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MARILLION/THIS STRANGE ENGINE (

In 1997 Marillion released "This Strange Engine" in Europe and began to tour in support of it. The plan was that by the time they got to the US the album would have also been released here. Murphy stepped in, their US record company went bust, and they found themselves touring the US in support of an album that was only available as an expensive import. While the die-hard fans still supported the band, few new fans were converted because they simply hadn’t heard the new album yet. Regardless of the circumstances, the band made the most of their US tour and turned in some of the best Marillion shows ever.

A couple months later "This Strange Engine" was finally released in the US but the band was already back in Europe. A big part of the music business is being lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. In 1997 Marillion wasn’t so lucky and unfortunately "This Strange Engine" never brought a larger audience to the band. Don’t let the unfortunate circumstances keep you from seeking out the disc though. "This Strange Engine" is another step further for Marillion. The band survived the departure of their lead vocalist, Fish, several years ago and has been steadily rebuilding themselves ever since. Fish’s replacement, Steve Hogarth, is now a fully integrated part of the band and Marillion is back on track for even greater success in the future.

The disc opens with "Man Of A Thousand Faces," a track that slowly builds to a climax. "80 Days" is the song that coulda, shoulda, woulda been a big hit if the timing thing had worked out. It also a perfect example of how the band can compose for the ‘pop/rock’ audience when it wants to. Marillion is still rooted in the progressive section but in reality a crossover song will be what gets the most attention and builds their audience. On this release "80 Days" was the potential crossover hit. This disc closes with the 10 minute plus title track which is pure Marillion at their best.