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This Strange Engine

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This Strange Engine
Studio album by
Released9 April 1997 (Japan)
21 April 1997 (UK)
RecordedAugust–November 1996
StudioThe Racket Club, Buckinghamshire, England
LabelRaw Power
Marillion chronology
The Best of Both Worlds
This Strange Engine
Singles from This Strange Engine
  1. "Man of a Thousand Faces"
    Released: 2 June 1997 (UK)
  2. "Eighty Days"
    Released: 13 October 1997 (UK)
Professional ratings
Review scores

This Strange Engine is the ninth studio album by the British neo-prog band Marillion, released in April 1997 by the Castle Communications imprint Raw Power. It was the first of the three recordings that Marillion made under contract with Castle, after being dropped by EMI Records in 1995 and before eventually going independent in 2000. The album was recorded at The Racket Club in Buckinghamshire, England, between August and November 1996 and was produced by the band themselves.


Without promotional efforts of a major record label, This Strange Engine continued the decline in mainstream success for Marillion, reaching only number 27 in the UK Albums Chart and staying there for three weeks.[2] It sold significantly better in the Netherlands, home of one of the band's most loyal audiences, peaking at number 10 on the charts.[3] Two singles from the album were released: "Man of a Thousand Faces" and "Eighty Days". For the first time in the band's history, no song cracked the UK Top 40; the first single reached number 98 and the second one failed to chart at all.

The fourth track, "Estonia", was written after singer Steve Hogarth met Paul Barney, the only British survivor of the sinking of the cruise ferry Estonia in the Baltic Sea on 28 September 1994, which killed 852 people. This is the only song of Marillion to feature a balalaika.

The title track is a tribute by Steve Hogarth to his father, a marine engineer and an officer. The senior Hogarth sacrificed his life at sea for a job in a coal mine so that he could be close to his family.

On European editions, following the last track, at approximately 29:35, there is a hidden track of Hogarth giggling uncontrollably, recorded on his return to the studio after a night on the town.[4]

A remix of the album, Tales from the Engine Room, conducted by the electronic music project Positive Light, was first released as a limited edition January 1998 on Racket Records, and in June 1998 it was released worldwide by Eagle Records.

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics are written by Steve Hogarth and John Helmer, except where noted; all music is composed by Marillion

1."Man of a Thousand Faces" 7:33
2."One Fine Day" 5:31
3."80 Days"Hogarth5:00
5."Memory of Water" 3:01
6."An Accidental Man" 6:12
7."Hope for the Future" 5:10
8."This Strange Engine"Hogarth15:34
Total length:56:06
Japan Pony Canyon edition bonus tracks
9."Beautiful" (unplugged version)Hogarth4:49
10."Made Again" (unplugged version)Helmer5:12
Total length:66:07
USA Velvel second pressing bonus tracks[5]
9."Estonia" (The Positive Light Mix)Hogarth11:49
10."80 Days" (Acoustic Version)Hogarth5:39
Total length:70:49



Additional musicians[edit]

  • Charlton & Newbottle School Choir – choir (on "Man of a Thousand Faces")
  • Tim Perkins – balalaika (on "Estonia")
  • Phil Todd – saxophone (on "This Strange Engine")
  • Paul Savage – trumpet (on "Hope for the Future")

Technical personnel[edit]

  • Stewart Every – engineer
  • Dave Meegan – mixing engineer
  • Andrew Gent – artwork
  • Hugh Gilmour – art direction, design


Chart (1997) Peak
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[3] 10
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[6] 38
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[7] 48
UK Albums (OCC)[2] 27


  1. ^ Franck, John. Marillion: This Strange Engine > Review at AllMusic. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Marillion | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Dutchcharts.nl – Marillion – This Strange Engine" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  4. ^ Collins, Jon (2003). Separated Out Marillion History 1979-2002. Helter Skelter. p. 145.
  5. ^ "This Strange Engine". Marillion Discography. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  6. ^ "Marillion: This Strange Engine" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  7. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Marillion – This Strange Engine" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 17 March 2022.