Camel

Marillion - An Hour Before It's Dark

Kev Rowland, Marillion - An Hour Before It's Dark

40 years ago, a “new” progressive rock band released their debut single, “Market Square Heroes” and I rushed out to buy it on 12” and was blown away by what I heard. I followed their career avidly but for one reason or another it wasn’t until the ‘Misplaced Childhood’ tour that I finally saw them play, by which time I was a huge fan. Then it all changed. I have seen them multiple times since Hogarth joined, and have all the albums, and when I came back to the UK in 2017, they played the festival I was attending but to be honest I was thoroughly bored. That they are very good at what they do is never in doubt, but they are a band who have left me behind and I still believe their best recorded works are the first four albums combined with material they were playing prior to their debut.

But, they are a band I keep going back to, and while these days they do not perform music I really want to listen to for pleasure, there is no doubt there are still a great many fans who do not feel the way I do, so when I heard they were releasing their first album for six years I knew I would end up getting it. It always takes me time to adjust to their style, as to me this often feels less than a band but more of a singer with accompanists, but once I got past that I realised here was a group who have produced something which in many ways is a step in the right direction. Hogarth is still front and centre of course, and there is not nearly enough Rothery, but there is more of an edge here and it is not so clinical and sterile as much of their music has been in more recent years.

The result is an album which is intensely listenable and to my ears is probably the best thing they have released in the last 30 years. Does it stand up against material they recorded with Fish? No. The band may share the name and personnel yet are a very different beast, but there is no doubt there is a spark here which has been missing from much of their output. There is more depth and variety, and this leads to an album which is enjoyable, and while never truly essential is certainly worthy of investigation even from old cynics like me who felt their best years were well and truly behind them.

MLWZ album na 15-lecie