Marillion's "Seasons End" marked a pivotal moment for the band, as they ventured into the post Fish era with Steve Hogarth taking the reins as the group’s new frontman. Released in 1989, the album showcased Marillion's ability to evolve while retaining their musical DNA. Now over thirty years later listeners are treated to a full remix of the album that breathes new life into this classic progressive rock release, making it brighter, clearer, and better defined without losing the warmth of the original version. High resolution audio listeners will surely be most interested in the 3CD + 1 Blu-ray Deluxe Edition that features all new 48kHz / 24-bit LPCM Stereo and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mixes by Michael Hunter.
I found the surround sound mix to be very immersive, with discrete use of the back channels filled by guitar and keyboard parts. Instruments are spread widely across the front channels, including the tom-toms as well as the main keyboard and guitar parts. Bass is extremely resilient, kicking deep into the subs and the snare drum cracks defiantly from the center. Vocals are rich and clear spreading out with light reverberance, and the entire space feels rather open, allowing each element to breathe. Likewise, the dynamics are fantastic from the peaks to the valleys the range is superb, truly elevating the deptht of the music. For my ears this is one of the best sounding remixes from the Marillion deluxe edition campaign.
The album opens with “King of Sunset Town,” which cemented any apprehension fans may have had regarding the band’s new sound with the change in lead vocals. Prog still lives with the sophisticated and complex intro, held down by reassuring bassline from Trewavas, along with a resilient guitar solo from Rothery. Hogarth’s vocals are sweet and forceful while Kelly’s keys have taken on greater depth. This leads into “Easter,” which has gone on to be a crowd concert favorite and confirmed that Hogarth could sing both progressive rock and ballads. What adds wonder to this release is how excellent Michael Hunter’s remix has elevated this album to new heights, with subtle changes such as the prominent cuckoo at the end of “The Uninvited Guest,” which had been somewhat lost in the original mix. The title track features crisp guitars and vocals that are packed full of emotion. Berlin comes across warmer than the original while “The Space…” entering far behind the sweet spot, blends plenty of intertwined themes becomes a perfect end to this masterpiece.
Additionally, the bonus content found in the deluxe reissue is a real treat for fans. These include the live recording from the 2022 Marillion weekend in Leicester, featuring a complete performance of "Seasons End," which is an absolute gem. Also, the 1990 bootleg recording from Montreal provides a nostalgic glimpse into the band's past.
Plus, the package also includes a plethora of demos, B-sides, and early versions, catering to the completists' desire for rare material. The documentary films, especially "Seasons Change," provide captivating insights into the band's thoughts during this transitional period, making the set all the more compelling.
Though some may bemoan the change in artwork and the absence of specific live recordings, the reissue serves as an excellent document and update to Marillion's enduring legacy. The band has grown from strength to strength over the last three decades, and this release is certainly a celebration of their ongoing success. There is no doubt that "Seasons End" remains a classic album that has stood the test of time. The reissue package offers a comprehensive and engaging experience, well suited for both long-time fans and those discovering the band anew.
CD1: 2023 Album Remix by Michael Hunter
CD2 & CD3: Live at the De Montfort Hall – 29th May 2022
- Seasons End 2023 Remix
- Live at the De Montfort Hall, Leicester, 29th May 2022
- B Sides, Demos & Early Recordings:
- Montreal Bootleg, Le Spectrum, 2nd & 3rd February 1990:
- Seasons Change Documentary (Video)
- From Stoke Row to Ipanema Documentary (Video)
- Rock Steady Concert Film, Live at De Montfort Leicester 1990 (Video)
- Promo Videos
Released May 19, 2023.
3 CD + 1 Blu-ray Deluxe Edition with 48kHz / 24-bit LPCM 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mixes. Also available as on single CD or Vinyl, plus through streaming sites.
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About the Author
Wesley is a lifelong music enthusiast. He started his career in the recording industry in New York City as an audio engineer, producer, and studio manager. Subsequently he toured across America as a guitarist with the short-lived band Land's Crossing. After many years in the technology sector and amassing a substantial vinyl and CD collection, he delved into immersive audio and created Hi-Res Edition to share with other listeners about the sound quality and discrete mixes available on many formats. He recently upgraded his system to 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos and continues to seek out and share about the best sounding releases.