Our Top 10 Prog Albums of 2016

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1 BIG BIG TRAIN – Folklore
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2 MARILLION – F.E.A.R.
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3 HAKEN – Affinity
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4 RIVERSIDE – Eye Of The Soundscapetop5-riverside-eots

5 THANK YOU SCIENTIST – Stranger Heads Prevailtop5-tys-stranger-heads

6 SYD ARTHUR – Apricitytop5-syd-arthur-apricity

7 STEVEN WILSON – 4 1/2top5-sw-4-1_2

8 VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR – Do Not Disturbtop5-vdgg-do-not-disturb

9 STICK MEN – Prog Noirtop5-stick-men-prog-noir

10 OPETH – Sorceress
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Marillion – F.E.A.R (F*** Everyone And Run)

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Marillion’s 18th studio album – ‘F.E.A.R. (Fuck Everyone And Run) – was released on September 23rd, and once again the band deliver impressive music with a message. Review and photos by Tim Darbyshire.

With just 6 tracks spanning the 68-minute cd, the controversially titled ‘Fuck Everyone And Run’ is an honest, if at times depressing insight into Steve Hogarth’s  current world view. Change is coming, not for the better, and we have brought it on ourselves.

It’s best to let the Marillion front man describe the album’s main themes: ”This title is adopted not in anger or with any intention to shock. It is adopted and sung (in the song “New Kings”) tenderly, in sadness and resignation inspired by an England, and a world, which increasingly functions on an “Every man for himself” philosophy. I won’t bore you with examples, they’re all over the newspapers every day. There’s a sense of foreboding that permeates much of this record. I have a feeling that we’re approaching some kind of sea-change in the world – an irreversible political, financial, humanitarian and environmental storm. I hope that I’m wrong. I hope that my FEAR of what “seems” to be approaching is just that, and not FEAR of what “is” actually about to happen.”

Three mammoth tracks account for most of the album; the five part ‘El Dorado’ kicks off proceedings and clocks in at over 16 minutes long, ‘The Leavers’ also consists of five parts and is over 19 minutes in length and ‘The New Kings’ is over 16 minutes long spread over four sections. The multi-sectioned suites can be attributed to the band’s working methodology.  The band jam for weeks and studio engineer Mike Hunter extracts the highlights after endless hours of sifting through the music. Very much in the style of a committee, the band then rank these snippets and further develop the ideas they find promising.

Like all Marillion output, the listener really needs to dedicate the time to listen to the album a few times. Only after the fourth or fifth listen did it all start to click into place.  Full of melody throughout, ‘FEAR’ finds guitarist Steve Rothery’s evocative solos and keyboard player Mark Kelly’s lead lines share the limelight with Steve Hogarth’s vocals. Underpinning everything as usual is the reliable rhythm section of Pete Trewavas (bass) and Ian Mosley (drums).

‘El Dorado’ begins in an acoustic pastoral English style and is a lament at the disillusion felt by many people in Britain today, hence the lyric “We’re not green, we’re just pleasant.”  Occasionally reminiscent of Pink Floyd, the instrumental passages are rich and complex. ‘Living in FEAR’ is the most instantly accessible song on the album with its catchy chorus a kind of antidote to the seriousness of the rest of the material. ‘The Leavers’ would have to be my personal favourite on the album, a song which deals with the transient nature of many people in and around the touring world of rock musicians. The shorter ‘White Paper’ deals with the inescapable fact that we are all getting older, before ‘The New Kings’ sees Hogarth attacking the corrupt, self-serving elites (bankers, corporations etc) who ‘Fuck Everyone And Run’ – as in the banking collapse of 2008. The coda ‘Tomorrow’s New Country’ brings things to a gentle end.

Marillion of course have been doing things their own way for a long time now,  free of any record company interference. Once again crowd-funded (this time via Pledge Music), ‘FEAR’ draws from a wide colour of sounds, textures and emotions. It’s more consistent than its predecessor (2013’s ‘Sounds That Can’t Be Made’) and could even rival some of their strongest albums, 2004’s ‘Marbles’ or 1994’s ‘Brave’.

Click here to read my review of Marillion’s recent concert at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall.

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Marillion:

Steve ‘H’ Hogarth
Steve Rothery
Pete Trewavas
Ian Mosley
Mark Kelly

F.E.A.R. Track Listing:

1.El Dorado (I) Long-Shadowed Sun
El Dorado (II) The Gold
El Dorado (III) Demolished Lives
El Dorado (IV) F E A R
El Dorado (V) The Grandchildren of Apes

2.Living in F E A R

3.The Leavers (I) Wake Up In Music
The Leavers (II) The Remainers
The Leavers (III) Vapour Trails in the Sky
The Leavers (IV) The Jumble of Days
The Leavers (V) One Tonight

4.White Paper

5.The New Kings (I) F*** Everyone and Run
The New Kings (II) Russia’s Locked Doors
The New Kings (III) A Scary Sky
The New Kings (IV) Why is Nothing Ever True?

6.Tomorrow’s New Country

Marillion – Danforth Music Hall, Toronto – 31st October 2016

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To support the release of their eighteenth studio album  – F.E.A.R (Fuck Everyone And Run) – Marillion are back on the road. I caught the band at their recent Toronto show at The Danforth Music Hall. Words and pictures by Tim Darbyshire………….

In front of an enthusiastic near sell out crowd, Marillion delivered an eclectic two hours of music culled from all eras of their 35 year history. As well as focussing not surprisingly on material from the new album – F.E.A.R – Marillion wowed the crowd with favourites such as ‘The Invisible Man’, ‘King’ and ‘Neverland’ with the surprise final encore of ‘Kayleigh’, ‘Lavender’ and ‘Heart Of Lothian’ topping off a great evening.

‘The New Kings’ from ‘F.E.A.R’ certainly seemed to strike a chord with the majority of those in attendance. The message is clear,  corporate greed pervades society and human empathy seems to be dwindling.

Explaining the album’s title, Hogarth elaborates: “This title is adopted not in anger or with any intention to shock. It is adopted and sung (in the song “New Kings”) tenderly, in sadness and resignation inspired by an England, and a world, which increasingly functions on an “Every man for himself” philosophy. I won’t bore you with examples, they’re all over the newspapers every day. There’s a sense of foreboding that permeates much of this record. I have a feeling that we’re approaching some kind of sea-change in the world – an irreversible political, financial, humanitarian and environmental storm. I hope that I’m wrong. I hope that my FEAR of what “seems” to be approaching is just that, and not FEAR of what “is” actually about to happen”

Marillion have always done things differently of course. They are recognised as one of the first major bands to turn their backs on traditional record company involvement and have funded new releases by advance fan orders since 2001’s ‘Anoraknophopia’, including ‘F.E.A.R’. They have recognised the power of the internet, crowd funding and keeping everything in house to minimise costs. In exchange, fans are treated to signed limited editions, and ‘Marillion Weekends’ (fan conventions), and of course a band who can produce albums with no outside pressure from record company executives.

Hogarth naturally dominates proceeding throughout the evening – singing every word as if his life depends on it. Ably backed by almost ever-presents Steve Rothery, Mark Kelly, Pete Trewavas and Ian Mosley, he remains the centre of attention, and controls the stage by acting out the lyrics. The new material is greeted as enthusiastically as the earlier songs – I don’t know of many bands who would play a 16 minute new song – ‘El Dorado’ – as an encore. Clearly the band are relaxed on stage,  enjoying effortlessly playing complicated music live to devoted audiences.

It’s been four years since their last studio outing (‘Sounds That Can’t Be Made’), let’s hope we don’t have to wait that long for the next one.

Marillion are:
Steve ‘H’ Hogarth – vocals, keyboards, guitar
Steve Rothery – guitars
Mark Kelly  – keyboards
Pete Trewavas – bass
Ian Mosley – drums

Setist:
The Invisible Man
Power
Living in F E A R
Wave
Mad
Afraid of Sunlight
The New Kings: I. Fuck Everyone and Run
The New Kings: II. Russia’s Locked Doors
The New Kings: III. A Scary Sky
The New Kings: IV. Why Is Nothing Ever True?
King
Neverland

Encore:
El Dorado: I. Long-Shadowed Sun
El Dorado: II. The Gold
El Dorado: III. Demolished Lives
El Dorado: IV. F E A R
El Dorado: V. The Grandchildren of Apes

Encore 2:
Kayleigh
Lavender
Heart Of Lothian

Marillion Announce 2016 US/Canada Tour

Marillion will be spending a lot of 2016 on the road in support of their as yet untitled 18th studio album – happily the 13 date North American Tour includes 2 dates in Canada. Tickets are already on sale from the usual outlets and selling fast.

The new album is due around Spring, and once again the band are in partnership with PledgeMusic to fund the release:

http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/marillion

The band will be supported by John Wesley (live guitarist from Porcupine Tree) on all dates.

Tour Dates are as follows:

October 21: San Francisco The Regency Ballroom, CA
October 22: Beverly Hills Saban Theater, CA
October 25: Denver Paramount Theatre, CP
October 27: Chicago Vic Theatre, IL
October 28: Chicago Vic Theatre, IL
October 29: Northfield Hard Rock Live, OH
October 31: Toronto Danforth Music Hall, ON
November 01: Montreal Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre, QC
November 02: Québec L’Impérial Bell, QC
November 04: Boston Royale Boston, MA
November 05: Washington 9:30 Club, DC
November 06: Philadelphia Keswick Theatre, PA
November 08: New York PlayStation Theater, NY

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