1. The King of Sunset Town (08:02) 2. Easter (05:56) 3. The Uninvited Guest (03:50) 4. Seasons End (08:08) 5. Holloway Girl (04:27) 6. Berlin (07:44) 7. After Me (03:19) 8. Hooks on You (02:55) 9. The Space... (06:14)
1. The Uninvited Guest (12'' version) (05:03) 2. The Bell in the Sea (04:19) 3. The Release (03:44) 4. The King of Sunset Town (Demo) (05:33) 5. Holloway Girl (Demo) (04:47) 6. Seasons End (Demo) (08:01) 7. The Uninvited Guest (Demo) (03:53) 8. Berlin (Demo) (08:03) 9. The Bell in the Sea (Demo) (03:26)
CD I total: 50:39 | CD II total: 48:18
Первый альбом без Фиша. Вместе с ним из творчества Marillion исчез яркий образ Шута; не стало и уникального оформления Марка Уилкинсона, который тоже прекратил сотрудничество с группой. Для Marillion началась новая жизнь, а обложка Seasons End будто бы прощание со старой - если присмотреться, на ней можно найти элементы оформления их первых пластинок. Как и на любом альбоме Marillion, на Seasons End нет ни одной песни, написанной просто так, но и единой концепции тоже нет - она появится только через несколько лет на альбоме Brave, а пока что у обновленного коллектива получилась просто красивая и как всегда эмоциональная работа. Найденный после многочисленных проб вокалист Стив Хогарт, конечно, уступал Фишу в харизме, но объективно был отличным певцом. Большинство же музыки, попавшей на Seasons End, было написано еще до ухода Фиша, так что здесь без комментариев.
'Seasons End was officially the start of a new era for Marillion. Instrumentally, the band were still very much on the same page as Clutching at Straws, and while the three following albums could all be considered turning points (a descent into mediocrity, the finding of the Brave sound, and a departure from progginess respectively), the fact is that Fish was such a massive influence on the band that this album will always mark the beginning of the "Hogarth era"... for better or worse.
The liner notes of the 1997 reissue put the situation succinctly: "Hogarth is not remotely large, Scottish or introspectively drunk. That's the shadow he has to step out of." Where you stand on the vocalist largely determines which side of the divide you stand on with Marillion. Certainly I concede that Fish's afforementioned introspection may be regarded as the self-indulgent nurturing of the adolescent angst most of us gave up at, well, adolescence, and that Hogarth does indeed have impeccable technique and phrasing, and he certainly appears to be putting a lot of emotion in. However, I am a Fish fan, and more particularly a fan of Fish-era Marillion. For me, Marillion were a good band that Fish made great, and Steve Hogarth lacks that same magic.
So much for my taste in lead singers. Let's talk about the album.
Like those that came before it, this album is based around the Steve Rothery's guitar work. Unfortunately, there is a tendency here to find a good guitar riff and then not let it go. More than half of the tracks on Seasons End are based on just one or two guitar patterns. On a case-by-case basis, this is fair enough, but to me the overall effect is to make the album a little too predictable. The distinct lack of keyboard solos may have been a conscious decision or indicative of a lack of input from Mark Kelly, but either way, a few contributions from him similar to those on the first two albums may have served to liven up this album for me.
The two most memorable tracks are the two which were made for top forty radio, "Hooks in You" and "The Uninvited Guest." Both get in, make their statement, and get out. This is not normally a distinguishing factor in the music I like, but Marillion seems to have done songs better this way at the time. Of the longer tracks, "Berlin" probably works best, and its lyrics are quite poignant, coming as they did in the last years of the Berlin Wall.
The 1997 reissue is presented very well, full of liner notes that not only give a sense of what was happening at the time, but also occasionally act as an aid to appreciating the music. There is also a bonus disc, although there is less "must have" material here than on some of the other Marillion reissues. Two reasonably solid tracks that missed the final cut are here, as well as a fairly unexciting 12" remix of "The Uninvited Guest." The rest of the bonus disc is made up of early demos, which are interesting on an intellectual level, particularly to see how certain songs were smoothed out, and how small riffs can really lift a song by observing the effect of their absence. As a listening experience, however, I find them a little uninspiring. The finished versions are all better, and the original "Seasons End" is positively plodding.
This review may seem rather negative, certainly moreso than I intended. Unfortunately, most of this album's good points carry along a negative. The guitar work of Steve Rothery is very good, again, but here it carries too much of the load. Steve Hogarth is good, but for me he is no Fish. The singles are very strong, but I still prefer "Incommunicado." In the end, Seasons End is a good album, but it is not a great one. Then again, I like Fish's solo albums, so perhaps his shadow looms too large for me to see the light on this one.'