Most likely, the unfavorable conditions we have been living in the last two years have had a positive effect on several artists. Lately I have heard really great releases in which I see a spark, perhaps a result of reflection on the one hand and the strong desire of everyone to get back on the stage as soon as possible.
I got something like that from “An Hour Before It’s Dark”. Marillion, six years after the pretty good but also rather predictable “F.E.A.R.”, brings out a liveliness that I had to feel from the double release of “Happiness Is The Road”.
Despite the strange intro of “Be Hard On Yourself” that opens the album and which refers to symphonic music, the song, as well as the “Reprogram The Gene” that follows, have a pretty rock style and a freshness that personally gave me positive a positive feeling for what was coming next, which is a classic Marillion sound, inspired and as always in this particular band, extremely structured. Hogarth’s lyrics are more anthropocentric than ever, perhaps with an emphasis on what he wants and what he doesn’t want. I want to make a special mention of the amazing “Sierra Leone”, an almost eleven minute trek through the sand of a distant African country.
“An Hour Before It’s Dark” closes with the 15-minute LONG “Care”, depending on the format you’ve chosen. If you have got the double vinyl, just flip sides and put the 4th. If you’re playing the CD, you’ll need to wait for four minutes of silence to listen to the great “Murder Machine” in a 12 “remix.
Marillion’s new album is really something special and the most enjoyable thing is that it is not only addressed to the die hard and very demanding fans of the band, but to a much larger audience as well.