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Latest News

June 2022 - Added some reference images used for the Clutching at Straws cover to the CaS intro page for that album. Added some details about Mark Wilkinson's Penge flat to the Script intro page.

An Hour Before It's Dark - Introduction

Introduction: An Hour Before It's Dark is Marillion's twentieth studio album (including Less = More and With Friends from the Orchestra) and the sixteenth with Steve Hogarth.

The album was recorded during
the COVID-19 pandemic. Steve Rothery, believing himself to be vulnerable, was not comfortable in being in the studio with the rest of the band for much of the period and contributed his parts from home until conditions changed sufficiently for him to feel confident to return. Otherwise, however, the writing and recording followed the established jam-record-compile approach of previous albums.

An Hour Before It's Dark Pre-release Roundup

Note: This page contains the information originally published on the An Hour Before It's Dark introduction page. When the album was released, this was replaced with the more conventional Explanations' intro page, but I wanted to retain the info.

Introduction: An Hour Before It's Dark is Marillion's twentieth studio album (including Less = More and With Friends from the Orchestra) and the sixteenth with Steve Hogarth.

Pre-release Information
On 03/08/21, Marillion announced a pre-order campaign for album 20. Unlike the campaign for FEAR, Racket will be handling this campaign themselves
in conjunction with Ear Music and Townsend Records. PledgeMusic, who did the FEAR campaign, having collapsed and been declared bankrupt in 2019.

Be Hard On Yourself

Introduction: The song was initially released to fans that had pre-ordered the album on 29th October 2021 (it had originally been planned for Nov 1st) with artwork by Simon Ward.

Reprogram The Gene

'Reprogram the gene'
DNA can be edited through genetic engineering. The most common way of achieving this is via the CRISPR gene editing technique. This uses a modified version of an antiviral defence system known as CRISPR-Cas9 together with a synthetic RNA guide into a living cell. This enables a gene to be cut at desired locations and new sequences to be inserted, or old ones removed.

Murder Machines

Introduction: Murder Machines was released as a streaming-only track on 4th February 2022. h said, "I tried not to write about the virus. But it's been so much a part of life for the past two years that it kept creeping in. The terrifying reality that to wrap my arms around a father or mother could ultimately kill them, gave birth to this song. The lyric was then developed to hint at jealousy and heartbreak - the pain of watching the woman you love embrace another man, or the emotional "murder" of the serial adulterer. And, of course, the arms of the superpowers, and the psychopaths who sometimes have their fingers on the triggers. Beware the murder machines..."

In an interview for Smashing Interviews Magazine entitled Marillion's Masterpiece of Waning Moments, h said, "We’ve just lived (and many in the world are still living) through a time when to embrace another human being could carry the risk of killing that person. Not being able to hug the people you love is such an unnatural notion for us to cope with – like being in prison. The thought was how Murder Machines started.

"My lyrics usually work on more than one level, sometimes several. You can kill someone by loving them, especially if that love is unrequited or "the love that dare not speak its name," and I'm not just talking about what Oscar Wilde was referring to – but all 'forbidden' loves. So the murder machine is the virus, but it can be people, too." Thanks to Paul Rose for sourcing that!

The Crow and the Nightingale

The Crow and the Nightingale
Steve Gutteridge remarked that the song title was strongly reminiscent of the way that Aesop's Fables are titled in the format 'the X and the Y'. Fables are stories containing anthropomorphised animals, creatures, plants or other inanimate objects and which have a moral. Some 720 tales are attributed to the ancient Greek Aesop, but scholars are agreed that many cannot be by him as they predate him.

Crows appears in 27 of the tales, while Nightingale appears in six, but as Steve notes, they do not appear together. Generally the Crow is depicted for its horrible squawking and the Nightingale for its beautiful songs.

Sierra Leone

Introduction: In an interview for Smashing Interviews Magazine entitled Marillion's Masterpiece of Waning Moments, h was asked how Sierra Leone fit into the theme of the album. He said, "It kinda doesn't in the sense that it's not a song about the environment or the pandemic. But on the other hand, it is a song which questions consumerism and is more about human dignity. This poor man has just found a diamond as big as his hand, and yet, he refuses to sell it. It’s a symbol of power and defiance, a power he has for the first time in his life. He has a power to say "No," a luxury he has never had before. So he lies on the beach and stares through it into the infinite." Thanks to Paul Rose for sourcing that!

Care

In an interview for Smashing Interviews Magazine entitled Marillion's Masterpiece of Waning Moments, h said, "Section one, Maintenance Drugs, was inspired directly by my friend, Conrado, in Mexico City, who discovered he had inoperable tumours along his spine. He underwent many sessions of chemotherapy, and whenever he was having the treatment, he would send me a WhatsApp message with a smiling and defiant selfie. So I accompanied him on his journey. I am happy to say he is now in remission and feeling very well.

This Strange Engine (WFftO version)

Introduction: For the version of This Strange Engine on the With Friends from the Orchestra album, an additional line was added. The line had long been included on the lyric sheets, but wasn't actually in the song.

According to
h on the Corona Diaries podcast, the musical section was felt to be too long, and therefore the line had been excised.