Reviewed by Nuno on 06 Feb 2002
This Strange Engine marked the comeback of Marillion to studio albums after the release of the live act Made Again. Stepping away from the lethargy of their previous studio release, this album features the comeback to a more energetic approach but also sets the band’s path into some new elements in their musicality.
In fact there are some popish melodies, bluesy tempos as well as a Caribbean rhythm (in Hope for the future). There is the use of instruments not common in their works, such as Balalaika, trumpet and Saxophone, which explain some surprise of the fans when they first listen to this album.
Despite these facts, you can distinctively say that this is a pure Marillion album. One to be featured in their career’s hall of fame, for it is that good. Yes, it has a commercial vibe in it, but this does not spoil this particular album as it might harm any other collective, for the quality stands by itself, shouldered by the magic musicians that support this band
This is a very balanced album, for does not have filling songs or waste moments. All band members are focused and willing to continue their long and prosperous cohesiveness and proofed efficiency.
The highest moments here are, for me, the haunting utter beauty of Estonia and the true progressive feeling of the title song. This last, explores both melodic and slightly aggressive views of the band, in an epic 15 minutes display.
Steve Rothery is always capable of astonish the listener with his powerful and distinctive guitar solos, Hogarth vocals are superb as well and Ian Mosley drums and percussion are masterful in this album.
What else can a true fanatic state about an album of his true music religion? Not else than: Get this, it’s Marillion!