(All Album Reviews by Chuck AzEee!)
After four superb albums and genre defining albums, lead singer Fish end his turbulent tenure within the band, agreeing with the remaining members to go their separate ways. Fish's overall persona and lyricism would go with him as he would embark on a solo career.
The remaining four, keyboardist Mark Kelly, bassist Peter Trewavas, guitarist Stephen Rotherty and drummer Ian Mosley chose to soldier on and search for a lyricist/lead vocalist as the music was already being produced. The most of the songs in mention were actually songs that were being worked before Fish left, but due to musical indifferences, Fish never applied any lyrics to them. After a brief search the band had settled on lyricist John Helmer and within a few weeks settled on ex-Europeans lead vocalist, Steve Hogarth whom although he might not have been the lyricist Fish was, on Season's End proved that he could more than settle his own within the band.
As with every release since their debut, the Genesis/Camel/Pink Floyd albotross was fading and it is on this album where Marillion truly forge their own indentifiable sound but yet turned of many of loyal fans (like another well known prog band that switched vocalists and would later change their sound).
Marillion's fifth studio album and first with new lead singer, Steve Hogarth is a fantastic album, worthy of being mentioned in the top half of the best albums ever made by Marillion. The band members after years of gigging together had honed their musical chops to a more slicker rythym based musical direction which truthfully fits lead singer Steve Hogarth's emotive, angelic vocals to a tee.
The epics are still abound on Season's End but the music is more well produced than it was in the band's earlier days, and the album produced three UK singles, a radio edit of Hogarth-era opus, "Easter" (UK #34), the creepy rocker, "The Uninvited Guest" (UK #53) and the rift ladened "Hook's In You" (UK #30) is another enjoyable treat.
The majestic title track is one of the greatest prog songs of the latter 80's, which features a phenomenal guitar solo by Steve Rotherty and some emotional singing by Steve Hogarth.
An often overlooked album, but far from being a bad album, the classic recording known as Season's End is a shining moment in Marillion's career, and one of the great progressive rock albums of the Eighties.