Reviewed by Plamen on 01 Dec 2000
Here they are – the old good Marillion with their brand new album. This strange title for their 12-th successive studio album was given by their loyal fans after an Internet inquiry, and after the official announcement of the album on 07.05.2001 Steve Hogarth informed the same fans that before listening the album they have to forgot about “Progressive Rock”, “Fish” and “Genesis”. It is strange, few months ago the same man was claiming this is probably the best album the group is making, a new beginning, etc.
And now about the significant tracks. The first track “Between you and me” is a hit single. It sounds as U2 product but is enough rhythmical and remembering. “Quartz” is something new with modern alternative-techno passage in the Massive Attack style. “When I meet God” is a highlight of the album undisputedly. This brilliant ballad is a predominant work of Hogarth and Kelly. “Separated out” is an attempt to repeat the success of “Hooks on you” in “Seasons End” from 1989. Unfortunately this attempt is unsuccessful. The second highlight in the album is “This is the 21-st Century”. At the first glance it is a monotonous and long composition but the whole group pace by pace is showing mastership and new ideas.
The summary. This is the next contradictory album in the life of this legendary group. From one side is laying the disappointment of the ordinary Prog-Rock fan, and from the other – the satisfaction of the professionalism and perfectness of the playing performed by these exceptional musicians. It seems to me that Marillion simply has run out of the responsibility to be the leaders of the Progressive Rock. Since the separation with Fish they slowly but definitely are transforming the group in one of the many British Indi ones hiding behind the pseudo-intellectual beginning. There is only one guy who do not deserve these words. Pete Trewevas is still staying on the Progressive Rock track. His brilliant work in Transatlantic project shows this undisputedly.
Reviewed by Nuno on 18 Sep 2001
ACT I - The Album
My first listen of this album, I was on vacations, lying in the sun, on a beach in the island of La Palma, in the Canary Islands. The feeling of freedom and absence of stress was at the top.
Why am I telling you all this? Well…it is absolutely the feeling of this album:
first point- the band was free from any bonds to any record sails company and this album was entirely financed by the fans of the band, who not only bought the record before it was even recorded but also made a vote to choose the name of the album .
Second point- the band untied every restraining knots that could tied them to their past and took a step in a different direction, indifferent to the fact they are an historic band that always has led the light of Neo-Prog. In fact this album can be, for Marillion’s career, as important as Script for a Jesters Tear or Season’s End, because it settles a new sound, a new face, a new beginning.
Stepping away from the purest Neo-Prog music, Anoraknophobia features some Indie, Alternative and even slightly Techno approaches, even if maintaining the progressive core in Steve Rothery soloing or Pete Trewawas amazing bass work.
Between You and Me opens the hostilities with an Alternative feeling that Quartz further explore, into worlds that are new to the band, and even if this can be shocking to their most fanatic fans, the quality of the musicians easily ablaze all criticism.
When I meet God is THE high point in this album, from the lyrics of the music, to the way it is played and sung, it is absolutely a brilliant ballad. Steve Hoggarth is getting better every day and gives an emotional feeling to the music that is hard to top.
The experiences go on till the end of the album, even using programmed drums in This is the 21st Century, the quality stands.
Marillion is a serious case in music history and they are back, more adventurous, inventive and without any fear of re-writing their history.
Congratulations and thanks for being there all these years for us, music lovers.
ACT II – Live at Lisbon
The waiting was long, way too long. After 9 years without stepping Lusitanian soil, Marillion were back to present the fans with a live performance.
In a crowded house, cult concert location Paradise Garage, the Portuguese fans stood frantically waiting for the start of the hostilities. When the concert started with A Man with a 1.000 faces (from This Strange Engine), the level of adrenaline was so high that the heat released could melt iron.
Throughout the whole evening, Marillion offered the fans what they were expecting for soooo much long…one highly technical, powerful and emotional performance, with Steve Hoggarth being a show within the show. He didn’t need much words with the public, he did interact with us in each and every song, displaying his emotions to the music and to the crowd in a way no-one will ever forget.
Through the songs from this last album, as Quartz, Map of the World, This is the 21st Century, When I meet God , the public (with a major above 30 average age) showed that the last album was well accepted, better than what the band was expecting.
But Marillion gave some credit to what the fans were expecting from them, and they also played some songs from Holidays in Eden(This Town), Afraid of Sunlight(Out of this world, Afraid of Sunlight and King), Seasons End(Easter) and Brave(Goodbye to all that), being this last the highest point in the concert.
The last come back to stage they played Sugar Mice (Clutching at straws) which was sung by the crown in ecstasies.
The band was at its best, from the singing perfectness and stage