I’ve previously reviewed Steve Rothery’s live album which much of the material from “The Ghosts of Pripyat” was played. Since I tend to prefer studio versions over live versions, I was very interested in hearing the “official” versions of those songs. There’s nothing changed from the live versions, so there were no surprises thankfully. But it’s really nice to hear these versions. Every song on here is very cinematic and features some of Steve’s best playing in years.
“The Ghosts of Pripyat” is musically what I wish Marillion would sound like, at least SOME of the time. It’s been a while since Steve Rothery was the focal point of Marillion’s music. The songs on this album, from the more direct ”Kendris” to the sprawling “Old Man of the Sea”, remind any fan of the more progressive side of Marillion just what they’ve been missing over the years. There are plenty of wow moments and not just guitar solos. These are well crafted songs that showcase melody with a sweeping grandiosity.
Each song tells its own tale and Steve’s guitar is a nice replacement for a vocalist and even feels quite “lyrical” in its delivery. Steve has a top notch band and even calls on some of his friends, like Steve Hackett and Steven Wilson (3 guys named Steve on the same song!) to help out. Of the tracks, I hadn’t heard the title track which closes the album nicely. It has a very nice keyboard solo which shows Steve views this as a band and not just a one man show.
“The Ghosts of Pripyat” is a tour de force for one of progressive rock’s most talented and vastly underrated guitarist. Let’s hope this signals more solo releases or at the very least an increased workload at Steve’s day job in Marillion. Highly recommended!