After Fish's departure, Marillion teetered on the brink of collapse: The frontman's distinct voice and poetic prose made him the defining member of the band. One can only imagine how record executives held their collective breath as Steve Hogarth was brought in to take the reins. His first outing with band, 1989's Season's End, removed all doubts about the band's future. Hogarth's unique, expressive voice fit Marillion perfectly; on the full-throttle rock assault of "The Uninvited Guest" or the emotional "After You," Hogarth's singularity is unmistakable. The heartfelt "Easter," with its imaginative electric-acoustic arrangement, is another showcase for Hogarth's talents. Marillion's ability to write music whose ideals live and breathe in the listener continues on Seasons End, particularly on the inspiring "Holloway Girl," which dissects the injustice of incarcerating mentally ill female inmates (at England's Holloway Prison) instead of placing them in appropriate psychiatric facilities. The beautiful "Easter" is the band's plea for peace in Ireland, while "The King of Sunset Town" has its lyrical roots in the massacre at Tiananmen Square. Hogarth's flexible range and beautiful phrasing shine on the entire album. In 1999 Marillion released a remastered version of Seasons End, including a bonus disc of outtakes and alternate versions as well as the previously unreleased "The Bell in the Sea" and "The Release." Both are strong tracks and are welcome additions to the Marillion catalog. While 1995's Afraid of Sunlight is the peak of Marillion's growing, impressive body of work, Season's End shouldn't be missed either.
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AllMusic Review by Jeri Montesano