Marillion releasing a new album usually means that I receive something I ordered long time before. The grandfathers of Pledge/Kickstarter and the likes this time worked together with Pledge and I forgot when I bought the album, or which version it was. Luckily I opted for the special edition over a year ago, as both the artwork and the DVD add to the experience. As Marillion fans tend to be very fanatical about the band, let me put things into my perspective a bit before commenting on the album. I consider my taste in music far too wide to just hang on one band, but Marillion is my quiet place I return to in order to balance the Revocations reviewed earlier this week. I also like to brag that I discovered them early on and was there when they first toured outside the UK in 83 (and no there were not more than 100 people at most who came to see them that morning opening Parkpop) I believe the Fish years the best they ever did, but never stopped loving their music or seeing their shows. I do consider their weekends something out of this world, even though I decided to skip next year. I mean where can you walk around happy yet legless at night without ever seeing any aggression around and then go for a jog with members of the band only a few hours later, deciding you desere a few extra beers for that the next evening. Finally Marillion with their poetic lyrics always were there on deciding moments through my life. During highs :"Beautiful" kicking of the Brazilian BBQ that was our wedding and how cool is that, lows :"When I meet God" opening the ceremony of Taina's cremation, to farewells: quoting parts of "The Great Escape" in my farewell message after leaving the company I worked for for 16 years, who moved me to Brazil, indirectly brought me my wife and thus son and my Fluminense (just kidding Josie or am I?). So resuming I am a fan.
Marillion do not do bad albums, but they can slightly disappoint. After two of their less interesting albums (Somewhere Else and Happiness is the Road) their previous album Sounds that Can't be Made was a return to great form. Fuck Everyone And Run, sounds harsh at first, but stands for the protest album this became. During the last weekend in 2015 one of my favorite songs This is the 21st century was introduced as a song written at the start of our century. Expressing worries about the state of the world, noone could predict it would be that bad 15 years later. Marillion also always has their hippie/love/peace air around them. Those who enjoyed the Young Ones on TV in the eighties, shall remember Hippie Neil stating"Yeah, Marillion". Without providing all the answers or preaching Marillion have often before raised some topics for debate. From Forgotten Sons on their debut to Gaza on the last album. F.E.A.R is filled with doubts, worries and disappointments and as usual packed in the form of some beautiful lyrics "We've decided to risk melting our guns as a show of strenght". So the title of the album might sound harsh, in reality it could not be farther away from Rage Against the Machine's only hit. A more respectable Fuck so to say, coming much closer to making love really.
And what about the music? Well after releasing Anoraknophobia, there always is the risk of Hogarth being overly present. During first background listen I heard him over many a piano part again, but also the guitar of Steve Rothery is omnipresent. Rothery is to me and many Freaks and Anoraks the person Marillion is build around. It is not for nothing we use to call him God. As this album seems to be a grower with so many details opening up slowly also the guitar becomes even more present every time you hear the album again, Having heard F.E.A.R. now several times going through the lyrics in the booklet and paying attention to the music only I dare to state that in the long run this one might end among the best work they ever did with Hogarth, way up there with Brave. We have almost only epic songs, enormous variation and that guitar sound flying around all over the album. The movie on the DVD gives a full background on the songs, creations and meanings. Also some parts of the movies that shall be shown during live shows are included. This is just a very complete release and I was not expecting that Marillion would be able to surpise me like this. And now I have to come to terms with the fact that I decided to skip the 2017 weekend and did not buy a ticket in spring for one of their now sold out December shows. For the coming time F.E.A.R. shall do just fine though.