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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fish's finest
I own all of Fish's albums and am a huge fan so I had to think for a while before judging this as 5 stars as I had to try and remain impartial and judge the album for it's worth. Honestly, this is a man who has delivered his most definitive piece of work yet. I think he will find it hard to better this album. The music is visceral, very dark but not oppressive. You really...
Published on 3 Feb 2008 by K-Pax

versus
10 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Production But That's It
There's no doubt that Callum Malcolm is a great producer and his work here is no exception. The material itself owes more to Steve Vantsis, Fish's bass player who wrote the music, than Fish himself who contributes the lyrics. The songs vary from pretty good to average but are flattered by Malcolm's slick production.

So why only 2 stars? Simply put, Fish...
Published on 14 Feb 2008 by A Listener


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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fish's finest, 3 Feb 2008
By 
K-Pax (Bonnie Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 13th Star (Audio CD)
I own all of Fish's albums and am a huge fan so I had to think for a while before judging this as 5 stars as I had to try and remain impartial and judge the album for it's worth. Honestly, this is a man who has delivered his most definitive piece of work yet. I think he will find it hard to better this album. The music is visceral, very dark but not oppressive. You really appreciate the emotional and mental turmoil he must have gone through as this album really is a heart on sleeve testimonial about what he has endured over the last few months, a catharsis to some extent. I was in the crowd as Fish sang 'Manchmal', in Glasgow, on a night when Scotland beat France at football. That song will live with me forever as the crowd were in awe of his performance before the whole crowd erupted when he smiled and said "McFadden's scored." So, it would be hard for me not to think kindly of this album. However, I have listened to Fish's previous offerings since listening to this and they don't come near 13th Star as this truly is a superb collection of tracks. This is a brilliant piece of work and one that deserves all the tributes forth-coming. I've run out of superlatives.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning piece of work, 30 Dec 2007
This review is from: 13th Star (Audio CD)
Fish has done some very fine solo albums since leaving Marillion, although only occasionally have they come close to the band's masterpieces of 'Misplaced Childhood' and 'Clutching at Straws' recorded back in the eighties. '13th Star' has blown that opinion clean out of the water with an astonishingly strong piece of work that at least matches anything he has done previously in his career.

I loved the previous studio album 'Field of Crows' but it seemed at the time it might be Fish's last- his interest seemed to be focussing on acting. The success of the 'Return to Childhood' tour seemed to reinvigorate his passion in music however, and early in 2007 he announced the intention to produce the concept album '13th Star'

I was a bit surprised to learn that the main co-writer would be long-time bass player Steve Vantsis, who had not previously written - would it be any good?

Early in the process Fish got a show on UK radio station Planet Rock and through the next few months the demos for the new album were played - from very early stages through to unmixed final recordings. It started to become apparent that the new album had a lot to offer, and definitely was going to have some 'heavy' sections.

In the meantime Fish went on an emotional rollercoaster ride. He rekindled his relationship with Heather Findlay and got engaged, only for them to split in May just after the wedding invitations had been sent. The album was bound to reflect the upheaval.

The concept on the album is of a man trapped in routine trying to find his 'navigator' in life- dreaming of a lasting love, believing he's found that person and then the falling apart, before ending with some hope. The inner sleeve features arguably Mark Wilkinson's finest album artwork ever, inspired by the lyric to the track 'Dark Star' . The album was produced by Calum Malcolm, who has given the album a superb sound quality, something which can not be said of some previous Fish offerings.

The album kicks in with 'Circle Line' , a dark, snappy groove, with plenty of biting guitars and atmosphere which really sets the scene for the album. Play this on headphones and hear the dynamics in the production.

Next is 'Square Go' which is based around a single very heavy riff and Fish spitting out a spoken section where he vents real venom in his desire for a 'fair fight' with the world. This could scare young children.

'Miles de Besos' ,is an atmospheric ballad written with returning keys man Foss Patterson. There is some nice Spanish guitar work in this one but for me the chorus lacks the edge of the other songs on the album.

Zoe 25 is next - here the album climbs onto the highest level as a hypnotic blend of acoustic guitar and piano and a warm production take you through a 'daydream'. Lyrically it paints a vivid picture.

'Arc of the Curve' is an excellent song which could make radio- not a million miles from 'Kayleigh'. At this point the traveller thinks he's found his true love and it falls out of the speakers as an anthemic rock ballad with wonderful melody.

Of course the dream relationship doesn't last and in 'Manchmal' the doubts creep in with the heaviest thing Fish has ever done- quite simply an astonishing riff that kicks along at pace as Fish wraps himself around the words with great passion. Halfway through the song suddenly changes into a gentler section.

'Openwater' was written with guitarist Frank Usher and is another fine heavy track - it snaps along with ripping guitars and swirling keys, and benefits from superb production.

At this stage the album probably needs the 'epic' and 'Dark Star' delivers big time. A slow, gloomy world as Fish reflects on the split suddenly has a searing chorus which, after the second chorus climbs into a huge soundscape through which an excellent guitar solo hammers home the sound as worlds slowly collide.

Then it's ballad time with 'Where in the World' , heartfelt reflective lyrics and superbly crafted music which progresses through two distinct sections.

Finally we get to the title track. Throughout the album Fish has been singing in a low range which suits his voice more these days, but on this one he goes even lower and is absolutely emotionally naked. In recording this he pieced together the vocal between being overcome by emotion and the tears can be heard in his voice through the first half of the song. Then the song climbs up to classic album closer mode with an uplifting, optimistic section with mandolin and more fine backing vocals as Fish resumes his search for the point in his life - the '13th Star'.

I never expected something this good and Steve Vantsis and Fish have made a great collaboration. The seamless links between the heavy sections and the emotional melodic tracks make for an album which in a fair world will dervedly see Fish gain both commercial success and critical acclaim.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arc of a Curve, 18 Jan 2008
By 
B. Robertson (Bromley, London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 13th Star (Audio CD)
My favourite Fish album. There are 5 songs on this CD that are better than anything else you will hear this year. You must hear the title track, Arc of a Curve (the new single) or Square Go.

There is a vibe here. It reminds me of the early 70s, vinyl, strong coffee and long hair. But it is instant and relevant to NOW. Lyrically Fish is devastating. Musically things are clever and beautiful.

I bought this CD from the fan club, saw Mr. Fish in London on his tour and think he is better than ever.

It is a MUST buy. These tracks are a MUST. Fish is my hero and he could be yours too.

Bruce
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this. NOW!!!, 3 Jan 2008
By 
C. gilbert-palmer "Freak" (Where in the World...indeed!) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 13th Star (Audio CD)
I've had this album for some time as I bought it from at a gig in September. (its also already available via fish's web site shop.) I have to say its an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish, and although I was a die hard Marillion fan, this surpasses all of their work put together. Something for everyone, and a damn fine use for your sterling. Fish is touring in March where you'll catch these songs larger than life. A life enhancing experience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A superior talent., 9 July 2008
This review is from: 13th Star (Audio CD)
I've followed Fish's music for ages and think of him as one of the most underrated musicians and performers in the UK. This album is hugely enjoyable and has much to recommend it. It reinstates his status as the poet of frustration, forever chasing his dreams and learning to love his failures as much as his successes. The imagery of the first track 'Circle Line' is superb communicating the imprisonment of a life lacking real meaning. The guitar at the end manages to be both mournful and beautiful, complimenting his voice well. In other tracks, such as Square-Go, he conjures up a rocky, hard beat- the lyric suggests a major movie. His voice moves from the angry to the warm and expressive tones used in songs such as Miles De Bessos and Where in the World. His skill as a lyricist is always apparent and the resulting album is a fine piece of work.
Yet, I do find myself after many listenings, trying to remember a melody, a hook and perhaps the album lacks one great track. It has many good ones though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Leicester Bangs Review (2008):, 23 Feb 2011
By 
Leicester Bangs "words-R-us" (Leicester, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: 13th Star (Audio CD)
Fish - 13th Star (Chocolate Frog)
I've always felt a certain oneness with Fish, an affinity, if you prefer. From the moment I found out that my missus went to school with THE Kayleigh's sister (yes, the one from the Marillion song), it's felt like we've had a common bond. It's not like I stalk him or anything and I've not seen him lurking in the shadows at the end of my street, but I have followed his career with an interest that I don't usually deploy for ageing proggers.

Not that Fish applies his art with the sort of pomp or pretentiousness that some working in the genre are only to keen to promote. No, Fish, as I imagine him, is a down to earth sort of bloke, a meat and potatoes sort, and that's reflected in his music. Orchestras are avoided, keyboards remain unmutilated, Fish will not be wearing a cape and no one's going to be performing a ballet on ice to 13th Star. This is prog for the proles, classic rock for the common man and I'm all for it.

The album is a concept piece which revolves around love and the search for contentment - the 13th Star. As all concept albums must do, if they're any good, it holds together very well as a collection of songs. The production is taut and the big man's in good voice. If you suspect that this might be something that you'll enjoy, then you probably will. 8/10.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Misplaced Adulthood, 7 Oct 2009
By 
David K. Smith (York, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 13th Star (Audio CD)
A great album, and truly the highpoint of Fish's solo career. Great songs, powerful and peronsal lyrics, strong melodies. Perhaps Fish's voice can't hit the high notes it used to, but none of the lyric writing skills or vocal delivery have disappeared. In turns bitter, sentimental, angry and world-weary, this album touches many emotional bases. If Misplaced Childhood defined Fish's time with Marillion, this album should be considered as the Misplaced Adulthood of his solo career. Arc of the Curve even mirrors Kayleigh in lyrical and thematic ways. An outstanding set of songs, if you have ever liked Fish, or Marillion, you should buy it now!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Following the 13th Star, 2 Jan 2008
By 
This review is from: 13th Star (Audio CD)
This is Fish's best album ever and truly his greatest work in his entire career. Left devasted by the break-up of his relationship and the cancellation of his forthcoming wedding, Fish threw himself into writign and recording this album with Steve Vantsis, and what a fantastic partnership it became.
As the album was developed Fish revealed tracks as they developed on his Fish on Friday's show on Planet Rock right up to its initla release over his own fanclub and website.

A long tour then followed as Fish performed the Clutching at Straws concerts across Europe, covering the 20th anniversary of the former Marillion album "Clutching at Straws", but also performing some of the 13th Star material live..

the other reveiwers have more or less covered the tracks and I have to agree with everythign they have written...

The album takes you through every emotion that Fish could possibly have encountered in 2007, sheer happiness, deep despair, anger, pain, hope, everything is in there, but most importantly even if you did not followo the events of 2007 in Fish's life, at the end of the day, its is an absolutely fantastic album, which can stand alone.. there is not one weak track on the album. Steve and Fish, and of course all the musicians involved, including the much under-rated, and over-looked Frank Usher on guitar, turned out, under the auspices of Calum Malcolm, who master it on an classic 70's Neve Desk which according to many in the recording "trade" still say it has the best EQ's ever ...

This is a fantastic album and fits into anyones music collection, its got everything.

We look forward to "arc of the curve (editted)" being released as a single in the coming months... but do yourself a favour... GET THIS ALBUM! YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT....
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fish at his lyrical best, 23 Dec 2007
This review is from: 13th Star (Audio CD)
I must confess i wasn't that keen on a field of crows or fellini days in fact the last fish album that i played more than 3 times was raingods with zippos, no real reason other than i just didn't connect with them.

Circle line borrows from vigil but has a fantastically heavy guitar hook and obvious reference to a recent relationship failure brought home by the repeated line need a navigator,
Square go spits an excellent guitar riff from the off Fantastic! highlight of the album, vanstis and usher should be proud.
Miles de besos, romantic love song a la gentlemens excuse me, a little too sentimental for me but a catchy tune none the less.
Zoe 25 has a very catchy feel and surprises you after a few plays as a favourite although very poppy it has a background riff on piano which refuses to let you go.
Arc of the curve is the big ballad/single on the album and certainly ticks all the boxes again references to a certain relationship, catchy though.
Manchmal, one word GUITARS ! awesome guitar riff on this with snarling fish vocals make this one stand out on the album i defy you not to start nodding or playing air guitar.
Openwater, great narrative to open a la misplaced childhood, strong guitars again and a very strong background riff, a bit to big wedge on the chorus for my liking.
Dark star typical fish lyrics, slow start but wait for that guitar it will floor you on the chorus, usher at his best!!!
Where in the world, a bit to over indulgent for my liking i'm afraid my least favourite on an otherwise immmaculate album, fish's love songs are pleasant but they don't have the same impact as his antiwar anti government or just plain anti something and i'm afraid this doesnt even reach gentlemens excuse me standards sorry mate.
13th star is better than the previous song only because the lyrics are a little less indulgent and the tune a little more catchy especially in the mid section.
I have been a fan since i saw fish on his state of mind tour and this album has definately convinced me to go and see him again live as soon as poss. fish has definately found a winning partnership with usher and vanstis adding a new dimension to the sound. Good idea to bring in a producer on this one as it has brought a very heavy feel to album in places.
My advice is if you like fish or marillion (early) leave this on play for at least 4 turns then tell me you don't like it!!!
Somewhere else has nothing on this i'm afraid
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4.0 out of 5 stars Lyrically, very moving and personal., 13 Jun 2008
By 
A. I. Missen - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 13th Star (Audio CD)
As with one of the other reviewist's, and have to confess I was extremely interested in Marillion's music when Fish was still vocalist. His first solo album, Vigil In a Wilderness of Mirrors was excellent !!, then Internal Exile, then Songs from the Mirrors, which I have to say, 5 years gave me goosepimples, then Suits of which I personally found only a couple of songs I enjoyed. I did not purchase the next few, and then I purchased Fellini Days. Again, only a few songs stood out.

I went to see Mr Fish on the Field of Crows tour and was very disappointed. So............. I have been VERY apprehensive on purchasing his recent album, 13th Star, after reading certain reviews.

Well, I played it yesterday evening.............. and what I have heard is Mr Fish back on GOOD FORM !! Wow !! what power lyrically and musically. It is like listening to a little of Vigil and Straws....

I agree with some of the other reviewists, when he sings about his personal struggles in life, what you get is an outstanding portrayl from one of the greatist artist's in Scotland and U.K alone. When he sings about war, politics etc...... there does not seem to much energy or personal affect on the listener. Admitedly, Fish has had to change the style of his singing, toll over the years of his smoking. Okay, so he can not sustain and get to those credendos of the past i.e: Credo, Assasin, Grendle, MSHeros etc... But what we have now is a gravelly tone that actually works extremely well with, at times, rises of `power' Dark Star and the haunting of the title song itself, 13th Star.

Sadly, what we have here, is that I have missed the U.K Tour....... and I keep punching myself, metaphoricaly !!, and am upset that I did not get the chance to see Fish perform this outstanding album. Also, I was so excited when I slid the cardboard cover off to notice an amazing design

Welcome back Mr Fish, although sadly through the wrong reasons. We are all there for you
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13th Star
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