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Marillion's albums are never predictable. With Steve Hogarth at the helm the band have come a long way from their art-rock beginnings with Scottish giant Fish. Although the group are still categorised as prog-rock, some of their albums - like this one - defy that label and show that Marillion refuse to be pigeonholed.
Produced between 1997 and 1998 and released in 1998 the style of the music in Radiation, the band's tenth studio album, mimicks that of young rock groups who were making it big at the time. The sound is contemporary - late 90's indie-rock and the lyrics fresh and relevant. This album was the beginning of a phase where Marillion seemed to be trying to compete with young, chart topping bands. The follow-up albums 'Marillion.com' and 'Anoraknophobia' both have this vibe too. There seems to be a preoccupation with showing that the band are in touch with modern trends and new technology. The songs have more edge and wouldn't sound out of place in a radio station playlist. Even the design of 'Radiation' is geared towards this goal of appearing fresh, young and super cool. A freaky, fire headed witch-creature, floating on a blood red sea adorns the front of the album.
The music on 'Radiation' has become better loved and appreciated over time. Initially after the release fans were quick to point out the weaknesses of the album. Since then songs like 'Cathedral Wall' and 'Three Minute Boy' have become much loved and praised.
'Costa del Slough' is not a song but an intro where Hogarth mumbles a little. It leads straight into 'Under the Sun' which is a rousing pop number. Hogarth has fun on this track and really shrieks into the refrain.
'The Answering Machine' is a strange indie number where Hogarth seems to sing from another dimension! It is upbeat and noisy.
'Three Minute Boy' is a tender, thoughtful reflection on the type of fame that many young artists encounter today - the brief fifteen minutes of fame scenario. It is a sad song, performed with maturity.
'Now She'll Never Know' is one of the weaker songs. It is not memorable. Hogarth whispers the lyrics and an accoustic guitar meanders along with him. The composition feels like a typical product of the mid-life crisis Hogarth was apparantly experiencing!
'These Chains' was the only single released. It has a miserable message and a slow, depressive rhythm opening with the lines: "Everything crashed, his wife left him. He lost all of his money and most of his friends...". The redemptive mood at the end of the song is way too long in coming. The chorus is easy to sing along too though.
'Born To Run' is also depressing and unhappy. It is like something performed by an old wino in a late night bar. The music has a understated jazz band feel and the vocal is just moaned.
'Cathedral Wall' is a fantastic piece which feels like it is something produced in the future! The jagged, shuddering keyboards and guitar voice are terrifying. Hogarth's vocal is sexy and menacing. His voice is doubled with an echo of himself - which seems to be his inner soul crying out in torment. The chorus has power and presence. If anything, the vocals end too soon and the instrumental ending fades away.
'A Few Words For The Dead' is a long track. Initially it is like the sound effects used in a ghost train. It is very experimental and strange. The refrain which bursts out of the silence is promising and entertaining, but by this time I have lost interest.
Overall, this album has a few good tracks on it. It is worth listening to if you are a Marillion fan.
Radioactive elements give out ionising radiation from their nuclei. This happens all the time, whatever is done to the substance. For example, radiation is still given out if the substance is cooled in a freezer or involved in a chemical reaction.
Radioactive elements are found naturally in the environment. The radiation they give off is called background radiation.
Three main types of radiation are emitted from radioactive atoms: alpha, beta and gamma.
Alpha radiation consists of alpha particles. These are identical to the nucleus of a helium atom, which comprises two protons and two neutrons.
Beta radiation consists of high-energy electrons that are emitted from the nucleus. These do not come from the electron shells or energy levels around the nucleus. Instead, they form when a neutron splits into a proton and an electron. The electron then shoots out of the nucleus at high speed.
Gamma radiation is very short wavelength (high frequency) electromagnetic radiation. This is similar to other types of electromagnetic radiation such as visible light and X-rays, which can travel long distances.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Costa del Slough
2 Under The Sun
3 The Answering Machine
4 Three Minute Boy
5 Now She'll Never Know
6 These Chains
7 Born To Run
8 Cathedral Wall
9 A Few Words For The Dead