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    New Marillion - An Hour Before Its Dark

    Is anyone here looking forward to the new Marillion album, An Hour Before Its Dark which comes out in March? I admit, I'm not as into them as I was before, but I'll always get a new studio album from Marillion. There's always something of interest. Their albums post-Marbles have been kind of hit or miss for me though, and of lesser excitement level than before, but I did like F*c* Everyone And Run (2016) a lot - that is, for that sort of direction they've been going in. And Sounds That Can't Be Made had some ok stuff on it, like the title track and Pour My Love. But it took them a while to follow up FEAR, which is the best of their long-suites-and-ambient sounds direction. So they may be pointing up.

    I just think they need concrete songs again, rather than atmospheric slabs of sound, like on recent albums. I haven't listened to the new download single yet, I think I'll just wait for the release and be surprised. But they have it in them to put out something really good and not just formless blobs of orchestral synth droning and whispered vocals. We'll see. Anyone else going to get the new Marillion album? And why 'An Hour Before Its Dark', why not just 'An Hour Before Dark'?

    And I'd be up for a second Mark Kelly's Marathon album, that was decent. I thought Steve Rothery was working on a solo album too.

    #2
    I own alot of Marillion albums but I was put off by Sounds That Cant be Made. I love the Script for a Jester's Tear-This Strange Engine period, I never have picked up Brave though. Marbles was excellent as well, Neverland, Invisible Man, Ocean Cloud are great.

    Regarding the new album, I may listen to a few tracks on youtube and see what I think.
    The Definitive YES Albums

    -The Yes Album-Fragile-Close to the Edge-Tales From Topographic Oceans-
    -Relayer-Going for the One-Drama-90125-Big Generator-Union-Talk-
    -The Ladder-Magnification-Fly From Here-The Quest-

    Comment


      #3
      Already pre-ordered, just to get the kids' names in the credits… (!) I was not into FEAR as much as a lot of people: The Leavers was great, as was White Paper, but El Dorado and New Kings didn't do a lot for me, musically or lyrically. But so it goes. I feel like I really, really like every second album or so, so .com was wonderful, Anorak less, Marbles a real career highlight, Somewhere Else and Happiness not so much, but then Sounds also a real highlight for me. One thing I do like about the last 20 years or so of Marillion is that the listener reactions are all over the map, and there's no real consensus as to strong and weak albums or songs: even "Pour My Love", as you mention above, I find utterly skippable, but Invisible Ink is a slow burn scorcher, and one of my favourites from that last 20 years, too…

      But yeah, it feels like there can be a lot of stitching together of ideas that doesn't always pan out: sometimes you get a real song like Neverland, maybe my favourite Hogarth-era song, and sometimes you get El Dorado, which just jumps everywhere. Of the two producers they've had the most luck with, Dave Meegan and Mike Hunter, I think Meegan's had the better track record (Brave, Afraid, Marbles), but it still comes down to the band and where their jamming takes them. I guess this is democracy in action, as they've consistently co-credited every song to the band, and it seems like this is just how they compose, and won't change now.

      The new song isn't any real departure from FEAR in sound and warbling: it's pleasant enough, but I can't at this moment really recall anything about it.

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        #4
        This is the new song:

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          #5
          I've been a big fan since 84 and Fugazi. When Fish left I really didn't think they would continue much longer after that, boy was I wrong on that one! I thought the first one with Hogarth Seasons End was just fantastic, next one Holidays In Eden was a bit of a let down but still had "Splintering Heart" and "The Party" which are as good as anything they did with Fish. The next two albums, Brave and Afraid of Sunlight are top notch as well. Then came This Strange Engine, and from there on it's been hit or miss for me. Always 1 or 2 interesting things but nothing that grabs me for the whole album . Sounds that Can't Be Made came close, but then FEAR was again hit and miss for me. Terrific band overall, happy to still have them around and looking forward to the new album.

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            #6
            Just a very early initial gut reaction on the first listen to the first song embedded in the thread is that they mixed the vocals too low again. . It isn't as bad as those Marillion songs where they basically whisper, because eventually H begins to almost shout, but even shouting it's hard to hear him over the instruments.

            That said, I'm going to wait and see. While to me Marillion's peak was the 80s pop-rock influenced albums like Childhood's End, Misplaced Childhood, and Holidays in Eden, with strong songs like "Kayleigh", "Sugar Mice", "No One Can", "Dry Land", "Holidays in Eden", and "The Party", some other strong Marillion songs certainly exist outside the canon of that era's albums, including moving pieces like "Beautiful", "After Me", and "Cannibal Surf Babe" (Okay, maybe the last one isn't moving, but I liked it. ) in the era after it, and songs like "Grendel" and "Market Square Heroes" from the era before it (Indeed, those two tracks are non-album tracks and are only included on some reissues of the first two albums as bonus tracks).

            While their most recent album, F.E.A.R. was not to my taste (In an uncharitable mood I might describe it as "Man whispers through suite after suite of quiet tuneless atmospheric music where each track is functionally indiscipherable from all the others."), the album before that one, Sounds That Can't Be Made was pretty good, with quite listenable songs like "The Sky Above the Rain", "Gaza", and "Lucky Man".

            If the album before the most recent one worked for me, it's entirely possible that the next one might, too. The one in between may have just hit a bit too hard on some elements I don't enjoy, it's not necessarily the end of the line on enjoying future Marillion albums for me. . But I'm going to be sure to listen to this one first and not auto-buy, as I would not be interested in F.E.A.R. Part II, musically speaking, despite the clever acrynomn
            Last edited by downbyariver; 01-10-2022, 10:47 AM.
            "A lot of the heavier conversations I was having with Chris toward the end were about his desire for this thing to go forward. He kept reiterating that to me. [...] He kept telling me, 'No matter what happens, Yes needs to continue moving forward and make great music. So promise me that that's something you want to do.'. And I have to keep making music. It's just what I do. [...] I'm a fan of the band and I want to see it thrive and that means new music." -Billy Sherwood

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              #7
              As a coda (The forum or my browser wasn't letting me add a closing paragraph to the previous post), I would just say that it's apparent to me that there is an element of what Marillion does that is not designed to appeal to listeners with my sensibilities, and there are other elements that are. So, I don't have a "collect them all" gameplan with their back catalog. There are albums that are well worth it for me, but others, sometimes even highly praised ones, that it just seems obvious won't do it for me. That's kind of unique for a band where I have a dozen albums already (Though I'd throw F.E.A.R. back if it weren't a digital purchase that was final years ago). Usually at some point I push through and get all the other albums, even a band's worst output, because if I like a band enough to get that far, they'll almost always be enough on the "bad" albums to interest me and make them worth my while. This band is an exception.

              I'm glad they are still around and making music, though, and when stuff they do appeals to me, I'll get those albums. When it doesn't, I won't. . That they are making them at least gives me a choice.
              Last edited by downbyariver; 01-10-2022, 10:40 PM.
              "A lot of the heavier conversations I was having with Chris toward the end were about his desire for this thing to go forward. He kept reiterating that to me. [...] He kept telling me, 'No matter what happens, Yes needs to continue moving forward and make great music. So promise me that that's something you want to do.'. And I have to keep making music. It's just what I do. [...] I'm a fan of the band and I want to see it thrive and that means new music." -Billy Sherwood

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                #8
                I look forward to this album! Love the new track!
                "We all gotta climb mountains!" - Jon Anderson 2003

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                  #9
                  Usually I download the single when a new Marillion comes out, but this time I think I'll just listen to the whole thing in one swoop without any sneak peeks. I did kind of listen to a few seconds of samples, but not enough to sway me this way or that. Tracklist wise, it looks like it's formatted like Fear with suites with separate track increments rather than longs songs like Ocean Cloud(excellent) or Gaza(not as impressed with that as a lot of people are). I liked Fear, but I know it's an acquired taste album, and I was in the right frame of mind for it in 2016. I hope the new one isn't too much like it however. I'll always collect the next album for as long as they put them out, but I kinda wish they would go back to a more linear, song-based format. Yes, some material post Marbles does blur together and is getting same-y, coming off like stretched-out formless blobs of music with whispered lyrics.

                  But it is what it is. I suppose my least liked period is Somewhere Else(still ok, but not stellar), Happiness Is The Road(in one ear and out the other for me), Sounds That Can't Be Made (half good, actually, with bland moments as well) and Less Is More/Friends From The Orchestra(acoustic or symphonic remake studio albums are rather inconsequential, really). Everything else I enjoy from these guys, but my top three are Childhood, Clutching At Straws and Seasons End. Those three are a triple whammy of great emotional songs and moods. And Holidays In Eden, Brave and Afraid Of Sunlight are great 90s albums and should have taken off big. At one point they all wanted to be Radiohead. I'm not a Fish-era only guy, they were totally identifiably Marillion for many a year afterwards. Good stuff from all their eras I suppose. But we'll see, the new one may hit the spot again, or it may be filed away as a listen to it once in a while kinda thing.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Soundwaveseeker View Post
                    Ocean Cloud(excellent)
                    I thought that song was very good as well.
                    "A lot of the heavier conversations I was having with Chris toward the end were about his desire for this thing to go forward. He kept reiterating that to me. [...] He kept telling me, 'No matter what happens, Yes needs to continue moving forward and make great music. So promise me that that's something you want to do.'. And I have to keep making music. It's just what I do. [...] I'm a fan of the band and I want to see it thrive and that means new music." -Billy Sherwood

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Soundwaveseeker View Post
                      I kinda wish they would go back to a more linear, song-based format. Yes, some material post Marbles does blur together and is getting same-y, coming off like stretched-out formless blobs of music with whispered lyrics.

                      But it is what it is. I suppose my least liked period is Somewhere Else(still ok, but not stellar), Happiness Is The Road
                      I don't disagree with you, and I fall into this trap as well, but Somewhere Else *is* the more linear, song-based format, as is most of Happiness is the Road, and there we are: two of my least favourite albums as well. Which, ok, really the last think I want them to do is remake Seasons End or Misplaced Childhood or Holidays in Eden, but I'm a little relieved maybe to see the new album is clocking in a little shorter, so maybe they've tightened things up a bit.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I have to catch up! I’ve been out of the Marillion loop since Happiness...

                        On first listen, the new track strikes me as the next brooding Hogarth track (of Which I like when in that mood ). I need to pay more attention to the lyrics on next listens.

                        And i I just looked. How can it be I don’t have Marbles. Just live. Hmm. Did I lend it?? Hmmm.

                        love the live racket releases. I stumbled upon a couple at a local store once, that someone ripped for the owner and he gave to me. I’d like to get more of those!!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Gtkgasman View Post
                          love the live racket releases. I stumbled upon a couple at a local store once, that someone ripped for the owner and he gave to me. I’d like to get more of those!!
                          The ones I find I play the most:

                          - The Glow Must Go On, where the fans vote in real-time between songs by waggling the glow sticks (the between song banter on this album is well worth it, too, and shows what a great connection the band has with the audiences, admittedly at fan conventions, which is a pretty stacked deck…)
                          - Size Matters, the epics all lined up nice and neat
                          - Tumbling Down the Years, oldest to newest
                          - Family, the no-holds barred best setlist they could think of, for that time
                          - Friends, the oddball b-sides and cover tunes

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Homemade Parachute View Post

                            The ones I find I play the most:

                            - The Glow Must Go On, where the fans vote in real-time between songs by waggling the glow sticks (the between song banter on this album is well worth it, too, and shows what a great connection the band has with the audiences, admittedly at fan conventions, which is a pretty stacked deck…)
                            - Size Matters, the epics all lined up nice and neat
                            - Tumbling Down the Years, oldest to newest
                            - Family, the no-holds barred best setlist they could think of, for that time
                            - Friends, the oddball b-sides and cover tunes
                            You must have quite the collection!!! 👍👍👍. I’m just a big fan, I don’t have everything. But if I run across anything i don’t have in person. I always grab it!

                            I do have Friends. I like the change with some covers also.

                            Other 2 I have are Piston Broke and Smoke.

                            Those weekend festivals they have held must be such a ton of fun! Hopefullly they come to US again. I haven’t seen them yet.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Then there was A Collection Of Recycled Gifts, which I pulled out to hear last month. It's basically the Marillion Christmas Album, and not too bad. I kinda count it as a studio album, as it's studio material - just end of the year bonus stuff recorded for their fan club through the years. There sure are a lot of Racket live albums and deluxe versions and Marillion Weekend this & that, so I'm a bit behind on those, but I can't have everything. Some really good live Racket albums though. Hogarth actually sings Cinderella Search! Cool...

                              Marbles is solid. Just be sure to get the double CD version. That way you get Ocean Cloud. One of their best long/epic tracks, up there with Strange Engine or even Grendel. I suppose Happiness... is more song based, yet still doesn't really jump out at me. Something blurry and meh about it. Once in a while I'll pull it out, did so for vol 2(the Hard Shoulder?) recently and almost had more of an ear for it. No, I don't envision them every doing anything like Seasons End or Misplaced Childhood or anything too 'neo-prog' ever again, so I won't imagine it. But something slightly like Holidays In Eden - some straightforward (for them) stuff that is recognizable as songs and melodies, they did that pretty good. We'll see where they go this time and if they've tried anything new.

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