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*** Marillion -- This Strange Engine

Sadly, some albums suffer from comparison, and this is an example. There's really nothing major wrong with this 1997 release, but it had the misfortune to be released after the epic "Afraid of Sunlight" (truly brilliant, makes my top ten list of all time) and concurrent with Fish's "Sunsets on Empire", easily the best release of the year. Marillion has REALLY toned down the sound on this album -- with the exception of a rollicking "Hope for the Future" and the lengthy title track, Steve Rothery apparently hasn't been paying the power bill, result being a mostly acoustic album. The aforementioned tracks are two of the best, along with the memorable "Estonia", but this album comes out more like Steve Hogarth's "Ice Cream Genius" solo release than AOS. Its taken me four months to review this, mostly because I didn't want to give it such a low rating, but repeated listenings haven't changed my mind. The weakest release from this band since "Holidays in Eden".

Review by A. D. Jensen
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