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Thread: FEATURED ALBUM: Marillion - Seasons End

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    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    FEATURED ALBUM: Marillion - Seasons End

    Chosen today for an obvious reason, how does the first Hogarth album stand up after all these years? At the time, I'm sure it felt like a radical change in direction. But Seasons End is now over 30 years old.



    Review from ProgArchives
    989 was a transitional year for Marillion. Fish had just left the group to pursue a solo career, and the future of the band was uncertain. In come Steve Hogarth, who (along with the rest of the band) ushered in a new era of Marillion in terms of sound and artistic direction. The first album released by this new incarnation of Marillion was the eponymous Season's End, which takes the classic Marillion sound and gives it a more upbeat and creative spin.The group took a more poppish route with this album, with Hooks In You and The Uninvited Guest being drenched with pop tendencies, but these pop songs are well written and they give a hint to the direction Marillion would go to with the next album. The entire band plays well on this album, from the creative and catchy guitar of Rothery, to the thumping and driving bass of Trewavas, to the lush and intuitive playing from Kelly, to the precise and concise drumming from Mosley, all topped with strong vocal performances from Hogarth.

    The King of Sunset Town opens the album with electronics and minor ambient effects. Once the band gets into full swing, the feeling of the song is completely changed. Rothery really shines here with a magnificent riff that has a very catchy feeling to it. Easter is arguably the strongest track of the album, with maginificent acoustic work from Rothery (and a brilliant 3/4 arpeggio-based riff), some great vocals from Hogarth, a phenonemal emotional guitar solo from Rothery, and a stunning 5/4 outro. One could not ask for more with this song. The Uninvited Guest is the first pop song on the album. It is catchy and has a nice upbeat chorus despite the kooky lyrics.Season's End is the second longer song of the album, and it sparks memories of songs like The Web with it's catchy riffing and powerful keyboard work. Kelly really shines on this track. Berlin has some nice riffing to it, but the song tends to drag, and that feeling of energy that the band sustained when Fish was the frontman was gone, and their attempts to replicate it come up short. I do really enjoy the saxophone on the song, as it shows that Marillion were willing to dabble in new instruments and territories.

    Halloway Girl continues the pop trend of the album, but that is all it really is, one of the weaker songs of the album. Berlin has some nice riffing to it, but the song tends to drag, and that feeling of energy that the band sustained when Fish was the frontman was gone, and their attempts to replicate it come up short. After Me is another acoustic based ballad of sorts. Rothery is no slouch on the acoustic guitar, showing that he can create powerful emotive riffs when electrified or in an acoustic setting. Hooks in You is definitely the pop single Marillion had in mind for the album. Despite it being overdone pop, I really enjoy the nice 7/8 intro and the chorus is astonishingly catchy. The Space... concludes the album, and it really does what the title suggests, it fills the space that the rest of the album needed. Despite the nice chorus and bass work, I can't really get into this song all that much.

    Overall, Marillion was treading into more pop territories with this one, and that would become full circle with Holidays in Eden, one of their weakest albums to date. If you love Fish era Marillion, you may find some things to like about this album, but you may feel a bit disappointed because that feeling of despair and sorrow that Marillion once had in their music was now gone. But for me, I liked this album and I feel that it would fit nicely in any collection of music, provided you have some tolerance for pop music. Despite faults such as needless noodling and filler, the album holds up strong even today. 4/5 - Cygnus X-2







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    I still enjoy this album and I still skip Hooks in You - so not much changed in 30+ years.

    Easter solo aside - my faves are KoST, the title track and The Space. The b-sides were also excellent and any one of those should have been on the album rather than Hooks....

    I will also say that the 1997 EMI remaster of this album is the best of that bunch (the CaS and Brave being atrocious to these ears).

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    I still love it. When Fish left and Hogarth came in I was very very skeptical. I purchased the album and it had to grow on me a bit. On first listen, the vocals were so different, that it did not hit my right away, but it slowly won be over. Seeing the band live on this tour was where things really gelled. Hogarth, in his own way, was as unique a front man as Fish had been. I think Marillion has done better albums since this one, but "Seasons End" remains a favorite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MudShark22 View Post
    I still enjoy this album and I still skip Hooks in You - so not much changed in 30+ years.

    Easter solo aside - my faves are KoST, the title track and The Space. The b-sides were also excellent and any one of those should have been on the album rather than Hooks....

    I will also say that the 1997 EMI remaster of this album is the best of that bunch (the CaS and Brave being atrocious to these ears).

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    I agree, that "Hooks" is the weakest track on the album. I always thought it was a mistake to release that one as the lead off single.

  5. #5
    I remember when this came out , it was a time when I was hungry for anything new. (It was before PE) Having pretty much been on a Diet of the usual suspects for quite a while. I was a big Fan of Fish, and I was able to see both versions of Marillion at the Cabaret in San Jose.
    So I was skeptical when we went to the show with Steve, but he was so charismatic and totally won over the crowd at that show from what I could see. It was a special time in my life, I'll have to dig it out again. Although I listen to "Easter" every year at Easter just like I listen to Alice's Restaurant every Thanksgiving!

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    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    This was a very well written and balanced review. i was never really a fan of the obvious pop songs, particularly Hooks on You. Otherwise, a brilliant album. Fish is a charismatic and powerful performer but I relate more closely with Horgarth's emotive vocal delivery. Easter is one of the most poetic and beautiful song ever played by Marilion. Season's End is really nice too. I don't find Berlin drags. I totally agree with the author that Holidays In Eden is dismal. But what a stellar comeback with subsequent releases - particularly Brave and Afraid of Sunlight (my two favourite - likely all time albums). I saw Season's End performed in Montreal and it was excellent. Hogarth was all over the stage - really engaged with this music and his captive audience.

    I used to run a lot in the 1990s but played Script often. It satisfied my Genesis fix. The early Marillion was quite strong but I seldom revisit it. There are songs to like in all the 30 year, post Fish era. I'm not sure how it happened, by the band are a favourite of mine overall when compared to anything I listen to regularly.
    Last edited by mozo-pg; 04-04-2021 at 06:16 PM.
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    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    The group took a more poppish route with this album, with Hooks In You and The Uninvited Guest being drenched with pop tendencies
    I don't really see how the album as a whole takes much more of a pop direction than old Marillion. "Hooks in You" is dreadful, and sounds utterly out of place on the album. As for "The Uninvited Guest," sure, it's a single, as was, say, "Punch and Judy," but it's a great song with strong continuity to the old Marillion. Helmer's lyrics have Fish written all over them: "I'm the Banquo at your banquet...I'm your fifteen-stone first-footer." Sounds fishy to me. And those both being Scottish references suggests that the song could be a kiss-off to Fish, which puts it in the tradition of "Assassing"...

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    Casanova TCC's Avatar
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    Good call Sean!
    30 years now?

    I like both eras, or, I like Marillion. And it's one of those bands that doesn't bore me like others of the style: Fish and Hogarth have a lot to do with that, their feeling, charisma for example ... something similar happens to me with CAST.

    Today, "Brave" is my favorite of both eras.


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    Last edited by TCC; 04-05-2021 at 02:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveSly View Post
    I agree, that "Hooks" is the weakest track on the album. I always thought it was a mistake to release that one as the lead off single.
    Its even more of a mistake when its BSide is a much much better song.

    Uninvited Guest should have been the lead single, followed by After Me (which would have replaced Hooks.. on the vinyl)

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    Although better was to come in the mid 90s, I think it was a very good start by this line-up. 'Easter' is my single favourite Hogarth-era Marillion track. The guitar solo is maybe Rothery's best ever IMHO. The title track, 'The King Of Sunset Town', 'The Uninvited Guest'...they also hold up. I do really like the long, atmospheric, slow-building intro on '...Sunset Town'. Exploring dynamics like this would be something that this line-up would go further with.

    'Hooks In You' is clearly the low-point, and not a good choice of lead single at all. I wonder how many Fish-era fans were put off by this thoroughly ordinary song! As a rule, I've always found this line-up's 'rockers' completely unconvincing. It's a style which just does not suit Hogarth. It could be any old 80s 'big hair' rock band. The chorus of 'Holloway Girl' has that drawback as well.
    Last edited by JJ88; 04-04-2021 at 04:41 PM.

  11. #11
    I've always really liked "Holloway Girl", A very powerful and majestic song. " The Space" is another great one. I saw their first American show with Hogarth and The Space is the song that really won the audience over. I read later that the theater manager had no idea they had changed singers.

  12. #12
    Member Paulrus's Avatar
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    Excellent album. Certainly in my top 5 Hogarth-era records, even it does sound a bit transitional now.
    I'm holding out for the Wilson-mixed 5.1 super-duper walletbuster special anniversary extra adjectives edition.

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    I'm surprised that the reviewer didn't like "Berlin," which for me is the best track on the album.

    I got to meet the band on this tour, at the Phantasy in Lakewood, Ohio, having previously met them with Fish in Grand Rapids. Great bunch of guys, and Hogarth was especially charming.

    I was a fan of the band, but initially held off buying this album because some of the Prog-Rock fanzines I subscribed to at the time were down on the album, and claimed that Marillion had abandoned Prog. I picked it up after seeing the live show, where they tore the roof off the place. I can still remember Hogarth climbing the high speaker stacks and standing on the top. The concert was a blast and the new songs really translated well to the live setting. (Except for "Hooks In You" which always sounds like Foreigner to me.)
    I like the part where Icarus hijacks the Little Red Hen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by the winter tree View Post
    " The Space" is another great one.
    I love the first half. The second half, not so much. Always sounded like 2 incongruous songs welded together to me.
    I like the part where Icarus hijacks the Little Red Hen.

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  15. #15
    This was the album that got me on the Marillion bandwagon back in the mid 90's.
    If you're actually reading this then chances are you already have my last album but if NOT and you're curious:
    https://battema.bandcamp.com/

    Also, Ephemeral Sun: it's a thing and we like making things that might be your thing: http://www.ephemeralsun.com

  16. #16
    My first Marillion album. Fish's voice kept me away from me them during the first era. (I learnt to appreciate it later.)
    The band arguably lost some of its bite, but H's voice seemed to go more gracefully with the flow of the music they were doing in the late 80s.
    Marillion developed a wonderful sense of melody from the mid 80s onward, and that sense of melody was successfully carried from the Fish era into the H era through Season's End. "Easter" is a great example of H's sensitivity being woven into Marillion's music. This kind of sensitivity may be criticised as "naive" or "emo" or whatever, but I think it goes beyond that. There is a sincerity and charisma in H's delivery, as there was in Fish's.
    The fact that the band kept on growing musically helped them keep a kind of momentum, despite the questionable commercial leanings of Holidays in Eden. I think Season's End was a strong first step that provided enough musical continuity with the past and enough indication of what was to come.

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    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    Listening now. Uninvited Guest is better than I thought. King Of Sunset Town is an excellent opener, introducing Steve to the new band. Easter is a stone cold classic, Rothery's guitar playing is varied and powerful. Seasons End is one the strongest tunes, with Hogarth's soaring vocals. Easter is a stone cold classic, some of Rothery's best playing. I only wish the song could go on longer. The Space is haunting and one of the stonger tunes (didn't relealize it was written by an outslide writer), as are Berlin and Halloway Girl. The album was largely written before Hogath's joining the band - an impressive feat as he fits in seamlessly. The original author rated the album as 4/5 - I'd rate it 4.5/5.

    I'll never forget the 3 Marillion weekends I saw in Montreal. Such a huge catalog and varied set lists. Definitely adoring crowds. All very talented musicianship. I'm looking forward to seeing them again one day.
    Last edited by mozo-pg; 04-05-2021 at 12:23 PM.
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  18. #18
    I like this as I like all of the Marillion albums,I don't skip songs. They all have a special time and place in my mind and it's always fun for me to revisit. I really don't see anything wrong with Holidays either to be singled out as dismal, in fact I like that one too! Call me a fanboy, if you must but I am not one bit embarrassed to be a fan of Marillion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Interstellar View Post
    The fact that the band kept on growing musically helped them keep a kind of momentum, despite the questionable commercial leanings of Holidays in Eden. I think Season's End was a strong first step that provided enough musical continuity with the past and enough indication of what was to come.
    HiE - for those ears is better than a vast majority of their output post Marbles. Dated? Sure... European track order better than US release - absolutely.... Bsides again better than at least two trax - certainly....

    I guess the 'hunger' is still there that I find lacking post 2000.

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    Having played the album again for the first time in years, I think 'Holloway Girl' suffers a bit from the keyboard sound in the chorus- a bit blary. It's actually not a bad song.

    Whilst there's not much of the calibre of Seasons End's highlights, I think Holidays In Eden is OK (and arguably nothing on it is as bad as 'Hooks In You' either!).

    Quote Originally Posted by MudShark22 View Post
    I guess the 'hunger' is still there that I find lacking post 2000.
    Other than Marbles and Essence, I find the post-EMI albums somewhat patchy. I have more time for Somewhere Else than most, though. It's more concise than others.

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    Still my fave H era Marillion album although I would have prefered Bell in the Sea and The Release to some of the album tracks.

  22. #22
    I like HiE for what it is but I think it suffers a bit from being surrounded by really strong albums in their discography : CaS, SE, Brave, AoS. It's such a great string of albums that HiE appears a bit like the weak link IMHO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Interstellar View Post
    I like HiE for what it is but I think it suffers a bit from being surrounded by really strong albums in their discography : CaS, SE, Brave, AoS. It's such a great string of albums that HiE appears a bit like the weak link IMHO.
    That I certainly can understand

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    I had heard Misplaced Childhood and Clutching At Straws when this came out. Not sure why I bought this since I wasn't really convinced by those other two albums. This one caught my ear though and I played it to death at the time. I even got a lot of mileage out of Holidays In Eden when that came out. Haven't happened upon any Marillion music since then that made me want to hear more. Maybe one of these days something else will click.
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    Been a huge Marillion fan since the day I discovered them, many moons ago. I like both eras (Fish / Hogarth). SE is one of their best albums and, despite the few low points ("Hooks in You" being one of them), it always gives me great pleasure to revisit it.

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