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miércoles, 15 de febrero de 2017

Marillion - F.E.A.R. (Fuck Everyone and Run) (2016)


Marillion, la banda inglesa formada en 1979 nos presenta su décimo octavo trabajo y el décimo cuarto con su vocalista Hogerth. Musicalmente la banda continua el camino de su anterior producción "Sounds That Can’t Be Made". Neoprogresivo con influencias de Pink Floyd y Genesis, nostálgico, cálido y muy ambiental, con tendencias pop, pero enfocado a la emotividad y melancolía, concentrando el gusto por la melodía y la energía que les llevó al éxito comercial hace tres décadas, sin escaparle a temas que vive Europa y especialmente su país con el asunto del Brexit y la pérdida de fe en la nación y el ser humano, resulta ser un disco bastante comprometido y para nada superficial ni pasatista, rock progresivo hablando sobre la bestia del capitalismo. En una hora de duración con solo cinco temas se nos revela como el sonido de Marillion sigue siendo vigente, carismático, ambicioso, emotivo y que demandará tu atención, un trabajo hecho para perdurar y hacer pensar, en un disco dedicado a la actual e interesante realidad de mierda en la que vivimos, un trabajo apocalíptico sobre un mundo sin moral y la tormenta que se avecina.

Artista: Marillion
Álbum: F.E.A.R. (Fuck Everyone and Run)
Año: 2016
Género: Neo-progresivo
Duración: 67:13
Nacionalidad: Inglaterra


Lista de Temas:
1. El Dorado (i) Long-Shadowed Sun
2. El Dorado (ii) The Gold
3. El Dorado (iii) Demolished Lives
4. El Dorado (iv) F E A R
5. El Dorado (v) The Grandchildren of Apes
6. Living in F E A R
7. The Leavers (i) Wake Up in Music
8. The Leavers (ii) The Remainers
9. The Leavers (iii) Vapour Trails in the Sky
10. The Leavers (iv) The Jumble of Days
11. The Leavers (v) One Tonight
12. White Paper
13. The New Kings (i) Fuck Everyone and Run
14. The New Kings (ii) Russia’s Locked Doors
15. The New Kings (iii) A Scary Sky
16. The New Kings (iv) Why Is Nothing Ever True?
17. The Leavers (vi) Tomorrow’s New Country

Alineación:
- Steve Hogarth / lead vocals, bass xylophone (7-11), hammered dulcimer (13-16), string arrangements
- Steve Rothery / guitars, fretless bass (12)
- Mark Kelly / keyboards, string arrangements
- Pete Trewavas / bass, backing vocals
- Ian Mosley / drums
With:
Michael Hunter / co-arranger, producing & mixing
G. Underwood / string arrangements
Covent Garden String Quartet:
Eleanor Gilchrist / violin
Geraldine Berreen / violin
- Theresa Whipple / viola
- Abigail Trundle / cello
- Sofi Hogarth / additional vocals (1-5,7-11,13-16)
- Jennie Rothery / additional vocals (7-11)
- Mrs Bond's class / additional vocals (13-16)





Cualquier diría que con una carrera que se acerca ya a las cuatro décadas y que con este alcanza los dieciocho discos, los ingleses Marillion no deberían tener demasiado que decir ya. Y sin embargo la banda no da muestras de cansancio ni de anquilosamiento. Comenzando ya desde el provocador título de esta nueva obra, ejemplo más claro de que la banda sigue teniendo cosas que decir y mentes que inspirar.
Marillion son de ese tipo de banda que sacan provecho de cualquier pequeño acorde para despertar sentimientos hermosos dentro y fuera de nuestra aura musical. Si bien, en sus inicios a finales de los setenta con el legendario Fish eran bastante buenos, después de escuchar sus últimas tres producciones realmente han sorprendido con "F.E.A.R." siendo fieles a su estilo después de tantos años. Es un álbum muy difícil de digerir de primera instancia, tienes que escucharlo varias veces y terminarás aceptando que otra vez se salieron con la suya.
"F.E.A.R." contiene cinco temas compuestos por 17 partes que nos guían a través de la voz de Steve Hogert, quien lleva al escucha por atmósferas melancólicas. Encontramos canciones largas y tres de ellas sobrepasan los 15 minutos, que puede ser demasiado para el oyente casual, pero aquellos dispuestos a ofrecer su tiempo obtendrán un viaje maravilloso y único, en un disco con una temática ampliamente teñida por la movilización social y política.


Cualquier diría que con una carrera que se acerca ya a las cuatro décadas y que con este alcanza los dieciocho discos, los británicos Marillion no deberían tener demasiado que decir ya. Y sin embargo la banda no da muestras de cansancio ni de anquilosamiento. Comenzando ya desde el provocador título de esta nueva obra, ejemplo más claro de que la banda sigue teniendo cosas que decir y mentes que inspirar.
Pero es el contenido musical el que debería importarnos, obviamente. Algunos ya se han apresurado a decir que "F.E.A.R." es la mejor obra de Marillion en veinte años. Tal vez sea pronto para decirlo, pero lo que sí está claro es que la banda está viviendo una especie de segunda (o tercera, si se me apura) juventud. En primer lugar está lo inspirado de sus discos recientes, pero no podemos olvidarnos de su inteligente uso de internet y sus posibilidades para gestionar la relación con sus fans, algo que les ha permitido que sin titánicos esfuerzos promocionales a la antigua usanza su lanzamientos sean siempre todo un éxito.
En cualquiera de los casos, con "F.E.A.R." Marillion nos demuestran que se puede ser una banda completamente establecida, pero seguir siendo tan combativa como cualquier otra. En este sentido, la temática del disco está ampliamente teñida por la movilización social y política. Un disco que consta de cinco canciones divididas en diecisiete partes; diecisiete pistas que alcanzan los 68 minutos de duración en un viaje atmosférico en el que el oyente se va viendo inmerso en base a las sucesivas escuchas. Es probablemente esto lo que acreciente la idea de que estanos ante una obra bastante compacta, con un sentimiento unitario. No sé si el mejor, pero sí uno de sus mejores álbumes de los tiempos más recientes al menos.
Gregorio Lago



Este es un disco que tengo desde hace tiempo, y que no hacía la reseña porque siempre aparecía algo màs, hoy es tiempo de hacerlo, y para no demorar la cuestión me voy a basar en slgunos comentarios ya publicados, muy buenos todos, tanto para poder publicar el disco hoy mismo y por nunca llegaría con el nivel de comentarios escritos por gente que escribe mejor que yo.


“Fuck Everyone And Run (F E A R)”, el decimoctavo álbum de Marillion, es la progresión lógica de las inquietudes políticas contenidas en ‘Gaza’, el extenso track del anterior “Sounds That Can’t Be Made” (2012). Saliendo a la luz en el año del referéndum sobre la permanencia del Reino Unido en la Unión Europea, y en medio de la polémica y compleja maquinación detrás de la campaña del Brexit, este retorno a lo conceptual de los de Buckinghamshire es un álbum que refleja en sus cinco cortes el hipócrita estado del mundo respecto a la inmigración y el avance despiadado de las grandes corporaciones.
A pesar de la gran relevancia de Genesis para el sonido histórico de Marillion, la influencia de Pink Floyd es primordial para la suite inicial ‘El Dorado’. Dividida en cinco movimientos, comienza con sonidos de la naturaleza y el presentimiento de una oscura tormenta que emerge detrás de los aires pastorales de ‘Long-Shadowed Sun’, y explota en ‘The Gold’. Las líneas de piano eléctrico recuerdan de inmediato al inefable “Animals” de Pink Floyd, y con ellas, el tecladista Mark Telly -protagonista principal del track-, hace una referencia que nada tiene de casual: hace casi 40 años atrás la tensión social de Britania fue magistralmente expuesta en aquel clásico inspirado por “La Rebelión En La Granja” de George Orwell. “Me veo a mi mísmo en ellos, en la gente en las fronteras esperando existir nuevamente. Hermanos, hermanas, hijos e hijas a quienes se les niegan nuestras supuestas calles pavimentadas de oro. Escapando de sus vidas demolidas y encontrándose con murallas”.
Abandonando la claustrofobia, “Living in F E A R”, es el momento pop de la placa, concentrando el gusto por la melodía y la energía que les llevó al éxito comercial hace tres décadas. Combinado con una pizca del nuevo rock de estadio ofrecido por Coldplay en “Mylo Xyloto”, el track sirve de respiro antes de la segunda suite “The Leavers”. En ella, el lado más Genesis de Marillion tiene cabida, alimentando el momento más emotivo del álbum. En el segmento ‘The Remainers’, los efectos del Brexit se hacen sentir, con el ansia de quienes deben irse, y la nebulosa conformidad de quienes se quedan. “Los que se quedan permanecen en sus hogareños lugares, van a casa, lavan sus rostros y recuestan sus cabezas, mientras los que se van, se llevan con ellos su solitaria locura...”, canta Hogarth.
En las partes finales de la composición ‘The Jumble Of Days’ y ‘One Tonight’, la efervescencia de “Misplaced Childhood” es evocada, con Steve Rothery descargando la artillería y Ian Mosley esparciendo sus mejores fills. En ‘White Paper’ (donde Rothery desenfunda también un bajo fretless), el temor a la vejez toma el control. Luego, en el fulgor de la dramática y opulenta suite final ‘The New Kings’, la avanzada inescrupulosa de las nuevas corporaciones y la pérdida de fe en la nación serán el motor central. En una hora de duración, “F E A R”, se revela como el sonido de Marillion para los nuevos tiempos, ambicioso, emotivo y demandante. A pesar de no cargar con la inmediatez explosiva de sus proezas de antaño, es un trabajo hecho para perdurar, tal como el sueño de un futuro mejor para los que vienen.
Nuno Veloso

Hay discos que necesitan una profunda digestión en mi mente y corazón para que pueda decir algo suficientemente coherente sobre ellos. Sobre todo aquellos que contienen una gran complejidad en sus formas y su mensaje, como es el caso del nuevo disco de Marillion. Esta banda en sus mejores épocas ha tenido unas composiciones que aún complejas, estaban dotadas de una magia que las hacía bastante más accesibles o de fácil asimilación que algunas de sus obras más tardías. En este blog, ya hemos visto algunos de sus frutos de talentosa juventud como Misplaced Childhood (1985), Clutching at Straws (1987) o Seasons End (1989); obras de aspecto colorista y muy atadas a su década que luego evolucionarían a una aparente sobriedad que en realidad nos guardaría tres grandes obras más: Holidays in Eden (1991), Brave (1994) y Afraid of Sunlight (1995). El disco que tenemos hoy bajo la lupa, en realidad guarda una relación bastante grande con estas grandes obras de los 90, tanto a nivel sonoro, como en la riqueza de su reflexión/mensaje.
Y es que antes o después, un buen artista tiene que bajar del barco de los sueños para toparse con el sendero de la realidad. En ese acto Steve Hogarth, cantante y tecladista de la banda se ha encarado con una realidad muy distinta a lo que es él: un hombre jovial, creativo y de incansable búsqueda de la felicidad ante un mundo en profunda crisis. Por eso, de un disco doble como Happiness is the Road (2008), lleno de pasajes ambientales y con un resultado a ratos insípido o desigual, se pasó a un disco como Sounds That Can't Be Made (2012), algo más gris en su ánimo pero lleno de momentos de muy alto valor como Gaza (esa conexión con la realidad y sus guerras), Sounds That Can't Be Made, Montreal o The Sky Above the Rain. Pero esta vez las ambiciones han subido para confeccionar un disco muy enfocado, sincero y por ende, pesimista...
Esta interesante realidad de m*****
Una dulce melodía de guitarra acústica nos sitúa en una Inglaterra que aunque bella en sus formas, le espera un cambio de temporal, en lo que se refiere a lo humano. El Dorado, resulta ser una suite sobre como el mundo del dinero ha acarreado víctimas bajo su lecho para poder mantenerse en vida aún siendo culpable de la desgracia de mucha gente. Aún me pone los pelos de punta el tramo de Demolished Lives, con un trabajo instrumental que me fascina tanto como aquel lejano en el tiempo pero cercano en alma Brave. Ricos y pobres juegan en un mundo en el que las normas las pone el dinero y el poder; siendo este quien los ensalza o hunde mientras somos engañados por la tecnología, creyendo que todo está en nuestras manos. La intensidad de los teclados de Mark Kelly dominan el panorama sonoro, con momentos delicados, algunos brillantes y otros tensos y potentes. La voz de Hogarth se nota madurada, pero sigue teniendo ese caràcter y emoción en lo que dice. La suite cierra con visiones de guerra en F E A R y con una reflexión sobre nuestro origen viniendo de los simios, pero capacitados para evolucionar y trascender, dejando atrás toda esta miseria en Grandchildren of Apes.
Con todo este mensaje cala y la música envuelve, incluso siento que ciertos instrumentos hacen su presencia más lánguida, como la guitarra de Steve Rothery que se deja escuchar como una parte más del tejido instrumental y no tanto como un elemento virtuoso, dejando ya atrás aquel papel que desempeñó tiempo atrás. Esta afirmación se nota en Living in F E A R, en la que la guitarra tiene mayor desempeño pero que encuentra su estructura en notas largas y acordes resonantes (en esto último si me recuerda al Marillion más clásico). La letra de este segundo tema persigue ese concepto de trascender, de volver a ser una sociedad civilizada (que no sometida) que funde los cañones para decir que da un nuevo paso. A nivel melódico, me parece una creación hermosa pero un poco por debajo de la suite que le precede; la disfruto, a ratos me emociona, pero no es un torrente de colores y emociones tan rico. Pero yo también digo: ¡Yeah, yeah!
Pero espera... ¡uau! se me pone el corazón en la mano con estos teclados tan alucinantes que abren The Leavers. Creo que este primer tramo de suite, Wake Up in Music, debe ser una de las mejores cosas que ha parido esta banda desde Afraid of Sunlight. La reflexión de la realidad de Hogarth, esta vez nos lleva a ver la realidad que los miembros de la banda, junto a sus roadies viven al estar fuera de su tierra de origen y convertir su casa en el mundo entero bajo sus piés. Otro inspiradísimo tramo es el de Vapour Trails in the Sky, en el que a través de una música muy emotiva nos habla de sus horarios y realidad trastornadas al tener que estar en vuelos por todo el mundo y con horarios cambiantes. A través de la coloratura sonora de esta suite, la letra nos muestra tanto la cara dulce como la amarga de estos "desertores". Pero en Jumble of Days, nos habla de ese eje nómada que les hace volver a su auténtica casa, su família y nos hace sentir que aunque ellos han encontrado su función en la vida con la música, su lugar también está con sus famílias que muchas veces han de sustentar desde la lejanía. Al final del trayecto de casi 20 minutos de la suite Pete Trewavas con su bajo y Ian Mosley se sueltan en lo rítmico dando intensidad a la intervención solista de Rothery.
Excelso.
White Paper, es una delicada y emocional creación que expande lo visto en The Leavers, pero en un terreno más personal. Un hermoso piano tocado por Steve Hogarth sirve de colchón de una canción sobre la idea de madurar, de dejar de ser el protagonista en ciertas vidas (intuyo que en la de los hijos), de tomar una nueva visión del amor y de saber ver los matices en todo aquello que parece lo mismo. Un tema hermoso que me hace reflexionar sobre muchas cosas que algún día también me llegarán a mi. El teclado de Mark Kelly y la guitarra de Rothery se mezclan con Hogarth como aquellos postes de color blanco rojo y azul que había antiguamente en las barberías y peluquerías (buscad en caso de duda en san Google: "barber pole" o "poste de barbero"). Por cierto, observación, disfruto aún tanto de la voz de "H" tanto como lo hago cuando escucho discos de principios de los 90 y en este tema es tan claro y sincero con lo que dice, que su voz se ve afectada para bién.
Finalmente, llega la vista desde las alturas con The New Kings. Las siglas del título de este disco nos hablan de la filosofía que se desprende de este tema: "Que se joda todo el mundo y corre". Corre a por el oro, a por tu éxito sin mirar a quien te llevas por delante, a quien haces desgraciado o pisas para ascender. Algunas de las mejores partes instrumentales de los últimos 20 años en esta banda y con un mensaje tan gordo como: "Si asciendes a la torre y te cruzas con nosotros te compramos, la codicia es buena"; me hace pensar que estamos ante algo muy serio y crudo. Ese falsetto de Fuck Everyone and Run o este nuevo orden del mundo en Russia's Locked Doors o Why is Nothing Ever True?. Eufemismos desde el poder para decir que nuestros valores pasados ya no son orden del día. Si bien las letras son las más impactantes del disco, para mi esta suite se queda al nivel de El Dorado a nivel instrumental, situándola en mi criterio como la segunda mejor pieza de esta obra. Tomorrow's New Country, sería el cierre a este disco con una tranquila melodía en la que los desertores (The Leavers) nos dicen que deben volver a su casa, para ver el país del mañana.
Una visión y una conclusión
Es curioso como en un sitio tan hermoso como los Real World Studios de Peter Gabriel se ha concebido un disco con un mensaje tan duro. Esta idea de su Inglaterra y trasladable al mundo entero sobre la pérdida de valores y el dominio del dinero y las corporaciones nos habla de una realidad nacional hecha en un entorno y a través de unas melodías complejas en conjunto, pero amplias en sus múltiples secciones. La figura de Steve Hogarth en el rumbo temático de este disco es trascendental y en muchos sentidos, parte de los oyentes atentos de esta obra le han otorgado un carácter visionario. Tal vez mi discurso no llega a ese extremo, pero si que puedo afirmar que este disco posee la claridad que tuvieron obras como Brave o Afraid of Sunlight en lo que se refiere entender el mundo, la realidad y al ser humano.
No voy a decir que el disco me haya impactado tanto como lo hicieron sus creaciones cumbre de los 80 o los 90, incluso no tengo miedo en decir que en mi primer mes y medio de estarlo escuchando tenía reservas sobre si podría haber sido mucho mejor. Pero llegado este momento y escuchando las suites completas y no entendidas como pedazos, mi visión ha mejorado un poco y vislumbro mejor este gris paisaje bañado en oro que nos presenta la banda de Aylesbury. Tal vez hecho un poco de menos algo más de fuerza en el papel de Rothery en la guitarra o más notoriedad y variedad en el bajo de Trewavas, pero parece que como conjunto más que perjudicarle, hace que el disco lo vea como si tuviera sus propias reglas de juego. Para mi, el mejor disco de Marillion desde 1995.
Nota: 8,55
Equipo Polvoroso

Un grupo como Marillion no necesita presentación alguna. Se han convertido por derecho propio y méritos artísticos en una de las bandas de rock progresivo más importantes de la historia. Se formaron en el año 79 y pronto heredaron muchos de los fans más acérrimos de una banda como Genesis, que tras la pérdida de Peter Gabriel como cantante, pasó a otros derroteros más cercanos al pop y alejados, en cierta forma, del sonido más progresivo de sus inicios. Marillion sin embargo han permanecido fieles a su estilo pese a importantes cambios internos en la banda. El más significativo fue la sustitución de su cantante. El legendario Fish dejó paso ya en el 89 al no menos bueno Steve Hogarth, que lleva muchos más años y más discos en la formación.
El trabajo actual viene con portada en relieve como si de un lingote de oro se tratara, hace ya su número 18 y han vendido la friolera de más de 15 millones de discos. Este nuevo álbum está siendo muy bien recibido y consta de tres extensos temas de más de quince minutos cada uno de ellos, de corte casi conceptual, que se subdividen en fragmentos relativamente amplios, pero dotándolo todo de una continuidad real. Por en medio tiene un par de canciones para hacer de separación entre los otros. Un disco que se va casi hasta los setenta minutos y que es puro Marillion, conteniendo muchos disfrutables momentos.
El primer y extenso tema es "El Dorado" y es claramente de índole político. Comienza de manera preciosista y acústica para dejar paso a una intervención épica de Hogarth y a unas guitarras y teclados muy Pink Floyd, unos instrumentos con los que se salen Steve Rothery y Mark Kelly. Luego en su cuarta parte, "FEAR", se ponen realmente inquietantes hasta atemorizar. Un gran comienzo.
El tema "The Leavers" consta hasta de seis partes y habla de aspectos más terrenales de la vida. Tiene como cumbre para mí "The jumble of days" y "One tonight". La primera posee unos endiablados punteos, sus teclados característicos y esos grandes momentos vocales que van subiendo en un crescendo mágico. En la segunda los punteos son realmente geniales, la voz y el sonido se vuelven más épicos aún pero llevando el peso de una melodía realmente hermosa. Por cierto, que este tema se retoma al final del disco para despedirlo con un esperanzador "Tomorrow’s new country" de tono frágil y a base del piano de Kelly y de nuevo voz.
El tercero de los temas para ocupar una cara de vinilo es "The New Kings", y se trata de un ataque directo contra la voracidad del capitalismo brutal en el que vivimos. Empieza con una bella "Fuck everyone and run" con una guitarra sensacional de Rothery muy David Gilmour y un mágico órgano. La agresividad de letra y título choca con la apacible música que contiene. Este tema es mi favorito del disco pues va subiendo en intensidad en "A scary sky" hasta llegar a un épico e intenso final con "Why is nothing ever true?", realmente prodigioso con geniales guitarras y la voz de Hogarth llegando a lo máximo y emocionando.
Por en medio y como enlace tenemos la preciosa "Living in FEAR" con sus momentos de calma y otros con toda la maquinaria al completo y con más furia en el sonido general, pero siempre con una bella melodía dirigida por la gran voz de Hogarth y los estupendos coros. La otra pieza de enlace es la preciosa y lenta "White paper", basada casi exclusivamente en piano y voz en un maravilloso inicio, pero con un despliegue emocional intenso. ¡No es extraño que se esté comentando que es uno de los mejores discos de la historia de Marillion!
Txema Mañeru

'FEAR', sensacional nuevo disco apocalíptico de Marillion sobre un mundo sin moral y la tormenta que se avecina
Como comentaba con Pablo M. Beleña antes de empezar esta crónica, la buena música necesita varias escuchas y me quería tomar unos días para saborear este nuevo viaje que nos ha regalado Marillion a sus fans.
De nuevo recurrieron a sus acérrimos seguidores para financiar su nuevo trabajo con unos meses de antelación. El pasado 23 de septiembre, y tras tres años de cocinar el mismo, salió el décimo octavo álbum de la banda británica. Durante casi 70 minutos, el quinteto ha dado luz a uno de sus más notables trabajos de los últimos años.
El álbum, como señala el propio H (Steve Hogarth, cantante, letrista y segundo teclista de la banda) es un disco protesta, y bastante pesimista. Intenta describir el mundo sin moral en donde nos ha tocado vivir (clase política corrupta, bancos rescatados por todos los ciudadanos y que no devuelven lo que pusimos entre todos, empresas y mundo de los negocios sin moral...). 'No es un álbum para la generación del mp3', bromeaba H en una reciente entrevista publicada en su web.
No es la primera vez que el grupo escribe canciones protesta. Así recordamos, desde sus inicios con 'Forgotten Sons', 'Fugazi', 'White feather', 'White Russian'...hasta con la época Hogarth con temas como 'Easter', 'Gaza' -con toda la polémica que generó-, o el propio álbum 'Brave', uno de sus puntos clave en su carrera, en donde en todos ellos sacaban a relucir los problemas del mundo real.
El disco sólo contiene 3 suites, 2 temas cortos y un corto epílogo final (que es parte de una de las suites).
Comienza con 'El Dorado', una genial intro de más de 15 minutos con las que Marillion no suele defraudar. Steve Rothery se arranca con una guitarra un tanto bucólica que nos mete en este viaje.
La canción versa sobre el fenómeno de los refugiados y las guerras que ha conmocionado al mundo en los últimos meses. Mark Kelly, teclista, y Steve Rothery a la guitarra se intercambian pasajes musicales de gran belleza con una letra dura y cruda, como ya hicieron en su trabajo anterior con 'Gaza'. Así dice la letra 'los caminos son viajados por muchos con promesas de paz y algunos deciden no ir'.
El propio H mencionaba en una entrevista que el álbum podrá recordar a Brave e incluso a los primeros discos de Marillion. En mi opinión, tiene cosas de Brave, pero no veo demasiado de los primeros Marillion. Con esto álbum, han continuado en la línea de su anterior trabajo 'Sounds That Can't Be Made' pero en una línea más progresiva.
Es curioso que el propio Fish, con el que la mayor parte de la banda tiene una buena relación en los últimos años, está preparando su despedida con un álbum similar en temática en donde refleja la preocupación por el mundo actual.
Tras este primer tema, le toca el turno a 'Living in Fear', una de las canciones cortas (con casi 7 minutos). Quizás es la más pegadiza en las primeras escuchas y te engancha.
Para mi uno de los puntos álgidos del disco viene con 'The Leavers', la segunda suite del disco. Cambios de ritmo trepidantes, grandes letras, sensacionales melodías y mucho drama... todo lo que los fans de Marillion esperamos. El tema me puede recordar a un 'Brave' del siglo XXI. En esta ocasión, H refleja lo duro que es estar en una banda y estar tanto tiempo alejado de tus seres queridos.
He de destacar también en el disco el gran trabajo al bajo de Pete Trewavas y a Ian Mosley en la batería que complementan a la perfección a las fuerzas compositivas de Hogarth, Kelly y Rothery.
'White paper' es el otro tema 'corto' (son 7:20 minutos) que fluye en el trayecto de este viaje. Abre con la voz de H y un piano acompañándole. El ritmo va in crescendo y Steve Rothery desarrolla un enorme trabajo a la guitarra.
Llega el zenit del disco con la tercera y última suite, 'The New Kings', con sus cuatro partes. Desde julio, y como ya señalé en mi anterior crónica del concierto en Madrid, pudimos degustar este tema, pieza angular del álbum y de donde sale el título del disco 'F*** Everyone and Run', algo así como 'que os den y corre'. El propio Rothery cuando leyó la letra dudaba si sería correcto para un álbum de la banda pero al final no pudo estar más de acuerdo que con lo escrito por su tocayo Hogarth. En el concierto, y como ya comenté, acompañaron los temas con imágenes que ilustraban el contenido de los temas, y parece que es el plan que tienen para cada uno de los temas que ahora estamos saboreando.
He de destacar la primera y cuarta parte de The New Kings como de lo mejor que ha hecho Marillion, en mi opinión, en los últimos años.
Es admirable que una banda con más de 30 años de historia pueda seguir creando música fresca y progresiva sin rendirse a las modas y tendencias actuales.
El punto y final lo pone un breve tema corto en forma de epílogo llamado 'Tomorrow's new country' que nos deja con ganas de empezar de nuevo por el principio (como suele pasar a todo melómano con los grandes trabajos de la música).
Me temo que este trabajo no entrará en los 40 principales, ni en las grandes cadenas de televisión, pero es un trabajo sincero y de gran calidad para sus fans de siempre y aquellos que disfrutan de la música y de unas buenas letras como terapia ante este sociedad sin moral a la que nos enfrentamos.
PUNTUACIÓN: 8,5
Álvaro Morales-Arce

El disco tiene muchos comentarios así que no los voy a traer a todos, cualquier búsqueda les va a dar muchas referencias. Pero en todos los casos concuerdan sobre la calidad de la obra. 68 minutos de duración en un viaje atmosférico en el que el oyente se va viendo inmerso en base a las sucesivas escuchas. Es probablemente esto lo que acreciente la idea de que estanos ante una obra bastante compacta, con un sentimiento unitario. No sé si el mejor, pero sí uno de sus mejores álbumes de los tiempos más recientes al menos.
Aquí, algún comentario en inglés para el que le interese...

"The cold war's gone, but those bastards'll find us another one/They're here to protect you, don't you know?/So get used to it - Get used to it!.../The sense that it's useless, and the fear to try/Not believing the leaders, the media that feed us/Living with the big lie." ("Living With the Big Lie," from Brave)
In the 27 years since Steve Hogarth took over as lead vocalist for Marillion, the band has had only one bona fide concept album: the aurally and emotionally stunning Brave (1994). Using as a starting point the (true) news story of a young woman found roaming around an area of England -- who did not know who she was, or where she had come from, and even refused to speak to the police or the media -- the band created a fictional "back story" for her, which included some fairly "dark" elements, including re politics, socio-culture, media -- and fear. The above quotation is a good example -- and very relevant to their new album, as the new album offers a look at how the "big lie" has become even bigger. However, the overall effect of Brave was more "melancholic" than grim, more sad than "judgmental" (of the society they describe).
Twenty-two years later, the same (or worse) "darkness" exists in many of the same ways, but even more ominously now -- and this time the band is at the center of the story -- and they are ANGRY. Indeed, the overall effect of the album is one of barely checked (and occasionally unbridled) anger, and a deep frustration and concern both for England (whom they are directly addressing) and beyond (including the U.S., for whom some of the issues are the same). One might say (borrowing another phrase from Brave) that the band is no longer "hollow men," but has become both worldly-wise and world-weary, both "informed" and disillusioned, even (to a degree) cynical.
The album consists of three suites, separated by two other compositions, one of which relates directly to the suites, the other of which seems a tad out of place (though, as we will see, its inclusion does make some sense). The three suites -- "El Dorado," "The Leavers," and "The New Kings" -- and the related composition ("Living in FEAR") are all, in one form or another, observations on fear: how it is created (fear-mongering), how it is controlled (via politics and media), how it affects people. The other composition ("White Paper") is mostly a meditation on love -- in this case, "dying" love -- though it seems that the love is dying at least in part as the result of the prevailing atmos-fear. Thus, while it is a tad more "jarring" in this context then the similar inclusion of love on Brave, there is no question that love is also a victim of fear.
The album opens with "El Dorado," a five-part composition that describes the plight of immigrants, and the roadblocks (both figurative and literal) that they often encounter, particularly including xenophobia:
"The roads are traveled by many, like promises of peace./And some choose not to go -- the fear looks like bravado./I see them waiting, smiling, on the borders in dawn's mist,/Or lost to the world in their upturned boats"/"I see myself in them, the people at the borders/Denied our so-called golden streets,/Running from demolished lives into walls."
It doesn't get much more concise, and understandably cynical, than that. In fact, this suite makes an interesting companion piece to "Gaza" (from their previous album, Sounds That Can't Be Made): where the latter (a 17-minute epic) is specific to a certain group, the former (another 17-minute epic) deals with a broader scope. It is also interesting to note that this album was written and recorded well before the Brexit vote, and could be seen as somewhat prescient in that regard.
"Living in FEAR" is a more generalized look at fear, and particularly the responses it creates, not least including a variety of "walls" (again, both literal and figurative). Noting specific walls and "lines not to be crossed" (the Great Wall of China, the Maginot Line, the Berlin Wall -- all of which are called "a waste of time"), it also speaks to the "walls" that people themselves put up when they are afraid.
That observation is made against a hopeful call for some sort of normalcy:
"The key left in the outside of the unlocked door isn't forgetfulness --/It's a challenge to change your heart./The apple pie cooling on the windowsill is such a welcome change/From living in fear -- year after year after year./There's a price to pay, living in fear is so very dear./Can you really afford it?"
There is also a call to "put down our arms" ("We've decided to risk melting our guns -- as a show of strength").
Although least "political," the second suite ("The Leavers") puts the band in the center of the story -- after all, touring allows for a degree of observation of the world that is perhaps only shared by true "world travelers." The band sees itself as "Leavers" -- "parties that travel" -- who show up for a day or two and then move on. They arrive "before dawn," and "slip in from ring- roads," bringing their "boxes of noises, boxes of light": "We will make a show and then we'll go." They juxtapose themselves against the "Remainers": those who "remain in their homely places" (i.e., lead normal lives), and sometimes "try to persuade us, and tame us, and train us and save us and keep us home as we try to fit in with the family life." But once in a while, the Remainers "leave their homely places with excited faces -- preparing their minds for a break from the sensible life" (i.e., a rock concert)..."[I]n one sacred ritual, we all come together -- We're all one tonight."
As noted, although "White Paper" is something of an "outlier" here, it nevertheless provides a look at how fear can affect love -- and vice-versa.
"The New Kings" is the angriest and most sardonic of the three suites. It addresses money and media, plutocrats and oligarchs. Re money, it is decidedly less than kind:
"We are the new Kings, buying up London from Monaco./We do as we please, while you do as you're told./Our world orbits yours and enjoys the view,//From this height we don't see the slums and the bums on the street./Oceans of money high in the clouds/But if you hang around, more often than not it will trickle down./We're too big to fall, we're too big to fail."
Even Gordon Gekko gets a shout-out ("Greed is good").
With respect to the media, the following plaint by a confused citizen pretty much nails the cynicism of many people (including conspiracy theorists):
"We saw the crash on the news today/It changed our lives -- but did it really happen?.../I don't know if I can believe the news/They can do anything with computers these days."
As an aside, it is interesting to consider "The New Kings" in light of the following from Brave's "Paper Lies":
"Are we living only for today?/It's a sign of the times --/We believe anything and nothing./When you look into the money/Do you see a face you hardly recognize?/When you get behind the news of the world/Do the things you find begin to bend your mind?/Paper lies."
As noted, after 22 years, not only has nothing changed, but it seems to have gotten worse.
But the band leaves its bitterest anger at the "approaching storm" (which may well already be here) for last:
"Remember a time when you thought that you mattered/Believed in the school song, die for your country/A country that cared for you -- all in it together?/A national anthem you could sing without feeling used or ashamed./If it ever was more than a lie, or some naïve romantic notion/Well, it's all shattered now./Why is nothing ever true?.../On your knees, peasant. You're living for the New King."
Although Marillion (and particularly Mr. Hogarth) has always dabbled in socio-politics, it has become increasingly present -- and the band increasingly concerned -- of late. In this regard, F.E.A.R. is a shamelessly -- and understandably -- angry set of observations, and brings their socio-politics to a fine (rapier-like) point.
Musically, if Marillion's three strongest musical influences are (as I have always felt) Genesis, Pink Floyd and the Moody Blues, this album is strongly (and superbly) Floydian, with nice touches of the Moodies, and only occasional Genesis influence. (Indeed, the electric piano figure in "The Gold," and some other keyboard figures, could have been lifted from PF's Animals. And much of the guitar work throughout has a wonderfully Gilmour-ish sensibility.) This is actually not surprising (and is meant as a compliment), given that PF are the masters of the kind of "dystopian" rock that F.E.A.R. represents. And although everyone in the band is superb -- and there is a deceptively brilliant cohesion that approaches a sort of uber-gestalt -- this album is largely Mark Kelly's (with a more-than-able assist from guitarist Steve Rothery): although Mr. Hogarth undoubtedly plays some piano parts, it is Mr. Kelly's piano and keyboards (along with the atmospheres and effects created in the studio) that undergird nearly the entire album. And this, too, is not surprising, since this is true of almost every great concept album in prog.
As suggested above, there are also quite a few allusions (subconscious or not), both lyrical and musical, to Brave. In fact, after you have had a chance to truly take this album in, I invite you to go back and read the lyrics to Brave, and then listen to Brave again. And this is not in any way a criticism of F.E.A.R.: if anything, it is another compliment. Indeed, the only reason I am rating this album 4.5 instead of five stars is that I gave five stars to Brave; and while this album is superb in every way -- and harks back to that masterpiece -- it does not quite reach the frightening brilliance of its predecessor.
Finally, there is an aspect of this album that I have not found with any other concept album in memory. [N.B. This is where even curious readers who are reading this before listening may want to stop and listen to the album first. I am quite serious. I'll give you a little time to think about it. (Tick-tock-tick-tock?)]
What I have discovered is that the five pieces are strangely "inter-changeable." What I mean by this is that the song order can be changed, not only without changing the overall concept, but, in at least one case (and I admit this is hopelessly presumptive) possibly strengthening it.
This thought first occurred when I received the album as a download, with the song "Tomorrow's New Country" closing the album, even though it appeared on the lyric sheet as the sixth ("vi") part of "The Leavers." When I contacted Marillion to make sure this was the correct placement, I asked, if it was, whether it was deliberate: i.e., an attempt to "soften the blow" at the end of "The New Kings." The response was, yes, it was meant as an "antidote" (their word), and was deliberately moved from "The Leavers" to the end of the album (though the lyric sheet still reflected its original place).
So -- I decided to see what the album would sound like putting "Tomorrow's New Country" back in its "proper" place. And the effect was remarkable. Not better or worse, just -- different, in a surprising (and even conceptually relevant) way. (Once you have heard the album in its given order a few times, I highly recommend programming it to do this -- just for fun, if nothing else.) Then, feeling as I do about "White Paper," I decided to test a theory, and played the five pieces in a couple of different orders entirely (while keeping the three suites in order). The order that surprised me most (in a positive, eyebrow-raising way) with respect to expressing the overall concept (and also working together "musically" from one track to another) was starting with "White Paper," playing the three suites in their present order one after the other, and ending with "Living in FEAR." Again, I am not suggesting that the order chosen by the band is "wrong" in any way. After all, the band's "vision" is the one that counts, and there are reasons (good ones!) that they chose the song order that they did. I am simply suggesting that, unlike most (maybe any) concept albums you've heard, there is an interesting ability to "play around" with the placement of the two non-suites, and maintain both conceptual and musical integrity.
Ultimately, F.E.A.R. is a superb album (and, like all great albums, gets better with each listen), and a welcome addition not only to Marillion's oeuvre, but to the prog concept album canon. Kudos to one of the few bands that keeps neo-prog not simply alive, but thriving and -- progressing. And a band that has genuine care and concern for the world around them and the people who live in it.
Ian Alterman

FEAR, or, to put it a little bit more bluntly, Fuck Everyone And Run, is the eighteenth studio album by Marillion, keenly anticipated by those of us who crowd funded the venture via Pledge Music what seems like eons ago. When my cd arrived, gloriously on time, on 23rd September, it was signed by the band, and I took myself into the dungeon of my study to immerse myself into new music by my favourite band.
A little over an hour later, I went back into the sitting room and the metaphorical bosom of my lovely wife. "Well, how was it?". "Erm, okay, well, I'm sure it will turn out really good". Not exactly a ringing endorsement, in all honesty.
This feeling stayed with me for the first three listens. Then, over the next couple of listens, the album began to connect. And, then, it hit me.
This is not an album that you walk away from early thinking it has classic written all over it. It is just about the slowest slow burner I have ever known. But, when it does hit you, by God, it is like a sledgehammer, because this is an extremely special piece of work.
For me, it was towards the end of the second phase of El Dorado, The Gold, when the band do what they have always done at their best, a multi-layered wall of sound accompanying a deliciously beautiful Steve Rothery solo.
The piece itself introduces us gently with some birdsong, before a rather ominous second sub-section, with Kelly roaring, announces itself to us with a delicate interplay between the band, a gentle piano recurring throughout the work, before said wall of sound asserts itself with some huge passages of wonderfully produced power - no review of this album, by the way, could go without mentioning with a great deal of respect the work Mike Hunter has put in to bringing out the best of his musical charges. The FEAR sub-section then brings the listener into the intensity and emotion of all that follows perfectly.
I do not think that the band themselves have ever sounded better. Mark Kelly is plastered all over this work, with a mixture of intelligent sounds that deceive with their apparent simplicity, although the key word here is apparent, because his efforts simply lead the band in both direction and tone. This is quite simply the sound of a keys player who has become the genre's finest modern exponent.
Steve Rothery adds some lovely trademark touches (and it is still the case that a towering Rothery performance is the key to a towering Marillion performance), whether it be by virtue of his effectively rhythm guitar backing swirling keys, to lead guitar bursts which make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, whilst Pete Trewavas and Ian Moseley are quite simply doing well what they have always done well, leading the charge with a backdrop which, at turns, excites, and then drags the music back to the mellow places it intended.
And what of the vocalist and lyricist I admire above all others, a certain Mr h? The title of the album is stark, to say the least. Fuck Everyone And Run. Fuck them all. The rich bastards responsible for digging ever deeper the grave of poverty of ordinary people around the world. The abandonment of the traditional country, and values, on the sword of run away capitalism. This, combined with some deeply personal lyrics as well, Is a forceful statement by a man who is approaching his sixties, and feels he has to make his feelings clear to the world, and life, before it becomes too late. He manages it with aplomb, not a celebrity moaning in the pages of a cheap "lifestyle" mag, but setting his thoughts out plainly in a wonderfully sincere work of art.
And the songs? Living In Fear, which follows El Dorado, is one of those hugely enjoyable Marillion tracks which combines progressive rock with commercial sensibilities, and fairly races along, with the band moving things along at an incredible rock pace, pushing Hogarth's vocals to the very limit. The Kelly lead two thirds in when there is a short pause in the intensity is lovely, this before the pace becomes something akin to Usain Bolt on speed, with a soaring guitar and band accompanying a choral mix of screams.
What follows next, though, is simply a classic, a track which deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as past glories such as The Great Escape, Neverland, Real Tears for Sale, and The Invisible Man. The Leavers is a staggering creation, and one which, above all, requires a very patient set of listening sessions before being fully appreciated. The track itself is split into five sub-sections, telling the story of The Leavers and Remainers. It is not, by the way, a reference to the Brexit debate in the recent UK Eu referendum - the lyrics were, I believe, written well before that. As with all of the finest lyrical songs, there is ample room for the listener to put his/her own interpretation on what the writer is trying to convey. My take on this (and I have not seen any documentaries explaining this, as I believe such programmes rather spoil the fun) is that we are, as a race, split between two differing tendencies, those who will fight for all they believe in and tough things out, including their support for favourite bands, loved ones, causes, and those who simply leave, sometimes because they feel they have no choice, but find themselves in tremendously difficult circumstances sometimes as a result, including the opprobrium of the people's they encounter, unfairly most of the time.
Whatever Hogarth's intent, this track has some sublime moments. It features all that is best about the later work of this great band, from staggeringly intense rock, to the sublime interplay, delicately phrased, between Rothery, Kelly, and Trewavas (who is more and more a bassist in the Squire and Entwistle tradition of playing lead with his bass) on part three. The piano work on this, by the way, adds such a delicate layer of subtle beauty to proceedings that you stare agog at the speakers, with this and Hogarth's fragile voice crying at you. Then, midway through part four, Jumble of Days, one of the most urgent of Rothery solos cries out plaintively, with an incredible wall of sound from Kelly backing. The intensity of the music towards the end, "you won't be much use to us dead", is astounding. The pace relaxes again in the intro to part five, One Tonight, with some delicate guitar and piano underlaid by a sensitive Trewavas riff, before there comes one of those rare moments in music. One of those moments, when the band turn up the intensity to White Heat, before Hogarth, who has never sounded better than in this section, cries out with such feeling to break your heart, "We Come Together", and then Rothery sings to us against a backdrop of pure lovely noise, and at the end you really just have to hit the pause button, have a drink, have a cigarette, just simply take a break to recover. Simply wonderful, and up there at the top, end of.
White Paper is the most personal lyrically on the album, with those lovely keyboard textures backing Hogarth bearing his soul. This is a mournful and deeply moving prog ballad, accompanied by bursts of urgent energy musically, and has nothing of filler in it whatsoever.
The album has three tracks, spilt into sub-sections, over fifteen minutes long (and if that does not have true prog fans slavering at the mouth, then, really, nothing will), and the last of these is The New Kings. This was the track made available a few weeks prior to the official album release as a download to keep us "pre-orderers'" happy. I gave it a few listens, but it was not really until I heard it in the context of the whole album that I really began to appreciate this fine piece of music.
It is, by far, the most political lyric ever set to music by the band. It continues a fine tradition begun, all those years ago, by Forgotten Sons. Indeed, I would place a fair wager that a certain Mr Dick would rather wish he had written this. Quite honestly, it does not really matter what your politics, because Hogarth sets to music the indelible unfairness of a system which allows such avarice and greed to go unchecked, with such awful consequences to the rest of the ordinary population. Musically, it takes the themes of the opener to their natural conclusion, and it is here that the track works so well. The cover of Brave proclaimed that we should play it loud, with the lights out. This one is exactly the same, because it absolutely soars in places, and is incredibly intense, with Moseley and Trewavas never sounding so good at shoving the music along, a lead rhythm section to beat all others. I adore the female vocals which adorn parts of sub-section four, Russia's Locked Doors. We are all, in one way, or another, working for The New Kings, who are truly "too big to fail", and the band provide us with an incredible wall of sound to emphasise the pain and intensity which those lyrics correctly convey, especially when we listen to the emotions plaintively put across at the staggering and scary happenings when a passenger jet, full of innocent families, is brought down by Russian state missiles. The closing section, Why Is Nothing Ever True, is as heavy as the band have ever sounded, and the dripping venom of the lyrics panning those who got us all into this sorry state hit home with unerring accuracy.
To close, we have the inevitable short comedown that is Tomorrow's New Country, an opportunity for us all to come down as gently as is possible, given the raw emotion which preceded it.
This is an incredible album. It is an album which absolutely demands repeated listening, not just to "get it" in the first instance, but to grow to appreciate just what a work of staggering musical art it is. This album is right up there with the band's finest. It deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Script, Brave, This Strange Engine, and Marbles. I cannot award it anything less than a masterpiece rating.
A final thought. There are not many bands on this site who, eighteen studio works in, can still lay claim to being able to record and release such vital and relevant music. For those of you "neo-prog haters", I can only say this. Marillion have, once again, shown themselves to be the masters of intelligently written, and intensely performed, progressive rock. This is not traditional neo. This is traditional fine rock music, end of.
A masterpiece of modern progressive rock music, which comes extremely highly rated.
Steve Lazland

A new Marillion album is always something of an `event' or cause for great celebration in the progressive rock community. The legendary late-Seventies group who completely transcended their Fish-era Neo-Prog origins and morphed into a contemporary-sounding crossover band went on to scale even greater heights with the arrival of vocalist Steve Hogarth, and it is this version of the band over twenty-five years later that remains stronger, more vital and more divisive amongst listeners than ever. Their eighteenth studio album `F.E.A.R' may not be a huge leap into unexpected territory for the group, but all the trademark moody and unhurried compositions, tender singing, cryptic lyrics and subtle instrumentation are there, as well as the disc being less concerned about including some of the catchier, more single-aimed pieces this time around - this one seems especially made for Marillion's loyal fanbase that have supported them making their distinctive type of music over the years, and it is those followers who will be the most rewarded.
`F*ck Everyone and Run' is an appropriate title for the frequently heavy lyrics and creeping dread of the themes that permeate the entire disc, although little traces of light and hope filter through here and there, and Steve Hogarth's smooth yet weary voice perfectly conveys the sadness of his words. Despite him dominating much of the sixty-eight minute disc, as always the first-rate musicians around him play with great subtlety, only rising up when more power is needed to lift the music in the more dramatic moments, which the band do with an exemplary skill like no other group. Four of the six compositions (although indexed into 17 separate tracks, so keep the CD booklet handy!) on offer present Marillion at their most measured and uncompromising, with only a couple of shorter pieces in between the longer works offering more direct tunes, although never close to being simplistic or radio-friendly.
Marillion are a textbook example of a band that can rarely be enjoyed instantly on a surface level and first listen, instead constant replays are needed to allow for the many meticulous and carefully arranged pieces to unveil their intricacies. Sure enough, risky five-part opener `El Dorado' is very slow to reveal itself and initially comes across as five fragments strung together, but a careful build and cohesive sense of flow gradually emerges after numerous listens. Soft acoustic guitar opens the disc over Hogarth's reflective words, a final twist bringing a sense of foreboding. Mark Kelly's icy synths (and yes, there are traces throughout this track that remind of their Neo sound of old!) and haunting electric piano rise in prominence, Pete Trewavas' bass grumbles along in the backdrop beside Ian Mosley's steady beat as Steve Rothery's majestic and perfectly executed slow-burn electric guitar soloing takes flight. Slinking electronics take a darker turn with the frequently melancholic lyric, with a growing heaviness that twists into the band building up a stormy air of desperation before a delicate, almost hopeful ending.
The first shorter piece, `Living in Fear' is a more compact pop/rocker that never aims to be radio-catchy, but it's still more straight-forward and instantly melodic than what came before, with the song holding a defiant air in amongst shimmering guitars and warm Hammond organ.
Nineteen-minute opus `The Leavers', compared to the fairly gloomy opener, is more optimistic and beautiful. Twinkling electronics glisten brightly and dreamy guitars chime sweetly before the piece suddenly bursts to life with a confident up- tempo beat, thick insistent grooving bass and a freed vocal swoon that turns chest-beating from Hogarth to instantly give the album a rush of energy. Pristine ambient passages, ruminative piano interludes with weeping guitar strains and grand orchestral symphonic synths all feature in amongst powerful bombastic blasts, and the victorious pomp in the climax all help to leave the impression that this is an anthem-like modern Marillion classic full of warmth and great hope, one their fans are sure to go crazy for.
`White Paper' is the next shorter break, an emotional ballad with energetic little poppy spots to fire up the stark piano, all driven by Hogarth's sombre and achingly personal vocal that always remains dignified and sympathetic.
Then it's back for one more lengthy workout, and the near-seventeen minute `The New Kings' sees Marillion at their most heavy and inspired. It's especially a superb showcase for both Rothery, who's guitar weaves in and out of the piece with great power and the effortless skill that only a master guitarist can deliver (and he's frequently proudly `proggy' with lengthy soloing spots too!) and the powerhouse drumming of Ian Mosley, who's given so much to do on this track, offering plenty of expertly delivered variety. A damning political lyric is given life by stirring orchestration, doomed organ, snarling guitar and pounding drums, often set to Hogarth's deceptively tragic sweetly purred falsetto vocal. The extended instrumental build and haunting female chorus vocal of the middle passage `Russia's Locked Doors' is simply sublime, leading to a ferocious and breathless ending of runaway piano and cinematic synths. `Tomorrow's New Country' is then simply a sparse and haunting two-minute coda to close on.
Despite Hogarth being such a charismatic singer, the disc is very lyric/vocal heavy and could have done with more purely instrumental passages, which completely make the album take flight and grab the attention when they do show up. But it's hugely satisfying when the band deliver dense and challenging works like this in comparison to their more straight-forward `song'-based albums such as `Somewhere Else', and they constantly remind why they're such prog-rock icons when they're at their most complex, confident and personally self-indulgent as they are here.
It takes years and later perspective to figure out which Marillion works are their defining releases, but for now, `F.E.A.R' is the kind of album that connects with the most intelligent and patient of progressive music listeners, and it's another smart and carefully considered artistic success for this prog-rock institution.
Four / Five stars.
Michael H

A new renaissance for Marillion!
My relationship with Marillion has been an idle one for quite a few years now. I'm a big fan of the classic Fish era material and do enjoy the early Hogharth era releases up until Afraid Of Sunlight, yes that includes the somewhat controversial Holidays In Eden. After 1995 the band continued their cycle of album releases which to me sounded pretty bland and unfocused. The band did manage to get praise for the 2004 release Marbles but I'm still not entirely sure why it's such a popular release. Maybe it has to do with the band finally getting their first cohesive release in years? After two more releases Marillion finally hit rock bottom with the release of Less Is More, a studio album which consisted of new acoustic arrangements of some previously released tracks. To me it sounded like the band was no longer even trying to make any new creative choices and instead were just pandering to their existing fanbase.
Then something happened with the release of Sounds That Can't Be Made, which partly could be attributed to Steve Hogharth's strong lyrics that moved away from his otherwise very personal reflections and became more concerned with the world of today. I remember hearing Power for the first time at a concert and taken by the delivery and message of the new material. After listening to the entire Sounds That Can't Be Made I was definitely impressed by many of the compositions but there were still a few lesser tracks that dragged the overall experience for me.
Four years passed and a new Marillion album was beginning to make headlines. At first I was only barely enthusiastic about the news, writing off Sounds That Can't Be Made as a minor spark in the band's catalog and assuming that they'll get back to business as usual on F E A R... how wrong it was of me to assume this! After hearing the EP The New Kings, which predated the release by a few month, my mind definitely began to change since what I was hearing on this four part suite was a more aggressive and revitalized band. Musically the material is fueled by genius keyboard arrangements by Mark Kelly, which don't distract from the overall flow of the music while creating just enough groove for the other band members to contribute to. Steve Rothery performs some of his most memorable guitar work in years, which could be attributed to the new energy that he's received by working on his solo work with the Steve Rothery band. Ultimately it's Steve Hogharth's lyrics and vocal performance that completes the material and makes it some of the most memorable work from Marillion in decades!
The album consists of merely six compositions, three of which take up more than 75 % of the album time and thus are the backbone of this marvelous album. Of the three I probably enjoy El Dorado and The New Kings the most but The Leavers is not far behind the other two. These three compositions have an overall theme that reflects upon the current state of affairs in the world and taps in the dark side of the politics and world economy. The three remaining shorter songs are by no means lesser than the rest and manage to complete the transitions between the multi suite tracks. Living In F E A R is probably my least favorite composition on the album but it's mostly due to it's last 2 minutes which, in my opinion, could have been omitted from the track. White Paper is my favorite of the "shorter" tracks due to it's sleek progression, which almost makes it a multi suite in a mini format, and the strong melodic hooks in the vocal delivery. Tomorrow's New Country finishes off the album with an epilogue and makes me wonder whether this is the new direction that Marillion is planning to expand on in the future? I guess only time will tell.
To me F E A R is the best Marillion album since the 1987 release of Clutching At Straws but the journey here was long and quite a bumpy one. Please give this album at least three spins before making your judgment. For me it took more than 10 repeated listens for the tracks to settle into what I now consider an excellent release from one of the under-appreciated band's of modern progressive rock.
***** star songs: F E A R (4:07) The Grandchildren Of Apes (2:35) Vapour Trails In The Sky (4:49) White Paper (7:18) Fuck Everyone And Run (4:22) Russia's Locked Doors (6:24) Why Is Nothing Ever True? (3:24)
**** star songs: Long-Shadowed Sun (1:26) The Gold (6:13) Demolished Lives (2:23) Living In F E A R (6:25) Wake Up In Music (4:27) The Remainers (1:34) The Jumble Of Days (4:20) One Tonight (3:56) A Scary Sky (2:33) Tomorrow's New Country (1:47)
Alexander Peterson

Me cansé de copiar, tienen muchos comentarios en la web si quieren leer más, y en todos los idiomas que quieran. espero les guste.




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