MARILLION – Marillion with Friends from the Orchestra
“Marillion with Friends from the Orchestra” is (apart from being a nice surprise) a compelling collection of songs that beautifully showcases the more cinematic scope and feel of Marillion’s expansive sound and style. It is refined and pristine, but it also ranges from brooding and introspective to loud and bombastic. In other words, this is magnificently dynamic and it is impossible not to be swept away by glorious pieces ala “This Strange Engine” and “Beyond You”. The sound is crystal clear yet warm, the balance between Marillion and the string ensemble (or orchestra, if you will) is near-perfect, and both parties complement and enhance each other’s respective parts and contributions to the opus enormously. One other important aspect that I wish to draw attention to here is that Steve Hogarth’s charismatic vocals are utterly amazing and carry so much weight and soul-stirring passion throughout the record’s nine majestic tunes that it defies description.
Even though “Marillion with Friends from the Orchestra” consists of re-worked compositions as opposed to brand new ones, this is a must-have if you are a follower of either the band or symphonic prog rock in general. There is more than enough here to warrant investigation – trust me on that.
Standout track(s): The 16-minute rendition of the aforementioned “This Strange Engine” is awe-inspiring, but the climactic finale that is “Ocean Cloud” serves as a close runner-up.