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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Marillion

Sounds That Can’t Be Made

Review by Gary Hill

This is quite a tasty album. In fact, it might be the best album from the Steve Hogarth version of the group. I have to say that it’s not the kind of disc that grabs the listener first time out. It took me several spins to really appreciate. Now that I have made that effort, though, it might make my best of 2012 list.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Gaza

What an amazing piece of music this is. It starts with sedate elements, atmospheric and spacey. It fires out from there in some hard rocking sounds that are almost metallic, while also symphonic. The piece continues changing. At times it’s very mellow. At other points it rocks like crazy. This is great and an excellent way to start the set in style. Of course, the fact that this piece is seventeen minutes in length tells you that it’s going to be diverse. They pack a lot of different sounds and stories and musical concepts within all of that. It’s like a whole album in one long track. It starts and stops and moves through a whole series of changes and alterations. It’s a real epic in every sense of the word. It’s powerful both musically and lyrically.

Sounds That Can't Be Made

While seriously set in a modern progressive rock motif, the kind of sound we expect from Hogarth led Marillion, this has a real groove to it. I like it a lot.

Pour My Love

There’s a great soulful vibe to this one. That’s not something you hear in reference to prog all that often, but it works. This piece has a real retro sound to it in a lot of ways, yet it still feels like modern Marillion.

Power

The rhythm section drives this cut and it’s got a cool retro soulful groove, as well.

Montreal

Atmospheric, pretty and slow moving, the early parts of this are more typical of what I think of for modern Marillion. It works out to more energized sounds later and is a good solid piece of Marillion music. There’s a section around the five minute mark that seems to be close to the kind of music they did on Season’s End. From there we get an energized movement that’s tasty. It shifts to more tentative music from there. It gets very dramatic (both in terms of the music and the vocals) as it moves forward. The changes and alterations continue and this is another extended piece. Retro elements are heard on the top of a modern arrangement in the closing section of the piece. It’s powerful way to take another epic out.

Invisible Ink

Although this starts mellow, it works out after a time into a more rocking sound. It’s a diverse cut that’s pretty cool and maintains a modern Marillion sound and a groove at the same time.

Lucky Man

Powering in hard rocking and rather mysterious and dramatic, it drops way down to a mellower, but still dramatic motif that has a lot of Beatles in the mix. It’s got some changes and has some of the hardest rocking and some of the most straightforward music of the whole set. There is definitely a 1970s rock music feeling to this cut. It’s quite an extensive cut and they really do add a lot of different and dramatic sections to the mix, but still maintain a fairly consistent element.

The Sky Above The Rain
Keyboards open this and the song grows out gradually from there. It’s a fairly slow moving, but quite dynamic and powerful tune. There is a melodic guitar solo in the cut that’s very tasty and there are a lot great layers of sound and flavor. I make out some Beatles-like bits on this track, too. Later in the piece there’s a short interlude back to very mellow music, but they bring it out into retro rock sounds that are quite tasty. Hints of Pink Floyd emerge later as this continues. At the end it drops to mellow again to finish off more or less as it started.
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