Exposé Online banner

Marillion — This Strange Engine
(Madfish SMACD981X, 1997/2012, 2CD)

by Dan Casey, Published 1997-10-01

This Strange Engine Cover art

Right from the beginning you will realize this is not the same Marillion we've heard on the previous two albums. "Man of a Thousand Faces" opens with a simple three-chord acoustic guitar pattern and a fairly straight-forward vocal line. And that's it. The basic philosophy on most of this album is a stripped-down, back-to-basics approach that generally results in a lot of wispy, light, melodic tunes that lack all of the post-production polish and ambience of their last two albums, for better or for worse. The bluesy "One Fine Day" and the salsa / island music of "Hope for the Future" mark the two out of eight duff tracks, while the beautiful "Estonia" and the 16-minute title track are the obvious highlights. In fact, the last passage of "This Strange Engine" is among the very best of the Hogarth-era Marillion. Building from almost nothing, they crescendo into a powerful climax while Hogie does some very impressive vocal gymnastics. Mark Kelly dominates most of the album with some very impressive soloing throughout, while Rothery mostly just sits back on his butt and strums away on the acoustic guitar. He does unload one cool solo on "This Strange Engine" but don't expect much more out of him. Overall, not their best, but not their worst either. There is enough strength here to warrant a recommendation, especially for the long-time fans.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 13, 2012 releases, 1997 recordings

Related artist(s): Marillion, Steve Hogarth

Latest news

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ain Soph - Five Evolved from Nine – This Japanese band has been around for a while and has put out some pretty damn good music. Unabashedly Canterbury influenced (album titles: Hat & Field, Ride on a Camel), it seems that Ain Soph...  (1993) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues