Marillion. Please let Edgar Froese make this kind of things. They're not playing Epsilon in Malaysian Pale, and even if, it shouldn't feature Hogarth's vocals. Listening to it better the sitar in the background and the repetitive guitar plus the electronic are not absolutely bad, but a track of this kind shouldn't have a so melodic singing. The possible oriental flavor gets lost.

I can save just a couple of songs of this album so I'm sorry but I put myself together with its low-raters. I can't give it more than 2 stars

Review by Warthur
4 stars I've warmed to Radiation over the years and now regard it, like Holidays In Eden, as a rather underrated album, but at the same time I can definitely see where the critics are coming from: it's not so much that in its original 1998 version it's a good album that gets passed over as merely average so much as it's a lukewarm album with some quite good bits that gets passed over as being outright rubbish.

Evidently, Marillion agree, because they got in Michael Hunter to do a comprehensive tidying-up of the album. This included trimming back the running time a little - primarily by taking out cut-and-pasted reprises here and there that didn't really add anything but clutter - as well as giving the entire mix a do-over. This got rereleased as Radiation 2013, and it's a bit of a revelation. Even the band admit the original version of the album didn't pan out right - Steve Rothery was never happy with the mix, and Ian Mosley's gone on the record as thinking the attempt to step outside of Marillion's comfort zone backfired and left them sounding like "a second rate version of who we were trying to copy".

The 2013 do-over the album improves things greatly in this respect, simply by giving a more "Marillion-like" mix to the material, teasing out Mark Kelly's keyboards a bit more and generally letting the band's own personality be more in evidence.

Part of the problem with Radiation is that its weakest songs - the one where they're trying the most to sound like other, more popular groups at the time - are all crowded to the front of the running order, so if you want to give the album a listen from start to finish you have to sit through a clutch of poppy indie-rock numbers with, in the original configuration, some pretty rough and raw production which the band seem to have knocked off in the vague hope of getting some sales from the indie rock crowd who were going gaga for Radiohead at the time. These songs sound better in the remix, but it's still the case that things don't really pick up until Three Minute Boy, which in the remix still feels like a Radiohead nod (especially with some of Rothery's guitar work) but at least also has one foot in the sort of material Marillion were doing back on Holidays In Eden.

The bad first impression the opening songs gave in their original configuration certainly wasn't helped at the time by the band's efforts at the time to distance themselves from the "prog" moniker - an attitude perhaps exacerbated by the music press's abject failure to realise how the band had evolved since the Fish years, but still came across as the band slamming their own past and being kind of ashamed of their own best work; they would, thankfully, get over it after Marbles found themselves re-embracing prog as a concept. Whilst there really isn't much on this album which is capital-P Proggy in the sense of recapturing the great prog bands of the past or Marillion's own neo-prog sound of the 1980s, they hadn't really been about that for years at this point.

There is, however, some really intriguing and genuinely small-p progressive music to be found on the album if you can get over the opening numbers - or, indeed, just skip 'em. The middle tracks of the album - from Three Minute Boy to These Chains in particular - present an intriguing sort of melodic rock tinged with classic psychedelia, mashing together the harmonies and song structures of the Beatles with the modern Radiohead indie rock sound to produce some genuinely interesting experiments. All of this was evident if you listened carefully to the 1998 mix, but it's even clearer on the 2013 mix.

On top of that, the album closes off with two of Marillion's most progressive tracks, which between them deliver 17 minutes of top-notch crossover prog. Cathedral Wall is a hard rocking number with some really aggressive keyboard playing from Mark Kelly, whilst the album's masterpiece is A Few Words For the Dead, which travels from spacey ambient melancholia via a mildly Indo-prog tinged psychedelic midsection to arrive at a deliriously happy crescendo in which the classic sound of albums like Brave or Afraid of Sunlight is found alive and well. This was true of the 1998 album - where those two tracks were pretty much it's saving grave - and the 2013 rerelease really helps bring out their overlooked charms.

I certainly wouldn't put Radiation in the top rank of Marillion albums on a whole, because Under the Sun and The Answering Machine, whilst improved in the 2013 mix, are still fairly poppy, disposable numbers, and the occasional trend-chasing indulged in by the band at this time hasn't aged well. At the same time I wouldn't say you should necessarily dismiss it because there is some really fine material on here - it's just a shame that the original mix obscured that so much.

I've revised my score for this up and down over the years, but I'm going to make a stand for Radiation and set the rating at 4 stars - with the proviso that it's really the 2013 version of the album which truly earns that accolade. If you are dealing with the pre-2013 mix, I'd dock it down by a star or two - the original mix really does the material no credit, and Rothery's instincts that a remix was called for is completely exonerated by Michael Hunter's sensitive reclamation of what had been damaged goods.

Latest members reviews

4 stars 'Radiation' is often regarded as one of Marillion's worst albums. Personally, I wouldn't consider this one of the worst albums from the band, though I do understand why people might dislike this album. It's certainly not a great representation of Marillion and their sound. 'Radiation' was released d ... (read more)

Report this review (#2977623) | Posted by Magog2112 | Thursday, December 28, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "Radiation 2013" or "Radiation Remixed", as it's come to be known, is never a welcoming salvo for a rock music fan. But it gets us to the heart of the matter. Radiation, first released in it's original sound mix album form in 1998, despite it's incendiary cover art, was not a Marillion album that ... (read more)

Report this review (#1611759) | Posted by SteveG | Thursday, September 15, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I am in the minority here, but I think "Radiation" is one of the five best Marillion albums (up there with "Marbles", "Brave", "An Hour before It's Dark", and "Afraid of Sunlight"). I understand why the band might dismiss (it to a certain extent) as it was released in a difficult period after the ... (read more)

Report this review (#1461716) | Posted by Glubluk | Thursday, September 10, 2015 | Review Permanlink

2 stars A big frustration! With great enthusiasm I bought this album when it was released. I knew nothing of the content. Marillion has undergone innovations usually from an album to another, something positive. This time the results are almost nefarious. Really, I can not find a song that I settled in ... (read more)

Report this review (#1002515) | Posted by sinslice | Saturday, July 20, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The test... i was tempted to alter my "headline" into "the stresstest" - because "stresstest" has been chosen to be the official German "word of the year 2011"... AND because - apart from Steve Hogarth who had to undergo his very personal "stresstest" during that time, suffering from insomnia - a ... (read more)

Report this review (#610454) | Posted by rupert | Sunday, January 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Non-Essential. I picked up the trilogy of This Strange Engine, Radiation, and sometime after purchasing, Anoraknophobia. Partly because the Sanctuary label imports were low cost and partly because I am a completionist and found some good moments on the earlier Hogarth releases. Radi ... (read more)

Report this review (#358950) | Posted by KeepItDark | Monday, December 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Oh Dear! After the majestic run of the previous three albums this was an absolute slap in the face. As a huge fan of strange engine i was looking forward to this album so much. It opens with a bizarre ditty and its pretty much downhill all the way. Only the answering machine and these chains ... (read more)

Report this review (#348483) | Posted by devox | Thursday, December 9, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It may not be the best Marillion record to date, but it's not half bad. The songwriting is tight, and there is no Hope for the future catastrophe here - it may be a tad less progressive, but it's neo prog alright. Fans of Marillion will thoroughly enjoy it, while those who are unsure whether they ... (read more)

Report this review (#175418) | Posted by VelBG | Thursday, June 26, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Other than the deficient sonic quality of this album I have never quite understood the heavy criticism thrown at this release. Radiation contains a rather eccentric and somtimes psychedelic mix of what Marillion does best...pop/prog/rock with beautiful haunting vocal melodies. Under The Sun i ... (read more)

Report this review (#169874) | Posted by La Villa | Sunday, May 4, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Massively underrated! Ok, the sound and production may not be great, but there are many hidden gems here. 'Under the Sun' is the sound of a grittier, rockier band, a theme continued into 'The Answering Machine'. 'Three Minute Boy' has developed a reputation as something of a live favourite ov ... (read more)

Report this review (#158244) | Posted by Wickerman | Thursday, January 10, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars As a fan of Marillion since the early 80's I'm not really sure how to rate this album. (yes I still call them albums). I was warned when it came out that it was not worth the time to take it to the register let alone the money to buy it. Needless to say I passed on the purchase and stoicly wai ... (read more)

Report this review (#94475) | Posted by Mister Lewis | Saturday, October 14, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Where a superb band fails to deliver a good album, that's what Radiation is. With the great Brave album the band had set an extremely high standard and with This strange engine, Radiation and they never came close to that desired quality. But where 'Engine' and .com certainly had ... (read more)

Report this review (#79739) | Posted by Theo Verstrael | Monday, May 29, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I own this album, but to be honest theres nothing to get excited about. As a collector of marillion albums and memorabilia I have to have everything, so I think two stars is fair, collevtors only. These Chains and A few words for the dead are reasonable tracks, but apart from that it is pretty lo ... (read more)

Report this review (#49551) | Posted by wtmoore | Friday, September 30, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Today, while checking my prog collection, found this forgotten album (as you can imagine not a fav at all). I am now quite happy about this situation. After listening to it a couple of times today, I can not understand why it is not part of my Golden or Silver selection. It is a very decent al ... (read more)

Report this review (#42893) | Posted by | Sunday, August 14, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A very good album that showed the band in the clear nineties... these was along with the next effort, the transitional time for the band, the point where they were focusing their music and their hearts to the true fans and the internet. Not a bad choice, if we remember that the fans raised a " ... (read more)

Report this review (#12391) | Posted by | Sunday, June 6, 2004 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I have been a fan for more than 15 years. Bought all albums without any doubt, but RADIATION is in my opinion a failure. Especially after the BRAVE album, I was thinking about another ERA wit Hogart instead of FISH. The release of STRANGE ENGINE was perhaps the first idication that BRAVE was an acci ... (read more)

Report this review (#12384) | Posted by | Monday, January 12, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Not a fan favourite but I really like the direction on this one. Marillion have never sounded more noisy on some tracks and more delicate on others, granted the drums sound a bit ropey and the guitar uncharacteristically abrasive but that adds to the edginess of the overall release. Superficially ... (read more)

Report this review (#12383) | Posted by Jools | Wednesday, December 17, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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