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Marillion - Script For A Jester's Tear CD (album) cover





4.23 | 1993 ratings

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Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars The Dawn of a New Era

It's strange for a member of the Neo Prog Team not having released "Script for a Jester's Tear", for many the masterpiece of MARILLION (The most iconic band of the sub-genre) and for almost everybody the album that defined Neo Prog.

May sound contradictory, but I refused to review this album because until a few years ago, I believed Neo Prog was a "B" class sub-genre, a prejudice that took me time to leave behind, but when listened the music with open ears, understood that there is really fantastic that would be a shame not to listen, so it's time to review the point where everything started.

The album is opened with the title song and the band gives one of their most memorable performances. The introduction is sung almost "a capella" with Fish's peculiar Scottish accent and emotional range, only a soft piano makes company to his unique style, but then the change comes, a sudden burst of energy and power, the keyboards of course have that particular sound of the 80's, in the meanwhile, Fish takes us on a trip trough different moods from the peaceful calm of the start to the anguish and pain we can feel as the song advances, all performed with a quality that few vocalists achieve in one of the most clear operatic styles.

From the beginning we can notice that Neo Prog brings something different the guitar passes from being a dark instrument left behind the keyboards in traditional Symphnic to be a main character in this new genre, and Steve Rothery is a great ambassador of the style.

From start to end, almost nine minutes of great Prog Rock.

"He Knows You Know" starts with the guitar in crescendo and soft vocals announcing another sonic explosion, which in this case is not as powerful and the opening track, only from this point I can listen the clear GENESIS references and Fish's style boosts the effect.

The best section of this track is the middle instrumental break where Mark Kelly, Pete Trewavas and Steve Rothery get involved in a keyboard, bass and guitar duel, with the appropriate drumming by Mik Pointer simply fantastic.

"The Web" is a track that defined another facet o Neo Prog, starts dramatic with an almost Symphonic structure and a Gabriel like vocals with that style that only Fish is capable to create, but as it advances and gains in energy, moves more towards a hard Rock territory, first as a power ballad and then rocking as professionals, not the most progressive track despite the radical changes, but pure energy and power, the final guitar solo sumarizes the blend of two genres.

"Garden Party" is a classic in every sense, with a strong GENESIS influence, lush keyboards, unconventional rhythm, radical changes and to crown the song, excellent and deep lyrics, everything you can ask from Prog can be found here.

"Chelsea Monday" is another display of social poetry by Fish, enhanced with the dramatic and obscure music, this song shows us you don't need a vocalist that sounds like nothing matters as in most Indie, because Fish's dramatic voice can transmit whatever he wants, without giving the listener the urge to blow his brains or run for a Prozac pill.

A great album is defined by how well the songs are balanced, and MARILLION achieves complete success in this field, "Forgotten Sons" is another dramatic track, but in contrast with the previous, it's almost frantic without falling in excesses, the guitar interplay with the whole band is impeccable and the subtle keyboards combine perfectly, another high point. Again the powerful lyrics combining with the radio broadcast and the almost military march in the middle fit perfectly but the organ and mellotron (or a digital version) keeping the suspense, enhance everything. Another masterpiece.

We should only give the maximum rating to an album if it's essential, well, if the defining album of a genre is not essential, I don't know the meaning of the word, but "Script for a Jester's Tear" is much more, is a masterpiece that I should had bought ten years before I did. So five stars it is, and without any doubt.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 5/5 |


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