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  out of 4 Music Review: Anoraknophobia

Artist: Marillion
Genre: Alternative Rock
Release Date: May 2001

Review by Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
No rating supplied

Marillion is back with another new album in 2001 entitled "Anoraknophobia." The press release that accompanied the promotional copy of the CD claims the group has reinvented itself. The group also encourages all journalists to look upon Marillion differently than in the past. This is Marillion, and it sounds like them 100%. Yes, they have kept up with the times and kept it fresh and vital, they always have. This is still some of the best progressive rock being made today. They would rather shake the progressive rock tag, but they are what they are. There is nothing wrong with that as far as I am concerned. This band is still as valid and important as they always have been in my estimation.

Admittedly, there are some noticeable changes that have been made in their approach and sound. There are some very evident moments of pop and rock that come on slightly stronger than their previous release. If you are familiar with their sound you will realize quickly that particular component was always there in every album that they made, it just sounds more technologically advanced, or new if you will. In 1999 the album "" came out introducing the group's website and their album. That album was my introduction to the group. Since then, I haven't been able to get enough. Another point that was also made in the press release was true; you either love these guys or you have never heard of them. There is no middle ground when it comes to likes and dislikes; it's a fanatical and dedicated following, or none at all. Their loyal fans supported the financing of an entire tour and an album. All this transpired in advance of the album and the tour. Now that's dedication and belief in a group, it also ranks as unparalleled and unheard of in the music industry. That really tells the whole story about how important they are to the people that enjoy their music. I am one of those people that could easily become fanatical about their entire catalog, in fact… I was thinking about making sure that I had everything they have ever done in my collection soon.

There are some great songs on this CD. "This Is The 21st Century" gives notice that Marillion is still around and at the top of their game regardless of assumptions that they may be washed up or over aged rockers. It's a very long track, over ten minutes, and its musical ecstasy, or should I say prog rock excellence. "Map Of The World" is a bouncy made for radio pop-rock pearl that shows off Steve Hogarth's vocals in a very gratifying way. Hogarth really knows how to make a tune happen regardless of the style of music. He is quite diverse with his range and abilities. Steve Rothery's (guitar) moment in the spotlight is "If My Heart Were A Ball It Would Roll Uphill." It's a flat out rocker, and one of the best songs they have ever done. And no, it's not prog rock, its great rock and roll, plain and simple. "When I Meet God" is as lyrical provoking as it musically. It moves right along steadily like a car on cruise control. Each song offers the different shades and moods of the group in various ways. This album is possibly the most eclectic they have ever done.

Mark Kelly (keyboards) is a true artisan on the keyboards, adding just the right amount of strength and subtleness to every track, and always at the right time. Pete Trewavas (bass) is an unshakable rock on bass, and Ian Mosley (drums) is right with him every step of the way on the skins. All things considered, this is a very strong showing by all group members, beginning to end.

This is the same fantastic band that they always have been. I don't care what the band says, or what other critics say. They really don't need to defend nor shed their past, or prove anything to anyone. Everything they have ever done is something to be proud of, and so is this album. I love this group. Keep rockin' Marillion, your one of the best bands in the world, and you always have been.

1. Between You And Me
2. Quartz
3. Map Of The World
4. When I Meet God
5. The Fruit Of The Wild Rose
6. Separated Out
7. This Is The 21st Century
8. If My Heart Were A Ball It Would Roll Uphill



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