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MARKET SQUARE HEROES

Marillion

Neo-Prog


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Marillion Market Square Heroes album cover
3.90 | 105 ratings | 20 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 1982

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Market Square heroes (3:45)
2. Three boats down from the candy (4:33)
3. Grendel (17:40)

Total Time: 25:58

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Fish / vocals
- Mark Kelly / keyboards
- Mick Pointer / drums, percussion
- Steve Rothery / guitars
- Pete Trewavas / basses

Releases information

EP

EMI 5351

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to [email protected] for the last updates
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MARILLION Market Square Heroes ratings distribution


3.90
(105 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
33%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
50%
Good, but non-essential (13%)
13%
Collectors/fans only (2%)
2%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

MARILLION Market Square Heroes reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Walking across the sitting room, I put Marillion's first EP on

The first the world heard of Marillion, other than those who had come across their live performances, was this fine single (EP) release. It consists of three tracks, none of which appeared on an album until some years later.

"Market Square Heroes" is an upbeat sing-a-long with a slight Celtic feel. It is overtly commercial, and unprogressive, but lots of fun!

"Three boats down from the candy" is pretty forgettable "B-side" material. For obvious reasons, i.e. the length, "Grendel" only appeared on the 12" single version. With Marillion already sounding very similar to Gabriel era Genesis, they chose with this track, to clone parts of "Supper's ready", most notably the distinctive "Apocalypse.. " section. To be fair, "Grendel" is a very good track, well performed, and enjoyable, but it is impossible to listen to it without being constantly reminded of the band's bare face cheek in producing such a parody.

The tracks are all now available on CD on the "B- sides themselves" collection.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I only knew this EP once I had heard their first debut album "Script for a Jester's Tear". As an EP prior to full album release, it's yet another excellent collection of great songs the band has created. No question, I loved GRENDEL the first time I heard it. It's a story inspired by John Gardner book "Grendel". Well, don't ask me what the book is talking about because I'm not a novel afficionado. So, got no idea about which part of the book that inspires this track. Cuple of reasons why I loved "Grendel" the first time I listened to it, i.e. strong melody, easy for us as listener to emulate, simple yet wonderful composition where it has variety of tempo, nice keyboard and gutar playing and last but not least .. powerful voice quality by Fish. Some people reckon that this is a clone of Genesis "Supper's Ready". It's just simpler, I would say ...

"Market Square Heroes" did not really kick me the first time I listened to it. But, when I watch the "Recital of the Script" video .. I started to appreciate more about this track. This is a kind of track suitable for closing a concert, like "Starship Trooper" or "Roundabout" of YES. The version at "Real to Reel" as a continuation of Garden Party was also very nice and uplifting.

"Three Boats Down from a Candy" is really cool man. For those of you who like melodic music, this is your track mannnn...!!! I keep singing this track because it's nice and it's easy to emulate. Like a pop song but it's not really poppy I would say ...

Overall, this EP represents an excellent appearance of a just born prog band. Production and sound quality were not up to the standard. Musicianship also was not top class. Yet, it's great for your collection. Bravo Fish! - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Marillion's debut EP is a very strong precursor to the genious of Script for a Jester's Tear. The three songs presented here are very strong pieces that are filled with melody, superb musicianship, and outstanding lyrics from vocalist Derek Dick AKA Fish.

The opening track is very upbeat, and live was a highlight of the group. With a groovy melody and a marching beat to, the song rarely feels repetetive. Market Square heroes has a celtic feel to it, and it's a great sing-along tune. 4/5

Three boats down from the candy begins with a swaying melody that goes from high to low. The rest of the song is pretty forgettable. It's a good track, but nothing spectacular. The weakest on the EP. 3/5

Then comes the monster of the album... literally. Grendel has often been tagged as a Supper's Ready clone. Sure, the Genesis influence is there, but I get no feeling of them ripping off Supper's Ready. The lyrics are clear and concise, and are full of literary ties to the novel of the same name. The song begins slowly, with Rothery leading the way on the guitar. Soon Fish's voice picks up, and the rest of the band kicks in. At the 5 minute mark, Rothery unleashes an emotional Gilmour-esque guitar solo that quickly becomes intertwining keyboard and guitar runs. The two instruments then being their own respective solos while the bass and drums keep the rigid beat. The only part that has any similarity to Supper's Ready is the beat that comes around the 13th minute, it really reminds me of Apocalypse in 9/8. Other than that, the song is a fantastic representation of the literally character. The song ends in a rather epic fashion, and then it is over.

Overall, this is a fantastic work. For a first outing in recorded tracks, Marillion hit the ball out of the park with this one. My only complaint is Three Boats Down from the candy, which really seems to be filler, but good filler. 12/15 for the tracks which results in a 4/5 rating.

Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars This is the one that started it all, a three song EP. I have the 12” picture disc version of this one, purchased shortly after I bought Script for a Jester’s Tear when I was trying to get my hands on anything of Marillion’s I could find.

First up is the title track “Market Square Heroes” which is heavy on keyboards, and with Mik Pointer’s drums and Pete Trewavas’ bass setting a really intoxicating rhythm that reminds me quite a bit of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” and in some ways even David Bowie’s “Soul Love” (although I can’t really figure that one out – maybe it would make more sense to an actually musician). Otherwise this is really a poppish tune, but the rhythm saves this one from being forgettable. This was the introduction of the vocal phenomenon we were coming to know as Fish. While the comparisons to Peter Gabriel were inevitable, his sneering lilt and vaguely European accent would make this a breath of fresh air in an otherwise rather drab year for interesting new music.

“Three Boats Down From the Candy” features a repeated catchy guitar riff from Steve Rothery, and Mark Kelly’s whining-style keyboards that he would had perfected by the time Script was released.

The entire back side of the disc contains the 17:40 “Grendel”, and this is the real meat of the EP. Mik Pointer’s drum work is solid, tight, and really sets the pace of the song. Apparently this was his peak, as his output on Script was somewhat more suspect, and by the time Fugazi released he was gone. Fish tries out a few different vocal styles, ranging from the barmy Brit, to a kind of Orwellian omnipresent thunder god, to a sort of Syd Barrett babbling simpleton. Again, considering the musical alternatives in the early 80’s, this was pretty good stuff.

The really interesting thing about “Grendel” is the opposing-view angle of the Beowulf story. Grendel was the primary antagonist in Beowulf, a rabid monster (some say more like a troll) who invades the Danish hall Heorot and eats drunken men. Apparently there was a book written by an American author named John Gardner which retold the Beowulf tale from Grendel’s point of view, and this is the inspiration for Fish’s lyrics.

It’s a four part tale:

I – the men of Heorot wail for deliverance to their pagan gods as Grendel stalks the night shedding blood and inciting terror in men;

II – Grendel turns his attention to Heorot. The music paints a picture of impending doom, and a protagonist both hideous and powerful;

III – Grendel is at the gate – the stench of sulfur fills the air, and guard hounds howl in fear. Soldiers prepare to defend the enclave, knowing their fate is near;

IV – the finale. Grendel’s slaughter.

“So you say you believe in all of Mother Nature's laws, but you lust for gold with your sharpened knives. Oh, when your hoards are gathered and your enemies left to rot, you pray with your bloodstained hands at the feet of your pagan gods. Then you try to place the killer's blade in my hand - you call for justice and distort the truth. Well I've had enough of all your pretty, pretty speeches. Receive your punishment; expose your throats to my righteous claws – and let the blood flow, flow, flow, flow.”

I’ve read several different interpretations of this story, ranging from Grendel representing the homicidal nature of Cain that breeds in all men, to a righteous indignation unleashed on those who kill and maim out of greed and lust, yet hide behind the cloak of religious divination. Whichever, it’s a far cry from just about anything else there was to listen to in 1982, and a fantastic piece of progressive music. I don’t buy the “Supper’s Ready” comparisons, at least not in the lyrical theme, although there is a definite strong influence of Genesis and particularly Peter Gabriel in the music (see my Supertramp ‘Crime of the Century’ review for an alternate theory).

All of these would end up on full-length albums at some point, “Market Square Heroes” being the first on the 1984 Reel to Real live album, followed by “Three Boats Down From the Candy” and “Grendel” on the 1988 B-Sides Themselves compilation (“Three Boats Down From the Candy” also appears on the bonus disc of the 1997 reissue of Fugazi). All of these are re-recorded versions though.

This is a nice collector’s item for Marillion fans, and “Grendel” itself is worth the $6 USD I paid for this import back in 1983. It’s not essential (the only EP I’ve ever considered essential for any band is R.E.M.’s debut “Chronic Town”), but considering you can’t get these version of “Market Square Heroes” and “Grendel” in one place anywhere else, it is an excellent addition to the collection of Marillion fans and prog enthusiasts in general, so I don’t think that four stars is too much of a stretch.

peace

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The Guaranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man

A very early Marillion recording. And a good one, as is their early days, there won't be any poor songs produced.

"Market Square Heroes" is a pop anthem of the band. A very pleasant number during their live performances. Of course, it has nothing to do with more structured and mature Marillion songs. But that was not the purpose : a solid chorus, strong rhythm. Just an introduction of the later Marillion.

In this respect "Three Boats Down From The Candy", is another "light" Marillion song but by no means weak. Poppy and melodious.

IMO, these two numbers were just an appetizer for the B-side. But what a side !

Yes, I belong to the ones who stopped listening to prog music in 1978. Till 1996.

The first time I listended to "Grendel" I was just breatless. I could not believe my ears. Of course, having been disconnected for so long of a music genre I had praised so much, converting several friends of mine to this music : I could have reacted as some of the people on this site and yelling for "plagiarism". Well, this was not at all my feeling. No. I was just in love. Period. This song is a true epic. Gorgeous lyrics, superb music, wonderful finale. Of course that "Finale" is almost a carbon-copy of "The Apocalypse" from the song you all know about.

But do we need some endless and intellectual discussions on the use of such a performance ? I just believe it is a great track. And to the ones who are horrified with the similarity of the mother of this one, I just can tell you this : don't be so harsh.

I loved "Supper's" (and still do of course). I discovered it in 1974. I knew every single second of it (lyrics included, which for a 15 years-old French-native-speaking guy was not particularly an easy task) and still, there is no harm for me to have Marillion produced "Grendel".

On the contrary. It is another song I will have played when I will pass away during the (garden) party that will follow my burial ceromony (the later, the better).

I do not own this EP as such but the whole of it is part of the fantastic Marillion's single compilation (82-88 of course). I am reluctant to give a five star rating to an EP but I just wanted to share my passion for "Grendel" with you.

Four stars.

Review by erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars When this maxi-single was released in 1982 I was part of a group of friends that were fanatic 70-77 Genesis fans. One day a member of that group had bought Market Square Heroes, he organised a meeting on which we were asked to give our opinion about this new band from the UK. We were not really impressed by the title track and the song Three Boats Down From The Candy but the epic composition Grendel caused very mixed feelings and opinions, from euphoric moods to sarcastic remarks. I belonged to a small majority that nailed it because of the obvious hints to Genesis their epic composition Supper's Ready during Apocalypse in 9/8 in the second part. It was pure arrogance and a very narrow-minded view when I look back on my reaction in those days because apart from that part, most of Grendel delivers the exciting elements that made early Marillion such a fascinating band: strong and emotional vocals, compelling lyrics, wonderful, very flowing and sensitive electric guitar and tasteful and often sensational work on keyboards. The weak point was drummer Mick Pointer, too tight and simple and for me no surprise that ex-Trace drummer Ian Mosley replaced him soon. I have to say that Grendel sounds a bit pompous but especially on DVD (the visual aspect is an extra dimension) it's still impressive. But this maxi-single showcases a Marillion that sill had to mature ... and they did!

Review by obiter
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This was the first Marillion I heard not having had the chance to seee them live before. Market Square Heroes was the Marillion anthemn. A great popish bouncy track. Excellent if not really progressive.

Three Boats seems a little weak now but at the time it was a fresh sound which heralded a new movement. It was competely different to Phil collins (You can't Hurry Love), Kajagoogoo, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Wham and Depeche Mode.

I flipped the record and listened to Grendel. Gardner's Grendel and Moorcock's Warhound & the World's Pain were doing the rounds at the time. We were studying the Red Branch cycle at school and side tracking on to Beowulf. This track, apart from any musical similarities which were entirely lost on me at the time, was something utterly and astoundingly new.

There is the tired and hacked debate about whether Grendel is blatant rip off of Supper's Ready (which you all know is on the B side of Genesis's Foxtrot: arguably the best album of one of the prog greats). Genesis contained highly talented accomplished and experienced musicans. On any comparison of musicianship Marillion in 1983 are going to come second to Genesis in 1972. It's hardly a point worth making since it's so obvious. Listen to both make your own mind up.

If Marillion were trying to produce a copy of Suppers Ready they failed. If they were trying to produce a rock epic they succeeded. Many bands are apparently embarrassed by their early (and sometimes naive) attempts to create an epic, perhaps that's because they later appreciate that the realities of being commerically successful: the constraints of radio air time and the attention span of the listener preclude such self-indulgence.

Yeah the drumming's not great, and the overall production's not top notch. But it's a great track, the subject matter and lyrics set it apart . An excellenet addition to a prog music collection. Script for a Jester's Tear is the essential item. With all the new releases if you can pick up Grendel do so.

Review by friso
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Marillion - Market Squere Heroes EP (1982)

In the beginning...

This is said to be the first Marillion release. This 26 minute EP has three tracks. The recording isn't perfect, but hey.. this is like a demo-tape for the band. Considering it's status it's good enough.

The title track is the first single of Marillion. It's a happy up-tempo sympho-pop track that is just a track for fun. The refrain is catcy and the synthesizers sound nice. Three boats down from the candy sounds less good and isn't very interesting for me.

The reason neo-proggers might want to have this release is obviously the 18 minute epic Grendel. It's funny how this track was only released on this EP. This track might be considered to be the first neo-prog epic. It's sound is much like the debut album. Eighties neo-prog with much symphonic soundscapes, the very emotional vocals of lead-singer Fish and the functional guitar playing of Steve Rothery. The drums and bass aren't very important in the music. Grendel takes us to a lot of different parts and melodies. The themes of the opening section are a bit too cliché, but the middle and ending section did stood the test of time. The bombastic moments sound energetic, whilst the intimate parts sound devoted.

Marillion will never be my favorite band, but sometimes the music feels just right. The strength lies in Fish' distinctive and brave vocals and the link to the seventies progressive scene. At least this record has a big epic, which has a lot to offer for people who like the neo-prog genre. If you like the debut of Marillion, you will surely appreciate this EP. If you already own a b-sides collection or the Ritel of the Script DVD you should skip on this one, but otherwise it can be a good (but non-essential) addition to your music collection. Historical significance might also be a reason to purchase this EP. Three stars.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl & Neo Teams
4 stars It was 1982 when a friend gave me a tape about a "new" progressive group that he had just discovered during a visit to UK. This EP was my first approach with Marillion. Actually I've been stunned by this recording. They were the years of electro-pop-dance-[&*!#] and a neo-prog group playing a 17 minutes epic was a great surprise.

On the tape the EP sides were inverted, so for me Grendel was the first track. It's not a "circular" song. It's mainly a collage of different parts, but the passages between the various sections don't cause discontinuities. What is really impressive is the dual-voice singing in the middle part by Fish and Pete Trewavas. The final guitar solo has been reused later on Scripts, that means that probably they were not thinking to a reprint of this song.

Three boats down to the candy is a short song. I remember how I was hypnotized by the high "E" played by the guitar, similar to Wright's "ping" on echoes. This song has been published on another album, I think it was B'sides Themselves but it's a different version that lacks the "ping".

Market square Heroes is a Genesis like song that we all knew better from Real to Reel where it's tied to Garden Party. That version is better, I think.

In general, being this the recording that made me love Marillion, I would rate it the maximum, but to be honest, it should be a 3.5 stars. I rate it 4 because a song like Grendel on what was nothing more than a "promo" must be rewarded.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars This is a very important EP for progressive rock since it marked the beginning of a new renaissance of the genre. Most people seem to agree that Neo-Prog began with Marillion's debut album Script For A Jester's Tear and completely miss that Market Square Heroes was released a year earlier and featured 26 minutes of material that could easily have been a part of that album.

The EP consists of three compositions that basically show every aspect of Marillion's music that we would hear on their next few albums. The title track is a commercially oriented anthem that just like White Feather, Freaks and Incommunicado will become a regular concert favorite. Considering that it was released so much earlier than any of these other compositions I am amazed that there is nothing I would want to change with this performance.

Three Boats Down From The Candy is an early take on a symphonic type of composition writing that will be strongly improved upon with the release of the debut album and other future tracks like Jigsaw or Just For The Record. I lack the strong lyric content from Fish but even the instrumental section suffers from being underdeveloped. Steve Rothery's first real stab at his trademarked guitar solos still don't have that emotional aspect that he coveys so well while Mark Kelly does shine on a few occasions without really making a strong statement with his work here.

Still it is the performance of a 17+ minute prog epic titled Grendel that completely steals the show on this EP. I consider it to be on par with many of the great '70s lengthy compositions and it's a pity that the band would never again undertake such an ambition project on any of their future records. There are a few inconsistencies in the instrumental work like the quite dull performance by Mick Pointer and I tend to think that Steve Rothery really plays it safe without really going anywhere outside the box with the exception of the wailing guitar work at 7 minute mark.

What makes Grendel stand out is the overall team effort that the band shows with their performance. It definitely overcomes any inconsistencies and flaws for me. This is also how I feel about this whole EP. Market Square Heroes EP is simply a piece of prog history and excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.

***** star songs: Grendel (17:16)

**** star songs: Market Square Heroes (4:20)

*** star songs: Three Boats Down From The Candy (4:32)

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Marillion's debut release is a neatly constructed EP optimised to show off the commercial and progressive sides of the band equally. On the commercial side, Market Square Heroes and Three Boats Down From the Candy are catchy sing-along pieces which make up for fairly simplistic structures with energetic, enthusiastic performances from the band; on the proggy side, the epic Grendel might take a leaf or two from Genesis (and it certainly didn't help that the EP was produced by David Hitchcock, who also produced Foxtrot), but it's not so much a fully- fledged rip-off of any particular prog group so much as it's a prog-by-numbers sort of piece, a song structured in imitation of side-long epics of the past for the sake of it rather than being a piece developed according to the band's own songwriting practices which happens to last for nearly twenty minutes. At the same time, though, even though Grendel may be structured the way it is in tribute to the band's influences, it's still an enormously effective piece, evoking a spooky and ominous atmosphere to an extent that any band from the golden age of prog would have been proud to accomplish.

On the whole, the three tracks here manage to be both crucially important to the evolution of Marillion's sound and great listens in their own right. That said, unless you're particularly keen to own a copy on the original vinyl (or spring for the Fish-era singles boxed set which includes a CD replica of the EP), you may be better off just tracking down the two-CD issue of Script For a Jester's Tear - the bonus disc on that one includes fine versions of all three tracks. (In particular, even though the edition of Grendel there isn't the one which made it onto the EP, by my reckoning it's a mildly better version - stretching out to 19 minutes and feeling a bit less constrained by the limitations of an EP's side). I would say that Script is the definitive disc from Mick Pointer's tenure in Marillion, but at the same time Market Square Heroes is a fine warm-up for it.

Review by VianaProghead
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Review Nº 11

This is my first review on Progarchives of a Marillion's work. I chose this EP, to begin my reviews about this group, because it has a very important meaning for me. I bought this EP in 1982 soon it was released in my country, Portugal. A great school friend of mine, who is no longer among us because unfortunately passed away some years ago, showed me this musical work made by a new and obscure band, at the time, a new British group called Marillion.

We were both great Genesis' fans, and we became completely astonished when we listen for the first time this EP. We were sincerely convinced that certainly would have to be someone from Genesis behind this new musical work. The similarity between the music performed by Marillion and the Genesis' sound was so big, that for us there might be something hidden that could explain that. However, the time would come to prove us, that this wasn't really true.

Marillion was formed in England in 1979 and was one of the first neo-progressive bands to emerge in the 80's. They became associated to the neo-prog style, with other compatriot groups, formed at the same time, such as Pendragon, IQ, Pallas, Galahad, Twelfth Night and Abel Ganz, among others. However, they are known as the most successful band to emerge from U.K., in the 80's, in the progressive rock scene. With this EP, they created the neo-prog sub genre, although some consider that 'A Trick Of The Tail' of Genesis, was the first neo- progressive album in the history. Anyway, Marillion was the group that developed and solidified this new progressive sub genre.

The emergence of Marillion and their peers was very important to the progressive music. The punk rock movement, developed between 1974 and 1976, reached its peak in 1976 with groups like Ramones, in New York, and Sex Pistols and The Clash, in London. This musical movement was against the progressive rock, considering that it was elitist and unpopular. Some progressive bands began to simplify his music making a more commercial approach to the pop style, while others pure and simply disappeared. For many prog fans, it was a big betrayal. It was in this new and complex context that Marillion and the other mentioned groups, arrived, formed and developed the neo-progressive sub-genre.

The line up on the EP is Fish (vocals), Steve Rothery (guitars), Mark Kelly (keyboards), Pete Trewavas (bass) and Mick Pointer (drums).

The cover art of this mini-album was designed by Mark Wilkinson who created all the Marillion artwork until 1988. He also created almost of the Fish solo artwork, after he left Marillion to pursue his solo musical career.

'Market Square Heroes' has three tracks. The first track is the title track 'Market Square Heroes'. It's a very pleasant and simple rock song with a great melody. Despite being a little bit commercial and be not a very progressive song, it's a compelling track that immediately shows their superior songwritting skills. This is an excellent song and a great start for a long and important musical career from a great group. The second track 'Three Boats Down From The Candy' is the B side of the single and clearly shows the band's progressive lines. Lyrically, it deals with a broken misinterpreted and desperate love. Musically, it's a more intricate song than the previous one, where the band members display their technical skills, in contrast with the more accessible previous song. It's the most melodic song on the EP and remains as a very good track. The third track 'Grendel' is the lengthiest track on the album. It's an epic and complex song inspired by the John Gardner's book 'Grendel'. This is an adaptation of the Anglo-Saxon poem 'Beowulf' by Marillion. This track is, in my humble opinion, one of the best from the band, and it's also one of their most progressive too. This composition is frequently compared (mostly unfavourably), with 'Supper's Ready' of Genesis. Curiously, this EP was produced by David Hitchcock, who also had produced the Genesis studio album 'Foxtrot', with 'Supper's Ready' on it. So, this happy or unhappy coincidence, forced a big comparison between both pieces of music.

Conclusion: For all what I wrote before, 'Market Square Heroes' is an excellent debut work from a band that appeared in such difficult circumstances for the progressive rock music. Not many bands in the history of progressive rock music can claim to have started their musical career with a work with this degree of quality. By the other hand, Marillion never was an ordinary group. 'Market Square Heroes' peaked number 53 in the English singles chart, which might be not too much for a more directed oriented commercial band, but for Marillion, I'm absolutely sure, that this was more than they had hoped for. And so, 'Market Square Heroes' soon became an important landmark to the progressive rock music. It managed to be a kind of a breath of fresh air in the progressive music scene. And we all know very well, how it was so desperately needed in those troubled and difficult times for the progressive rock genre.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by Matti
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The debut release of Marillion is very uncovenient and surprising. Not because of the fact that it's an EP, but for featuring the ultimate 17+- minute prog epic on a modest place of "B-side" non-album material. Surely if the currency of progressive rock had been any stronger at the early 80's (those were indeed the starvation years of prog), works like 'Grendel' would have been given all the glory, pride and self-esteem as a side of an LP, perhaps as a title epic, instead of being hidden on an EP.

But first about the two other songs. 'Market Square Heroes' is a bold, anthem-like rock song filled with the aspiring attitude of "Look out! Here we come!" Actually it has never much impressed me in its chorus-oriented straight-forwardness. I even prefer 'Three Boats Down from the Candy', which is powerfully dynamic as it finally bursts open after the creepy, held-back quietness and is finished with a fine guitar solo. The theatricality of Fish works well, I wouldn't blame him for being a Peter Gabriel clone. Or Marillion a Genesis clone.

'Grendel' marks a rare, almost one-of-a-kind view on the early 80's prog revivalists stepping bravely into the territory of multi- part, side-long epics such as Genesis's 'Supper's Ready' - to which it's often compared; I agree with Cygnus X-2 that the beat around the 13th minute resembles the Apocalypse section of 'Supper's Ready' and otherwise any accusations of mockery is unfair.

I always like to deal with the literary connections in prog compositions. The monster named Grendel originates from the Medieval epic poem Beowulf. But that's not the whole story when it comes to Fish's lyrics. He was inspired by John Gardner's novella "Grendel" (1971) that tells the story mostly from the monster's point of view. Of course I had to read the book (sadly unavailable in Finnish) as a young adult and a Marillion fan, but frankly the book didn't grab me as far as I remember. The author is American (1933 - 1982), not the British James Bond novelist of the same name. Also musically 'Grendel' succeeds extremely well in creating the horrorful atmosphere. The sections with different tempos and moods follow each other in a good balance. The nocturnal creepiness, the terror and violence, and finally the heroic conclusion... it's all captured vividly within the 17½ minutes. An admirable - if not technically faultless - piece from a band at the beginning of their recording career.

All three tracks of this EP are to be found on "B'Sides Themselves", but sadly its version of 'Three Boats...' is violently faded in the end.

Latest members reviews

4 stars While overtly Genesis influenced Marillion's Market Square Heroes EP does not seem cheap or second rate in any way. By this point Fish has not properly established his unique, snappy vocal delivery yet his beatifully crafted poetic lyrics are just as ingenious as always. The title track remains ... (read more)

Report this review (#168947) | Posted by TheRocinanteKid | Monday, April 28, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This EP is Marillion's first offering to the world and the 2nd I heard from them (after Script). There are two tracks on side one - the rather aggressive Market Square Heroes and Three boats down from the Candy. I always found the latter more interesting because of its eerie, menacing atmosphere ... (read more)

Report this review (#162875) | Posted by strayfromatlantis | Thursday, February 28, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars There is absolutely no way that Grendel is better than Suppers Ready. Grendel is, at best, an amaturish work that the Marillion themselves are somewhat embarressed about now. Supper's Ready is the epic that defined prog epics for all time. Quite simply, the playing, songwriting, and perform ... (read more)

Report this review (#51898) | Posted by | Saturday, October 15, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I feel I should say before I properly start, that I do not own the EP and I base my review upon listening to the 3 tracks featured here on disc 2 of the remastered 'Script for a Jesters tear'. Upon listening and rating upon these tracks I would say this Ep is a 4.5 star effort. The first song an ... (read more)

Report this review (#51883) | Posted by wtmoore | Saturday, October 15, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Wel... there are lots of things I could say about this first Marillion's recording. The first thing I'd like to remember is: "man, this is an EP, not a LP, and that's the way we must see it" So, this said, let's review it as an EP... Extraordinary... when I think Genesis started with "From Ge ... (read more)

Report this review (#12492) | Posted by | Thursday, June 10, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars apart from 3 boats, this is a classic. And, for the record, grendel is in no way on earth a clone of suppers ready and to suggest such is nonsensical. Grendel is a (proto) medieval Nordic tale concerning a *beast* outcast by humankind who is slaughtering nordic warriors in their sleep (particu ... (read more)

Report this review (#12490) | Posted by NyghtOwl | Saturday, June 5, 2004 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Market Square Heroes is a great pop song and relatively simple, not really what is popularly know as 'progressive' but very different from anything around at that time. Three Boats Down.. is also good, more typically early Marillion with Rothery's signature spiralling arpeggios opening the first 'v ... (read more)

Report this review (#12487) | Posted by Jools | Saturday, April 3, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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