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4 stars Very derivative albeit very fine debut. If you can get past the mid 70's prog cliches (which some will enjoy) this set contains some excellent compositions. It's worth noting lazy comparisons to Genesis are not entirely fair, Genesis were never know for their guitar solo's where they're in abundance here.
Report this review (#12025)
Posted Wednesday, December 17, 2003 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
5 stars My liking of neo-prog starts and stops here. This , although it owes almost everything to Genesis, is a real master strike as for the times , they were saying [%*!#] you to the industry and just for that they deserved max reviews and the music is actually fantastic. I really enjoyed ( and still do nowadays) , this first album as there is not one weak moment on it and my fave is Chelsea. Despite its lenght , He Knows got some airplay in Canada , and this was the main reason why we came to know that band.

This album unfortunately became the starting point for a whole new generation of neo prog bands such ad Asgard , Aragon and countless other. I say unfortunately because if this had been one of the many sources of inspiration for those group ( as opposed to being the only source of inspiration), things would've gotten much better in the 90's . Just an opinion , but if you stop and think about it a second....

Report this review (#12031)
Posted Monday, February 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars For most of us this album really does not need a review as it has been so widely adopted as a classic. Led by FISH, this is MARILLION in top form playing some of their most progressive pieces of all time. Music is complex and yet very dark and delicate aided by the intellectual thoughts of Derek Dick (aka FISH). Songs are exceptionally well written and presented with amazing musicianship. If there is anyone out there who does not have this album then get yourself into a record store immediately! Absolutely essential progressive rock.

Report this review (#12033)
Posted Monday, March 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is probably the best Marillion album of all time. The amount of emotion that comes through on songs like 'The Web' and 'Script For A Jester's Tear' compliments perfectly with the complex and incredibly stylised lead guitar work from Steve Rothery. This is an absolutely essential buy for all prog rock fans, everyone should buy it and listen one of the technically best bands in prog.
Report this review (#12040)
Posted Friday, March 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I'm not a huge fan of Marillion but I really enjoy listening many of their albums with FISH on vocals. I consider "Script for a Jester's Tear" to be their very best effort with "Fugazi". All tracks are mesmerized, painful and melancholic thanks to the great semi-operatic, melodic & screaming vocals of FISH and Rothery unique guitar style, deeply emotional & fluid. The perfect album to accompany a long period of solitude (I think mainly to 'Chelsea Monday'...). All the tracks are beautiful, from the satirical & sad love song "Script for a Jester's Tear" to the rebelious and reflexive "Forgotten sons". "Script for a Jester's Tear" figures among the best prog rock albums from the 80s.
Report this review (#12041)
Posted Monday, April 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A Re-Mastered Masterpiece - a new Masterpiece!

What a superb job the band have done in the remastering; This is almost a new album - the dynamics are staggering - especially at high volume, and an album of this quality deserves every ratchet on your hi-fi.

The title track is a masterpiece in itself. Although clearly a song, and containing repetetive passages, there is no chorus section, and the verses do not all follow the same melodic progressions. It opens with Fish singing a capella "So here I am once more". The irony of opening a debut album with this line is not lost on this reviewer! From this moment on, Marillion throw hook after hook - infectious melody after infectious melody at us, and not only that, but layer melodies in each instrument until it becomes impossible to tell which is the main melody.

Focus is on the dominant lyrics, of course, as every word is wrought into poetry of the finest hues. Fish is master of using strong melody lines to carry the lyrics, and inflects perfect dynamics - lights and shades - so that every meaning is put into the words; however it is still the task of the listener to work out each undercurrent and double or triple meaning that he puts in.

Add to that Mark Kelly's powerfully melodic and ambient yet understated keyboards, Peter Trewavas' solid, melodic and strongly rhythmic bass, and Steve Rothery's brilliant Celtic, Gilmour influenced yet originally melodic (there's that word again!) guitar solos, and you have near perfection. Mick Pointer plays just enough on the kit to keep things moving - but as long as we don't pay the drums too much attention, they do the job without intruding. Perhaps the 1980s sounding heavy snare is too much of its era, but the surrounding music is timeless, and really, someone could have just sat there playing bongos and it would have worked with music this strong. It's good to have the full kit though!

"Script..." works its way through a series of neck hair-raising highs, starting with the gorgeously rich bass entry, and never stops working through the story of the artist exploring his emotions after the break up of a relationship in which the protaganist suffers deeply from unrequited love, and even describes the process of writing a song about it "I act the role in classic style of a martyr carved with twisted smile - to bleed the lyric for this song, to write the rites to right my wrongs - An epitaph to a broken dream, to exorcise this slient scream...". All this over a winding bass line and light keyboard melody - and the word "scream..." is delivered in a muted, gasping fashion, making this a very powerful passage. But there's more power and drama to come - just listen.

"He Knows You Know" - title possibly influenced by MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA's "You Know You Know"? - A song about drugs and the more unpleasant effects they can have - especially if you take to "fixing smack". The poet turns to drugs to assist in his rehabilitation from the catastrophic emotional loss, but ends up ill - "Singing psychedelic praises to the depths of a china bowl...". An insistent rhythm drives this song - and does not relent for such things as choruses, although it does fade for a short bridge passage. A strange choice for a single, despite the pounding rhythms, and remarkable that it wasn't banned for its lyrical content - but there you are!

"The Web" fixes us firmly back into prog territory, with more of those neck-hair-raising moments. Pure, pure melody and magnificent harmonic progressions layer up upon the winding bass lines in a fine, shimmering web of rich sounds - many proggers may be disappointed not to hear dazzling technical complexities as well, but I would say that the dazzling technicalities lie in the fact that all these melodies seem to magically work together - that was not an accident! The poet is now alone in his tenement flat, wallowing in his memories and gazing through old photographs, contemplating the need to let go and move on. Kelly's keyboard melodies verge on the bombastic, and really shine in this piece.

"Garden Party" sees the poet moving on - getting out and mingling a bit, but repelled by what he sees. This was a hit single - amazing, really, when you consider the venom with which Fish attacks society and its hypocrysies, and the unconventional rhythms and complex lyrics which dominate the song. However, its "conventional" verse-chorus" type structure make for a workable single that guaranteed it some airplay, even if much of the pop audience didn't have a clue what Fish was singing about. The video was superb!

"Chelsea Monday" Continues the poet's contemplation of what is "out there", and sees the archetypal society woman getting all her style from magazines while inhabiting a strange plastic fantasy world created for her so that she doesn't have to think about it. The bleak music structure and insistent rhythms drive this music through dark layers and yet more gorgeous melodies - honestly, the hairs on the back of my neck have a tough time during this one!

But the best is saved for last. "Forgotten Sons" shows the poet finally getting himself a political conscience and considering the fate of young soldiers sent off to die for some governmental chess game, as he externalises his internal struggles - his fight against his conscience and the battle of the human animal vs the intellectual, thinking, romantic being. This is one of the greatest pieces of music I have ever heard, culminating in the truly monumental guitar solo that follows the inspired "prayer" section. While recording this section, according to legend, the recording booth suddenly went icy cold, and a tangible presence was felt. This presence was allegedly partially recorded - and there are also sounds on the master tape that were not produced by the band. Listen to this section and see if you can work out what they are - if nothing else, this section has the deepest power I've ever known to make people feel unaccountably uncomfortable. It's not heavy metal, but it's certainly INTENSE.

On to the bonus tracks (For the 2CD set):

It's the summer of 1982. The punk explosion has left but faint echoes, as the parade of "New Romantics" waft lace and eye-liner over the masses. The only real alternative appears to be metal - but even the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal is getting a bit old. Suddenly, up pops this quirky single from a "new" band called Marillion. Instantly labelled prog, Genesis soundalikes, whatever... Market Square Heroes is as far from anything else at the time as it is from anything else Marillion wrote. A catchy melody, bouncing rhythms and major keys could soon fool you into thinking that this is a happy pop song. Not true! This is the beginning of the story of Marillion - the band playing the taverns in the Market Place, hungry for the big time, bemoaning the closing down factories and large-scale redundancies in the hypocritical yuppie era of the 1980s, where to some there was endless opportunity, to ordinary factory workers there was nothing but loss of livelihoods and consignment to the scrap heap. Marillion offer the suggestion and solution of planning the day - are you following me?

Three Boats Down From The Candy is much more safely in prog territory, with wafting, drifting keyboard washes. Sumptuously dissonant and borrowing structurally from Genesis, the lyrics are the foundation stone for both "Script For a Jester's Tear" and "Fugazi". Marillion also lay down their own style authoritatively in this song - all the elements are there from Kelly's meandering keyboards, Trewavas' wandering yet solid bass and Rothery's impassioned, Celtic and hugely melodic guitar.

Grendel is one of the most oft-discussed tunes in prog. Is it a mere Genesis rip-off? There's not much evidence of this to start with, as the opening, musically reminds me more of Spinal Tap launching into the epic "Stonehenge". However, as this section "Heorot's plea and Grendel's Awakening" pans out, it is absolutely clear that there is much more to this track. The music follows the epic story well, even though it was originally an 8-minute piece, stylistically similar to Twelfth Night, called "The Tower". The opening section is then repeated and developed, and the next section "As Grendel leaves his mossy home" is in Marillion's more energetic style - here it is apparent that the band put so much passion into recording this piece that they don't seem to have noticed that the bass is out of tune!

Fish bends and twists his voice accordingly, and Rothery bends notes into a solo that Andy Latimer would have been proud of. The vocal section is repeated (for the structure hounds!), then we have the "Earth Rim Walker" section from earlier before relaxing into "Grendel's Journey" - the opening section of which is very and comfortably reminiscent of early Genesis - if this was the only Marillion track you'd ever heard, then I'd understand the continual comparisons!

A short bass solo, which reminds me a little of "After the Eclipse" by Twelfth Night leads to "Lurker At The Threshold", an ever-growing, pulsating orb of prog! Finally (sic) we have the ontroversial "Finale". This opens with one of the best riffs Marillion have ever produced, then layers melody after melody, texture after texture in a miraculously Camel-like style, dropping down here, building up there to the "Apocalypse in 9/8" riff, approximately 14' 15" into the piece. However, listen closely. It's not what is done or what is borrowed, but what is done with that material. Marillion develop it - the epic lyrics and Fish's impassioned treatment of them take it beyond Genesis - the riff that follows is majestic and sweeping and an indication of Marillion's "pure" style developing. Marillion keep up the inventiveness and interest to an uncanny degree - but don't just take my word for it - you have ears!!!

The Demo version of Chelsea Monday takes quite a few listens to fully appreciate why Marillion might want us to hear what superficially (production-wise) appears to be an inferior recording of one of the greatest tracks on the album. However, it has a stark quality all of its own just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.

Before "He Knows You Know" was pummelled into some sort of shape to be a quirky hit single, there was this version. It is typical of Marillion that so many changes should take place - every time I saw them live, you never heard the same performance twice. I love this demo version - really stripped down, and a kind of "retro-neo-prog". To me, this is much more convincingly prog than the version on the album.

Charting the Single seems to set the scene for some parts of the "Misplaced Childhood" album, but has the tight focus on word play more typical of "Fugazi" or "Clutching at Straws". Many of the jokes are downright corny, and it's easy to dismiss this as a light piece of fun - which it is. However, it's more than that - it's the lighter side of Marillion, and the reference point from which to view songs such as "Garden Party", "Assassing", "Heart of Lothian" and perhaps "Incommunicado".

The Alternative version of Market Square Heroes has much fuller production - and seems to have gone through the machinery of the remastering process with more attention than the "Battle Priest" version. There are differences, but I don't really find them notable enough to highlight any here - find them yourself!

The bonus tracks are a very interesting addition, particularly the full contents of the "Market Square Heroes" EP, but the album alone gets the full FIVE STARS. A Masterpiece of prog - a must-own - even if you don't "get it" the first few times you listen to it (and you won't. Trust me). Combined with the bonus tracks, the 2CD set becomes a must-have for anyone that's ever expressed an interest in prog. Don't miss out!

Report this review (#12043)
Posted Monday, April 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The revival of progressive rock, started in the early 80's, probably occurred with the arrival of this album. Many purists pretended this album to be a Genesis' clone. Probably those people don't accept the judicious use of modern technologies, serving a noble cause: the creation of a logical continuity of the best progressive rock of the 70's. This album is certainly influenced by Genesis circa Foxtrot, but it is definitely not copied from them. Actually, the Citizen Cain's "Serpents in camouflage" album has more similitudes.

The fresh sound has a pleasant permanent echo, and the very synchronized drums and bass have a very elastic & punchy sound. Fish's very expressive & theatrical voice has some similitudes with Peter Gabriel. There are many moog solos and delightful guitar solos a la Steve Hackett, reminding the "Selling England by the pound" album. There are also some excellent ambient modern organ parts; modern, melodic & colorful keyboards are also very present. There is just on slightly irritating point: the gross rhythmic electric guitar riffs, like on "Forgotten sounds" could have a better crafted sound.


Report this review (#12064)
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars The title song is one of the best I ever heard in my life. Absolutely amazing, emotional, convincing, deep-felt, beautiful, even quite sad. I do not understand why I found this album so late. There is nothing to compare with Genesis ! All the other songs are ultimate ! It's a pity, that Fish decided to left the band, even I do not know the albums after this album (except Kayleigh) ...
Report this review (#12035)
Posted Tuesday, April 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A Masterpiece that Redefined Prog Music ...!

This band was my hero! Yeah .. I still remember sometime in 1983 when I did my engineering study, the world was flooded by abundant punk and new wave kind of music. Major prog bands were heading toward that direction as well. I was so disappointed with Genesis "abacab" and Yes "90125". Nope! Don't get me wrong . I'm not saying that their music were terrible. I just could not believe these pioneers of 70's music who had laid solid foundation in the history of prog music had finally changed their direction and get commercialized themselves. Well, it's their call. Who was I, anyway? I was just a listener of great prog music. Yet, as their fanatic fans and loyal customer, I had to admit that, deep inside myself, I felt that I reserve the right to choose my musical taste. So then I did not praise their music anymore. Especially having heard Genesis "Who Dunnit" or "Keep it Dark" uuugh ..! Something is happening in my stomach. I would vomit I guess .???!!!

In the midst of searching an excellent music that really fits my taste and feeling, I was frustrated with what was happening in music industry during that dark year of prog music circa early 80's. It ended until one afternoon when my friend played me an LP of a band which I never heard before .. Marillion. What sort of name? ( I was not into any of novel or book and I was not aware at all about Tolkien or Silmarillion). "So here I am once more!" Yeaaahh .. The opening voice really kicked me and their music really blew my mind! Yup! This is the kind of music that I've always wanted. I was really hooked to this LP that afternoon and I could not afford to put my stereo set off. I listened to this album (disc one of the re-master series, off course) continuously for 3 hours in front of my stereo set!! I kept repeating when it hit "Forgotten Sons", the closing track of this terrific album.

Even though it's clear that Marillion music is in the vein of Gabriel era of Genesis but I never considered this band as a copy cat. They just played the music that they'd like to play. Their music is even darker than Genesis. One thing that I rate highly about this album is the melody and music composition are top class! The opening track "Script for a Jester's Tear" sets the whole tone of the album. It clears the path to true progressive music with strong melody that touches your heart. The opening voice of Fish on vocals with a background of simple piano sound by Mark Kelly has started to touch your heart with its crisp melody. Listen the keyboard part after Fish sings " ..abandoning the relics in playground of yesterday ..." yyeeaaahh . so nice piece of music segment that Mark Kelly plays on his keyboard. But hold on .. that has not reached the true orgasm of this track because the band then brings you to a reallu uplifting music when the drum part starts to roll "The game is over!" really kicks! The music then flows naturally with every segment of music gives nice touch on melody part. The guitar part at interlude is performed nicely by Steve Rothery. The second track is the song about drugs. It has a powerful tone opened with guitar touch and Fish voice "He Knows You Know" followed by keyboard soun, and reaches its climax when the drum section enters the scene. So powerful! This is a kind of song you would like to wake you up in the morning. "Problems! Problems!". One thing noticeable about this track, beside its upbeat rhythm, was the closing section that ends nicely with Fish tiny voice "Don't give me your problems!" - "bang!" followed by intro part of next track "The Web". It flows beautifully in this part!

"The Web" was the first task for Fish to write a lyric for the band, during audition period of being the band's new vocals. He did it very well. I enjoy this track very much especially its powerful lyric (about rubber plant) and beautiful composition. "I realize I hold the key to freedom but I cannot let my life be ruled by threads ." is the piece that I memorize on top of my head since I heard it the first time. It was then followed by steve's solo guitar. Very nice.

The fourth track is "Garden Party" that later became the band's and audience favorite's for live performance. This track once became a "radio hit" in Bandung, the city in Indonesia where I heard Marillion the first time; a well-known FM station aired this track several times.

Now enters the slower music of this album "Chelsea Monday". Again, the band offers a nice melody with a memorable guitar tone in the interlude part. Now .. you would realize that Steve Rothery plays his guitar with Hackett's style.

The closing track is my favorite, "Forgotten Sons". "This is dedicated to all those who fell on a pavement outside Harrods last Christmas." (Intro Forgotten Sons - Real To Reel, their first live album). Harrods is an exclusive shop in Knightsbridge, London. On December 17, 1983, an IRA bomb exploded, killing six and wounding many others. This track is opened by radio tuning sound that includes bit of "Market Square Heroes" (from their previous release of EP) followed by "Armalite! Streetlight!" voice of Fish. The opening is so powerful. It brings a nuance of a group of soldiers that marches into their destination, war field! I love the part in the middle when Fish sings like reading a poet .."Your mother sits on the edge of the world when the camera starts to roll .. etc.". The guitar rhythm as a background is very nice piece. Actually, I love all tracks in this album. But if I'm forced to choose the best one is this track. It's damn powerful, my friend! "Peace on earth and mercy mild. Mother Brown has lost her child. Just another forgotten sons!" Yeeaaaahh ....

On disc 2, you can find 3 tracks from Marillion's EP prior to their debut album "Script". Those 3 tracks are excellent: "Grendel" which was inspired by a book by John Gardner. This track is also my favorite. Some people commented that this is a clone of Genesis "Supper's Ready". So be it. I don't care. What I really care is that I love this track very much. .. "Three Boats Down from a Candy" is also a nice track, with great melody - of course. Bravo Marillion Fish era!Keep on Progging ...!

Progressively yours,

Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Report this review (#12042)
Posted Thursday, May 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars The most important Marillion album ever made. Period. I first listened to this in 1986, at the tender age of 16 and was almost swept into another world by these compositions. Almost at once i rushed out to get an electric guitar to learn Rothery's masterful solo's. For a debut album of this genre, Marillion did a remarkable job, although Pointer's drumming was indeed 'basic', it has to be said. The way the album was put together indicated a fine bit of producing, all the songs worked very well in a 'live'context, they are intelligent, moving, sarcastic and humourous observations, backed by a crackin' band. True songcraft, very British, and despite those iffy drums, still sounds grand to this day. Important? Oooooh yes!
Report this review (#12044)
Posted Wednesday, June 9, 2004 | Review Permalink
The Prognaut
5 stars I'm so grateful to life for putting me in the way of this album when I was barely getting impregnated with prog rock whatsoever. I came across "Script for a Jester's Tear" because of the constant suggestions of my friends and due my incessant desire to discover new musical approaches, I took those pieces of advice and got to put my hands on the record. I have to say that the impact upon me from the very first 20 seconds of the album was irremediably blinding. I embraced the song "Script for a Jester's Tear" as my hymn to pay homage to sorrow and loneliness, it was simply the most enigmatic yet captivating song I have ever listened to; so far, PINK FLOYD was my parameter to measure other artists works.

Eventually, I fell in love with the album, it just transmitted this sort of sentiment, of passion and emotiveness to me that it has inevitable not to play this record over and over. This album contains the very first song MARILLION ever played as a band ("The Web") but that was not included in the "Market Square Heroes EP" due the indecisiveness the band constantly suffered because of the interminable counterpoints between FISH and ROTHERY. Finally, the song was included as prelude to "Garden Party" and in between some other magnificent songs beautifully composed such as "He knows, You know", "Chelsea Monday" and "Forgotten Sons".

These days I pay even much more respect to this album because of what the band accomplished at the time they released it and the spotless, impeccable work they did with the whole production; and mostly, because when I attended to a MARILLION concert in September 1997 with HOGARTH behind the microphone and seeing him attempting against his integrity by daring to sing "Garden Party" and "Kayleigh" at the very end of the show, I realized there was never gonna be another FISH whatsoever, no matter how hard you tried to push things within the band or the crowd. An extremely amazing recording, definitely a must. Put yourselves together people, I'm giving it the whole five stars. Masterpiece!

Report this review (#12045)
Posted Friday, June 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Too many 70's cliches for my liking but there is no denying the quality of the album at a time when anything new in this genre was like headline news. The biggest problem I have with it is that it has dated compared to say any Genesis material. The comparison between the 2 bands is apt because Fish was hell bent on sounding like Gabriel. I have no problem with honest plagiarism though!!The title track and ' garden Party' for me the highlights. I do think their follow up Fugazi was better.
Report this review (#12047)
Posted Wednesday, August 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars The comparisons to Genesis were probably more based on the fact that there was not much prog around in 1983. At least not in the mainstream which is where Marillion seemed to be heading from the outset. Partly thanks to the strength of their music, partly thanks to the unique performances of Fish, and maybe even thanks to their sleeve artwork, Marillion were talked about from their first EP onward. This excellent debut album has stood the test of time, and IMHO is their joint best album (if thats possible) with 'Fugazi', its follow up. 'Script For a Jesters Tear' is a a dark affair. The first three songs court ideas of deep depression through lost love, contemplation of suicide, living in isolation and solitude, and succombing to insanity. Sound awful? Well, to be honest the music sounds fantastic. Steve Rothery's guitar playing is melodic, his solos memorable. Fish's voice is haunting, and despite all the Gabriel comparisons is actually unique. The title track is one of the best songs the band ever wrote IMO, and has some of Fish's most lovely and un- contrived lyrics. The music changes between drama and melancholy in a captivating way. 'He knows you know' has a sharper edge, is laced with bitterness, and was an obvious choice for a single. The Web, another Marillion classic, closes what would have been the first side on the old vinyl. Again 'The Web' deals with concepts of depression and isolation, and has some of the most melodic guitar work on the album. In fairness there is not a duff track in sight. The eccentricty of 'Garden Party' is contrasted by the dark, moody allyways of 'Chelsea Monday and the album is completed by the angry 'Forgotten Sons' An anthem for those killed in action, viewed and commentated on by armchair startegists with no idea of the reality and horror of conflict. 'Forgotten Sons' is an important song for the time, making refernces to the Northern Ireland conflict. This was a big live number for some years.

As a debut album, SFAJT is brilliant, bold, brave and original. Ignore the Genesis comparisons. With the passing of time I have come to regard these as way off the mark. This album scores a four and not a five, only because the drumming was better on the albums that followed (when Ian Mosely took over) and the production improved thereafter too. In terms of the songs? No complaints at all. Highly reccomended.

Report this review (#12048)
Posted Friday, August 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars As a very instinctive and emotional person, this record was a test. Fish' emotion detector is very busy in this record. If Script for a Jester's Tear don't move you lyrically, you're one stone cold soldier. Of course, the music is as dramatic and carries a lot of what Fish wants to say. Despair, sorrow, desillusion, anger, addiction and so on...Marillion tells stories, just like Genesis. Marillion even sounds like Genesis (Rutherford guitar and of course, Gabriel voice mimics).

But Genesis never fueled up on Prozac like this baby. The stories are probably inspired by Fish many adventures with pal Captain Morgan on white mountains of nose- vacuuming snow. To me, Marillion has been a bit too depressing on this record, but got better in the end. Each song reflects a life of problems and difficulty to control borderline syndrome. But, the thing is...the're excellent at it. They overdo it emotionnaly a tad, but this stays a very, very acceptable start for the band. Fish' voice is never expressed such honesty in any other record. We can feel everything he means. And he put emphasis on singing with strenght, which gives to the record an honest and...a quite welcome Gabriel feel....even if it's a total rip-off.

Marillion is a band which I could rank in the same vein as The Cure, James or Beastie Boys. The song cannot be split with lyrics on a side and music on the other. The two must be combined and especially the lyrics must be read while listening. This way, like the other bands I named, the experience is superior to many bands with great music, but cheesy lyrics or vice-versa.

To me, Marillion is what I call: DRAMA-PROG.

Moody, rather negative and claustrophobic.

Fish, it must suck to be you....

Report this review (#12049)
Posted Tuesday, September 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars I can imagine the joy with which the prog-rock fans received this album in that time. The first 80's were an awful era for prog, when almost all classic bands where deliverying their worst albums. But here you have this new band, sounding as the classic 70's symphonic rock bands... Well, the music is simplier and the production more 80-ish, but the theatrical vocals, the synth passages, the guitar solos... And yes, they remind me a LOT to Genesis, mainly due to Fish's Gabriel-cloned voice. He does a great job all thru the album, though some moments it gets very close to being irritating. "Garden party" and "Chelsea Monday" are great prog-rock moments.

And by the way, they not only recover prog-rock sound, but also the great sleeve art of the old prog-rock albums. That sad jester playing violin in his dark room deserves a place by that old screaming schizoid man we all know.

Report this review (#12050)
Posted Tuesday, September 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars All's been said...... A definitive masterpiece if you don't have this in your record collection, then you've not understand what prog, and especially neoprog is all about.

This band has saved the complete progrock music community from extinction, not by recreating the sounds of former bands (the comparisson with genesis is often mentioned, and now again by me), but by inventivly using melody lines and great lyrics, creating a sound which still lingers in all the new neo-prog bands. For me it is impossible to listen to bands like pendragon, arena, dreamtheater and others without comparring them to marillion. enough said, lets review the album...

Side A 1. Script... brilliant song, dark melody line carried by an inspired singer, all demons and heartpain are led out to haunt the listener "Can you still say that you love me" 2. He knows... The dark side of drug (ab)use, all good advise noted, but there's only the choise you make yourself. 3. the web.... The world collapses around you, the woman you love has gone, (probably married your bestfriend), and your left all alone with clippings from ancient newspapers. Displaying better times gone by?

Side B 4. garden party.. Interesting point of view, a party you ask all your friends, and keep all of them happy, pretending you are friendly, triying to improve your social status, it's all a fake. IMO not the best song but it is sincerely ment, makes it special none the less. 5. Chelsea Monday... dreaming about what might happen, if once they (the big shots who call the shots) discover what talent you have, but in the mean time you're working all day trying to make a living, but oh what if?? just another chelsea monday. 6. Forgotten sons.. It's about the importance of having a military providing peace and security within a region, and the manner we approach the man and woman who provide that peace, it's not a pro war song neither is it an anti war song, it's just questioning the prise we are willing to pay for peace and stabillity and the rememberence of all who lost their lives doing so. And not to forgett what they've sacrificied, so they will not become a forgotten son. (this all being my interpretation, not officialy the point of view of Marillion)

The best part of this album are the lyrics, absolutely perfect, but because of the complexity of those lyrics one tends to forget to listen to the music itself, which stands firm without the lyrics as well. This is more than a five star record, if you don't have the album in your collection yet buy it,


Report this review (#12051)
Posted Monday, September 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Genesis of a prog band

I first came across Marillion not long after this album was released. I remember well that my initial impressions were that, while the band was clearly competent, their music was so derivative of Gabriel era Genesis, as to make them appear to be little more than a tribute band (stay with me here PA member "Certif1ed"!).

I have to admit that with the passing of time, and having become familiar with Marillion's work over many years, that association is not nearly as clear to me now as it was then. The most obvious similarity is in the vocals of Fish vs. Gabriel, and I guess it is often the vocals which make the biggest initial impression. Looking beyond that however, while there may be some Hackett like guitar sounds, and occasional Bank's like keyboards, these are no more obviously derivative than the music of any of Marillion's progressive rock peers.

Yes the songs, especially on this their debut album, do tend to be structured (in terms of the story telling and incisive instrumental passages) along the lines of Genesis early epic tracks, particularly those on "Nursery Cryme", but the music is very much their own.

As a whole, I have always found "Script.." to be fairly inaccessible. To prolong the Genesis comparison, there are far less in the way of familiar hooks, repeated themes, etc., the songs being generally darker and more complex. The opening title track sets the scene not just for the album, but indeed for the band for the years which were to follow. I don't normally refer to other people's reviews when writing my own, preferring to read them AFTER I have committed my own thoughts. At this stage however I would refer you to the review of this album by "Certif1ed". His love of the album is as clear as his intricate knowledge of the contents. Cert's review is clearly a labour of love, and gives those unfamiliar with the album very useful guidance on how to approach it.

While I too enjoy the album a great deal, I find the overall package does not justify listing it among my favourites. I have some difficulty articulating the reasons for this without appearing to knock the album, which I do not wish to do (since as I say, I do enjoy it a lot). From a Fish era Marillion point of view, I prefer "Misplaced childhood" which I find to be generally stronger.

For me, the band are at times trying to be just a bit too complex (in the way the Flower Kings can appear to be these days). Had they developed some of the themes more, before rushing on to the next one, the tracks would have benefited from a greater continuity. I would also like to have had more in the way of instrumental breaks, Fish just has too much to say in each song.

These comments must however be taken in the context that I see the album as highly enjoyable and only slightly flawed, it is certainly one of the best debuts by any band.

Report this review (#12052)
Posted Tuesday, October 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Welcome to neo-prog. Welcome to Marillion`s World". In late 1983 I read in a Rock music magazine a review about Marillion, their first album, thier image, and how they sounded like Genesis with Peter Gabriel. I saw the photos of the band in the magazine, with Fish`s painted face. I didn`t have interest in them then, until I listened to "Kayleigh" in the Radio in 1986, and I started to buy their albums in early 1987. I bought this album until late 1990, after I finished my University studies. I was younger then. In 1983 Marillion members were younger, too. So I consider this album a very good album, a mostly depressing album but with great musical ideas, "atmospheres" and moods, recorded by a young band. This album has a lot of creativity by the band. The music is very interesting, with a lot of changes. I like every song in this album, but...I don`t like the drums, their sound and how they were played. I think that there were good justified reasons to change the drummer in Marillion. At that time, Mick Pointer wasn`t the right drummer for Marillion. The live versions of some of the songs of this album recorded later with Ian Mosley are much better due to his playing. I listened again to Pointer when his new band (Arena) released their first album in the 90s, and he improved a lot in his playing. But in this album he really lacked "power". I don`t consider Marillion as "another Genesis". They had their own style since they started, in my opinion. The similarities with Genesis are not enough for me to consider them "Genesis imitators".
Report this review (#12053)
Posted Friday, October 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
Tristan Mulders
4 stars Marillion - Script for a Jester's Tear

In a time when most of the leading 70s bands in the Symphonic Rock scene decided to either stop making this specific type of music or members of those key bands decided to go solo, the fans of the genre feared for the further existence of it. In other words, there was an urgent need to satisfy a constantly growing hunger for new symphonic music that had was both refreshing and had a 'new' sound.

In 1983 this hunger was satisfied with the release of an album that saved the Symphonic Rock artist from turning into an endangered species. This album was "Script for a Jester's Tear". by a band that later would become one of the 80s leading bands in the genre: MARILLION.

Script for a Jester's Tear, by many regarded as one of Marillion's best, is most certainly a classic album in the scene. With the release of this album a new style of Symphonic Rock music saw the daylight: Neo Prog (rock).

I first heard the album as a whole an average five and a half years ago. My first impression was that, in contradiction to a lot of Symphonic Rock stuff from the 70s, most of the compositions on this album are not overly complex. Sure, there are complex parts of songs, but overall seen it is not there to BE complex and it certainly does not seem difficult to get 'into'.

The music presented here is mostly quite a bit depressing. Fish's lyrics are very mystical and are works of art on their own. Some of it seems to be very personal to Fish himself (Script for a Jester's Tear), whereas others have a twist of humour (Garden Party) or are about politics-related issues that were happening around the time of release in England (Forgotten Sons, which is a firm anti-war song about the Falklands War). The other band members back up his distinct vocals and the mystical, but fitting, lyrics with great atmospheres that tend to perfectly set the mood for every track.

It is in my opinion by far not Marillion's best, but for the Symphonic Rock genre in general speaking and thus also meaning the history of Symphonic Rock from its beginnings up to present day, it is a classic.

Report this review (#12054)
Posted Saturday, October 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a real masterpiece and I remember being real impressed by this record back in the early '80's. With songs with an average length of 8 minutes this is real sympho! The legendary song "Script for a yesters tear", "The Web", "Chelsea Monday" and "Forgotten Sons" are real great compositions and sensitive lyrics from Fish. Maybe Marillion had their roots with Genesis but I never hear this simularities in their records with one exeption: "Grendel", here the infuences are to good to hear and maybe that was the reasen they never played it again after a while. Ok the songs are long and with changing tempo's it is real sympho but what is wrong with that? With this record Marillion has raised the Sympho out of the daed in that time! It was an example for a lot of other bands like IQ and Pendragon to maintain their musical direction.
Report this review (#12055)
Posted Sunday, October 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Progressive rock rises from the ashes. Script for a Jester`s Tear seemed to be a resurection of the prog rock genre and many comparisons were made to early Genesis music at the time it was released in 1983. The instrumentation was the same and also featured a charismatic vocalist who wrote all the lyrics but which dealt with contemporary problems, rather than fantasy stories, such as drug addiction and war, making references to the " troubles " in Northern Ireland on the track Forgotten Sons. The overall musical sound was sharper and more precise than the earlier Genesis stylings partly due to the band`s preference for Yamaha instruments and gear.One notable difference was more focus on solos.

The album is signifigant for it`s appearance at a time when new wave music was dominating the charts. Had it been released in say, 1972, it would have been up there with the likes of Yes ,The Strawbs, Genesis and others who were creating more ambitious art rock at the time. They even had their own identifying band logo and art work concepts which complemented the music much like the Roger Dean association with Yes.

Script For a Jester`s Tear is in the true spirit of early seventies era progressive rock containing all the main ingredients, emotive and thought provoking lyrics, keyboard and guitar interplay utilizing various effects and above average musicianship. Additional alternate versions and singles not available on the original LP release can be heard on the updated CD release. Classic neo-progressive rock.

Report this review (#12057)
Posted Wednesday, November 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Marillion started out as a Genesis clone band, but by the time they have recorded "Script For A Jesters Tear" the differences were becoming as obvious as the similarities. Whatever category you want to put the album in, it is one awesome, bold, inspired album, beginning to end. At the time when the synth pop bands dominated the music scene, it took real courage to come out with music which was in many ways anachronistic, yet at the same time in touch with the times. The often dark and disquieting images of "Script" stand out as different from the fairy atmospherics of many of the prog bands that inspired Marillion. Instrumentally too, there are some links with the innovative 80's sounds that could be heard on the radio around that time, particularly in the keyboard and guitar department. All songs on the album are well crafted and executed with force and conviction, leaving no doubt that Marillion is a band to be respected, whatever their musical style. The predominance of Genesis-style prog rock is evident in "He Knows You Know" and "Garden Party", although injected with venom not usually found in Genesis songs. The rest of the album is darkly atmosferic, romantic and poetic, as exemplified by "Chelsea Mondays", "She Chameleon". However the images and words are related to current times. It's hard to believe that this album is already more than 20 years old, a true rock classic whose release I was privileged to wintess in 1983. I prefer to categorize it (if it must be categorized) as an art-rock album, however, the tight interplay between Moog runs and guitar solos, powerful drumming, amazingly rich harmony, great vocals would definitely fit better in the progressive genre, more than merely neo-progressive. If you do not have it - do not hesitate to pick up a copy, you will not be disappointed.
Report this review (#12059)
Posted Sunday, January 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I was out shopping in Liverpool city centre with two friends, on a sunny Saturday back in 1983. We went into HMV to have a look around, and I spotted this album, drawn to it by its excellent cover. One of my friends, upon my enquiring about this, told me it was very good, from a new band who sounded a lot like early Genesis. Now me, being one of Genesis's biggest fans throughout the seventies, and having groaned at the downward spiral of their increasingly pop and chart influenced later albums, was immediately interested. So, without hearing any of it, (even though my friend had the album, unknown to me!) I purchased it. My initial reaction was rather mixed. Yes, there were a lot of Gabriel/Banks/Hackett influences, especially on the opening track, which reminded me a lot of 'The Musical Box', but some of the rest I found a little disappointing. At first. However, on repeatedly listening to the record, over the next few days, I grew more and more to be enamoured by its charm. For a debut, this is terrific, one of the best ever. Every track is a worthy effort, my favourites being 'Script' and 'Forgotten Sons', although this track is less like Genesis. 'He Knows You Know' has a superb atmosphere, with Mark Kelly's keyboards very much to the fore. 'The Web' has nice guitar work from Rothery, and flows seamlessly. 'Garden Party' is fun, and is probably Marillion's answer to 'The Battle Of Epping Forest'. 'Chelsea Monday' is far darker, with a tragic yet interesting story line. A good track but, if forced to choose my least fave on the record, this would be it. 'Forgotten Sons', as already mentioned, is, to me, a terrific piece of music. Fish's lyrics are, as usual, vitriolic, yet poetical as well. One of the best lyricists of his, or any generation. (He was born the year before me, 1958.) As a poet myself, his writing is right up my alley, so to speak! Some critics go overboard regarding the 'Genesis clone' theory. The truth is, these are neither as close to Genesis as some suggest, nor as different as others insinuate. Having read the band's biography years ago, which covered the period up to the release of 'Clutching At Straws', I soon discovered that Yes were a bigger influence on them than Genesis. Nevertheless, the title track here is very suggestive of Genesis. The two reasons for the comparison, in my eyes anyway, are 1) Fish's vocals, and 2) Mark Kelly's keyboards. In the early years, he played very much in the Tony Banks style, and this was a good thing for me. These days, they sound nothing like they used to do, and, although good in their own way, have lost that early charm and atmosphere they once possessed. The bonus disc here is interesting, although the version of 'Grendel' one of my fave Marillion tracks ever, is slightly inferior here. Likewise, the version of 'Chelsea Monday' plods and lacks the quality of the official album version. Another of my fave pieces is 'Charting The Single' which is here in all its original glory. Tremendous. A must have for Marillion, or prog fans in general, and one of the two best albums by this group, the other being 'Clutching At Straws'. Recommended. Early Genesis fans who haven't heard this, what are you waiting for?
Report this review (#12069)
Posted Sunday, March 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the main event in my life. The most important. This date (I've bought it on August,1,2003 - before this time I had NO IDEA about Marillion or other neo-prog bands ) is my second birthday! I consider this album to be the BEST EVER recorded on our planet!Maybe there are some else, but still "Script" is my favouritest! It opens with the best track ever recorded ,"Script for a jester's tear"; I've been crying when I've heard the last part ("the fool escaped from paradise")!; continiues with great "He knows You know" and gives us a break after the magnificient "The Web". I've been greatly impressed with Fish's lyrics , he is really great poet! The B-side: "Garden Party", a sharp one; "Chelsea Monday", a soft one; and the closing epic , anti-war "Forgotten Sons" with its famous "praying" mid-part and ballad final part ("You're just another coffin "). The GREATEST album ever written; it is too genious for this world. Highly recommended to everyone who enjoys good music. Beyond compares!!!
Report this review (#12074)
Posted Thursday, April 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Who doesn't knows Marillion's legend (I think the legend finished when Fish leaved the band) must buy this album. Is the redefining of progressive music in '80. The atmospheres of the work are tipically Marillion. Fish is a great frontman and the best voice that a group with this characteristics must have. The style of the work, for me, may be the style of an hypothetical work of Genesis with Peter Gabriel in the '80. Highly recommended to you all guys. I recommend the version digital remaster at 24 bit with the bonus disc. In Italy you can find it at 6,90?. Surely a masterpiece.
Report this review (#12076)
Posted Tuesday, April 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I bought this album in CD encouraged by fan´s opinions (including this site) and I have to say I got dissapointed. Maybe it´s because I preffer 70´s Prog, but this record sounds to me too forced and dragged on, on, on... boring and annoying stuff. The tittle track is really good, but the rest of the album´s almost umbarable to listen to. Fish is not a good singer at all, he basically tries to do Peter Gabriel-like vocals, but his voice can´t reach it. Piano and guitar sounds too tipical 80´s pop and compositions are kinda weak. "He Knows You Know" has one of the wrost chorus I´ve ever listened. "Script..." shows that Prog ended at the 80´s. Marillion tried to revive it, but couldn´t do it. Course, if you´re looking for some great Prog Rock done in the year of 83, check out BACAMARTE´s record DEPOIS DO FIM - this one is a great choice. I guess I was the only one who didn´t saw the genius behind Marillion....
Report this review (#12079)
Posted Wednesday, May 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Nothing else I can say about this album apart from amazing superb by far the best album of the eighties. Right from the title track to Forgotton Sons the music is intelligent well made and this album or any Marillion albums are not a 'poor mans Genesis'. Every song is exceptional with my personal favourite being Chelsea Monday, check out Steve Rothery's guitar here. Superb.
Report this review (#37434)
Posted Friday, June 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Among the greatest debut albums of all time, Marillion really caught the world off guard with their progressive craftmanship of songs. This is arguably the album that started the Neo-Prog genre, and it is rightly so. The songs aren't as complicated as their symphonic counterparts, and they are a lot more accessible than... say... Supper's Ready. Anyway, the musicianship is top-notch, with great guitar work by Rothery, great bass by Trewavas, great keyboard work by Kelly, and incredible vocals and lyrics by Derek Dick (AKA Fish), from start to finish, this album is filled with angst and desperation, and the music is extremely well crafted. Rather than talk about each track, I will discuss my favorites.

The opener, Script for a Jester's Tear, is among the best Marillion tracks. Opening with classical Piano and quiet vocals from Fish, the song quickly goes through many different moods. At one point the track is upbeat, and at one point the track is downbeat and sullen. Regardless, this track features some of the best playing from the group. Fish's mastery of the english language is also well represented with incredible and tasteful lyrics throughout.

My other favorite track, Forgotten Sons, features incredible and emotional vocals from Fish, awesome guitar from Rothery, and incredible keyboard work from Kelly. It seems that from Market Square Heroes on that the group were able to create not overly intricate tracks and allow for the lyrics to take the forefront rather than the music.

Overall, this is not an album to be missed. I recommend this to any fan of progressive rock. However, some may find boring spots throughout, and there are a few, but not enough to make one dislike the album IMO. 4.5/5.

Report this review (#37887)
Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars one of the greatest debuts of all time in prog/art rock. i don't know what to mention frist. the great cover? the great songs? the great lyrics?? the great melodies? all the songs are wonderful and if i had to choose my favourite i'd choose forgotten sons and script for a jester's tears. marillion have never been prog according to the meaning of this term, but who really is the only thing that counts after all!!!!
Report this review (#39924)
Posted Thursday, July 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes I know: Marillion is the best neo prog band of the 80's. This album is a real masterpiece with real good performances of his musicians... "Script" is a fantastic poem full of pain, but my favourite songs are "The Web" and "Forgotten Sons", truly representative of the trade mark music of Marillion. Fish is a great singer nad storyteller, but I still enjoy the brilliant work of Mark Kelly on keyboards... Hallucinating...
Report this review (#39929)
Posted Thursday, July 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars There's no doubt this album is among the greatest debut of all time within progressive rock territory. With this, as I became aware later on, Marillion started raising the neo- progressive rock flag and confirming that progressive rock still alive and kicking in the global music map which at the time, the period of 1980s, heavily infested by punk and new wave genre.

In first listening, sometime in 1985, Fish -- whose vocal reminded me of Peter Gabriel -- hit me straight at the heart and mind when he sang this line: So here I am once more in the playground of the broken hearts/ One more experience, one more entry in a diary, self-penned...

What a great line. And, as if he kept the best part for the proper moment, he moved on to blew me with this: Too late to say I love you/ Too late to restage the play, the game is over.

A mellow song? No. It's a killer song. This was and always is what I think. Because the lyric is so brilliant in telling the story -- about a brokenhearted someone? Whatever it might be. Because the melody is so heavenly beautiful yet so powerful in casting some marks in the heart and minds of its listeners. And also because Fish denouncing that "... the game is over."

But five more extraordinary songs follows: "He Knows You Know", "The Web", "Garden Party", "Chelsea Monday" and "Forgotten Sons". By extraordinary I mean great lyrics, incredible melodies, tight arrangements and superb performances. And all them combined set the standard for their later efforts -- probably also for another bands in the sub-genre.

Not only is a must for Marillion fans, this album also essential for any progressive rock fan.

Report this review (#39980)
Posted Friday, July 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars A beautifully realised, highly inspired work of art. I heard the title track, recommended to me by my girlfriend, and fell in love with it. Bought the album, and yes all the tracks on the album are very good and can be described as jangly, cute and 80s, but they happen to be absolutely brilliant prog-wise. It is clearly inspired by Genesis above others, and Steve Rothery's guitar work mildly resembles David Gilmour's. However they have a unique sound and the unique ability to evoke a strange nostalgic feeling of a time I never existed in. The standout tracks are the title track which is a fantastic 9 minute ballad and one of my personal favourite tracks ever. It reminds me a lot of my girlfriend who I love very much, and I always listen to it late at night. A brilliant, powerful work of art. The other standout track is Forgotten Sons, which is my girlfriends favourite, and is the closer of the album. An epic, fast-paced, skittish track similar in drive to Genesis' 'The Knife'. Marvellous 9 minute track worthy of a 'listen to this first' kind of label for a newbie to Marillion. I highly recommend this album, to anyone at all; whether you like Genesis or not; whether you like 80s music or not, just give it a go. My 5 stars say it all.
Report this review (#41956)
Posted Sunday, August 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Early eighties neo prog 'pioneers' debut.Fish's ridiculously over dramatic vocals always dragged down Marillion (I preferred his 'replacement' ,Steve Hogarth,with his calmer approach) .What stops this from being total ruin are the keyboards of Mark Kelly and the drums of Mike Pointer.Both are superb musicians.But I still come back to those vocals.Like fingernails on a blackboard to me.Aaaarghh!
Report this review (#42584)
Posted Friday, August 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
The Crow
4 stars I have to say that I'm a huge Marillion's fan, but I prefer the Steve Hogarth's era without a doubt... But it doesn't meant that I don't like the Fish's years too.

"Script of a Jester's Tear" is maybe together with "Misplaced Childhood" the best album that Fish made with Marillion, and It's a milestone for Neo-Progressive's lovers. The songs are a lot in a Genesis's first works style but with a very 80's sound, particulary in the great Mark Kelly keyboards. And here we can hear the particular voice of Fish, who has a lot of Peter Gabriel's influences. But Fish sings in even a more teatrical style, like a kind of clown sometimes... I have to say that I don't like his voice very much here, because I think he sounds ridiculous sometimes in this work. Nevertheless, in albums like "Misplaced Childhood" he sang very much better, with more personality and in a less irritating way...

Pete Trewavas's bass sounds great in this album, but the Steve Rothery's guitar sound is a little weak... Mick Pointer made a good work, better than the forever insipid Ian Mosley. The sound of the album is also good for being a debut.

Best songs: except Chelsea Monday, wich I find a little bit boring, I like every track in this album... Specially Script for a Jester's Tear and Garden Party.

Conclusion: recommended for Genesis's fans, and for people who want to know the Neo-Progressive's origins. And if you don't like the modern Marillion because they are not very progressive, then try this album (or the other they made with Fish...), because they were really different, although not better in my opinion.

My rating: ****

Report this review (#44715)
Posted Monday, August 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars First taster of Marillion and what an introduction. This album was responsible for the broadening of my Prog horizons and lead me to Genesis, Pallas, Camel, Pink Floyd, Yes and much more. Starting with the title track: Script starts with the haunting piano introduction before the nursery rhyme synth which leads into a quite aggressive stacato drum/synth/bass riff. This is followed by the first Rothery solo. The song changes tack at this point and becomes a vocal lead quiet section. This displays the vocal range of Fish in the early days. Sadly his voice has changed over the years and he is no longer able to sign in this way and live versions are now sung in a much lower key. moody synths and rhythm section carries the song for the next segment which leads to the eventual fade and gives Steve Rothery another chance to show his abilities on guitar. He Knows You Know - the drug song. Short by Marillion's standards and thier second single release. It made the UK top 30. The Web: Rarely performed live this is an epic with strong lyrical style and changing rhythm Another strong Rothery solo adds to the song before Fish sings of realisation that 'changes have to be made' before telling us that they have in fact been made. The song changes from a dark and brooding epic to an almost cheerful synth lead section before Fish tells us his fears have been conquered. Garden Party: The third single for Marillion and quite a big hit at the time in edited format (it made the top 20 in the UK) but this version, which clocks in at over 7 minutes is far superior. Very much lead by Mark Kelly's keyboards and Mick Pointer's drums but interspersed by quiet sections, the song seems to lampoon the 'Cambridge set'. Steve Rothery seems almost relegated to the rhythm section with Pete Trewavas until a synth solo breaks out about two thirds of the way through the song and this then becomes a crystal clear solo from Rothery before we return to the rhythm of the song again and then another short synth solo breaks out again. The final vocal chorus is sung over guitar before the song ends. Still a great song live! Chelsea Monday: A gloomy, laden song full of dark visions of a girls life going down the toilet. Despite this it is still full of somehow beautiful vocal imagery and highlighted by Mark Kellys sensitivity with keyboards and haunting guitar breaks throughout. Not to mention one of Rothery's best solos over yet more haunting synths. This song is still one of the fans favorites but the band refuse to play it. A quiet vocal section leads into passioned plea from Fish describing the futility and faliure of beauty. Rothers finishes the song with another passionate guitar into the fade as Fish tells us 'It's just another Chelsea Monday'. Forgotten Sons:My first memory of Marillion was this song performed on the Old Grey Whistle Test. The sight of Fish in full combats, face painted and using the microphone stand as a snipers rifle will stay with me forever! The song is a powerful statement about how the Government views and treats it's soldiers in Northern Ireland. Full of bite lyrically and musically, this is proably one of Fish's finest moments with Marillion and I don't think he has written anything about the subject of War and the military which has come close to this since. The perception of the band by the mainstream as being Heavy Metal could not be more misplaced. One listen to this album reveals they were anything but heavy metal. Comparisons with early Genesis at the time were largely due to the B'side to thier first single, Market Square Heroes, a certain 17+ minute epic by the name of Grendal. This track turns up on the 2 disc remastered version and is worth a listen and any Genesis fan will note the similarity to another well know track! However, Neo Prog was born with this band as far as the Mainstream was concerned and they remain the best of this style today. The only other comment to make was that Mick Pointer left the band after this album. It is widely reported that EMI felt he was not up to standard for the next album but that was not apparent on Script. Anyone who has heard his recordings with Arena will attest that he is in fact a great drummer and it was a shame that his time with Marillion ended here. A seminal debut album and an essential addition to any prog collection.
Report this review (#45241)
Posted Friday, September 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tony Fisher
5 stars I first saw Marillion when they opened the Nostell Priory music festival for Jethro Tull in 1983 (I think). I had no idea who they were but thought that the singer was remarkably like Peter Gabriel in style even if the rest of the band were totally different. So, suitably impressed, I went and bought this, their debut album on vinyl (ie without the excellent bonus CD). And it is one of the best debut albums of all time. It's not their best album (Fugazi is that) but it is consistently good throughout and the second side is particularly excellent. If they had substitued Market Square Heroes for The Web (the one comparativly weak track) the original would be a masterpiece. With the bonus CD, it becomes one. There are superb solos from Rothery and Kelly, Trewavas produces some great bass lines and Mick Pointer is an effective drummer. Essential!
Report this review (#45651)
Posted Monday, September 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first and probably the best album by Marillion.They just did not capture that feeling of depression, isolation and heartache after this gem of an album. It may be the masochist in me, but i love albums that make me cry and feel really sad. The whole affair starts off with the title track, which is about a tragic jester who gets finished with by his girlfriend, and ends up miserably playing the Beatles song "Yesterday" in a cob-webbed bedsit. The tragic Genesis type sounds are a joy to behold on this one. "He Knows You Know" is a grim tale of drugs and suicide. The vocals of "Fish" bringing to mind, Peter Gabriel and i think i can hear a touch of Peter Frampton there as well. The whole thing is driven along by a dark but heartfelt sound, as Fish" weaves his lyrical web, which brings us neatly to "The Web" again a heart wrenching song with "Fish" sounding both sad and bitter. Phew this guy can leave you tear drenched with the emotion and passion of his voice. "Garden Party" is an upbeat summery distraction to what has gone before, with its jerky guitar riffing and Mark Kelly's driving keyboards bringing to mind Tony banks, Rick Wakeman and Jon Lord. "Chelsea Monday" gets us back on track to the wrist slitting atmosphere which makes this album so darn sad, but so darned fine. Excellent guitarwork from "Steve Rotherby" gives this track its tragic mood. The subject matter is about a girl who is waiting for a prince in his car. The final track on Disc 1 ( and the ending on the original album ) is the awesome "Forgotten Sons" which is a song about the hopelessness and futility of war. This very much the angry song of the album, with its initial hardness of the instrumentation, which is something not too far removed from what you might find on an "Iron Maiden" album. The song progresses into a heavy military bit, with "Fish" doing a sarcastic version of "The Lords Prayer" If you are new to Marillion and like Genesis, Yes, Pink floyd and "Fish" you will most certainly love this album.

Rating - 10/10

Report this review (#45862)
Posted Tuesday, September 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Here I am again once more, amidst her playground of broken hearts ... the game is over" Doesn't sound like the greatest poetry does it? But believe me, in the hands of Marillion's passionate singer Fish, the words come to life with a vengeance. Love him or hate him (and let's face it, even those of us who do love his contributions to Marillion suspect that he might not be easy to get along with), it was hard to ignore this man simply because he dared to wear his heart on his sleeve. Of course Fish's similarities to Genesis' Peter Gabriel were never more pronounced than on this album, but this album is so intriguing that such "plagiarisation" is easy to forgive.

The title track to this album shows Marillion's strengths. Sure there's a decent guitar solo from Steve Rothery, sure there's a nice symphonic arrangement (with a child-like melody creeping at one point to match the imagery), but there's no doubt that it is the sheer emotion of the singer that gets to you. That must certainly have seemed like a rare commodity back in 1983, when the detached vocalist was very much in vogue. Still, it is the manner in which Marillion overcome the limitations of their time and situation that makes this album special.

While it is the title track that sold me, there's a wealth of good stuff here. He Knows You Know is a biting track held together by some really nice Mark Kelly synth lines. The Web uses interplay between heavy synthy section and light, relatively inaudible sparse passages. Kelly's synth playing on this particular song is arguably his finest hour with Marillion, and Rothery's solo is a relative masterpiece (I really think he's very overrated, by the way).

I must say that the jerky Garden Party and seductive synth pop epic Chelsea Monday (which has a massive Rothery solo colouring most of the song) are both guilty of running on too long but the raging Forgotten Sons makes sure the album ends on a major high. The track is something of an anomaly, threatening to stray into both boogie and funk territory while remaining a vital, inventive anti-war rant.

Once I was undecided, torn by a sentimental attachment to the third Marillion album Misplaced Childhood, but now I can confidently proclaim this one to be, hands down, the greatest album in neo-prog history. ... 76% on the MPV scale

Report this review (#47253)
Posted Monday, September 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.5 stars --

God knows I should have reviewed this ages ago in order to back up all of my rhetoric on the forums praising Marillion and neo-prog in general. Well, better late than never.unless you hate my opinions.

Anyway, Marillion is probably my favorite band, and I now think I'm familiar enough with them and have heard enough of their music to begin reviewing them. And where better to start than with the album that started it all, Script for a Jester's Tear, just the first of a long string of Marillion masterpieces. Marillion would get better, to be sure, but what an incredible debut!

Script for a Jester's Tear is hits you like a ton of bricks right from the start, with the direct and melancholy title track. It starts off slowly with a grand piano introduction and remorseful lyrics. The song builds into a cathartic and overwhelming middle section with incredible playing that really pulls at your emotions. The fade-out ending is without a doubt one of the best I've ever heard. This is the best track on the album and will leave you wanting to replay it on end.

The rest of the album isn't as immediately majestic as the title track, but goes along with the mood of the album perfectly. "He Knows You Know" is a frenzied song which I believe is about drug use, though with Fish's rampant metaphors, it could mean anything. Now, after listening to the excellent first couple of songs, "The Web" is not entirely impressive. The music is fairly plain, though it certainly has its moments. And because it fits the mood of the albums very well, it doesn't detract from the album, but serves as a (somewhat overlong) filler song. Now "Garden Party," is quite a change of pace! Bright, and a bit uplifting (!), it breaks the depressed streak of Script nicely, if just for awhile.

What a polar opposite to the previous track "Chelsea Monday" is! Very downbeat, yet beautiful, it manages to put a smile on my face, even with its apparent sadness.

A charging rhythm leads "Forgotten Sons," a song about war and the empty households it makes. Nothing too special is revealed until about halfway into the song, when, with the backdrop of a marching rhythm, Fish gives a great vocal performance of some of the greatest lyrics I've ever heard:

---"Minister, minister care for your children Order them not into damnation To eliminate those who would trespass against you For whose is the kingdom, the power, the glory for ever and ever Amen"---

---"Halt who goes there! - death!! Approach ... friend You're just another coffin on it's way down the emerald aisle When your children's stony glances mourn Your death in a terrorist's smile The bomber's arm placing fiery gifts on the supermarket shelves Alley sings with shrapnel detonate a temporary hell Forgotten sons"---

---"They're still forgotten, they're still still forgotten Peace on earth and mercy mild, mother brown has lost her child Just another forgotten son"---

From here on, the music grows more and more relevant, completely redeeming the slow pace of the first half. A beautiful Rothery guitar solo tears through the second half, and Fish's proves that he is a master of imagery, right up there with Gabriel. An excellent way to end an album.

Script for a Jester's Tear is not perfect, but truly is a masterpiece of mood. Marillion would indeed make even better music, but they began their career on the level where many bands would be struggling to be after a decade together.

Report this review (#59062)
Posted Sunday, December 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is an album that has captured my heart completely. I know Fish-era Marillion has been compared with Gabriel-era Genesis more than once but I'm inclined to see that as an inane statement. Sure Fish's voice is like Gabriel's but Fish is much more stronger, energetic in his singing. The painting of the face- well, you can't say Fish 'stole' that idea from Gabriel. It's just an extremely cool thing to do for a live performance! As for comparing Grendel with Supper's Ready.well.that can be debated. I like a band that can take its' name from Lord Of the Rings! The Silmarillion has been gathering dust on my headboard. ONE day.I might actually READ it! But if any of you know the style that J.R.R.Tolkien used in his writing, then you'll understand why I haven't started yet. I can't say any of Marillion's songs are very Lord of the Rings-ish as such.but the band name is random enough for me and I love it. There's also the idea floating around in the heads of a few people that this particular Marillion album has misogyny running in in its veins as a result of Derek Dick's (I can see why the poor, poor guy changed his name to Fish) bad experiences with women in his life. I admit that the man was a scary, wonderfully talented, somewhat emotionally-immature guy who probably did desire a girlfriend a little too much than he really needed to.but if THIS album has 'misogyny' in it then why am I listening to it? Of all people?? It's unrequited love- more like it. And frustration! The truth is that every single song is.depressing. Even the upbeat Garden Party has a dark undertone to it.

Script for a Jester's Tear: Depressing indeed but so beautiful, so romantic. Goddamn weepy for anyone who's suffering unrequited love or has just ended a relationship. *A tear runs down my cheek at this point.* But I'll cut the cheez and assure you that I don't adore this song just because of it's sentimental value for me. "So here I am once more- in the playground of the broken hearts." Piano chords and arpeggios played by Mark Kelly are always perfect for such a soulful start to a legendary song. Funny that- I've got a cousin called Mark and he also plays the piano like an angel! I've been to three different playgrounds since I first heard this song and "I'm loosing on the swings, I'm loosing on the roundabouts" always comes to mind. The guitar and synth-flutes bring out the slightly tragic playfulness of the theme: we're in a playground and "The game is OVER!" The words repeat and Fish sings with more and more passion. He sure knows how to throw his voice! Steve Rothery and his incredibly 80s electric guitar comes in. Remember- the 80s electric guitar is definitely a trait of Marillion all in all- mixed with keyboards and synthesizers in the background of course. This carries on for a while and the guitar improvises. But then it all dies down and an eerie keyboard dances in the background with the guitar as Fish practically mumbles: "I never did write that love song, The words just never seemed to flow." Irony in lyrics= a lot of pathos= gooood. Did I mention that this song could be described as an 'Essay of Emotions'? "PROMISED WEDDING NOW A WAKE!" This is the catharsis of the song and something gets caught in my throat now whenever I hear it. My eyes tend to fill up. "As you grow up and leave the playground where you kissed your Prince and found your frog- remember the Jester who showed you tears. The script. for tears." Amazingly tragic. Rothery's guitar moans and the 80s drumming of Mick Pointer (when you think about it, that's a pretty good name for a drummer!) keeps- up a constant beat at this point. Gorgeous. Teary. "So I hold our peace forever when you wear your bridal gown, In the silence of my shame the mute that sang the siren's song has gone soloooooo in the game." The chordal progression repeats but you can't deny Steve Rothery's improving guitar. "Can you still say you love me? Can you still say you love me? Can you still say.that you love me?" I cannot emphasize how when Fish sings quietly, almost pitifully here, and then rises to a more passionate tone- it can stop me from breathing sometimes. After this- it fades out. The LEGEND of a song has now ended.

He Knows You Know: Pretty-much the least like a progressive rock song on the album but it certainly has its' moments. Pete Trewavas plays a funky 80s beat on the bass all the way through which really stands out. The way Fish uses his voice in this song is also exceptionally lovely. If not frightening. The quiet transition, with a 'pumping' synth, very 80s, in the background, is one of the best bits. "He's got experience, he's got experience, he knoooows you know." The way he both talks and sings the word "problems" is almost disturbing. But so incredibly awesome! It's heard so many times though. The synth-keyboard is the most impressive; going up a key with the electric guitar jumping over it. Another thing about Fish's voice in this song= he 'flicks' it! "Pumping arteries ooze the problems through the gap in the razor claw, YOU GOT.." Then the rest of the band's voices back him up. Rothery's guitar strumming toward the end of this song is gorgeous.And then comes the great Marillion moment found at the end of this song: the phone call for Fish. Altogether now: "DON'T GIVE ME YOUR PROBLEMS!" If you ask me- Derek Dick seems to give a half-hearted effort in this angry outburst. But he's more passionate in this singing than his acting- needless to say. It's still a legendary moment!

The Web: *Flash!..Flash!..bang, bang, BANG etc.* The way the start of this song intrudes on the silence, straight after the He Knows You Know phone-call, is an instant thumbs-up. This anthemish song is, like the rest of the album, a melancholy one. I say this because of the lyrics, and the lyrics in this song are fantastic- all written by Fish as his first try at writing lyrics for the band. The way he sings his lungs out then resorts to mumbling at a few points in this epic is heart-rendering. Mark Kelly's synth-keyboard continuously goes down in this song and drags the whole band in tow (when you listen to it, you'll know what I mean) which singles this song out as the most capturing. In other words- it gains our attention instantly. "And thus begins The Web." This song is most definitely Mark Kelly's baby- for not only does he control the synth but also the keyboard which dances over the top and improvises the whole way. "The flytraps need the insects, Ivy caresses the wall, Needles make love to the junkies, The Sirens seduce with their call.." Fish's voice has an echoing whisper for this part. His poetry is excellent. I also like the type of epic which seems to have the singer changing his mind about something in the lyrics: "I realize I hold the key to freedom, I cannot let my life be ruled by threads.." Also, note the allusion to Script for a Jester's Tear: "I only laughed away your tears but even jesters cry." Fish sure likes his jester-imagery. He was an insane man, that one. Steve Rothery shows off on his guitar with various distortion- effects and Mick Pointer picks-up on the drums- changing to an 80's 'gunpower' tactic at one point. The words repeat after the guitar finishes its improvisation but the effects used on Fishes voice are different. Later things quieten down and the gentle synth 'pumps' again. Things get even more exciting (can you believe it?) when both the key signature and the time signature change in an unexpected place. Here, the keyboard gives us an even better improvisation than the first while the rest of the band work together underneath it. "Decisions have been made, I've conquered my fears, all my fears, The flaming shroud.the flaming shroud! Thus ends the web, the web, the web, the web..*spoken* The Web." This is an optimistic song, in comparison with the others, but only if you look at it from a certain view-point: it's a song about getting things done.

Garden Party: People talking.various conversations.a gentle synth- so typical of Marillion.then the drums and bass join in. "Garden Party held today.." This is the only slightly happy song of the album but the lyrics suggest how pretentious and wanky high-class parties in England are. Therefore- there's still pessimism here. Mick Pointer's complicated drumbeat is an impressive one. When the beat stops and all that we hear is Rothery's quiet acoustic with Fish singing "Champagne corks are firing at the sun.again. Swooping swallows chased by violins.again." we find a perfect example of how Fish can moan, sing, yell and whisper at the same time. He gets even more bizarre later on. "Oh God not again!" I love the crescendo of the synth-bashing. It's very dancey and it makes me want to have a Garden Party for my 20th birthday all of a sudden. Strange-isn't it, how the lyrics of some amazingly good songs can enlighten us in making decisions. Another thing about this song= "Social leeches. quoting Chaaaaucer!" My dad was rather happy when he heard I'd enrolled at Uni for an English paper on Chaucer next year. On the other hand, he was a bit taken-aback when he heard I only made that decision due to the subliminal messages within an 80s rock-song. I don't care- I'm sure I'll enjoy that paper! And when I've finished it- maybe I'll find out where exactly that random quote said in the background comes from. Fish has such a beautiful vibrato in his voice. Again- Mark Kelly plays a tremendous solo on his synth-keyboard. "I'm punting, I'm beagling, I'm whining, Reclining, I'm rucking, I'm f**king.." naughty, naughty Fish! That's such an unexpected lyric, I suppose we'll just have to use our imagination to find out what it means. A dancey, almost cutsie invitation ensues: "Garden Party held today they say, Oh please do come, Oh please do come, they say." The flashing of the synth echoes into the distance. This is definitely a fun song!

Chelsea Monday: The sounds heard at the beginning of this track are very creepy. Fish's voice is heard constantly saying something- but rewound. Then the crawling- upwards arpeggios on the bass begin. Rothery's beautiful guitar and some tinkling 80s sound effects go over the top of that. This is a song about a girl who is "Playing the actress in this bedroom scene, she's learning her lines from glossy magazines." There's one immortal and very repeated line I love: "Patience my tinsel angel. Patience my perfumed child. One day they'll really love you, you'll charm them with that smile." This song seems gentle at first but it becomes very passionate after the guitar, with (as usual) the synth in the background, takes over and the whole band comes together. Then suddenly it changes key and dies down to an almost acoustic sounding guitar. This is later changed by what appears to be a havard organ and guitar playing the same tune over comes through. "She'll pray for endless Sundays as she enters saffron sunsets!" I suppose the point is that she's a very effeminate and yet very superficial and brainless young woman. Then, my favourite!!, an even better and even more sentimental, reminding one of the Apocalypse, chordal progression takes over. I know this sounds a tad strange but I tend to picture a girl with her arms stretched out and light coming out of her for this point of the song.but that's just me. What's your imagination like for this one? A man talks in the background- we hear part of a conversation: "Hello John, did you see The Standard about four hours ago? Fished a young chick out of The Old Father. Blond hair, blue eyes, she said she wanted to be an actress of something. Nobody knows where she came from, where she was going. Funny thing was she had a smile on her face.she was smiling! What a waste!!!" This confuses me a bit. Yes, we know it's about a girl who wants to be an actress but does she drown herself? Is she really insane the whole way through? The "she was only dreaming" at the fade out could even suggest she sleep-walked into the river. It gives you something to think about. I know a few actresses because I've worked with them. They're all potentially mad I think. BUA-HA-HA! Musician-ship-wise, this is probably Steve Rothery's big moment.

Forgotten Sons: A tuning radio is heard with Market Square Heroes on one of the channels. Then the thumping beginning starts and it's VERY catchy! "Armillite. streetlights.nightsights." It all seems very happy but the words suggest otherwise: "Searching the roofs for a sniper.a viper.a fighter" This song has been considered as relating to an IRA explosion in late 1983. The way the synth dances over and over reminds me of an Irish jig. While Peter Cockburn (what an unfortunate name!!) announces this piece of poetry, Fish practically yells it: "Your mother sits on the edge of the world when the cameras start to roll. Panoramic viewpoint resurrect the killing fold. Your father drains another beer, he's one of the few that cares, Crawling behind a Saracen's hull from the safety of his living room chair. Forgotten Sons. Forgotten Sons. FORGOTTEN SONS." Rothery's distant guitar plays the whole way through this- very stylie! Then he goes solo after Fish and Peter finish their 'soliloquy'. After this solo- a chanting section begins: "And so as I patrol in the valley of the shadow of the tricolour, I must fear evil." Gunpower- drums and elec-guitar sound in the background. Should I say this part is a bit pretentious? My thoughts are varied on this. Fish is certainly INSANE in this one. One bit of drama: "Halt! Who goes there?" *spooky whisper* "Death." "Enter friend.." The guitar towards the end is repetitive but the melody is beautiful. We hear a trumpet in the distance and then an echoing-effect guitar as he sings: "You're just another coffin on its way down the emerald aisle." Then the little boys from the Marquee Club Parents' Association Children's Choir come in and sing their part! Are they symbolic of the ever-sung-about 'forgotten sons"? leave that to the decision of the listener. The song isn't *that* long- only lasts around seven minutes and it ends on an upbeat (a major chord).

Overall, I am now a very proud-to-be Marillion fan. Neil from the 'Young Ones' likes Marillion too! We all need to bring out the dirty hippy in ourselves. The best tracks in this album are definitely The Web, Garden Party and Script for a Jester's Tear. If I could sum-up Marillion (after listening to this album and Market Square Heroes, Three Boats down from the Candy and Grendel *so far*) in three main parts, they would be: Fish's energetic and somewhat frightening voice, a repeating synth often in the background, and a wonderful guitar solo. I don't care about all the claims that they're a blatant rip-off of Genesis, they're too fantastic! The best 80s prog in a nutshell.

Report this review (#60073)
Posted Sunday, December 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars For a fan of new wave like me, discovering Marillion was like seeing the light, in the sense that Neo-Progressive rock is an style that covers the hunger of every new wave fan that looks for something more concerned once in a while, and Marillion is the best band for, at least, introduce yourself to this genre

"Script for a Jester's Tear" is the first of the many Marillion's musical proposals, and also to first of the Fish's era. Many people here seem to think that this is the best musical offering from this period, although I don't necessarily agree. It is true that this album contains pretty much all the ingredients that are trademark to Marillion and to any band with Neo-Progressive tendencies, in some cases developed in a truly proficient way, specially in the first songs, but I think they are yet to improve, and I also think they did.

Like I mentioned before, for me the first songs, specially the title track, "Script for a Jester's Tear" and others like "The Web" with their dreamy synthetizers, ocasional flutes and of course Rothery's special guitar work, are the best. We continue with the simply correct "Garden Party", a song with an initial good idea but performed in a way that could have been better (although we are talking about an splendid song too). "Chelsea Monday" is the weak piece here, because its slow and organ based structure fails to convince me. And to finish, "Forgotten Sons", one of their successful hits performed with excellent and speedy guitar solos, probably an introduction to what we can see in "Fugazi"

Finally I have to say that I'm not a Fish fan whatsoever. I know that sometimes he is compared with Peter Gabriel. It is true that the tone of his voice is similar, but that's all, since at least, Gabriel manages to keep a balanced and constant singing pace that has nothing to be with Fish's chaotic way of singing. Well, at the least he managed to create good songs, that could have been better if he actually sang well.

Report this review (#60709)
Posted Sunday, December 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
5 stars The year was 1983. Music charts were filled with what we would later come to realize was some of the worst music ever committed to vinyl – Michael Jackson, Culture Club, Wham!, Spandau Ballet, The Eurythmics, Paul Young, Men at Work… heavy drinking and depression seemed to be the only answer.

And to make things worse, all my mystic heroes from our days of musical nirvana were abandoning us in search of pop stardom and fleeting fame – Genesis, Kansas, ELP, Yes, Pink Floyd, and King Crimson were all laying down turds they would spend the next decade trying to distance themselves from. I was spending my days trying to find some comfort in the modest efforts of Asia, Saga, and the technically excellent but hard to stomach Rush, wearing out all my old albums, and trying to get through the long, cold winter in my college dormitory with some semblance of sanity intact.

Then, as the snow gave way to early spring, I happened across a most unusual import album cover on a fresh-air trip to my local new & used record shop. The cover showed a creepy-looking, caffeine and cigarette addled jester clutching his violin and struggling to pen the notes to some (presumably) brilliant and angst- ridden epic. I spent hours just studying the album artwork after shelling out $10 to make it mine. The crinkled up parchment with the lyrics to Yesterday lying in the violin case; the out-of-place horned lizard perched on the hard-backed wooden chair; the magazines, newspapers, and album covers strewn about the back cover (including what appears to be a copy of Floyd’s A Saucerful of Secrets lying on the floor). Who the hell were these guys, and what was one of their albums doing in a neighborhood record shop in Wichita, Kansas?

So I played it. And played it. And played it. Couldn’t get enough. The voice of Fish was haunting, abrasive, strident, but most of all intoxicating. This was a guy who was really going through some kind of mental distress, and I could feel it in every note. The production was crisp, clear (compared to the muddy mixes of the 70’s I was used to at the time). The spitting contempt in lines “To eliminate those who would trespass against you” and “Death in the shadows he'll maim you, he'll wound you, he'll kill you for a long forgotten cause” on Forgotten Sons, and the interspersing of snippets from the Lord’s Prayer and Hark, the Herald Angels Sing were poignant and sobering. Here was an anti-war song nearly a decade after our Vietnam War, and long after similar sentiments from Lennon, CSN, Joan Baez had faded. The band wore it well, and convincingly.

The posers in the Garden party filled me with contempt, representing all those pretentious, condescending bastards I waited on in restaurants and got cut off by on the freeway, primping and sneering as they moved through life on a different plane than the one I knew and struggled to survive in.

The line on Script… – “I never did write that love song, the words just never seemed to flow”, was so haunting and reminiscent of the aftermath of every lost love from my younger years that I must have played that track a hundred times, and each time it spoke in different ways. I had written those words myself, in my dreams, over and over – and now I was hearing them in the flesh.

He knows, you Know was a jumble of pain, misery, fated thoughts, and words that meant nothing, and also everything, flowing through my head for weeks –

“Blank eyes / purple fever, streaming through frosted pane You’ve learned your lesson far too late from links in chemist chain; You've got venom in your stomach, and got poison in your head, You should have stayed at home and talked with father - listen to the lies he fed”

What the hell did it mean? What difference did it make – the pungent smoke made it all the more clear, and more cryptic at the same time.

The songs were all long, wandering, introspective, brooding, just what I needed to disappear into and escape the fast-changing world around that was fast ceasing to make any sense. The earth Moms and happy times, hippy love, the innocent naivety of the flower children, was slipping away fast, replace by pastel-clad, self-absorbed plastic people of the sort Frank had warned us.

But this was real, spoke volumes, and was mine. These songs and the warming sunny days of spring were dismal and exciting at the same time. Things were changing, but that was okay, I guess… Not like I (or anyone else) had much choice. Time marched on, and so did I.

“Decisions have been made, decisions have been made I've conquered my fears, the flaming shroud

Thus ends the web”


Report this review (#60983)
Posted Tuesday, December 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm pleased to see this album is so much appreciated. And I totally agree on that. To be honest, this music should be the music Genesis made in the 80's if Gabriel didn't leave. Isn't that a nice thought. Lucky the prog- lovers were (who were a little dissapointed by the poppy directions of bands like Genesis and Yes) as Marillion came with a great album like this!

The first song, the title track, is the strongest. There is absolutely no doubt about that. It reminds much of Genesis' Dancing With The Moonlit Knight in away, which is great IMHO! Although the production of this record is not something to call your friends for, the songwriting and playing are well done. He Knows You Know is more pop, with great vocals. The Web, a monsterous progressive song, features a very emotional, loud screaming Fish again, and some nice moments of keyboard-playing. Garden Party is my second-favorite, as Mark Kelly is doing a nice job here! Chelsea Monday is melancholic and less loud than the other songs. The finishing Forgotten Sons is a beautiful conclusion of a beautiful album.

I won't fall too much into details, as this album does not need to explain everything it contains. Just listen to some good symphonic music from the 80's. Script For A Jester's Tear is a winner!! As it is both good and a classic, this album surely deserves all the 5 quality-stars from ProgArchives. The artwork, vocals, melodies and so many more colourful elements makes this one a true masterpiece.

Report this review (#61178)
Posted Wednesday, December 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "So here I am once more in the playground of the broken hearts / one more experience, one more entry."

I've started to listen to Script from the last june and I was initially a little bit disappointed! In fact I'm not really an "aficionado" of neo-prog genre. by the way I have to admit that this album, at each time I listen to it, amazes me ever more! That's not for the (obvious) Genesis' references which seem to be the fundaments of this 80s prog re- birth. In fact I feel there's a great injection of originality in Script for a Jester's Tear due to the fact of the unique vocals provided by Fish, its most precious trademark, also due to the fact of the master hands of all the band members who created these stunning arrangements, running keyboards and convincing guitars, almost perfect drumming!

The opener track is a perfect introduction and it's nowadays my favourite Marillion's track. Warm atmosphere and strong poetry is sparse in all the of the album's compositions, from beginning to end!

Yes, I like it!

As a debut-album it is powerful, sometimes dark, in a great symbiosis with the nice cover, rich of particulars. What a pity I still don't own the 1997 remaster cd edition (with all that interesting bonus material)!

Report this review (#62133)
Posted Thursday, December 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars As Neil Young once said: "-The eighties were the dark ages of rock". I guess he was right. "Script for a Jester's Tear" however doesn't sound 80's, at least not in style. I think it's still quite fresh and nice to listen to, but I can't really join in in the massive hype though. I guess many fans are a bit fed up with all the talk about the over- dramatic singing, but I have to say that I can't really look through this. I think it's too much of musical or theatralic manners for my taste. On the positive side there are a lot of strong songs, and it's not a bad album at all.
Report this review (#67399)
Posted Monday, January 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I recently purchased this album, and based on the reviews, I was expecting a Genesis rip-off band, but fortunately, I was pleasently suprised to hear a delightfull sounding band with only strong influences from Genesis. The only complaint I have about this album is that the singer Fish attempts to sound like Peter Gabriel at times. However, I can hear a great deal of individual talent, and it is not all just a sound alike. The rest of the band sounds absolutely nothing like Genesis, and is extremely pleasent to listen to. Mark Kelley, the keyboardist, is quite talented. I can not say anything about Marillion's other albums, because i do not own them as of yet, but I must say, I certinly plan to purchase more of their work in the future. I recommend that any fans of early Genesis listen to Marillion.

Over-all, I rate this album 8/10. Its certinly no masterpeice, but it still rather enjoyable to listen to.

Report this review (#69155)
Posted Sunday, February 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
5 stars The late Seventies and early Eighties were very poor times for me and my friends as '24-carat symphonic rock'freaks: Love Beach by ELP sounded almost as crappy as the cover looks, Roger Waters had left Pink Floyd and Genesis and Yes had jumped on the 'pop-prog' bandwagon... but then there was Marillion. At first we nailed them as a blatant Genesis-rip off, mainly because of the similarities between Grendel and Supper's Ready on their min-LP Market Square Heroes. But on this new album we discovered that Marillion had so much more to offer than Genesis echoes (the twanging acoustic guitars, Fish his voice, the organ runs and the synthesizer flights that often reminds me of The Lamb). When I noticed this just released album in my favorite record shop Supertracks in The Hague it was love at first sight: the wonderful artwork by Mark Wilkinson (layered with mystical associations), the poetical lyrics ("yet another emotional suicide", "catalogue princess, apprentice seductress" and "who order desecration, mutilation, verbal masturbation in their guarded bureaucratic wombs", splendid words!) and the amazing equipment like the Rickenbacker bass, Yamaha SG guitar (like Steve his hero Carlos Santana) and Minimoog synthesizer, could it go wrong with all these ingredients?

No! From the very first moment on this pivotal neo-progrock album you are carried away to the wonderful and compelling world of early Marillion. Four long captivating compositions and two short, catchy songs. Fish delivers inspired, often emotional vocals and beautiful poetical lyrics. Steve Rothery his guitar work(between Hackett, Latimer and Gilmour but with the emotional overtones from Santana) is very powerful with lots of great, very sensitive soli. The keyboards from Mark Kelly range from tender piano and harpsichord to flashy Minimoog runs and bombastic eruptions on his Yamaha and Roland synthesizers. Peter Trawavas plays fluent and propulsive, only Mick 'E.T.' Pointer his drum work sounds sometimes a bit too tight. My absolute highlight is Forgotten Sons, Fish his statement against the UK policy in Northern-Ireland: Marillion succeeds in a very emotinal and compelling way to translate that tension, anger and sadness into a mindblowing epic composition with one of the emotional 'grand finales' in the progressive rock history: "for a second you'll be famous but labelled posthumous" ... it's about Northern Ireland but "l'histoire se repčte": Vietnam, Afghanistan, Irak and all those many other countries were young soldiers were, are and will be manipulated by governments that are only interested in money and selling oil and weapons ...

"Peace on earth and mercy mild, Mother Earth is loosing her children" ....

Report this review (#69405)
Posted Wednesday, February 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars First and foremost, I'll not even get into the unfounded Genesis comparisons. Although Fish can be somewhat compared to Peter Gabriel in sound and stage presence, Marillion and Genesis really don't sound that much alike. Not so much that deserves so much discussion.

Kicked off by the title track, everything about "Script" is emotional. From Fish's amazing lyrics and vocal output to Rothery simply punishing the guitar, it is truly a song for the ages. The only problem is Pointer. Marillion made such an upgrade in sound with Ian Mosley replaced Pointer. Live versions after Mosley's dismissal are much more fluid. Especially the beginning when Kelly and Pointer keep time with one another.

"He Knows You Know" is a classic example of how underrated Mark Kelly is as a keyboardist. Great textures about three minutes in, with Rothery tearing off (yet) another memorable solo. This tune just has a nice driving beat and Pointer actually sounds decent with his kick drum work.

"Garden Party" gets a bit cheese laden at times, but it's got some nice work by Trewavas and Pointer, keeping impeccable time. I do prefer the way Mosley handles the later live versions, however. Much more of a fluid drummer than Pointer.

"Forgotten Sons" is a pretty powerful anti-war track. Very haunting vocals by Fish, but could've done without the little "Although I walk in the valley of death..." part in the middle; however, everything else about the track is very moving. Again, I can't say enough about Rothery's guitar solo and lazer-like slashing in the middle. Such an underrated guitarist.

I'll always be a Hogarth follower; however, I can't dismiss the work of the Mad Scotsman. A masterpiece will be created a couple of years down the road in Misplaced Childhood; however, Script really laid the foundation of years of memorable music created by a group of very underappreciated musicians.

Report this review (#70693)
Posted Monday, February 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars 3.5 stars really.

In the mid 90's, I thought prog was all but dead (how wrong I was). Imagine my surprise to find an album from 1983 that was a genuine prog album! Well, "prog" as the genre that it, as there is nothing "progressive" about this album, even in 1983. If you mixed Gabriel Genesis with The Wall era Pink Floyd, you have a pretty good idea of what this sounds like. To be fair, Fish is a fairly unique singer and I think his resemblance (vocally) to Peter Gabriel is minor, at best. Still, the music is structrured very similarly to Genesis' big numbers and it is easy to make the comparison. As an ironic aside, I once was playing Selling England for a friend of mine who had never heard it, and as soon as Gabriel sang the opening line my friend asked, "Is this Marillion?". I then had to explain that Genesis came first, so it was Marillion who sounded like them, not the other way around. In any case, the comparison is totally valid, even if this music is considerably more modern in production and execution (and, as we all know, Grendel uses a remarkably similar song structure to Supper's Ready, so the influence of Genesis on Marillion was obviously quite strong at the time).

But from a purely critical standpoint, this is a good album. I couldn't stop listening to it back then, being a big fan of PG Genesis. And it has its own charm, and really doesn't sound like a copycat of Genesis music in the end. No prog fan should go without hearing this album, that much is for certain. It was a seminal moment in prog history, the beginning of the "second wave" (though people who were there in England at the time tell me that Pallas was more popular and was the one that everyone thought would have a big break through), and for that alone it deserves to be heard by every self respecting prog head. I give it only 3.5 or so personally, but I think for historical reasons it deserves the extra half star.

Report this review (#76489)
Posted Thursday, April 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Script for a Jesters Tear is the debut album of five-piece Neo-prog band Marillion, the album that thrust prog back into the public conscience and effectively started the Neo-prog boom of the 1980's early 90's. So after more than 20 years, what can one say about this album?

The most obvious stand out is Fish. He has a singing style that is incredibly theatrical, in fact he is the closest anyone has got to singing like Peter Gabriel, though he uses this style in a completely different manner, more like that of Peter Hammil, and accentuates it greatly. And I love it, he communicates the feelings, even imagery, that he instils into the songs brilliantly, a charismatic front man if ever there was one.

Its not just his singing style that dominates this album, he proves to be an impressive song writer as well. The main basis for this would be his self destructive lifestyle witch lends itself brilliantly to the themes of the songs here. Speaking of the themes, a lot of these songs focus on the individual, with Garden Party and Forgotten Sons being the exceptions. In Script for a Jesters Tear he sings about himself, how he played as the class joker in an attempt to deflect criticism of his size and the fact that he was on the social boundaries. He Knows You Know was about his drug and alcohol abuse, The Web about infatuation with someone (at least that's what I get from the lyrics here) and Chelsea Monday is the search for fame. What makes these lyrics so special is that they weave a story, seemingly giving the album characters, and character, to really think about, that leave a lasting impression in your mind.

Musically this band rocks in most quarters, with Rothery immediately marking himself out as one of the most emotional guitarists of the time, each riff, lick, solo suit's the song brilliantly. OK, he's not the most technically gifted guitarist of all time but that doesn't matter here, his guitar lines aren't overly simple and they work around the keyboard passages to add a real sense of feeling.

Mark Kelly's keyboard lines move between slow, simple backing to Fish's voice to powering the atmosphere behind the solo's of Rothery or leading the melody. Not a lot needs to be said here, he's just extremely well suited to this style of music, you just have to hear the songs to find what he adds.

Pete Trewaves is probably the stand out musician of this album, he has a unique and powerful style of playing bass that drives the songs forward. Sadly, Pete's partner in the rhythm section, Mick Pointer, was not quite up to the task. His drum lines are acceptable but his eventual full time replacement Ian Mosley would have done much better here. Because of this its Pete's bass work that holds the songs together more than the drums, but having said that, Pointers work isn't inappropriate, it just lacks a technical edge that many other drummers have.

Overall this is quite an amazing album, most definitely one of the strongest debut's in the prog world, and historically the album that kicked the Neo-prog movement into high gear, even if it wasn't the first one there. Despite its flaws in the rhythm section, this album is stunning because of its immaculately formed songs and deserves everyone of the 5 stars.

Report this review (#80156)
Posted Friday, June 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is a bird of a different color.

The title track has some great piano and synth, not to mention the carnival and pipe organ. When the drums come in, they wing their way through a rather odd time signature. But I doubt I can put my finger on it. "So here I am once more in the playground of broken hearts.the game is over." Nice lyric. The guitar solo, beginning at 2:31, has a weird, piercing tone.makes me wonder if Rothery was using any effects. The problem is, at 8:40, it's a bit wearying, mainly because there's not too much going on to support the track length. It could've been cut down to about 7 minutes and it would have had a better effect. Rothery takes another solo at 3:25, yet it sounds much like the first one.

"He Knows You Know" is a different story, mainly because it's of an acceptable length, and it deals with a sad subject. The lyrics are great; "singing psychedelic praises to the depths of a china bowl". Good job. The only thing I don't like about this song (and this is a problem I have with the entire CD) is that when Fish (Derek Dick) tries to reach up into his register, he comes off as a third-rate Brian Johnson (AC/DC). I choked when I heard it the first time, but I closed my eyes and actually imagined Johnson singing this song. Again; the same tone is used for the guitar solo at 2:55.

"The Web" has some excellent synthesizer and drums, but I could have gone for a bit of a tension build-up in the intro. Fish's patented squeal starts at 0:10, and for a song which lasts nearly 9 minutes, he could've waited at least a minute and a half. He didn't. That's pretty much all I can say about it.

Mind you, I don't mind listening to songs that are 8, 9 minutes and up (Some of Dream Theater's best tracks are that length and more, and with me being a Rush fan and all, that's pretty much mandatory!); but in order to get a person to listen to something like that, there needs to be a sense of drama. Sadly, I've yet to find it here.

Now.back to the review.

Garden Party kicks off with vocal samples (do we gotta?) and fades in a synthesizer. Again, it's an acceptable length. Nice drums too, and Fish waits nearly a minute before he opens his mouth (thank you, Derek). Pointer adds some great drum and cymbal accents as well. The lyrics are pretty good, and thus far, I can safely say that this is the best song on the record. Sadly, we're four songs in, and it only has six songs on it. Chelsea Monday seems to have a horror movie intro (not a plus in my book), before leading into some plodding bass and drums. Rothery sounds spacey here, as does Derek. Suddenly, at 2:09, it picks up and Rothery starts playing like his life depends on it, with a guitar solo that left me astounded. I'm impressed. (Happy look) It ends at 3:39, with an acoustic (or clean electric) replacing the distorted guitar. Props to Kelly for the church organ as well. I am not, however, following the lyrics in the slightest.

Forgotten Sons has more sampled sound effects, then picks up the tempo nicely, while Derek echoes his vocals and completely indecipherable lyrics. The 1:02 mark is where Rothery delivers a great solo, and I gotta say: For someone who only seems to use one tone (on this record anyway), he does quite a nice job. At 1:30, Derek begins to yell again, but I'm trying to tune him out.

(throwing my hands up in the air). Y'know, I'm really (really) tryin' to dig this disc. Silly of me that I TOTALLY bought into the (over-)hype surrounding this group, and this record in particular. Sadly, Marillion strikes me as a group that does not innovate, but merely reiterates. So, how do I rate this? (sigh) It's certainly nothing new (and certainly overrated), yet in places it holds a nice touch. I'm gonna go ahead and give it three stars, and wait for the fan(boy)s to get mad at me.

Report this review (#81641)
Posted Wednesday, June 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars this is one of the albums that helped prog survive after the british punk wave..what the band managed to do here is to sum all prog history up in 6 anthems... it was the beginning of a respectful career..after all, it's not strange that all 90's and 00's prog rock/metal bands mention them as great influence with all the 70's 'monsters'....
Report this review (#82208)
Posted Thursday, June 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Script for a Jester's Tear for me falls into the same category as Minstrel in the Gallery and Songs From the Wood, they are very good but not quite masterpieces. Script for a Jester's Tear shows Marillion at the height of their power, excellent compositions, musicianship and ideas all contribute to the overall quality of the music on this album. MArillion is a very Genesis sounding band, but they aren't all out copies as they also combine more modern rock with Symphonic Prog.

The result is very good and there are some very memorable moments on Script for a Jester's Tear. The guitar work on Script for a Jester's Tear is one large difference between Marilion and Genesis, MArillion's guitar passages are generally heavier and more dominant. While Genesis seem to relay on them more as fillers. The Vocalists are very similar, which isn't a bad thing as they are both very good singers. I only wish Fish would sing in a Scottish accent as it sounds good and add character to the music.

Synthesizers and Keyboards are a very important feature of Script for a Jester's Tear and they succeed in creating haunting and strange sound scapes. The sound of the Synthesizers on Script for a Jester's Tear sound much more modern, if you get my idea. But there are a few good old style mini-moog (at least I think It's a mini-moog) solos here and there, the solo on the Web comes to mind.

Script for a Jester's Tear is perhaps the best song on the album; it is a very progressive song which follows the same basic pattern as many other prog songs. There is a fantastic guitar solos and the closing section of the song is very good. The other highlight of Script for a Yester's Tear is the Web which is another very proggy song. The other songs on the album aren't quite as impressive but are still excellent. The synthesizer work on The Web is a highlight of the album, it is spectacular.

1. Script for a Jester's tears (4/5) 2. He knows you know (3/5) 3. The web (4/5) 4. Garden party (3/5) 5. Chelsea Monday (3/5) 6. Forgotten sons (3/5) Total = 20 divided by 6 =3.333 = 3 stars

Good, but non-essential

Script for a Jester's Tear is in summary a very good album but is not quite at the masterpiece level, but hey, it still is an excellent album and it is very high on the PA top 100. I'd recommend Script for a Jester's Tear to all symphonic fans as it is very interesting to see a more modern approach to classic prog.

Report this review (#85229)
Posted Monday, July 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars The album that, according to many critics, resurrected prog in the early Eighties, "Script for a Jester's Tear" is (in my very humble opinion) the best Fish-era effort from Marillion. Though accused by many of being mere Genesis clones, the British five-piece were in fact more original that that, as well as considerably darker. There is nothing in Genesis' output that can compare to the unrelenting gloom of the tracks, with even the apparently lighter-hearted "Garden Party" being a corrosively ironical indictment of British upper-class society and manners. Fish's dramatic, sometimes exaggerated vocals do not recall so much the more understated Peter Gabriel (besides a very slight similarity in timbre) as Peter Hammill's all-out theatrics. The same can be said for his lyrics, which rank indeed among the most impressive in prog, though sometimes - just like his vocals - they can border on the overblown. The title-track opens the album in a quiet, nearly understated way, with Fish almost whispering the words, before the band kicks in with a great guitar performance by Steve Rothery. The following song, "He Knows You Know, released as a single, could be awarded the prize of the 'commercial' song with the darkest, most despairing lyrics ever - a deeply disturbing tale of drug addiction punctuated by dazzling keyboard work by Mark Kelly. Lengthy "The Web" is probably the proggiest song on the album, but also the least memorable to these ears - it definitely goes on a bit too long, though the performances on it are excellent.

Venomous "Garden Party", with its staccato rythm, sweeping synths and Fish's deceptively humourous vocal delivery, lightens the musical (if not the lyrical) mood - before the band plunges into misery once again with the chilling, all-too-credible tale of a girl's wasted life that is "Chelsea Monday". A cautionary tale for all those young women who live vicariously through celebrities and glossy magazines, waiting in vain for fame and fortune, it is a musically simple piece, enhanced by Fish's poignant vocals. The best track on the album, however, is saved for last, with "Forgotten Sons" - a haunting, bitter indiction of the tragedy and waste of life that is the ongoing struggle between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, ranking alongside The Police's "Invisible Sun" as the most memorable song on this tragic situation. The song opens with a strong rythmic beat, with Fish singing almost hysterically; then, a soaring Rothery solo leaves room for a chanting, almost whispered section in which Fish, backed by an almost military drumbeat, rants against the choices of the British government. The song climaxes with another beautiful, atmospheric guitar solo, and Fish's stark, poignantly true final words: "Peace on earth and mercy mild/Mother Brown has lost her child/Just another forgotten son". Easily the best Marillion song ever.

Fish-era Marillion cover art is undoubtedly not to everybody's taste, and in sharp contrast with the minimalistic style favoured by most Eighties bands. However, I find that its larger-than-life, gaudily coloured imagery suits the lyrical and musical content quite perfectly. Though "Script for a Jester's Tear" may not be a full-blown masterpiece, it is almost required listening for everybody who is keen on understanding the evolution of prog from its Seventies beginnings to its contemporary developments. For all that Neo-Prog may be an acquired taste and much too derivative for some, it is a phenomenon that cannot be ignored - and it does not come much better than this album.

Report this review (#87314)
Posted Tuesday, August 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars I wonder how many GENESIS fans jumped ship to this new band called MARILLION in 1983. IQ released "Tales From The Lush Attic" the same year. As a prog fan I have so much respect for these guys.To see many of the seventies greats change to what was fashionable back then.Then along comes this new band to take up the mantle of progressive music, at a time when it was not the popular thing to do. In fact i'm sure a lot of industry insiders felt they were committing suicide with their careers. Funny thing was that they even gained some commercial success with this new take on seventies prog. On this their debut album the star of the show is no doubt FISH with his animated vocals and fantastic lyrics, he drew a lot of attention to the band. The lyrics are emotional, thought provoking, very personal and dark. He sings about love, drugs, society, suicide and politics.

To hear the self titled track open this record is so inspiring to me. I can't help but think of Peter Gabriel when Fish opens the song with those reserved vocals. It kicks in at 1 1/2 minutes.Great sound 2 minutes in. Check out the chunky bass as Fish sings with emotion. I have to mention Steve Rothery, the guy can flat out play and he really has his way with his guitar on this first track. I like when it settles 4 1/2 minutes in, i'm reminded of the intro. Kicks back in. Such a great track ! "He Knows You Know" becomes bombastic with Fish spitting out the lyrics. A calm before 2 minutes then it kicks back in with some excellent synths and bass. Guitar follows lighting it up. "The Web" is my favourite track on here.The moods change often and the main melody sounds so good. Love the guitar 4 minutes in.

"Garden Party" opens with the birds chirping and people talking. Hey it's a garden party ! The song changes from bombastic to mellow quite often. Fish gets theatrical later on. "Chelsea Monday" is such an emotional song, and Steve has a lot to do with that with his weeping guitar that is so sad, until it turns into an uplifting, soaring solo after 2 minutes. Pure emotion right there. Check out both Fish and Steve after 5 1/2 minutes. "Forgotten Sons" is Fish delivering a theatrical vocal display. Some spoken words as Fish says the same words in the background with passion. Some nice bass and guitar follows. Best part of the song for me is before 6 minutes to the end. The guitar soars and Fish sings. The perfect ending.

This album isn't without it's faults but it's a classic that breathed life into the dying progressive music scene and at the same time helped spawn a new genre.

Report this review (#94627)
Posted Sunday, October 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
2 stars After releasing some good singles, Marillion decided to release their first album, but it was too soon. The title track wants to be a suite, but there's nothing really good in it. He knows, you know.. - Nobody knows why they included this track. Anyway, Garden Party is a good song, but I enjoyed the live version on Real to Reel more than the studio version. The same about Forgotten Sons, that's a real masterpiece and pay you back the price of the album. I should rate it 2,5 because 3 is too much.
Report this review (#96318)
Posted Tuesday, October 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
5 stars The year was 1983. Progressive was a genre forbidden to be talked about in the press at the time. Or so it seems. Nevertheless for some musicians it did not matter. Music came first and if some punters decided prog was no more, then some would prove them wrong. And Script For a Jesters Tear was one of the first and surely the strongest one to emerge that year, showing the world prog music was alive and well and having a great breed!.

I still remember how I felt at the time as the sole human being who still enjoyed prog music. When I heard this album I was completely bowled over. Yes, the singer has a voice so similar to Peter Gabriel it misled a lot of people to believe they were copying early Genesis (some very ignorant ones still do!) Poor Fish! Was he guilty of having a similar voice? But the music was quite original, exciting and new. The lyrics were so unique! Fish proved to be one of the true poets fo his time (Twelfth Night's Mann was another). Every track here is a gem. Contrary to Genesis fantasy stories, the subjects here are much more down to earth, dealing with drugs , personality crises, the irish conflict, the hollywood lure, etc. All songs are wraped up with great melodies, the band played brilliant and unlike 70's too much keyboard oriented work, this new british acts would give the guitar a proeminent play.

This album is a a neo prog classic and worth all the praising it has been giving since its release more than 20 years ago. No wonder Marillion was considered the main figure of the neo prog movement. How many bands star with a work as powerful as this one? And how many delivered such great albums in a row? (I'm talking about Marillion WITH Fish, of course). Highly recommended to anyone who likes prog music in particular or good music in general.

Report this review (#97109)
Posted Saturday, November 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album leaves me with strange feelings. It is not really bad ("Chelsea Monday" , "Garden Party" and "Script for a jester tear" stand out). But it is lost in the wrong time and maybe should not be labeled Neoprog, but post-Prog and so, after more than twenty years it doesn't even carry any feeling compared to the Genesis' effort "Selling". The eighties were just no decade for prog, but for pop and sadly the spirit of the seventies concerning prog could not be reanimated with this album. It it was a futile attempt. The Peter Gabriel era of Genesis was better than anything that could be achieved be Marillion in the eighties. Listenable music, but one should stick with the real thing.
Report this review (#98173)
Posted Friday, November 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first album of the genre Neo Prog. And the best of that style. Fish is singing like Peter Gabriel, only with different accent. The title track is fantastaic. Lots of happening here. He Konws You Know is a single tack (my favouite, did you saw the video?) with great lyrics.The Web IMO is the weakest track on this album. It's just too long, and nothing really is new here. Garden Party, the next single number is cool, with another cool video. Chelsea Monday is a good track to start your day with:) And Forgotten Sons. Lyrics to this muber got old, but who cares? A super album. Masterpice.
Report this review (#104292)
Posted Saturday, December 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars First i want to stat that I just don't agree with those who criticize Script For A Jester's Tear by saying that it suffers a lot from Peter Gabriel era Genesis influence, i think that Marillion took those influences and developed their own musical and lyrical themes and in this album they had already a unique sounding. Musicaly is completely superb and the introspective lyrics by poet Fish add a newer dimension. The cd artwork is beautiful too and Script For A Jester's Tear was a influence for other bands of the 80s and stay as a progressive rock reference to nowadays. 5*
Report this review (#104755)
Posted Thursday, December 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Author's Note: Under Revision 05/08/07. Trust the rating for now.

You do have to hand it to Marillion, as they truly revived prog with this release in 1983. That doesn't mean, though, that Script For a Jester's Tear has anything particularly special to offer. I will say, though, that while Fish does sound like a not as good version of Peter Gabriel (both in vocals and lyrics), Marillion captured their own sound musically. It's just not to my taste. Arena and IQ would take the foundations Marillion set and expound on them much better in more recent years.

Script for a Jester's Tear is a collection of mid length songs (between 5 and 10 minutes). Musically, this is classic neo prog in sound, symphonic sections but without the complexity and, in this case (but not in others), without the allure of 70s symphonic prog. There is also more emphasis on guitar here than in most 70s symphonic prog, which tended to be dominated more by keyboards (which I generally prefer to guitars; to, in fact, any other instrument). Lyrically, Fish has some good ideas, but only carries them to fruition on the opener and closer, which are also the best musically, as it turns out.

The album begins with the spoken "so here I am once more" (very good irony there, seeing as this was a debut album), at which point the keyboards come in, infectious, but I prefer more thought out keyboards to simple ear candy. In comes a very nice soft section, but it's nothing special. Things get going with the almost vintage symphonic section around 2 minutes in. It is now that the song truly becomes something special. The lyrics here are very good, some of the best on the album until we get to the last song. The song continues in this vein for a minute or two before going into a good but not great guitar solo. This is followed by a softer section that ends about 5:45 in, and doesn't impress me much. The song remains mellow, but with more energy than before. The song then comes out with the repetition of "can you still say you love me," which disappoints a bit. This song has some truly special parts, but, in the end, it suffers from too many weak sections surrounding that one middle section that is pure gold.

He Knows You Know is an upbeat song, but the Fish's vocals are simply irritating here, and the music is nothing special. The "he knows you know" section just grates on me evey time it comes around. Also, this song isn't particularly progressive, and the drumming gets on my nerves. There is one good neo section in the middle, but it only slightly lifts this song up from the depths, as it is wholly unimpressive otherwise. Not an invigorating way to follow up a song that enough "problems" of its own.

The Web opens emphatically, then calms down for the next two minutes. Around two minutes in, it has one decent section, very neo in sound, but without enough to grab me, and then it seems to lose all energy it ever had soon after. It gets it back, but by this point the song has lost me, and the better parts at the end aren't worth much, because they come after I've completely lost all interest.

Garden Party is too similar to the Web in the intro, except that it is then even worse, going nowhere, and with a simply poor neo sound (as opposed to the final track, IQ, and Arena, who all found a very good neo sound). The drums, or whatever those are, are omnipresent, and they stink up the place. The vocals and lyrics are nothing special, and this whole song serves only to get on my nerves. The first song at least had promise. Now the album is really starting to annoy me, as I always listen to the albums while I review. If I may say, I was originally planning on giving this album 3 stars, but the unbearability of sitting through it that I am now experiencing has made me change my rating to two stars.

Chelsea Monday starts out sounding like it will bring something new to the table, but it turns out that it leaves us hanging. All we get are the weak vocals that have characterized the last two songs on the album. It does pick up a bit later, but I'm already completely turned off the song just by the beginning. There is no magic to be found here.

Thankfully, there is Forgotten Sons to end this album and make it worthwhile. Finally, a song without any weak sections. Finally, a song with truly great lyrics. Finally, a song that goes somewhere. Finally, a song that captures the great neo sound that IQ and Arena would find later. Finally, a song I can tout as excellent. And excellent it is. Forgotten Sons is a very progressive, scathing anti-war song that really teaches the world how anti-war songs ought to be done. Starting with the radio sounds (similar to Pink Floyd's opening to the Final Cut, which was, I believe, the same year, and also anti-war). Then comes the triple rhyme vocals, and the amazing line "boys baptized in war." Following this is the kind of neo section that, for me, at least, defines what the genre is about. Fish's voice falters in parts, but he's generally his best here. There are some spoken word sections in the middle that aren't as good as the intro and outro, but they're better than anything else on the album, and they grow on you. With just under 3 minutes left, we go into another beautiful neo section that, again, defines, in my eyes, what the genre is at its best. Fish does some real singing that truly is the best I've heard him to, and the lyrics are excellent. This is an incredible end to an otherwise disappointing album that isn't all it's cracked up to be.

If I become a collaborator, I will be the first collaborator to rate this album as under four stars. And I do so proudly. I don't give it this rating in response to the ratings of other members, I give it in response to the poor quality of the music on Marillions 1983 debut, Script For a Jester's Tear. Other than the last song, nothing grabs me, not even the "masterpiece" that the first song is claimed to be. This is an album, that, among the ones I own, will sink into obscurity, because there's little to keep it in my mind, other than Forgotten Sons, which is still bested by plenty of other neo songs. Try a little harder, Marillion, and it might do you some good. I cannot say this album impresses me at all.

Report this review (#106085)
Posted Friday, January 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Script For a Jester's Tear is the first full length album from neo-prog pioneers Marillion. This one album launched an entire movement, a fact that always impresses me. The band takes almost all of its sound from Gabriel-era Genesis, but they do not rip off their idols. Fish's thoughtful and metaphorical lyrics are as strong as Gabriel's but they are much more bitter. Rothery's style is identical to Hackett's, but he stands out whereas Hackett blended in with Tony banks' keyboards too often. Trewavas is slightly better than Rutherford. Pointer and Kelly sound too much like Collins and Banks, but they are not blatant rip-offs.

The songs on Script are not epic in length, but they are longer than the majority of the songs being written at that time or even now. Every song has an inventive arrangement. The album is sort of a big breakup song, only the couple was never together. It is a tale of unrequited love, and Fish fills his lyrics with his trademark irony. The concept follows a poet's unrequited love and its effects on him. The title track starts things off softly until Trewavas enters. Rothery's decent solo arrives and raises the bar. It's more moving than technical, and it stays true to the symphonic soloing of Howe and Hackett, not taking up too much room. The difference is that his guitar sound much more modern than Howe or Hackett; Steve cements his 80s guitar in Marillion's sound on this song.

He Knows You Know deals with the poet using drugs to give him an escape from his sorrow. I like Trewavas funky bass on this, but the track didn't grab me for a long time.

The Web is my favorite song on the album. Rothery's solo is superb, and the poet ponders whether he should move on.

Garden Party shows that the poet decides to leave his pain behind him and mingle with society. Fish viciously attacks the hypocrisy of society on this number. I have a feeling Oscar Wilde would have loved this song, and the whole album for that matter.

Chelsea Monday directs Fish's rage towards high society women. The poet pictures the perfect societal woman as one who essentially lives her life out of fashion and other wemen's magazines so she does not have to live her own life. The arrangement on this track gives me the creeps.

Forgotten Sons shifts the attack now to politics and the subject of war. The poet wonders why young men and women must die for their governments; Gatot says it also deals with the IRA's attack on the Harrod's department store. Then Fish gives a manifestation of man's interal conflict with himself. Primal instincts vs. intellect and morals, etc.

The flaw of this album is that concept sort of slips. We go from unrequited love to pondering war. However, Fish does manage to tie it all in, and the result is a triumph of prog. Though not as good as Mispalced Childhood, this album is a must own.

Grade: A-

Report this review (#106750)
Posted Tuesday, January 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars When i joined this site, i promised myself to never start reviewing or grading albums, as i didn't want to be distracted while listening to my favourite albums with thoughts of "is this a five or a four star album?" Why then did i decide to write a review of this particular album? Simply because this is an album about which i will never need to have such thoughts. This is, without a doubt, an album deserving the full five stars for so many reasons. That hasn't always been the case though, as when i first had gotten Script, i thought of it as nothing more than 3 stars. I bought it only because it was cheap and it was the most highly rated Neo album, a genre of which i had heard virtually nothing. When i first got it, i listened to it and decided that it was too metallic, musically unengaging, and that it just wasn't suited for much more than background noise to tap your foot to while reading your homework. So that was excactly what i did. This was my homework music, and i listened to it pretty casually for a long time, thinking it didn't have the depth of the other music i was into at the time (Yes, Genesis, and Pink Floyd). Suddenly i realised that it had become my most listened to album of the whole bunch and, seeing as i still hadn't tired of it, i began listening more intently than before, and it started to grow immensely, to the point where i dinally decided that this was one of my favourite albums of all time.

There is nothing in Marillion's music which is even remotely avant-garde, and no virtuosic playing anywhere. Nothing which will make you go "Wow! that is truly original". It will, however, if you open yourself up and listen without preconceptions about it being too derivative, make you feel, because Marillion is all about emotion. The biggest part of this comes of course from Fish. I've always liked Fish's lyrics as they seem very personal and honest, and he always writes about subjects that actually mean something while at the same time being straight-forward enough (as opposed to the lyrics of Close to the Edge or Thick as a Brick, where the listener almost has to choose between listening to the music or deciphering the lyrics). Fish's singing is also very good, of course, and really much more closely related to those of Peter Hammill, rather than those of Peter Gabriel.

Then there's the matter of Rothey's guitar, of course. Maybe not as flexible as Hackett or as clean as Gilmour, he still has a lot of feeling in his guitar work, and his solos are an essential pert of Marillion's music, always underlining the lyrics of Fish. Rothery's relatively slow playing is perfectly complimented by Mark Kelly's much faster keyboard solos.

People are always complaining about the abilities of drummer Mick "one fill" Pointer but actually... well, actually they're right, so don't expect a lot of virtuosity (from any member, really) or drum solos á la ELP here, folks.

On all honesty, i could see myself giving this 4 stars as there is nothing really revolutionary here, and the musicianship is far from impeccable, but if i would do that, i would deny what it is that music means to me; feeling. And that is exactly what Marillion is all about.

Report this review (#111454)
Posted Saturday, February 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The sound is like Genesis, no doubt, perhaps nearly a sentence for a group that already gives this album of debut however has demonstrated of wanting to make the things in large. The guitar of Rothery already attract attention for the arpeggios that mark the sound of the group, Fish with is beautifull voice ; only the drum of Mick Pointer renders bad the sound. To signal "Script for to jester' s tear", "He knows you know" and "Forgotten sons". Perhaps not a masterpice, but much more than technical tests.
Report this review (#114537)
Posted Thursday, March 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
3 stars While not quite the masterpiece many claim it to be, "Script" is still a solid album-- but really only when one considers that: this is the first piece of "progressive" music to come around for a while, and that it is from a band which is very much in its infancy. When compared to the band's later, Fish-era albums, "Script" can be seen for what it really is: experimentation, and an attempt to discover a unique sound.

That being said, it is still a great example of the times and of "neo-prog". Fish's vocals are reminiscent of Gabriel's, but lack control; fortunately, he is a passionate and emotive singer, and even though he sometimes sounds a little goofy, it doesn't detract from the music. The rest of the band itself plays well given their burgeoning style, but aren't as cohesive as they will be on later albums. Along with the dramatic title track, "Garden Party" stands out as the most interesting tune.

Marillion's early, melodramatic, and emotional album isn't perfect, but its probably the most accessible and enjoyable of the progressive revival.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Report this review (#116742)
Posted Thursday, March 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The best of the Fish era albums without a doubt and a very enjoyable rock album. Obviously I'm in the minority as to the importance of Marillion but I do respect that they carried the torch during this somewhat bleak period.

I saw the band live twice during this period and what struck me was how little they seemed to enjoy themselves. Fish especially looked like he couldn't wait to get off the stage. There was almost no interaction between the members, no smiles, little enthusiasm. The crowd was definately appreciate though and I enjoyed myself too. The first time I saw them was opening for Rush. What a double bill! The second time, during the Clutching tour, the band played all the new material and not even one song from Script. While the audience was calling out for Script and unhappy about not hearing any, I thought it was really brave of the band to stick with the new material.

There's not much need to break down the songs as it has been done many times by others. They are high quality, well composed, and well executed. The title track is a classic in any time and I'd never deny them that. 3 1/2 stars.

Report this review (#117434)
Posted Thursday, April 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I could hardly have chosen a better album for my four hundredth review on PA (a lot more to come). As I have mentioned in some other reviews, I stopped listening to prog music from 1978 to 1996. I had actually no idea who Marillion was till the year 2001. A colleague of mine leant me "Misplaced Childhood" and here we go...

I purchased the single CD version of "The Script" in 2003 and I couldn't believe my ears. Yes, I have LOVED Genesis (and still do of course) like a maniac in some ancient times and no, I have no problem with a band sounding as Genesis when the level of the songs are of this caliber.

There are not a single weak moment here. All compositions are brilliant. Kelly on the keys is outstanding, both Pointer and Trewavas offer a solid rhythmic section, Rothery's work is subtle and so pleasant.

Then, Fish. He makes my flesh creep (especially on this first officail release). And I'm listening to him while I write. Yes, he sounds as Peter, and yes, he knows, you know. Actually Fish gave a try at almost all the instruments because he wanted to be in a rock band. But he was by no way gifted. Then, some friends told him he should try the vocals since he had some similaritites with Gabriel while he was humming. He was very proud of this. He liked Genesis, and Yes (hence his nickname : Fish; partially because he was a fan of Chris Squire). The other origin of his nickname goes back, apparently, straight to his youth during which he would spent endless times in the water of his bath...

To find a better track than another is very difficult here. The title one maybe with this delicate voice ? Or "Chelsea Monday" with this wonderful guitar and mellotron sound ? Or "Garden Party" with these aerial vocal passages and its strong instrumental ones ? Or "The Web" with this great guitar break ? Or "Forgotten Sons" and this background riff at times sounding like "Watcher" and the incredible final section ...Throughout the album, rather intricate lyrics have also contributed to the filiation with Gabriel.

All this work is so nice and melodious than any Genesis fan couldn't resist I guess. At least I couldn't. Almost thirty years later. "He Knows, You Know" is maybe the least achieved number : but still, it is a good one. The proof of time did not have any negative effect to this fantastic album, like the greatest ones to which it belongs.

What is also remarquable, is that Marillion put a lot of attention in the design of their sleeves (albums, but singles as well). An incredible look really. From their logo to some Fish's costumes.

A year later, in 2004, I was already in my Marillion mania period and I purchased the double CD (24 bit digitally remastered). This is another great habit from the band. They will re-release almost (if not all) of their earlier recordings with a complete bonus CD (not one additional and miserable track or two of little interest like it is mostly the case). No, what you get there is truely another great FIFTY additional minutes of fabulous music.

Alternate versions of their single "Market Square Heroes" as well as for "Chelsea Monday". Another of their single is featured as well in an alternate version : "He Knows You Know", the very nice B-side "Three Boats Down From The Candy" and finally "Grendel".

I just love this number. Of course, at times it sounds as "Supper's Ready". But it is also a sublime track. One of my fave of the band. It is very much the central piece of this double CD set. IMO, it superseeds all the other numbers (even if lots of people do not like it because of its "Supper's Ready"'s cloning.

What else can I say ? If you have not listened yet to this masterpiece of prog music, you only have one thing to do : buy it, lend it, rob it. But do get it !

If you have read my reviews of the last seventeen bands I have commented, you know that I do it vertically. Meaning from start to finish. Almost all the way through. This will be a marvelion travel.

Five stars, of course.

Report this review (#119364)
Posted Sunday, April 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Almost 25 years after its release, the record that definitively put neoprog on the map is still the definitive album of its genre. Not the first per se, as IQ came about the same time and Twelfth Night had already been active for a few years, but this was the record that really publicly brought things back to life.

This record is an absolute essential, not only for its historical value (see previous paragraph), but of course especially for its content, with only one relative weak spot: Garden Party where mr. Pointer gets too much space not to shine. Funny thing: I first heard the later live version (with better drumming) and thought of this just-out-of-place drumming as a kind of camp.

The rest of the album is pure brilliance, from the much praised opening title track to fan favourites like Chelsea Monday and Forgotten Sons. The best song on the album is quite an underrated one however: The Web!

Report this review (#120879)
Posted Sunday, May 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Fish's overly dramatic vocals do absolutely nothing for me.

The lyrics are interesting, and the singing is good at some times, just plain silly at other times.

The instruments take turns being interesting and proggy, then cheesy and typically 80's pop.

The album is deffinately worth listening to. There are enough of interesting parts to the songs that I would recommend getting this album. The singer, Fish, is a very silly version of Peter Gabriel. Thats the best way to describe him.

Gabriel was very dramatic and theatric. Fish takes that and pumps the drama with stereroids. If your a fan of that style of singing, then you will love Fish. There are plenty of people that really enjoy it, but I can't find any pleasure in it.

The song He Knows, You Know is great instrumentally. The vocals are very strange with oddly placed emphasis, some words drawn out and then ending abruptly with an AHH thats a much higher pitch. The saving grace of this song is the fantastic music behind the vocals.

If your a fan of dramatic vocalists such as Peter Gabriel or Peter Hammill you will love Fish. If your not, then I would be wary of this album. I can't say "don't get this album if you dont like Fish's singing" because the instrumental sections are really good.

I can only recommend listening to the song Script for a Jester's Tears. You can stream it on the site for free. The rest of the album is along the same lines. If you like the title track, you will like the rest of the album. If you don't like it, chances are you wont like the album.

Report this review (#125594)
Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Prog doesn't get better than this. For Genesis fans who were starved for this style of prog since Gabriel & Hackett went solo, this is what they were waiting for. No weak spots here, this is an all-time classic and, in my humble opinion, Marillion's finest work. I am big fan of the Fish era, don't really care for the Hogarth phase at all. If you don't own this album already....what are you waiting for?
Report this review (#125896)
Posted Friday, June 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I first discovered Marillion with Misplaced Childhood almost ten years ago, and was addicted to it from the first notes of Pseudo Silk Kimono until the last note of the album (it was a borrowed cassette from a friend.) So, after purchasing that on CD, I came across Script for a Jester's Tear and the cover attracted me to finally buy it. Anyway, Script gave me a similar listening experience. From the first note of the title track, I was drawn into this gigantic monster of a prog effort. He knows you know was not that good. However, to be fair, I never give it a solo listen: this second track always come after the end of the magnificent first track and that makes me unable to really tell its true quality. The next track I like is Chelsea Monday. The lyrics is incredible: nothing short of poetic, although English is not my first language and I understand less than half of the song. Forgotten Sons closes the album with a strings of great melody. This is a landmark album for progressive rock. I have strongly recommended anyone that wants to embark on their musical journey in the prog alley to listen to this album.
Report this review (#126881)
Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Many people consider Marillion just a poor imitation of early Genesis. Well, maybe they are right but this cannot prevent to definy their music great. In a period in which prog music was dead and buried, in a period in which punk, new wave, dark, disco, NWBHM, etc were at their height, these five men found the courage to re-proupose a musical genre out of any commercial scheme. This first album shows everything what a progressive-music lover wants to hear in the 80's. Fish is simply stunning, the music is almost perfect, with good melodies, good rythms and great solos (listen Chelsea Monday or The Web to believe). Script For A Jester's Tear introduces Marillion to us at their best; not bad for a novice band. In my opinion Marillion are not simply a Genesis imitation, but they are what Banks, Rutherford and Collins could be in the 80's if they don't turn into a pop band. Definitely, a ray of light in a distressing musical view.
Report this review (#134712)
Posted Friday, August 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Market Square Heroes/Three Boats/Grendel whetted my teenage appetite. My local stores did not have Script and I first saw it (and bought it) on a day trip to Bath while on school hockey tour to Cheltenham/Monkton Coomb/Dean's Close. Ten days of waiting to play it were rewarded as a bunch of spotty mates called round to listen to the latest offereing from the Scottish wordsmithand the English band.

We heard a melancholic album, introspective, emotional and dramatic. This was an album that has resonated for me: a few years after its release I was attending Garden Parties by still (heavily polluted) Cam waters while studying at Cambridge: at home during vacation I listed to the band playing Forgotten Sons at Maysfield Leisure Centre a few weeks after a family friend was murdered by the IRA. This was not, and is not, a detatched musical piece. It confronted real contemporary political issues. No punches pulled. It satirised the elite. (always an easy target). Maybe this is lsot on the present generation. Forgotten Sons stands the test of time. SLF wrote many but they were from Ulster and saturated in the political ethos.

it's definitely in my prog desert island discs let alone a 5 star.

Report this review (#134869)
Posted Saturday, August 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album has been a mystery to me for over twenty years. Why do people like it so much?

Perhaps I can supply an answer. It was issued in the same year that GENESIS and YES supplied the market with albums seen as betrayals of progressive sensibilties ('Abacab' and '90125' respectively). And look, here's a band playing like they were GENESIS from the 1970s! No wonder the progressive community lapped MARILLION up, to the point of inventing the perfectly silly genre title 'neo-progressive' to describe this so-called renaissance.

Trouble is, I did not share the progressive community's opinion. I found both '90125' and 'Abacab', while not either group's best work, to be perfectly acceptable offerings. This, on the other hand ...

I wish I could share your fun. I must say I rate 'Misplaced Childhood' very highly because of its integrated approach, and parts of 'Fugazi' appeal to me. I'm also a fan of HOGARTH-era MARILLION. This album, however, frustrates me. Everything is so obvious, nothing has any hidden depths, nothing invites me back for a second listen. I give it a spin every year or so, and I've yet to discover anything of interest. In fact, I listened to it three times over the weekend before writing this review. So, how does this album compare to those of their '70s heroes? Well, FISH'S obvious influence (to VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR fans, AT LEAST) is PETER HAMMILL, and Derek Dick is no HAMMILL. He struggles to sing (though he gets better on subsequent albums), and his lyrics are just too trite for the genre. Mick POINTER is definitely no PHIL COLLINS ... need I go on? There isn't a song here that can hold a candle to the acerbic lunacy of 'Lemmings' or 'Plague', or to the sweet melodies of 'Firth of Fifth' of 'Entangled.'

There are many other incongruous aspects to this band and album. MARILLION take their name from J.R.R. TOLKIEN'S masterwork, 'The Silmarillion', yet they seldom if ever reference fantasy motifs. What an odd choice of names for blue-collar proggers.

I respect the consensus of the progressive comunity, and acknowledge that in most people's eyes this is a five-star album. But it's important to have a variety of opinions, so here's mine. If you love melody and beauty above all else in your music, I fear this album may disappoint you, as it did (and does) me. On the other hand, the weight of evidence suggests that if you are a fan of '70s progressive music, you'll enjoy MARILLION'S first four albums, this included.

Report this review (#135965)
Posted Monday, September 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars "So here I am once more."

Marillions debut album begins with that line. And what is to follow is pure genious. This is one of the album that brought about the return of prog and, in my opinion, it stands as one of the greatest prog albums of all time.

Each member plays such a signifigant role in this album. Fish is outstanding with conveying emotional and passion and his lyrics are among the best there could be in prog music. The rest of the band play brilliant roles, such as Steve Rothery with his brilliant emotional guitar solos in a similar way to Dave Gilmour. Many other bands have taken upon this style, such as Riverside, etc

"Script for a Jester's Tear" The title track is outstanding, with no particular verse, chorus structure. It is one of the stand out of the album.

"He Knows, You Know" "He's got problems......problems.....problems" this song has an unbeatable groove, with Fish's lyrical melodies providing a moving feel, and the guitarsproviding a muted, groove effect. The most accessible song on the album, but without doubt a great tune. " Don't give me your problems."

"The Web" Incredible lyrics, melodies, everything.

"Garden Party" A great staccato based riff, and a great keyboard solo make this one brilliant as always.

"Chelsea Monday" What incredible vivid images come to mind when this song is playing.My favourite song of the album, very mellow, so deep, so rich with ambience, lyrics almost make the listener cry, then bursting into a powerful feel with a bend worthy of world domination from Steve Rothery. Fish's lyrics are at their greatest in this song and the next one.

"Forgotten Sons" So epic. One of the greatest endings to an album, ever. Starts off with an upbeat groove, then breaks down into a deep soundscape passage. Great keyboard melody. The groove then changes to a very rocking guitar tune, then all this is ended and the bass is the only instrument to be heard, a marching drum and guitar beat begin to take over and Fish, with vocal harmonies is chanting passages that bring emotion to ever part of one's body. I will now indulge in these beautiful, poetic words: " For I am but mortal, and mortals can only die." " Verbal Masturbation." " Minister, minister, care for your children."

My favourite lines from this lyrical and musical masterpiece. I cannot end without the review without them:

" Order them not into damnation, to elimanate those who tresspass against you." " Approach.............................friend." " Your just another coffin."

Steve Rothery comes in beautifully with a guitar solo that secures his world domination potential

Pure genius, and more genuis is to follow

Report this review (#137534)
Posted Monday, September 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars With progressive rock dying a quiet death in the late 1970's, and ultimately when foundation groups like Genesis and Yes switched to radio-friendly AOR/pop music by 1983, along came Marillion. Marillion's debut album Script for a Jester's Tear was the lone beacon of hope for prog rock in the 1980's, amidst a sea of digital pop songs, drum machines and an endless wallpaper of MTV videos. It actually did quite well in the U.K. considering the time period, but was basically lost in the U.S. (Indeed, I myself only discovered it 13 years later). Marillion started what would later be called the neo-progressive movement, a long list of bands chiefly influenced by Genesis, Yes, and symphonic prog rock, but with varying doses of AOR sensibilities allowing much of their material to be more "radio friendly." Unfortunately very few of these bands ever got any radio airplay, especially outside of the U.K.

Marillion's Script for a Jester's Tear is the foundation of neo-progressive rock, the ultimate pinnacle of this much maligned sub-genre. Led by vocalist Fish, Scotland's answer to Peter Gabriel, the group would construct some of the most thoughtful and compelling lyrics and subject matter since pre-Lamb Genesis. Keyboardist Mark Kelly became the 1980s answer to Tony Banks, though tended to focus more on atmospherics then solos. Script for a Jester's Tear has some of the lushest synths I've ever heard (like Genesis meets Eloy), and it's nice to hear more analogue synths then the digital ones that became so prevalent during this time. Steve Rothery is quite a skilled and competent guitarist, not quite in the same league as the prog greats, but very respectable nonetheless occasionally suggesting a Gilmour influence here and there. Drummer Mick Pointer is exceptional, though I don't think Marillion makes as good use of his skills as he would show later when he joined Arena (Pointer would leave after this album). Finally, the group is complete with excellent bassist Pete Trewavas.

Each song on Script for a Jester's Tear is a masterpiece, musically and lyrically. It is probably the best symphonic prog rock album released since Close to the Edge and Selling England by the Pound. Well deserving of five stars, a must-have for all symphonic and neo prog fans, and a historically significant contribution to the genre.

Report this review (#138814)
Posted Monday, September 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Almost perfect... or just perfect? Marillion was introduced to me (or I was introduced to them) by my old table tennis coach. He always thought that Marillion would be too mind boggling for me, the 17 year old Rush, Metallica and Iron Maiden fan in the second half of the eighties, but one day I visited his home and he was playing Clutching at Straws - which was just released at the time. I borrowed Misplaced Childhood and Script for a Jester's Tear and on my next visit we enjoyed the Live at Loreley VHS. I was hooked - and then suddenly Fish left. Luckily, the guy stayed long enough with the band to leave four remarkable albums, including the grand opening Script for a Jester's Tear.

From the vocal note of of the title track up to the last note of the title track, up to the last second of Forgotten Sons, this album manages to get my attention, which is rare for me - always being occupied with many things in parallel. Even now, while writing this review, the album keeps distracting me from just writing about it. Script for a Jester's Tear is a poem put to music, with painful emotions showing in both the vocals and the music. It gives me goose flesh, even after having known it for 20 years now. The follower He Knows You Know seems to have been a single that I missed out on, not knowing Marillion at the time. I can't imagine it did much in the charts, with what we now know and say about eighties pop music. The song pounds on and on, driven by bass and drums, while Fish shares the Jester's opinion on God - only interrupted temporarily by a flashing piece of energy generated by the keyboard and guitar breaks.

After this, The Web has always given me the creeps. The music fits the mood of the lyrics, the Jester drowning in his memories - almost whispering, than screaming out and complaining. Breathtaking, until the opening of Garden Party - a completely different beast. The keyboards fading in, followed by a strong beating of bass and drums - then Fish' vocals. A great opening for a great party track, with lyrics that mean more and more to me over the years, as I learn to see how society (pun intended) operates. As I read in another interview on this site: the lyrics are pure venom, but of a kind that I can stand. On a personal note, the track always reminds me of a garden party at a friends house. He was a huge Marillion fan, but I spent over an hour convincing the hired disc jockey to play this one. I insisted our host would love it, he insisted I was drunk. Oh well... I won.

Chelsea Monday is a classic one for me. The opening lulls me into quiet moods, until Fish shuts up to give Steve Rothery some room for a guitar solo, accompanied by the keyboards of Mark Kelly. Time to just stop writing and listen for a bit...

The anger of Forgotten Sons, represented by hacking rhythms and 'jangling' - for lack of a better word in my English vocabulary - keyboards reach their peak in a prayer that might scare me stiff if it would be played to me unexpectedly in the dark. When this album is mentioned, this track isn't the first that comes to my mind, due to my love for Garden Party and Chelsea Monday, but like the latter it is among Marillion's best - and certainly one of darkest.

All in all, Script for a Jester's Tear is one of the most treasured albums in my collection, and one of the few of my older ones that was given playtime during a ten year period without much serious listening to music. A classic to me, and to progressive rock - no matter what bad critiques the band had to suffer from the hard core Prog crowd of the 70s. The anger and emotion in this album, as well as the musician ship are akin, but from a different nature than the Genesis classic it was said to be a copy of. I like them both and grant them both 5 stars on the scale.

Report this review (#139570)
Posted Friday, September 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I totally agree with Menswear's description of this album as "drama-prog", where the focus is less on the music and more about the theatrics. I'm generally not moved terribly by lyrics, and I tend not to enjoy shrill (though emotional) notes. Thus, I'm not moved overall by Script from a Jester's Tear. I'm glad Marillion kept the prog fire burning, and there are some terrific musical moments to be found here (even for a curmudgeon like myself), but I cannot use the term "masterpiece" to describe this album.

Script for a Jester's Tear. I have to admit, this is one heckuva way to introduce yourself to the world. The beginning is absolutely haunting, and the lyrics are incredibly painful. The weeping clown on the cover could be considered rediculous, but it does fit this song extremely well, and so I love it. I FEEL that clown's pain! Now, let's address some of the weaknesses: Fish hits some absolutely awful notes, and the percussion is so generic that it really detracts. As creative and powerful as this song is, I simply cannot overlook these aspects.

He Knows You Know, The Web, Garden Party. Some good synth runs, decent guitar work, and creative lyrics, respectively, but overall these songs are too slow, and the truly enjoyable moments are few and far between. Here the drama-prog borders on the rediculous. On The Web, when Fish passionately belts out "But even Jester's cry!", I always laugh, because I have a difficult time taking this seriously.

Chelsea Monday. Simplistic and overlong, this song still is powerful. Finally a display of the guitar prowess of Rothery I've been hearing so much about, put to anthemic melodies, and the result is a strong (though depressing) tune.

Forgotten Sons. Fortunately, Marillion has another epic to match the quality of the opener. These guys are certainly creative, from the catchy intro, to the spacey instrumental, to the twisted interpretation of the Lord's Prayer, to the absolutely provocative anthemic conclusion. Here Fish's passion and voice perfectly match the music (not to mention his thoughtul and relevant lyrics), and the result is a killer album closer.

Three stars because this is a debut, the album's historic significance in prog, and for the opening and closing tracks. The rest is entertaining at best and boring at worst.

Report this review (#140783)
Posted Thursday, September 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars To me this is an absolutely amazing album, but certainly not without it's faults. Fish's voice is truly refreshing after listening to so many bands who don't put enough stress on the vocals. The rest of the musicians seem to be there primarily to provide a backdrop to the vocals and lyrics, although the guitars and keys have there oportunities to unleash awesome solos from time to time.

The album starts very very quietly, as we are introduced to Marillion's music, in a truly dramatic fashion. Fish really soars here, alternating between the grand and the subtle. The title track really sets the tone for this album, with it's melancholic lyrics, beauty- laden melodies and a truly spine-tingling atmosphere.

'He Knows You know' is a more hard-hitting song, verging on hard rock. This one is full of hooks and it's obvious why it was chosen as a single (though you wouldn't guess it by the lyrics). 'The Web' is very good, but pales in comparison to such amazing company, such as the next track, 'Garden Party'. This song is truly glorious and almost makes one feel that one is at said party. I recomend you check out the video for this song as well, as it is very entertaining.

'Chelsea Monday' is a heart-wrenching ballad similar in nature to the title track but not as memorable. It's the grand finale where Marillion really pull everything together in the album's most epic track (although not the longest). We are treated to a whole new take on the vocals, which when layered in the way they are, they sound even more effective, especially in the haunting prayer section.

This is a very emotional album, and my first listen to this album gave the hairs on the back of my neck more exercise than they've had for years. Sometimes though, it can get a bit over the top, and when one is not in the mood, it can be particularly tedious. That said I love this album, and listen to it a LOT. 4 stars.

Report this review (#144860)
Posted Monday, October 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars It seems strange to be reviewing this album so long after its release but I was listening to it this morning in the car and was reminded of just how significant this release was to the prog world.

Way back in 1982 I watched an unknown band fronted by a very large, very made up singer blow away the other acts on an edition of The Old Grey Whistle Test. A few months later they were on again to promote a forthcoming single. Again they were way better than anyone else on the show that night. The release of an album was also mentioned. From that moment on I expectantly flipped through the album racks in every music shop I visited until I finally laid my hands on a copy of Script For A Jester's Tear.

At the time, there was no other album like it and no band like Marillion. Genesis were waning. Yes seemed about to disintegrate. VdGG had become just Van Der Graaf and faded away (so it appeared). The music world seemed at the mercy of the new romantics. So this album was an huge breath of fresh air. Fantastic music, a frontman with real charisma and a vocal delivery dripping with emotion one moment and spitting venom the next. There is no doubt in my mind that this album kick-started the prog revival of the early 80s. And it remains, even now - 25 years later, a classic. It is not perfect but it is a work of brilliance and some genius and belongs in every prog collection. It is the essence of an essential masterpiece of progressive music.

Report this review (#145928)
Posted Friday, October 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars MARILLION were formed as ''Silmarillion'' in Aylesbury,Buckinhamshire,UK by drummer Mick Pointer and guitarist Steve Rothery.In 1981 they shortened their name to MARILLION,the same time when vocalist Derek Dick ''Fish'' joined the band.A lot of important gigs would follow,before the band released their debut album named ''Script for a jester's tear''.Very much influenced by the music of GENESIS and VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR,the band developed their own superb style based on melodic solos,atmospheric keyboards and the theatrical performance of FISH.The abstract lyrics of and the dramatic vocal chords of Fish would give the band an extra mystic flavor,but the album would also include some catchy tunes added for good measure...''Script for a jester's tear'' finally meant to be a progressive rock classic,containing some of the most atmospheric,well-crafted and intense tracks ever to be heard and it desreves till' today a special place in my heart and collection.A true gem of the 80's progressive rock-era!
Report this review (#147751)
Posted Sunday, October 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I bought this album tree years ago... In those times i listed to bands like Tool, Dream Teather... And never listened to Marillion or any other neoprogressive band...When I get to home i played it in my Cd player and i hated it. It was awafull for me... Strrange Vocals, malodies based on speed keybords, very emotive music... all this was too hard for me.

Some time afther that I started listen to Pendragon and IQ. One day I thinked "this music is simmlar to Marillion... Hey, I Hate Marillion! But mayby..." And I put the "Script.." to my CD player. After listening i said only "Wow! This Cd is wonderfull!".

It's a magic. I'ts a very beatifull thing to listen: from first to last track. Practicullary no weak points. So why only 4 stars? It's beacouse this cd is hard to listen for somone who haven't heard any neoprog before. It's not a good album for starting. I think IQ is better for beginners...

Report this review (#149820)
Posted Saturday, November 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars An early day hero album you might say. And since I am a true neo progger I should love this and give it 5 stars without hesitation. But alas .... This is not the case. And I will try to explain why. Twenty years ago I absolutely loved this. Marillion was the progressive revival and of course we will always be thankful to them. But the problem is that in my perception this album is nowadays outdated and I'm reviewing it now so what can I say ? I'm not judging for sentimental reasons. I'm judging the music and my feeling about it. But don't worry, of course there's still a classy vein about this, at least most of the songs.

My favourites are the title track, Chelsea Monday and The Web. The other 3 songs are a lot less, particularly Garden Party. But even the three favourites have slipped away from me. It's still good (I'm somewhat ambiguous about it, I know) so what to do ? We'll leave at 4 stars (3,75).

Report this review (#152009)
Posted Wednesday, November 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have only very recently gotten into neo-prog, and the only band that I have really listened to in the genre was Marillion. I did this because I was told that I would find elements of Genesis' music in the music of Marillion. I found these elements, and more. "Script For A Jester's Tear" is Marillion's debut album, and one of the finest that they ever produced. The opening track "Script For A Jester's Tear" will show any cynics of Marillion's true musical genre that when it comes down to the crunch, these guys are a true to the heart progressive rock band. At eight and a half minutes in length, it incorporates elements of both a pop song and a progressive epic, complimented with the signature deep and depressing lyrics of lead singer, Fish. The second track is the album's single, the cutting edge 80's heavy rock song "He Knows You Know", which deals with the matter of addiction, a them seen frequently throughout the Fish period. The third track, and the longest on the album, is the nine minute long "The Web", which ones again shows Marillion's truly progressive side. The other track that must be mentioned on this album is the last song "Forgotten Sons", a song about war which really makes you want to get up and mosh along, and shows the bands true musical prowess. An excellent album, one of the all time essentials. 4.5 Stars.
Report this review (#152951)
Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars My first contact with neo prog and probably the neo prog album. I know it isn't very original considering many reviews that explained why before. However I had to write something on it just to tell how much I love this album. To be honest, I laughed when I first listened to Fish jester's voice. So theatrical, so excentric and sniveling, the voice kept me out of this monumental record quite a long time. At the time I had great difficulties to hear any high- pitched voice, and so It took more times than normally to get used to it. But gradually this aversion changed into high regard. Fish has an inimitable voice, that I find really different from Gabriel's one, though it is obvious that it his a source of inspiration. Pain, anger, hope, resignation, all the human feelings palette get a new taste in Fish singing But don't believe I try to minimize the music behind the voice. Musicians are all excellent, with a special mention for keyboard player. I can't pick out one favorite song, they are all excellent. Hard to get back from it, for me one of the rare albums I can't get fed up with. 5 stars whithout a doubt!
Report this review (#152963)
Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I actually can't recall exactly when or how I first heard of Marillion, but I do know that they were my first real delving into more obscure prog bands that weren't as well-known in the public's eye (Before this time I had only been listening to the obvious prog bands such as Pink Floyd, Yes and Dream Theater). This particular album was actually my first experience with Marillion, so isn't it fortunate that it is so fantastic?

I was lucky enough to find myself a copy of the now out-of-print (I believe) double-disc remastered edition. However, I am going to review only the album proper, as I don;t think that the bonus disc is part of the album experience per say.

This masterpiece begins with a very simple, mellow intro featuring Fish singing his signature theatrical vocals overtop of Mark Kelly playing single piano chords. This soon evolves into a moment of silence, then we now jear the keyboard sounds as Kelly plays a tune that makes me feel like I am in some medieval court right away. Soon, Steve Rothery comes in with absolutely brilliant acoustic guitar that even further creates the illusion of some older time period. What I like about Marillion's music (and this will continue all throughout the album) is that, for me, it not only makes me feel emotions, but it also transports me to physical places in my head, and the picture becomes so clear to me that the mood is set once and for all, and I believe in the story Fish is telling for the rest of the album's duration. The first track as a whole eventually becomes a very heavy rocker and Rothery shows his true abilities as a guitar master. And let us not forget Pointer and Trewavas, who also contribute greatly to the overall sound of the record. Just when you think you know where the track is going, it once again takes another dramatic turn into a more ballad-like structure, with soaring moody guitar work and the always amazing voice of Fish complimenting one another as the track fades out, leaving the listener excited to hear what will come next.

As amazing and moving as the first track is, here comes another great one, which what I believe was the original single from the album (though I could be mistakes), He Knows You Know. The lyrics found here are, in my opinion, actually rather weak, especially when compared with the lyrics of the previous track, although this really is of no matter, since the music itself holds up on it's own very well. In fact, the musicainship found on this particular song is so good, frankly Fish could be singing about badgers, mushrooms and snakes and the song would still be very powerfull. Kelly really shines here, with a very cathy yet unusual keyboard riff that accompanies Rothery's rhythm guitar section of the song, then becomes the backing track to another perfect guitar solo. At one point, the song also introduces a very punchy, catchy chorus that repeats a few times in very typical song structure manner. This is where the proto-prog label comes from I believe, because these guys, while clearly progressive, definately have a very straightforward rock edge to them that I think would normally make them more accessible to people; sadly for them, they were around at the wrong time, and to this day many people don't know who they are simply because they debued in an era where prog rock was still not the most revered of musical styles in existence. In this chorus, Fish starts off on one of his shouting sections. The first of many. While some people could find this annoying, I actually like the intensity of the man's vocal performance; it really brings an extra punch to the band's music. Here in the chorus, he yells You've GOT! Venom in your stomach, you've GOT! Poison in your head . . . and so on. I really like this, as it puts alot of power and aggressivness to the song. Like I say, not everyone will like this about Fish-era Marillion, but for me it really heightens the listening experience. (By the way, this is not all that Fish can do. He also has a very beautiful soft side to his voice that gives me chills at times)

Bringing together tracks 2 and 3 is a quite hillarious interlude that has a very Pink Floyd-like quality to it, in which a ringing phone is featured . . .

The Web redeems the album's lyrical prowess with Fish's poetry being once again shown in all of it's glory with such lyrics like: 'I'm the cyclops in the tenement, I'm the soul without the cause'. A moment in the song that is particularly striking is when the music becomes very song, and Rothery dishes out a rather tasty clean guitar section as Fish quietly sings overtop of it. However, another potentionally funny moment happens immediately after when Fish suddenly and inexplicably shouts out the last part of a verse. Like I said, it may take some time for this vocal style to grow on you, but there is no reason why it ultimately couldn't do just that. Something definately worth a mention is that this song features possibly the best guitar solo found on the entire record by Steve Rothery, and it truly shows how greatly underrated of a guitarist (and indeed, the band itself) he is. Actually, Rothery is among my all- time favorite guitar players, just because he has such a great ear for catchy melodies without losing his own originality along the way. The solo I am speaking of in this particular song is truly beautiful, and I get chills every time I hear it. Pointer also does an exceptionally great job on this track, playing some truly complex beats without being too showoff-y. Finally, Mark Kelly has his finest moment on the album with an otherwordly uplifting keyboard solo that sends my imagination to outer space and beyond!

Garden Party - Possibly the most epic song on this album, despite it's meager length. It begins with a very interesting rhythm set by both Trewavas and Pointer, followed by a placid keyboard riff, which backs up Fish in his most theatrical-style vocal work found in Jester. Here he makes full use of voice projection, rounding his 'r's and singing in a very original manner that sounds more like speaking than singing, and yet it still has a tune. Difficult to explain, but the voice work is definately exceptional on this song in particular. Kelly once again shows his ability to produce spacy keyboard solos and Rothery doesn't do too bad of a job himself at accompanying the madness that is this song's structure. It feels all over the place, yet it works so well to give the listener that frantic feeling that Fish no doubt intended.

The next song is Chelsea Monday, and quite honestly is my least favorite track on the album. However, it is still great in and of itself, so just because I like it the least doesn't mean that isn't a good song. The looped voices at the beginning don't really make sense to me, and they feel out of place. However, Trewavas does his best bass work on this song, with a riff that really gets me quite emotional, and bass rarely does that to me. It's probably due to the keyboard and guitar lines accompanying it, which all combined make for a very moving backdrop for Fish to dish out more theatrical voice work in front of. Steve Rothery also gives another very beautiful guitar solo, his second- best on the record. Slowever, and a bit jazzier, which reminds me very much of David Gilmour. Following that, he impresses yet again with very haunting clean guitar work. All the while, Fish is doing some of his best lyrical work of all time, and Pointer is doing a great job of keeping everything together in a very slow, accurate backbeat. Yet more voices now, but this time, they are actually understandable, and I suppose at this point in the song don't really add or take away anything. They are just there. The song then abruptly ends. Not too shabby for my least favorite song on the record. In fact, it's quite enjoyable.

Ah, Forgotten Sons, the finale of this true prog masterwork. Well, the song's opening actually isn't the greatest, with more seemingly aimless yelling from Fish, but like I say, I actually like this aspect of the man's voice, so I quite like it. The keyboard work here makes me feel like I am sailing the seven seas with a group of pirates, which really gets my blood pumping evreytime I hear the riff begin. At around the 02:15-02:20 mark, the song begins it's main section: a man's rather calm voice presenting the song's lyrics in spoken word, while a maniacal Fish screams the same lyrics in the background. Backing these rather dramatic but enjoyable vocals is Steve Rothery's best rhythm work I have ever heard. Truly exciting to listen to every time. Building on to that after a little while is Trewavas' excellent playing, giving the already entrancing rhythm guitar an extra punch with his accompanying, equally impressive rhythm section. Pointer and Kelly also do not dissapoint here, all together giving this section of the song a very heavy, crunching edge to it. Now, the song changes yet again and we now hear the song's rhythm become very military and march-like, while Fish recites a slight mockary of a traditional prayer. This could potentionally be the album's most dramatic moment yet, or it's funniest. I must admit, I laughed aloud when I first heard Fish's drawn-out, overly-exaggerated Arrrrrrrrrrrmen!, but over time, I have grown to love this part of the album, and it really cements the experience for me. As a whole, I think the album gous out with a bang, and the entire experience makes it very worth while to anyone interested in more underrated prog bands.

Overall the album is terrific. I happen to think it's essential, but I understand that many people seem to think that Marillion simply ripped-off Genesis. However, I think that is unfair. (Although, not being a Genesis fan myself, I may not hear the similarities between the two simply because I'm not familiar enough with their music). Frankly, I think that Marillion are compared to Genesis so much because Fish's singing voice happens to resemble Peter Gabriel's a bit. But this band has so many original moments in their music, I think it is an unjust claim for anyone to make that Marillion is merely a Genesis 'clone'. For anyone who has put off listening to Marillion simply because they have heard negative things about them, please, give this album a try, as it has some truly epic moments on it. It is as far as I am concerned a hidden gem lost among many unoriginal neo-prog bands. Quite a shame that more people haven't given it (Or indeed, Marillion themselves) the respect it deserves, but for those of us who know just how precious it, the wonderful listening experiences never cease to return each time we play 'Script For A Jester's Tear'.

Happy listening.

Report this review (#160830)
Posted Tuesday, February 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Script For A Jester's Tear" is the debut full-length studio album by UK progressive rock act Marillion. The album was recorded between December 1982 and February 1983 and released through EMI Records in March 1983. The band had originally planned for David Hitchcock to produce the album, as he had produced the band´s first single "Market Square Heroes" (released in October 1982), which had been a minor hit in the UK. However Hitchcock was seriously injured in a car crash driving home after completing his work on the single, and Nick Tauber was brought in by EMI Records to produce "Script For A Jester's Tear".

The material on "Script For A Jester's Tear" is progressive rock, but with a more contemporary 80s sound (especially on the keyboards and the drums), which sets the style apart from the 70s progressive rock scene. Marillion can´t escape comparisons to artists like Genesis and Van der Graaf Generator, but with the more contemporary production values the neo-progressive rock term was coined by this release (and by other contemporary releases by artists like IQ, Pallas, and Pendragon).

Marillion opted not to include neither their single "Market Square Heroes", nor the B-side to the single "Three Boats Down from the Candy" on "Script For A Jester's Tear", and they left off their 17 minutes long epic "Grendel" too, which had otherwise been songs they had performed live as part of their setlist in the preceding years. Instead "Script For A Jester's Tear" features six new original compositions. Three on each side of the original vinyl version of the album.

The title track opens the album with a quiet melancholic vocal line, which more or less sets the tone for the remainder of the album...but it´s not completely true though, as the band are also able to rock a little harder on tracks like "He Knows You Know", "Garden Party", and "Forgotten Sons". All tracks are very dynamic in nature though, and typically features both quiet melancholic sections and more hard rocking ditto. All instruments have an equally important role in the music, and in front are the paatos filled and powerful vocals by Fish. Again the word dynamic comes to mind, as Fish easily go from low volume singing to high volume shouting/screaming. He has an incredibly versatile voice and a wide range, and uses his abilities to the full potential. Add to that his clever lyrics which are engaging, intriguing, and paints pictures in the head of the listener, and you have a world class vocalist/lyric writer on your hands.

"Script For A Jester's Tear" features a professional, detailed, and powerful sounding production job, which is a combination of the typically more organic sounding productions of the 70s and a contemporary 80s production style. The production choices work perfect with the material and "Script For A Jester's Tear" is overall a very well sounding release. Upon conclusion it´s definitely one of the most impressive debut albums out there and it´s a seminal release in terms of keeping progressive rock alive in the 80s, where the genre had dire conditions to thrive (and even survive). A 5 star (100%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#161653)
Posted Tuesday, February 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars When this record was released in 1983 I was intrigued by its cover. When I discovered in the shop that most of the songs were 7 to 8 minutes long I spontaneously bought it. I put it on the turntable and did nothing but listen - boy, was I impressed. My first neo-prog experience. Never forgot it.

Even 25 years later I haven't changed my mind when it comes to this debut album. There has seldom been a debut as great as this, IMHO. Some of the songs are rather simply constructed (the title track, Garden Party) - but does that really hamper the fun? There is the drama of He Knows You Know and Forgotten Sons, the grandeur of The Web, the sheer beauty of Chelsea Morning, the lost love of Script, the lush life of Garden Party. And you got Fish. If you need to know more, let the music do the talking - 5 stars.

Report this review (#162660)
Posted Monday, February 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ok, so pretend you have never heard or read anything about this mysterious band named... Marillion.

After listening to this un-named album, you would instantly dash to your computer, open up your internet browser, and begin typing After that, you would search Genesis, and open up their discography. After this step, you would be completely baffled; Huh? I see Selling England, I see Lamb Lies down... but I don't see anything in between.

You see, if you did this... you are very foolish, for low and behold this is not an album created by the music machine known as Genesis, it is the next best thing (or possibly better?) named... MARILLION, Script For A Jester's Tear. At this point, your mind is about to explode with musical joy.

On a more serious note, the music of this album is completely essential. Marillion creates a very Genesis like sound, with one change in my opinion; it sounds like David Gilmour on guitars. The singer, FISH, could easily be mistaked for Peter Gabriel, who performs with very strong vocals.

This album cries out to be bought. Please do so.

Report this review (#163523)
Posted Saturday, March 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I was raised on this album. I've listened to it hundreds of times and it never gets boring. If i didn't find Script i wouldn't be a prog fan at all. Just listen to Steve Rothery's guitar solos (especially in Chelsea Monday, Script, The Web... oh God, i could write them all) and magical voice of Mr Fish. My favourite song: Forgotten sons. The prayer in the end sends shivers up and down my spine.
Report this review (#164112)
Posted Sunday, March 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Their debut album has commonly been considered Marillion's best, however I think that is nostalgia talking. The arrangements are all strong, but if they had continued in this direction they would not have become as renown as they are (as evidenced by Fugazi). Script for a Jester's Tear is a strong album with a couple of flaws, namely, each song sounds too similar.

Script for a Jester's Tear starts off with Fish singing. And yes he does sound similar to Peter Gabriel, and yes in the beginning this sounds almost like a Genesis album, however that flies out the window when the bass starts pounding about a minute in. The bass is mixed lower on later releases, which I think is a shame when you have as good a bassist as Pete Trewavas. Halfway through the song, the other instruments die away and Fish has a lengthy vocal section before the bass and keyboards come back. There are some problems with pacing in this song, mainly because the best part of the song is the first half and the next five minutes are a slow build up without another climax. Not a bad song though.

He Knows You Know starts of strong, with solid drumming and good vocal work. Fish sings about problems, just like in almost every other song. There's a good keyboard solo at 2:30 followed right after by an emotional guitar solo. The best praise for this song (and album) would have to be the complexity of the compositions and the high production for a debut album. Trewavas' bass deserves much of the credit for that.

The Web starts off slow but when it picks up the first thing to notice is the well played bass and drums. Marillion seems to enjoy going from catchy jams to atmospheric vocal sections and back again. I enjoy the keyboards in this song. A very enjoyable song, ends kind of suddenly though.

Garden Party fades in slowly with keyboard. Then bass, guitar, and drums all execute the same riff in unison for about a minute; fairly catchy. The same riff is repeated throughout the song. It gets sort of tedious for the first four and a half minutes, but near the end the song gets more interesting.

Chelsea this point in the album, another depressing slow paced song is kind of too much, especially with the first two minutes. Rothery unleashes his two best solos of the album, but that's really all the song is good for. There's an interesting spoken section close to the end, and then the song finishes off with a soft vocal/keyboard section.

Forgotten Sons is much more upbeat than the previous songs. My favorite song of the album, and a strong finish. Probably the best part of the album is at a little after two minutes, with a spoken section over guitar followed by a jam with the catchiest bass line ever. Unfortunately it ends too suddenly, but fortunately another good spoken section plus jam follows. The second half of this song isn't as strong as the first half, but its still a strong finish.

My major complaint about this album would have to be that many of the transitions are boring, some even weak. Too often in this album (I'd like to point out The Web in particular) do the musicians simply stop playing, treat us with a vocal interlude, then slowly come in one by one again and again. I can't call them out on this too badly because the arrangements are always top notch; thus it really is only the transitions between sections which are weak, and never does it ruin the mood.

As good and tight this album is, I think it would have been better had the band not tried to make so many songs over eight minutes. This is a very good debut, showing off the talents of all the band members, Fish's vocals especially.

NOTE ON THE RATING: When I rate, I rate based on the website's words next to the stars. Because it helped to advance the Neo-Progressive genre, and because of its strength (especially considering it is a debut album), I deem it an 'Excellent addition to any prog music collection' despite its flaws.

Report this review (#164489)
Posted Thursday, March 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
Italian Prog Specialist
4 stars I instantly liked this. With the first tones of the title song I got that reassuring feeling that this is going to be a pleasant ride. Where Misplaced Childhood offered a selection of songs that at once gave me a both hopeful and fearful view on the rest of Marillion's discography, Script For A Jester's Tear instantly clicked. With loads and loads of reviews, I'll at least try to get something across with this one.

The biggest problem I had with Misplaced Childhood was the fact that Fish dominated that record to such an extent that the rest of the band ended up in the background. That's not a problem here, as the band in this stage seem to have had a more democratic approach when creating their music. I love the fact that Mark Kelly's keys aren't trapped in the woodwork this time, and are allowed to shine with what they are. Melodic, ambient and providing structure without ever going over the top. No instrumentalist does that. Not even the emotional solos of Steve Rothery. It's all very solid and disciplined, yet always interesting and proficient and naturally this enhances the lyrical and vocal strength of Fish. I rarely listen very carefully to lyrics. Up until now Rush has been the only band that really made me follow the vocals as something else than just another instrument. I can now add Marillion. It's impossible not being drawn in to the world of Derek Dick when he delivers such powerful, dark lyrics in a dramatic Peter Hammilll-esque way. It's just that he does it even better.

It's when you listen to an album such as this you realise why neo-prog and symphonic are separated genres. Script is a symphonic album by nature, but it achieves that goal in a different way than we're used to. Without tens of different instruments, Marillion emphasises strongly on the synthesiser. Perhaps inevitable, but here it adds so much dynamics, tension, melody and atmosphere that it easily take on the role of an orchestra. Somehow understated, it still remains a favourite on the album, and Mark Kelly deserves the attention if only for the crucial role he has in shaping Marillion's sound. The arrangements are all very good, and this is another element making Marillion something unique in the 80's rock scene and something I think is often sadly overlooked by critics of the whole genre. There are some questionable segues here, I admit that, and some ideas wander off in the distance in strange ways. But this is a debut after all, the hunger and passion makes up for such problems.

Melodic, emotional and powerful pseudo-symphonic rock with lots of colours from it's time, and a very pleasing album. Very addictive: 4 stars.


Report this review (#168855)
Posted Sunday, April 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars When I first heard this album, I thought I liked it, but years later, when I listen to it, it sounds flat, dull, boring, with a wealth of overdramatic pretense. It sounds like late-Gabriel or slightly post-Gabriel Genesis, but it is not nearly as good, nor is it as good as later neo-prog albums or other works by Marillion, such as Clutching At Straws, which is an amazing album. I think this album receives hype because it is considered the first neo-prog album, when in actuality, it's not even a good representation of the genre.
Report this review (#171594)
Posted Monday, May 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars 3.5 stars really, but I have to round it up because of its historical importance as well as its quality when compared to other discs in this dark era of music.

Calling it the first neo-prog album is up for debate. While many bands in the eighties and some later on followed somewhat closely this marillion sound, you can also argue that post-Gabriel Genesis was the band that brought this genre and influenced Marillion to sound like the band we all are familiar with.

I do not think I should describe the album is too much detail as great reviewers already did, as the band is very well-known here, and because the first available sample is a summary of the band's sound. Just expect clear-crisp production, theatrical feel, lush and modern keyboards, thick bass, emphasis on melody and harmony, and various prog elements except for perhaps complexity .. phew, long list.

I think I could divide the album into two parts: the greater songs and the lesser songs. I really feel that three songs are clear standouts while there is not a single song that feels like the weakest/strongest song in the album.

The greater tracks: _Script for a Jester's Tear: It begins with just the vocals, piano is later added and after a couple of minutes a fantastic driving theme appears. The rest is quite dynamic, making this an epic in the vein of Musical Box.

_The Web: I have heard this song in some guitar compilation and I remember it flooring me. There is a lot to love here: the emotion in the vocals, the amazing keyboard work, the wonderful musical ideas, the coherence, the dynamics and that special guitar solo.

_Forgotten Sons: Quite an interesting track. While the introductory groove and vocals are easily my least favorite part of the album, it is short and the rest is quite wonderful. The highlight for me is the middle of the song. Around minute two, there's an incredibly groovy guitar riff with someone reciting a poem while Fish screams the lyrics at the same time. Later in the song, a similar thing happens, but more dramatic and with a haunting military drum line. Between them, there is a psychedelic instrumental section. The ending is a fitting melodramatic finale.

The lesser tracks include the melodic but somewhat AOR-ish "He Knows You Know", the whimsical and synth-driven Garden Party, and the somber "Chelsea Monday" which features atmospheric electric guitars. All of them are quite enjoyable once they grow on you, though they do not leave as much of an impact as the three other tracks I mentioned.

Recommended, an important album in the history of progressive rock that still manages to be quite enjoyable. For fans of melodic rock and people who don't demand ultra-progressive works. Also, for people who find lyrics an important aspect of music.

Report this review (#172359)
Posted Tuesday, May 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the record that put me in the progressive map. I was so hooked in it that I had to go back to listen to my Genesis and Yes from yesteryears. Fish was the man to hear in that year and the band itself was a respectable one. A little bit dated but to hear the under produced Grendel in the Bonus CD is to hear a masterpiece. 4 stars for the record and upping it to 5 stars because of the memories.
Report this review (#172704)
Posted Saturday, May 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars The 80's shine alight. After the dark age of punk(when the bands competed to see which would make the worst song and perform it fastest on stage), progressive rock is intense again and quite popular, thanks to Marillion's risky efforts. Their debut couldn't be better. Script is their best album and one of the best albums I ever heard. The title track is, for me, the best love song ever made, I just can't get enough of it. Of the following tracks, I pick The Web, He Knows you Know and Forgotten Sons as highlights. The influences are clearly Genesis and VDGG and they could not choose better idols. Still, I see plenty of authenticity and creativity here(or else I would not listen to it). Of course Fish is not Gabriel or Hammill but he isn't Vanilla Ice either. His lyrics are good and his voice is nice. He sings in passionate way which boosts their sound up. Keys and guitars are inspired and lively, very well-played. Not a single song here is to be thrown away, they're all gems. Thus, this album is one of the few I reckon as flawless. Script for a Jester's tear is not only excellent but important in the prog-rock history. Purchase one of these to you as soon as possible.
Report this review (#173627)
Posted Wednesday, June 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Marillion's first and probably most influential album with a taste of the things to come!

The first thing I react to while listening to the album is Fish! He is all over the place and actually steals the show from the rest of the band during the first two songs. It's not until the third track, The Web, that my attention finally could switch to the instrumental section. The music up to this point complete top notch material but it shifts into a lower gear with Garden Party. I know that it's considered a great classic among the fans but for me it's easily to weakest link of the bunch.

Luckily Chelsea Monday is a return to for thanks to some of the strongest lyrics that Fish has ever written. The melancholic feel of the lyrics combined with the music transfers those feeling over to the listener and it's a perfect mood to be in leading up to the album's concluding track. Forgotten Sons is the final track and the only one where both the music and vocals get an even amount of attention from me.

In conclusion: I find the jumping back and fore very tiring but because of the great material, the album still manages to rate quite highly in my collection, but not enough for me to recommend it to everyone.

***** star songs: Script For A Jester's Tears (8:39) He Knows You Know (5:22) Forgotten Sons (8:21)

**** star songs: The Web (8:48) Garden Party (7:15) Chelsea Monday (8:16)

Total Rating: 4,48

Report this review (#175920)
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#178344)
Posted Monday, July 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars With more than a little embarrassment, I have to admit that I only just got this album, twenty-five years after its release. Up to now I have been a devoted fan of Marillion's follow-up album to this, Misplaced Childhood, but I had never heard this one. Now, after about 20 listens, I can see why so many people love it. It's definitely good 80's prog rock. All of the musicians are top notch, and the melodies thoughtful. The lead singer and lyricist, who goes by the name Fish, is a great poet and story teller (and yeller!)

Really, both this CD and Misplaced Childhood are variations on a theme. The story line for both is, Fish absolutely had his heart stomped on. Evidently, first by mummy & daddy, and then by a girlfriend (I wonder if it was Alanis Morrisette - since they were both equally devastated and outraged by their ex- lovers!) That, coupled with the hypocrisy and superficiality of modern society provides the material for all of the songs on these albums. This CD is really Part 1A of Fish's manifesto, and Misplaced Childhood is Part 1B.

That said - it's very good music and the emotions contained herein are perfect for the 20-something crowd - there's lots of righteous indignation. My favorite tune on this disc is Garden Party - great sardonic lyrics!

There's no question that this is the precursor to Misplaced Childhood, but is it better? I'm afraid not. Like with the Godfather movies, the sequel is better than the original. Still, this is an excellent album. It's their almost magnum opus. However, it's by far better than most music that came out in 1983, except for Come On Eileen.

This is definitely worth adding to your collection if you like progressive rock. . . . 4 1/2 stars

Report this review (#179263)
Posted Saturday, August 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Where do i begin? this is the worst prog album i have so far heard. The bigest dissapointment i have hade, im not gona say the dreaded word but thats what i think of. I know one shuld not rewive an album when he have only heard it a few times but i dont think i every wana try to listen to this one again. The funny thing is a i like Misplaced child hood and Clutching at straws they are both far from being any big favorites but they are ok album but to be honest not very prog IMO more pop, people say that Marillion where inspired by Gabriel era Genesis i whuld say that Duke era Genesis was the big inspieration caus the only thing Fish sings about is what a sorry person he is and hes love problems yust like collins on Duke and speaking of fish hes the big problem for me on this album hes yust so anoying i cant stand him i yust wana tell him to shut up so i can hear the music he sings in the most anoying of ways, to be honest i cant remeber much of the music and what i do remeber was realy boring and unmemorable the only thing i can remeber is Fish horrible voice. this will be my first 1 star rewive marillion was my first neo prog band and to be honest probably my last it shuld be called prog pop or yust pop becaus i dont hear much prog in neo prog, my least favorite prog genre no doubt, the problem with bands like marillion is they yust sound like tribute bands caus there is no adventure or ground breaking this has all been done before much much beter IMO.
Report this review (#179298)
Posted Saturday, August 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Well, to tell you the truth, I didn't like it. It did sound like Genesis, but I just don't feel what I do listening to bands like Yes and Genesis when I hear this. But don't take my word. I hate most progressive rock after 1979 (disincluding King Crimson). So continuing on the review, the vocals were okay, the keyboards did sound a little 80's, but it was the 80's so no arguement there. I didn't really hear much bass. Kind of a bad mix I think, too. The guitar kind of sounded to metal. I don't know. Maybe I didn't listen enough. Thank for reading!
Report this review (#179455)
Posted Tuesday, August 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars My first safari into the jungles of Neo-Prog occurred about a year and a half ago and it was a total disaster. I bought "Dark Matter" by IQ and I was so underwhelmed and disappointed by it that I kept my distance from the entire genre until I could get over the heebie-jeebies it gave me. But this band called Marillion continued to intrigue despite their dubious labeling. Here in my neck of the woods (the USA) they get nary a mention in the media and I never even knew they existed until I discovered this site and found that they are quite well-respected by many whose opinions I respect. Ever in search of music that will knock my boxers off, I finally took another trek into this odd corner of Progville and grabbed up their highest-rated CD, "Script for a Jester's Tear." While it didn't generate any WOW! moments for me, at least this time I don't feel like I got ripped off.

First of all, it's their debut and those can be tricky affairs, as we all know. Secondly, they released this very progressive album in '83 when the once-mighty spirit of prog was suffocating, caught in the strangle hold of the viral scourge known as MTV. You gotta give them props for having the jumbo-size spheres to create something that was obviously a case of swimming against the pop tide. Thirdly, anyone who sounds as much like Peter Gabriel as Fish does is inevitably going cause the group to draw a host of understandable comparisons to the "Nursery Cryme" and "Foxtrot" era of Genesis. But, in his defense, I don't get the impression that he's imitating PG at all. He just has that kind of voice, coupled with a very theatrical delivery. And I find the band's music to be much more representative of early 80s New Wave than classic symphonic rock. Plus, the keyboard work is exceptional from beginning to end and the intelligent lyrics are literate and meaningful.

However, in my book a group is only as good as its drummer and whether it was just inexperience in the studio environment, acute indigestion or whatever, the percussion section is the albatross draped around the neck of this album. There's also a lack of compositional imagination in a few places where it seems like the group was satisfied to just coast along, something that the truly great ones hardly ever did.

"Script for a Jester's Tear" is a splendid way to start. A quiet, subdued intro allows lead singer Fish to set the dimly-lit aural stage with sorrowful lines telling us that he's "once more in the playground of broken hearts," a place many of us have visited all too often in our lives. Soon the band jumps in and one of the things I like right off the bat is the refreshing brightness of the production. (Alas, If only Genesis' first four ill-engineered albums could've possessed that redeeming quality!) It definitely makes the journey through the CD a lot more enjoyable. Steve Rothery's fuzzy guitar rides are nothing special here but the music is engaging as Fish sings about being "yet another emotional suicide/overdosed on sentiment and pride." Dynamics are always an admirable trait to display and when they back off to make room for some uncluttered space in the middle section it keeps things from getting stale. They emerge from the other side in a half-time motif where Mark Kelly's keyboards sate the room with a great big, full sound that surrounds Fish's passionate vocal as he asks his lost lover "can you say you still love me?" It's heartbreaking to witness the honest and sincere pain he conveys.

The powerful "He Knows You Know" is next. It has a slick Alan Parsons Project aura about it that makes it instantly accessible and, while the chord progression is nothing we haven't heard numerous times before, the striking vocal performance makes this tune the high point of the proceedings for me. The song is about addiction and the tie-in with the previous cut lies in the fact that the protagonist doesn't realize that his substance abuse is the reason his woman left him behind. Again, Kelly's dreamy keyboard textures and tones are wonderful as they support the dramatic singing of words like "when your conscience whispered/the vein lines stiffened/you were walking with the dead" and "you learned your lesson far too late/from the links in a chemist chain." Some may think Mr. Fish is emoting way over the top here but considering the subject matter I don't think it would have worked any other way. So far, so good. This is pretty decent stuff.

But maybe I spoke too soon. During "The Web," the drum set deficiency surfaces and the whole atmosphere is affected. The unusual arrangement on this track involves a lot of changing time signatures and shifting tempos, requiring steady and supremely confident leadership from the drumkit to pull it all off. Mick Pointer may have acquired that talent further along in his career but here he just doesn't have the chops and the tune suffers accordingly. The poignant lyrics describing the poor sap's self pity and withdrawal from society ("I'm the Cyclops in the basement/I'm the soul without the cause" as he stares at "faded photos exposing pain/celluloid leeches bleeding my mind") are almost wasted because of Pointer's distractingly weak patterns wavering underneath. Steve's fine guitar solo and Mark's excellent keyboards keep it from being an embarrassment.

"The Garden Party" is burdened with the same flaw but this time it arises from Mick's dragging the groove. He's following the group instead of blazing the trail for them. It's a shame because this is an interesting number on all the other fronts. Fish's colorful description of a ritzy soiree belies more of the problem-addled, jilted beau's jaded opinion of the world his former lady love inhabits than a true observation of it. His sarcasm literally slithers across the notes. "Couples loiter in the cloisters/social leeches quoting Chaucer/Doctor's son, a parson's daughter/where why not and should they oughta" and "chitters chat and gossips lash/posers pose and pressmen flash." You don't often find clever rhymes like that in Progland. I adore Kelly's sharp keyboard accents that follow the softer segments and his synthesizer lead is a treat but the rhythm section never locates a "feel" and it leaves me unsatisfied.

"Chelsea Monday" has a slower pace and the song's conventional beat is better suited to Pointer's skills but the somewhat pedestrian chord progression becomes tiresome after a few minutes. Perhaps it was designed to be no more than a smooth, uncomplicated platform for Fish's acrid, biting vocalizations. In that case it works. Here he describes his former object of affection in jealous, unflattering terms and it only serves to emphasize his deplorable insecurity. To him she's become a "catalogue princess, apprentice seductress/living in her cellophane world in glitter town" who is "drifting with her incense in the labyrinth of London/playing games with the faces in the neon wonderland." In other words, she's moved on and he hasn't. It's not a great tune but better crafted than the two that preceded it.

That seems to signal the abrupt end of the sad jester's story because the closer, "Forgotten Sons," is unlike anything that came before it. Here the singing performance is outrageous and near-histrionic as Fish immerses himself in an effective anti-war anthem that is complex, moody and somewhat challenging to dissect. After a rocking start the band segues into a more eccentric movement where stark spoken words ramble over a lone, distorted electric guitar. A Steppenwolf-like psychedelic section ensues over tepid, unsure drumming before a crowd chanting ominously above a military march takes over, creating an unnerving, tension-filled atmosphere. Once again it is the keyboard mastery of Mark Kelly arriving like the cavalry in the nick of time to save the piece from overindulgence and insanity. His melodic, cavernous wall of organ and synthesizers gives the album a spectacular fadeout that helps to make it all worthwhile.

I'll admit that I didn't warm up to this album immediately but somewhere around the 5th or 6th spin I started to discover its charms so my advice is to let it grow on you a bit. There's a lot to like. If you're a fan of early Genesis then Fish's affected vocal style shouldn't bother you at all and along the way you'll discover that Mr. Kelly does an extraordinary job on this recording. (I've noticed that the band changed drummers before their next go-round so I figure I must be right about my assessment of Mike Pointer's inappropriateness as the guide for this group.) If anything, this CD has made me reconsider the whole Neo-Prog category and I'll be a lot more open to exploring it further in the future. During the dark ages of the horrible MTV plague, when our kind of music was as hard to find as Jimmy Hoffa's body, Marillion kept the prog fires burning and they deserve a medal of honor for that accomplishment alone. "Script for a Jester's Tear" is no stunner, but important nonetheless and pretty darn entertaining. 3.2 stars.

Report this review (#179683)
Posted Saturday, August 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars There was a lot of work for this album and some of the songs remember 1980. Band needed three years to complete this release but the effect is truly excellent. I won't say there's any bad song on this album cos every song has a true quality but some of them are simply better than the others. In 1983 Marillion's line -up was complete however Mick Pointer was sacked soon before tour promoting Script. This is the only band's release we can hear his work and he didn't fail really. Guess there were other problems but Fish said in one interview that he didn't want Pointer in the band from the very beginning. I the other hand EMI thought Pointer isn't good enough and wanted to hire session drummer. I didn't happen. Mick played his parts. First song is really excellent. If you're looking for something that describes band in 100% here you have. Proportions of instruments are balanced very precisely and you won't hear a single note that doesn't fit well. So the title song has many guitar solos where Steve uses lots of tremolo effect and we have also Genesis-like keyboard work plus o course Fish tribute to Peter Gabriel. In fact there's also a manner in his voice that is similar to what Peter Hammill did in Van Der Graaf Generator. That nostaligic quiet part somewhere in the middle is just like taken from some Genesis album. Anyway, great song, great solos. He Knows You Know isn't such brilliant as previous one but still pretty good. It was released as a single. Good choice cos it's the shortest track in the set. The Web is much better still not excellent as title song. Mark Kelly playes his awesome parts in that. Mythological lyrics tell the story of a bored rock star but I think Fish wanted to expose some of his poetic skills. Garden Party was another single from this album and I don't know why band decided to release this average track as a single. Maybe because after He Knows You Know it's the shortest piece on Script? Anyway maybe this song isn't good but the video to this one is excellent. I won't tell ya, see it. So it's time for brilliant finish. First Chelsea Monday, maybe the best song on the album but in the end is hard to say. This is slow and rather hypnotic track (especially when you listen to these bass parts) and the guitar solo is the best on this album and probably the best in whole Steve's career (although there's a similar one in Jigsaw on next album just a bit shorter). This solo cracks me up everytime I listen to it. Lots of emotions in one single guitar solo. I think Steve should thank his tremolo cos without that he wouldn't play it that way. And great lyrics as well, lonely girl in Chelsea dreaming of fairy tale prince, touching. Forgotten Sons is final epic. This song is more brutal than previous one but no wonder cos it's song about war in fact. I think in many moments it sounds like something from Fugazi and band drifted in that direction on next album. Fish showing class of Peter Hammill is the best thing in this song but Steve gives us a lesson in prog as well. Violent vocals, beautiful music and in the end very touching. True epis. If band wanted to do something that could repeat mastery of VDGG songs they did it with that particular song. And what can I say in the end? Excellent album. Maybe not the best Marillion release but simply one of the best and one of the best 80s albums. Must have.
Report this review (#180616)
Posted Saturday, August 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
TGM: Orb
3 stars Review 69, Script For A Jester's Tear, Marillion, 1983

Script For A Jester's Tear is a hard one for me to review. Several aborted efforts have ended in deletion. The reason for this is that it is an album which is extremely consistent in both its strengths and weaknesses, and the number of both of these makes it sort of challenging to write about without feeling like the review's becoming a list. Still, I'll try.

Clearly there are a lot of musical ideas in the constantly changing pieces; we get touches of psychedelia, symphonic moments, quirky light jaunts, an arena-rock solo and even a tad of blues. All of the members (except Pointer) seem fairly involved and capable, though not individually massively distinctive. The lyrics are pretty solid, depressive and entertaining, and the general accusations of sounding too much like Genesis... well, I don't really see it.

The negatives really come from the execution of some of these ideas. Various sound effects similar to those on The Wall often feel like forced insertions, especially damaging to Chelsea Monday, and they are a bit too frequent for my liking. Mick Pointer, as often mentioned, does not do the world's most sterling job here, but I honestly think that he isn't that much of a hindrance to the band's ideas. Complex and distinctive drum parts aren't there, but they aren't really called for. Finally, the trite Garden Party doesn't really seem to fit the album's mood for me, and I think that the weaknesses simply make the overall album less of a pleasure to listen to. Overall, the album's still pretty strong, but its charm was, for me, too soon worn away by the weaknesses.

The title track has pretty much all of the strengths, and very little of the weaknesses, with the soft 'Here I am once more... in the playground of the broken hearts' executed brilliantly by Fish. His vocals and the lyrics throughout are to match, and the band supports neatly and provides new contexts for it. The fact that the same line is executed again with a virtual roar and not feeling at all out of place alone makes for pretty good listening. Mark Kelly's keys control a lot of the tempo changes and ideas, while Rothery's superb rocking solos add force, and the rhythm section, especially Trewavas do manage to escape monotony and make their own contribution. The psychedelic ideas are equally at their most successful, with repeated words and whispered overdubs intensifying the atmosphere. The song's a sample on PA at the moment. Have a listen for yourself, and enjoy. A brilliant opener, and not to be missed.

The ambiguity of He Knows You Know extends beyond the title, with spat-out words, great lines like 'Light switch. Yellow fever. Crawling up your bathroom wall/Singing psychedelic praises to the depths of the china bowl', and the psychedelic ideas and repeats fit in solidly. Pete Trewavas especially seems to be on top form, with great aggressive bass-work. The keys fit in over the top, adding a couple of riffs and chords over which Rothery's guitar can characteristically explode all over the place as well as adding a couple of subtle edges to vocal lines. The fairly random tack-on of the maddened phone call at the end is admittedly nice in the context of leading up to The Web, but feels a little off in ending He Knows You Know. Still, I do enjoy it a lot.

The Web begins with a series of very aggressive, almost big-band on guitar-and-drums, stabs, before Fish joins in to provide a rather excellent set of vocals, both featuring some extended bits of vocal phrasing which are quite interesting, as well as the more normal lines. His own aggressive confusion (something that so few vocalists can handle well) is supplemented by harmonies and low key effects. The musical side is initially little more disjointed than the previous couple of pieces, occasionally feeling like a bit of a crib for his vocals, though it pulls together very well later on. The swelling and whirling keys are a highlight of the piece, and, though Pointer is a bit more of a drawback here than on the previous couple, the playing is otherwise top notch. Not quite sure what it is about Rothery's almost cut-off, yet extremely full, guitar tone that gets me every time, but it does. Unfortunately, the ending seems a little vulnerable in comparison to the rest of the song, with a rather uninteresting set of riffs crossed with irritating synth tones, though there are still a few points to commend in there. Overall, however, the piece is another success.

Garden Party is a bit of a disappointment following these pieces, with the voices on the opening feeling a little too unnatural to me, and the repeated jumpy bass-and-drums riff being present for far too much of the long and rather sarcy piece. A few of the effects do work well, as do some of the keyboard choices. Fish letting his hair down with the lyrics and vocals is a partial success, with a couple of amusing moments (particularly the Chaucer rambling and a rather fed up 'Oh god, not again'). Only of a few of the ideas really fail, most notably the repeat of 'flash', but the piece overall simply doesn't feel very satisfying to me.

Chelsea Monday contains the worst of the special-effects barrages, with idiotic paper/news announcements and supposedly Cockney or Australian (I can't work out which) conversations with needless line repeats. A couple of less driven-into-the-ground effects supplement Fish's vocal, but without the precision that characterises some of the earlier choices. Pointer's percussion, also, doesn't add a lot, feeling needlessly shouty. However, I absolutely love some of the other components of the song. Trewavas' superb bass line, Rothery's wails and Fish's high, slightly more like Peter Gabriel than usual, vocals are thoroughly enjoyable. The emotional Gilmour-esque guitar soloing rips through the headphones the first couple of times, and the acoustics and keyboard touches add a bit more survivability to a song that desperately needs it. This was my favourite piece from the album on the first listen, but the cringeworthy effects uses seriously damage it for me now. Shows off the Floyd influence, but not in a heavily positive way.

Forgotten Sons, thankfully, is a much more rewarding experience, with a range of kicking riffs from all quarters (especially the mock blues/hard rock one from Rothery), and a serious range of emotions and ideas, including a rather more biting and impressive sarcastic opening becoming gradually a bit more serious and without losing the satire. Heck, even Pointer sounds good on this one. Fish's vocals are powerful and biting, and with lines like 'You're just another coffin, on its way down the emerald isle' and his mock prayer, the lyrics match. Psychedelic edges and wails jump out at all points and add a lot of fun. A keyboard solo section is brilliantly handled by Kelly, and the general atmosphere is tremendous. Hearing the 'halt, who goes there?' line gives me shivers every time, and I'm quite impressed that somehow the range of ideas is stunningly summed up in an ending, complete with a choral mellotron and Fish at his most Gabriel-esque, perhaps the only things which remind me bluntly of Genesis in the whole album. A great conclusion.

So, strengths everywhere, but some really, really annoying weaknesses around the middle and not enough consistency in the fascination. Don't get me wrong, it is a good album with some very good tracks, and I can understand why it's so well-regarded, but I still get that painful twinge in anticipation of Chelsea Monday's 'she had a smile on her face' every time I go to connect the CD with the CD player. Should be a definite purchase if you're a bit fonder of The Wall than I am. Perhaps the only people I wouldn't really recommend it to are those who are really picky about drummers. Enjoyable, and it nets three stars from me.

Rating: Three Stars Favourite Track: Script For A Jester's Tear

Report this review (#181455)
Posted Tuesday, September 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars I hate to use the overrated, but I'm afraid I have no choice here.

Don't get me wrong, this is a neat album. It is historically significant, too, being one of the major factors in spawning the neo prog movement, which arguably saved progressive music as a whole. However, the music here is progressive in the most generic sense of the word. Most of the tracks sound like Marillion trying to be Genesis. I don't mind bands drawing influence, even, if they must, a heavy influence, from other bands, but on more or less all the tracks save for the final one, it sounds like they used an imaginary Peter Gabriel to produce their album. The sound, then, is lost in the 70s, kind of piddling around and never moving forward really. This problem will be the one to haunt almost all neo prog until well into the 90s.

Here, we have the beginning not only of the band but the first of the four albums from the Fish era. The man has a unique voice when he chooses to use it thus, giving tracks like Forgotten Sons and the title track a lot of punch and flair. The musicians are all talented; however, none of them really stand out as particularly skilled or exciting, at least on this record. The general criticism of neo prog bands playing only safe prog rather than pushing the boundaries applies a bit less to this record than to later ones, still. The very quiet intro to the title track kicks into a surprising bit of bouncy keyboards. Forgotten Sons is a haunting and raging cry for justice, with a few sounds from Fish that could almost be called screams. He Knows You Know is a fun, fast paced tune. The rest of the songs are well-balanced, but on the whole they are sort of generic and nothing special.

This is a good album, don't misunderstand. I enjoy listening to it plenty. However, Marillion recorded several better albums, and other neo prog bands have done better, too. Genesis did better as well. In all, a worthy album to own for fans of the genre, but I'm not going to recommend it to everyone.

Report this review (#184469)
Posted Thursday, October 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of the first prog rock album that i had listen to, but there is something terribly bad within this period of the band, that is the drumming, drumming production or drums arrangements if you like. The rest is a very fulfilling listening experience and a cornerstone in the history of Prog Rock music, that must be listen to along with all the singles released within the same period. Best Track: Garden Party. delightful retro keyboard output by Mark, Pete delivers a top class bass playing that owes more than one trick to Geddy Lee Must be said that Mick's delivery with Arena is light years ahead than this.
Report this review (#188214)
Posted Friday, November 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is one of the most groundbreaking and good neo-progressive albums, and I love it. As such, I'm absolutely torn as to whether to give this album a 4 or 5 star rating. Let me elaborate:

It may seem silly to nitpick such an influential and well-composed album, but I feel conflicted to give this album a 5-star status mainly because of the less than competent drumming of Mick Pointer. This album would have been infinitely better with a better drummer, and thus it is not absolutely perfect. However, let me tell you why this album is still an extremely excellent addition to any prog collection.

1. Script for a Jester's Tear- Wonderful opening song here introducing us to the world of Fish. Fish's vocals and lyrics are perfect on this track, Kelly's keyboards are great, and Rothery crafts great guitar. Very good song. I'm losing on the swings... I'm losing on the roundabouts! 9/10

2. He Knows You Know- A great song, but possibly the worst one on here. The guitar work is great as usual, Fish keeps his spiteful lyrics and vocals up to a wonderful par here, and the tension in this song is fantastic. Wonderful guitar solo again from Rothery. 8/10

3. The Web- Possibly my favorite on here. The keyboard parts here are amazing and I love the continued pressure between the softer parts with the very odd keyboard effects and Fish's distant vocals and then the more upbeat parts. I absolutely love the part after Decisions have been maaaaaaaaaaaade! and the song breaks out into a wonderful keyboard progression from Kelly and further goes from there. Awesome. 9/10

4. Garden Party- Why is this song so underrated by so many people? The lyrics are fantastic, possibly Fish's best on the entire album, and the keyboards are once again perfect. This actually was a relatively popular song from the album, which is ironic, as people would be singing these lyrics without knowing that they very well could be the subject of them! I really like the overall structure of this one, but it's not perfect. 9/10

5. Chelsea Monday- Another great song. Fish and the crew seem to be very good at really crafting wonderfully crafted songs of a unique yet accessible manner! This song really rocks, especially with another ripping guitar performance by Rothery. Still, it is the song I always remember last for some reason, despite it being quite good. 8/10

6. Forgotten Sons- This is the ultimately perfect closer to this album. Even though I may think The Web could be my favorite song, this is its competition.. and as a song, it is much more objectively effective. The drumming can be overlooked here as Pointer has his best performance. Fish's vocals are FANTASTIC, Rothery plays possibly his most amazing guitar on the album (which really says something), and the song is perfectly structured. This is unarguably one of the greatest neo-progressive tracks ever composed. 10/10

I REALLY want to give this album 5 stars, but it is not a perfect masterpiece. The drumming is one major flaw, and the album is not without flaws... some of the songs are not crafted to absolute perfection and are not as memorable, despite being quite enjoyable. However, this is the first album you should get if you want to delve into neo-prog and it is an album that your collection really shouldn't go without.

A very excellent addition to any progressive rock collection.

Report this review (#188800)
Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars I really really like Marillion.

The first period of Marillion is excellent and instead of descrbing what's so good, I'll try to explain what i dislike about their first full-lenght album.

#1. The drums. Mick Pointer is probably the worst drummer in progrock. He is far from creative and has no dynamics (thank god for Ian Mosley)

#2. The production, Nick Tauber makes this record sound so clean and emotionless.

Mark Kelly and Steve Rothery play excellent solos and instrumental interludes and Pete Trewavas bass- sound is solid as a rock. But the production and the drumplaying really ruins it for the rest of the band.

People are better off starting with Fugazi than this one. Sorry guys!

Report this review (#189217)
Posted Friday, November 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Marillion is one of the most influential and most well-known of the neo-prog groups. They are also one of the most original, being one of the bands at the forefront of the genre, and are widely considered to be the best.

The album starts with its title track, a melodramatic song about lost love, with soaring guitar solos, twiddly keyboard parts, and too many changes in dynamics to even try and count. That description doesn't do the song justice though, the piece is truly a beautiful work of art. The instrumental work (think Genesis-meets-Rush-meets-Pink Floyd) is superb, and Fish's highly emotive vocals (think Peter Gabriel-meets-Peter Hammill) suit the dramatic lyrics perfectly. He makes an excellent frontman. The next song, He Knows, You Know, is more straight-forward song. This one deals with drug addiction, with dark imagery scattered everywhere. Fish once again puts his dramatic voice to good use, making vast dynamic and range jumps, often doing so mid-word. there is an instrumental break in the middle where Rothery and Kelly have some very nice interplay. The next song, The Web, is another long progressive piece, more similar to Script for a Jester's Tear than to He Knows, You Know. The lyrics are once again angsty, but less focused on an obvious topic, and focus more on being poetic than telling a clear story. There are, however, a few more references to lost love and drug abuse. His voice bounces around in dynamics more than ever before here, and Rothery and Kelly both do stunning solos. Garden Party and Chelsea Monday aren't as good, but the final song on the album is amazing. Forgotten Sons starts off sounding more straightforward, but quickly launches into more changes in mood and theme in the space of 6 minutes than Script for a Jester's Tear covered in a little over 8 minutes. Included is a twisted remake of the Lord's Prayer and spoken-word interludes. It makes a powerful conclusion to a great album.

Admittedly, it's not for everyone. The angst level of the lyrics could easily be called emo (only in mentality, not music style), and if you aren't into such dark and highly dramatized music then you probably won't be able to appreciate it. But if you can get into that kind of thing, this album is for you. Marillion would only do two or three other albums that were equals to this one. (If you can get your hands of the bonus tracks, do so. It's worth it just for the epic Grendel.)

Report this review (#189553)
Posted Sunday, November 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Good album, but I think it wouldn't compete with the '70 progressive peak albums. It's really a nice album and the instrumentation and vocals are very good, but this isn't the sound I like most. This record has it's highlights and moments. However the record is sometimes a bit repetitive and has a lot of the same tricks. This doesn't make this an album I would listen daily. Still their is some nice instrumentation and vocals, although the sound is a bit more 'insistent' compared to the '60 and '70 albums. Nice listen, but i would call the album neither essential nor excellent prog. Recommended to the fans and the curious.
Report this review (#190650)
Posted Thursday, November 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Okay, I know, it's time! I will do it, no need to pay me and I do not need anymore prompting! I know some of you have been waiting for my theatrical take on this one, so here it is, in dripping splendor. For the others, don't bother reading further, it's a (yawn) booooring 5 star deal, again!

While it would be superfluous and even presumptuous to anoint this disc with "Prog Saviour", it certainly was a question of impeccable timing and in retrospect, a dying genre (for whatever reasons pundits wish to argue) was resurrected in extremis thanks to a talent, a vision and a dedication. We all know who the players are, they have been discussed, cussed, nailed, glorified, venerated and scorned ad nauseam within this site and countless others. This review will therefore stay away from the subplots and the corporate business contexts and stick to the music. Script for A Jester's Tear certainly inaugurated anew found spirit , slicing through the Duran Duran/Culture Club/A Flock of Seagulls monolith and found a still very hairy audience that demanded a little passion far removed from the "I Ran after the Girls on Film but Do You Want to Hurt Me" extravaganza bullied upon then impressionable youth. We have perhaps forgotten that this IMPORTANT recording starts off in incredible fashion, with the ultra-painful melancholia of the title track, sugared by mountains of Genesisian bitter sweetness, as far removed from a commercial hit as one can imagine, a brooding explosion of mayhem from a broken heart and the desperation that ensues. The guitar howls with exasperating fury, keyboards orchestrating the depth of the agony and the rhythm tandem follow radiantly in tow. Fish is not just a vocalist, he is a storyteller, a highly dubious character trait of progressive rock (that dinosaur genre, critics whipping boy). Yes, but do you love me? "He Knows You Know" hits you lyrically right in the gut ("he's got problems!") while Fish fervently spews his venom , "poison in your head" , raging convincingly, Kelly's synths whirl dervishly and Rothery spins some slick licks. This is the tune that most heard first, I know I did and it was a memorable moment indeed, even in Quebec where Prog never died. The slammed phone says it all as "the Web" kicks into hyper-gear, an über-symphonic avalanche ("Its symphony echoes") that masterfully contrasts 12 string acoustic pastels with colossal detonations of orchestral splendor, setting the velvet curtained stage for Fish to vent his deepest spleen. Temper, pique and malice are the props as the tall Scotsman sings like no other, crying, whispering, sobbing, raging and hurling his pain like some demon from a sci-fi movie. Rothery subtly comes in with an almost blood-drenched and gory "matador" solo that will lift every hair on your dizzied bleary eyed body. Frankly, I do not care if this is perceived as the second coming of Genesis, the music is positively brilliant and the entire premise exhilarating. These gents certainly had "cojones" to slyly slip by all the chat-topping elitist New Wavers, too smug in their lust and thus blind to the future legacy of this oft ridiculed band. Jokes on you, disco dudes! The disc only gets better, as "Garden Party" warbles through the maze, the reclining Fish hitting all the lofty ethereal notes, jousting with his burring Highlander intonations (crafty little devil!), slipping in a little porn, Kelly trouncing bolts from his banquet of keys and Rothery ramming home the champagne bottles , ice-buckets and all! Prog perverts, I daresay! And allegedly they probably got laid as often as the Durannies! Go figure! "Chelsea Monday" is where the boys get a little prissy, taking on all kinds of politically incorrect themes and getting positively rude musically (another Rothery barrage), gritty and angry as to create a new kind of prog-punk really! Progressive rock with a surly edge, a somewhat new phenomenon at the time and probably why they were immediately adulated by the somber masses who just couldn't cope with the nihilistic punk drone of the time. Lyrically, this is an acme of frustrated zeal, "patience my perfumed child". The background voices are like a riveting prog opera with wailing guitars slamming home the dire message. As if that was not challenging enough "Forgotten Sons" is an anti-war rant (twas the Falklands War, just finished) loaded with "snipers, fighters and boys baptized in war", Rothery's axe screaming like an Exocet missile aimed at the Sheffield, imminent burning flesh, innocent pawns in drunken generals' playgrounds and politicians' pernicious manipulation to save face. The guitar is raw, the rhythm is ballistic, marshalling drums and militaristic drills. "Verbal masturbation" is intoned with spit-laden contempt, for "Power and Glory" and "Amen" are extolled as the only refuge. Insanely heady and daring stuff indeed. These musicians actually had a social/political conscience, a cause which is how "rock" started out in the first place. A powerful and monumental recording that increases in value and majesty with each audition, year after year, a loving reminder of the musical Knights that came and saved Camelot. 5 feathered violins.

Report this review (#211077)
Posted Saturday, April 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Script For A Jester's Tear

The absolute peak of 1980's Neo-prog. This album channels the beauty and instrumentation of Genesis (arguably their greatest influence), with the dark solos and atmosphere a Pink Floyd album might summon.

The songs are progressive, and lean towards the dark. They can be extremely pretty, and quite emotional. Fish is an amazing vocalist, and the band is in top form. The title track starts out somewhat like SEBTP did. Actually, I feel this is a darker version of that seminal album. Everything is evocative, and captivates beautifully. He Knows is the next track, and is quite haunting. Fish shines here. Lyrically, this album is amazing, and never ceases to astound. The Web and it's hypnotic orchestration. Featuring some very full sound. Garden Party tips the dark scales a bit, while retaining beauty. And Chelsea Monday is melancholic in its fascinating delivery.

You end off with Forgotten Sons, which is quite possibly the most powerful song on the album. Featuring blistering solos after a shocking mock prayer, screaming AMEN! With biting and angry lyrics. And the end which is glorious. I highly recommend this album to any progressive fan. It is hindered slightly by mediocre drumming, but still I feel it is deserving of Five Stars.

Report this review (#211138)
Posted Monday, April 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Marillion's debut failed to impress me the first time or two I heard it, but it has grown on me since. Certainly Fish sounds an awful like Peter Gabriel, both in his God-given voice and in his way of singing so theatrically; but this comparison wears out with repeated listens. I don't hear the terrible drumming that many profess to hearing, although I will say the drumming does nothing for me. Strangely, this is an album that's enjoyment value changes as it goes (for me anyway); I really like the first two songs, but things begin to drag after a while. In fact, my ranking of the tracks would be exactly as the tracks appear.

"Script for a Jester's Tear" Quiet vocals over piano begin the album. When the band comes in, they do sound rather like Men At Work, at least until the introduction of the synthesizer. The song stops completely to allow the next section to begin, a technique I don't particularly care for. Fish sings pensively over quiet acoustic guitar and easygoing synthesizer, before the heavier dramatic section comes in. The lead guitar during the next park (not to mention the overall sound) has an unmistakable 1980s sound, even as it fades out.

"He Knows You Know" At first, the vocals can be off-putting, but after only two listens, they grew on me. The tightly structured synthesizer work and subsequent guitar solo are excellent. It ends with a short but weird telephone call (a la Pink Floyd's "Young Lust").

"The Web" From heavy rock to more theatrical acoustic guitars, this might be the most varied song on the album. Mark Kelly's synthesizers are pleasing, and , despite a simplistic chord progression, Steve Rothery performs a rather sophisticated guitar solo. Speaking of chord progressions, the main one sounds like "House of the Rising Sun," so it sounds terribly derivative.

"Garden Party" The gentle noise of a party leads into the synthesizer-heavy introduction, punctuated by Pete Trewavas's bass and Mick Pointer's drums. Clean but strange guitar lets the music sound breathy, especially alongside Fish's vocals, which sound like they are outdoors. While the musicians do a fantastic job, I find myself largely bored, at least until the flashy solo from Kelly.

"Chelsea Monday" Trewavas plays the chords on his bass one note at a time, as Fish sings. Once again, the chord progression demonstrates a lack of creativity, particularly during the rather loud guitar solo. A clean guitar enters for the next segment, which features some intriguing lyrics. During the final guitar solo, there's some panned conversation that can be unsettling if heard through headphones- I look over my left shoulder every time!

"Forgotten Sons" My least favorite track on the album is the last one; it's just so hard to stay interested in. I enjoy the bass playing and synthesizer work the most, but largely, this song is directionless and irritating. The most aggravating part is the spoken vocal with the higher singing that accompanies it, and the warped recitation of The Lord's Prayer puts me off. The ending is the best part, with some tasty guitar bits and good vocal work.

Report this review (#213223)
Posted Friday, May 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Marillion - Script For A Jester's Tear

Review by ProgKidJoel

Marillion's debut album, Script For A Jester's Tear, is heralded by many as the birth of neo-prog. Heavily reliant on its Genesis roots, this is truly one of the best 80's prog albums.

1. Script For A Jester's Tear

The song that began it all - The song that flew the prog flag in the dark days of the early 80's and proved that prog wasn't dead. This opens with FISH's great lyrics and Mark Kelly's great piano work. Flowing onwards, it reveals a memorable synthesizer harmony and an equally memorable lyric. As it flows onwards, it seems this is going to be another guitar oriented arena rock track, although this couldn't be further from the truth. Peter Trewavas bass work is brilliant on this track, supplying a backbone to a solid guitar harmony, lyrics and keyboard work. The one area lacking on this track, and indeed, on this album, would have to be Mick Pointer's drumming, which although not terrible, is very bland and usually cackles on like clockwork. Easily the best track on the album, this is an incredibly strong opener which helps earn this album a high rating.

5 out of 5.

2. He Knows You Know

Another solid guitar led track, He Knows You Know is a song about drugs; FISH would often introduce live as "the drug song". Also followed by a shocking, heavy-handed lyric and great guitar work on Steve Rothery's part, this is one of the two singles from the album, the other being Garden Party. The bass is very good on this track as well, nearly as energetic as FISH's screams. Percussion took a turn for the better after its abysmal effort on the first track, and prove that Mick Pointer indeed does have some chops as a rock drummer, even if he can't read musical notation. Finishing in an intriguing spoken outro, this is another great track, although was marred in its efforts by its repetitiveness.

4.75 out of 5.

3. The Web

My second least favourite track from SFAJ'sT, this track isn't bad at all, although incredibly repetitive. At a glance, this is another saddened ballad, although is quite interesting after multiple listens. A less accessible track than the two that preceded it, The Web has earnt it self a place of fame as the name of Marillion's current official street teams. During Steve's softened guitar harmonies, a high pitched buzz hollows in the background, adding much dimension and depth to a decent track. The lyrics on this track are, once again, brilliant. A track about deciding what is right for yourself, and moving on from one stage of life to another, this track features on of Steve Rothery's famous guitar solos, and as always, this solo does not dissapoint. Carrying its trademark 80's keyboard and guitar oriented sound, this is another interesting track, perhaps not as good as the two which came before it.

4 out of 5.

4. Garden Party

Ahh, Garden Party. Perhaps the least depressing track on this album, FISH didn't hesitate to mock British high society in this entertaining and technically thrilling anthem. Led by a great keyboard melody from Mark Kelly, this track travels through several high brau mockeries of a Garden Party, as the title would suggest. It seems FISH was not a fan nor member or such mingling, and boy, did he let us know with these lyrics! The other single from this iconic album, the film clip to accompany is equally entertaining. The rhythmic section is incredibly consistent on this track, complementing the melodics in a way which is nothing less than technically fantastic. The keyboard solo is another great part of this track, and when met with an identical riff on the guitar, shows that Marillion are indeed technically relevant in the prog world. An incredibly entertaining and lovable track, this is another stand out on this album.

5 out of 5.

5. Chelsea Monday

My least favourite track on this album, although lyrically masterful, is somewhat boring and shows an unneeded change of pace from the previous four tracks. Yet again, great guitar work shows a high point for this track. A rather relative solo, however, as the melodies surrounding it are incredibly similiar to that of The Web, and, once again, are incredibly repetitive, as is the solo. Not a bad track, but it feels highly uninspired and even less entertaining.

3 out of 5.

6. Forgotten Sons.

Ay, there's the rub! My favourite track from this album, and easily the technically strongest, this is one of Marillion's most outwardly protestant songs. Lyrically inspired by the Northern Ireland conflict, and continuing onwards with a great keyboard led chorus, this track doesn't disappoint. Another great rhythmic section helps this track along nicely, as does its masterful guitar work, which is, upto and above the Marillion standard. Fully of typical wordy lyrics and metaphors, this track has four distinct sections. The first, a fantastic melodic opener. The second flows into a 60's style psychadelic hippie rock song, somewhat reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix. The guitar work peaks here, and only slowly fades out. This track is backboned by what I'd say is one of the top-five funkiest bass lines I've ever heard. Flowing into a spoken bridge, the most heavy section lyrically is truly terrifying. My favourite section of this song is a fantasticly heart-wrenching outro, all brought together by its guitar work. The lyrics here are without a doubt the best on the album. Incredibly wordy and heartfelt, FISH brings tears to one's eyes in his typical fashion. The vocals here express incredibly anger and confusion, which the lyrics portray equally. Forgotten Sons is one of, if not Marillion's most solid protest track, and will go down as one of my favourites from the FISH era. Finishing on a high note, this was easily the best track the band could have picked for an outro, and it worked fantastically.

Other notes:

Perhaps overrated by some, this album definitely deserves five stars. Its worth mentioning that I have the 1997 Digital remaster, 2000 Repress, and that the sonic quality of this disc is inspiring.

5 out of 5. Not an average.

Keep listening! -Joel

Report this review (#213233)
Posted Saturday, May 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.5 Stars

"Script For A Jester's Tear" is considered the cornerstone of neo-prog and is certainly a good effort, but Marillion had better work ahead of them. It sets the standard for what is considered the classic Marillion sound, and though the Genesis devotion is more than evident but far less than plagiarism. Though Mark Kelly and Steve Rothery are very much reminiscent of Tony Banks and Steve Hackett, the compositions are far less grandiose and technically less sophisticated. This is not a bad thing however. All solos and atmospheres are as well constructed as well as those of Gabriel-era Genesis. Besides, this band was destined for improvement, and by 1987, they would come much closer to the heights scaled by 70's prog pioneers they are so often compared to.

The line-up on this album is as good as it would get except for the drummer, Mick Pointer (later to be replaced by the far superior Ian Mosely). While the other members carry their weight and demonstrate impressive diversity in styles and tones, Pointer's drum work seems to be concerned entirely with simply staying solid. Though he does this well, his drum fills are uninspired except for in very few places. He works with the bassist Pete Trewavas create a very parallel rhythm structure, but adds very little of his own contribution, leaving the atmosphere feeling bland and soulless. "Garden Party," is a perfect example of this - this could have been an extremely groovy song, but instead winds up sounding like a machine because of Pointer's choice. Vocalist Fish, on the other hand, is by far the most exciting element of the band at this stage in their career, and they do well to rely upon him for this. His lyrics and performance are highly dynamic and always relevant, whether they deal with a broken heart, drug addiction, critiquing upper-class pretension, or the horrors of war. His voice soars through the roof in places, and if you've ever seen a live performance of his, Fish does just as well, if not better.

The one spot where this album is seriously lacking, in my opinion, is song structure. While separate movements within songs are very well composed, their cohesion in very often faulty. The band shifts tempo quite erratically, which not always is a bad thing, but here it often breaks the continuity. Also, parts stagnate without a refrain and merely build-up, then segue haphazardly into predictable epic outros. "Script for a Jester's Tear" climaxes far too soon, then attempts to rebuild itself before doing it again; "Forgotten Sons" is an assemblage of unrelated pieces of music, which despite their individual strength, feel awfully unfocused. Though Marillion's template for a mini-epic never changed that much, their work became more fluid after this album.

Aside from that, Marillion's debut album is a collection of six songs which show a level of professionalism which is quite exceptional for such a young band. This is a good place to get an introduction to Marillion, more accessible than "Fugazi" and a good preparation for the master piece that is "Misplaced Childhood".

Report this review (#216496)
Posted Monday, May 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars In the mid 90's, I thought prog was all but dead (how wrong I was). Imagine my surprise to find an album from 1983 that was a genuine prog album! Well, "prog" as the genre that is, as there is nothing "progressive" about this album, even in 1983. If you mixed Gabriel Genesis with The Wall era Pink Floyd, you have a pretty good idea of what this sounds like. To be fair, Fish is a fairly unique singer and I think his resemblance (vocally) to Peter Gabriel is minor, at best. Still, the music is structured very similarly to Genesis' big numbers and it is easy to make the comparison. As an ironic aside, I once was playing Selling England for a friend of mine who had never heard it, and as soon as Gabriel sang the opening line my friend asked, "Is this Marillion?". I then had to explain that Genesis came first, so it was Marillion who sounded like them, not the other way around. In any case, the comparison is totally valid, even if this music is considerably more modern in production and execution (and, as we all know, Grendel uses a remarkably similar song structure to Supper's Ready, so the influence of Genesis on Marillion was obviously quite strong at the time).

The title track and The Web are my favorites, being the most dramatic and Genesis like numbers, with interesting melodies and changes of tempo and volume. Garden Party is a fun song, probably the most similar to Genesis in musical and lyrical content, a very infections keyboard and bass line going on in it. He Knows You Know, reminds me more of Wall era Floyd than Genesis, with it's dark minor keys and somewhat shrieky vocals. Chelsea Monday is a quite beautiful dark ballad, beginning with a sublime bass line and Fish's most mellow singing of the album. Finally, Fogotten Sons is something of a mini epic (like The Web) and deals with contemporary political issues. A fine piece of music, if a bit disjointed in places.

From a purely critical standpoint, this is a good album. I couldn't stop listening to it back then, being a big fan of PG Genesis. And it has its own charm, and really doesn't sound like a copycat of Genesis music in the end. No prog fan should go without hearing this album, that much is for certain. It was a seminal moment in prog history, the beginning of the "second wave" (though people who were there in England at the time tell me that Pallas was more popular and was the one that everyone thought would have a big break through), and for that alone it deserves to be heard by every self respecting prog head. I give it only 3.5 or so personally, but I think for historical reasons it deserves the extra half star.

Report this review (#220441)
Posted Tuesday, June 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett got back with Genesis and they're doing new tunes in the old style! What? Oh...

Well, if you were a fan of old Genesis back in 1983, Marillion came along and took up the style that Genesis had abandoned. If you have any doubts, get your hands on the remaster with Grendel, which is pretty much a dead ringer for Supper's Ready, other than having a coherent theme. And why not adopt an abandoned style? It was a really good one, after all. The band would eventually move away from it, but was nice while it lasted

I'm not entirely sure now but for some reason I quit following the band after getting this one even though I really liked Script at the time. I didn't get back into them until they were doing material more imitative of Pink Floyd (Brave/Afraid Of Sunlight). With Hogarth at the vocal helm, they did finally settle into a style of their own where they are stuck to this day.

For newbies to prog this won't be a bad addition to your collection after you've exhausted old Genesis. Assuming of course you've gotten hooked on old Genesis, are craving more, and don't mind an imitative act.

Report this review (#222323)
Posted Monday, June 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars My first set of reviews on the site were for (nearly) all of the Hogarth era Marillion albums. I neglected the place where it all started, and that needs to be rectified.

Because, whilst for many the 1980's was a dark and miserable place to be for 70's prog fans, for me it was a period of renewal in the genre, and this album was one of the main reasons for it.

I had read a review of Market Square Heroes in Sounds music paper, went out and brought it, lapped it up as any fan of classic Genesis would, saw them live in The Marquee in London before the LP was even released, where they did, of course, showcase most of this material. It blew my mind away and started a love affair with the band which has lasted ever since. Of course, the lasting impression was of that giant, mad, Scottish man with face paint whose voice carried with it just a little bit more of a passing resemblance to Gabriel.

The album starts off ever so strongly with the title track, a maudlin paean to love's lost dream. For a single bloke still in his teens, the bitterness and recrimination rang very true, and the exceptional guitar work by Rothery and Kelly's lilting guitars, combined with a strong bass section by Trewavas, all in the style of the prog I loved, was just too good to resist.

He Knows You Know was the single from the album, and continued off where the Market Square EP left off, commencing a tradition of strong singles that has lasted to the present day. It is catchy, sad, and angry, being a sorry tale of a young man descending into the chaos of hard drug use that has its inevitable end. The sad Jester alone in his bedsit indeed. The bass playing still amazes me now on this track, and the keyboards and guitar sing out an incredibly beautiful sad tale. The end section is angry and urgent.

The Web, which, of course, became the name of the fan club, is probably the one track that has, to these ears, not dated as well perhaps as the rest of the album. It is a long track at over eight minutes, but there is still much to enjoy. The differing moods keep the interest throughout, but it is still mainly one of sadness. I still listen to the musicians wondering how lucky I could be that a band had appeared that recreated, with a biting edge, my favourite type of music. Rothery, especially, sounds every bit as good as Hackett in his pomp with Genesis, and this is incredible given how young he was. Then, when Decisions Have Been Made, Mark Kelly comes in with quite the most exquisite keyboard passage which most certainly would have graced any Trespass, Nursery Cryme, et al. That is how good and relevant this band were.

Garden Party was another single, and is a scream. Hugely amusing with Fish basically ripping the mickey out of the landed gentry with their ridiculous ways, it was a decent seller. It also gave the name to one of the finest gigs I have ever been to at Milton Keynes to celebrate the success of Misplaced Childhood.

Chelsea Monday should be on the playlist of every single prog rock fan. It tells the most tragic story of a young aspiring actress/model who was found dead and splattered all over the gutter press. The lead guitar by Rothery soars and makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up in sheer emotion. It should be impossible for a band as young as this to be so good. A special mention is owing to Mick Pointer for his sterling drum work in the rhythm section some 4.5 minutes in. The closing section has Rothery soaring above Fish almost crying out the tragic end to a wasted life. An exceptional piece of work.

The album closes with Forgotten Sons, a song written in the aftermath of Britain's war in The Falkland Islands and bomb outrages by the IRA. It remains one of the finest anti war songs ever written in any genre. It is bitter, angry, spits out at you from start to finish, and is the best example of what Fish described at the time as new prog - bands who loved the old music, but had also lived through and learned from punk. The military timings of the denouement are not just clever, but also compelling.

I give this five stars. It is an essential piece for any discerning prog rock collection, not just because of the quality of the music, although that deserves the rating itself, but also to appreciate how important it and the band are to the second wave of prog which started in the UK in the early 1980's. It tells stories with vital and real images.

Although a vastly different band now, this started off a career that has delighted and intrigued me for most of my adult life. Eternally grateful.....

Report this review (#222710)
Posted Tuesday, June 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is one of the most reviewed albums in PA........... and one of the most important prog albums ever. I will therefore not use much space here. Far more intelligent reviewers has done better reviews than me. Read their reviews instead.

This album is very lush and colourful in it's sound. It also have a modern feel, though it is recorded in the beginning of the '80s and is deeply rooted in the '70s. The likes of Genesis springs to mind. Genesis and Marillion goes together like hand and glove. But Marillion created their own world with this, their debut album. All songs are excellent compositions in their own right. This is a classic album, although not a masterpiece. This album put Neo- Prog on the map and we all have reasons to be grateful. Chelsea Monday and the titletrack is my favorites on an album I have been listening to since I discovered this band twenty-five years ago. A true smorgasboard, this is.

4 stars

Report this review (#230708)
Posted Sunday, August 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Script" was my first true experiment with progressive rock many years ago, and the extent to which it turned my musical world upside down is testament to how good and special this album is.

First of all, like all four Marillion albums of the Fish era, Script completely immerses the listener into an atmosphere of gloomy emotions and melancholy which emerged out of the unique combination of Fish's poetic lyrics with Marillion's melodies and sound at that time. This very special atmosphere is, to me, not found anywhere else but in these four albums.

Script opens and ends with two classics of the genre; the title song and Forgotten Sons. And whereas at first I was, like many, more sensible to these two songs than to the other four, I am now a fan of the album as an indivisible whole which I still enjoy so much now, after so much time, on any day "the rain auditions at my window".

Script is, in my view, an essential also because it is one of the most significant milestones in the history of progressive rock, as it marks a turning point between the 70's sound and an even more melody-oriented, melancholic style of music that gained wide appeal in the 80's and still lives on today.

Oh and that remastered double CD comes with a worthy-of-note bonus : the 19 minutes epic "Grendel", based on the Beowulf tale but told taking Grendel's point of view instead of the usual shiny knight story going after the monster. Partly an hommage to Genesis' classic Supper's Ready, Grendel is a candy that's worth buying the album in and of itself. One of a few 20isch minutes songs that bears no low or boring moment.

Report this review (#231200)
Posted Wednesday, August 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars From the very start this album is conjuring up the great days of Genesis' 'Selling England by the Pound'. This used to impress me more when I was 16 then it does now. It's a bit uneven in song quality and the vocals sound strained at times.

But the timing of the album, the exceptionally beautiful artwork and the standout tracks like 'Chelsea Monday' and 'the Web' still make this a classic album. If you add the bonus disc with Grendel, Market Square Heroes and Three Boats Down From the Candy you have a top-package of early Marillion music.

Marillion would only get better on subsequent efforts where they reached an better mix of their love for vintage prog with the pop sensibilities of the 80's. An essential title nevertheless.

Report this review (#236888)
Posted Thursday, September 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Marillion debut album. Great event in progressive rock history - neo-prog was born. I am not a big fan of Marillion, but this album is great! With many influences from 70-s, you can discribe them as modern Genesis (from Peter Gabriel era).

Music is melodic , energetic and ...fresh!!! I believe this album will become classic ( and it is extremely rare thing when we speak abot so called "neo-prog"). I like Fish voice ther, drive and melodies, nice sound - everything!!!

It's pity, but after few more albums Marillion became just one of faceless neo-prog band. In fact, I am not sure about all that name - "neo-prog". It's more name about time, not music. For me Marillion debut became next logical step after canadian Saga few first albums. Saga isn't neo-prog, and Marillion is. What the difference? And more: after Marillion few first albums succcess there were born myriad of semi-professional band playing some mish-mash of Marillion, art-rock a-la 10 cc and Roxy Music, plenty of citates from all the possible bands from 70-s. Usually without new ideas at all, with very average tecnhique of musicanship, and with hundreds of faceless albums. All that was named neo-prog. Ok, there are few so-so bands, as IQ, etc., but all others aren't accessible for listening and I believe the history will delete them as synthy-pop from 80-s, or disco.

But this Marillion album will stay as perfect example of progresive from early eighties.

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Posted Monday, November 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars While the progressive rock revival of the early eighties gave birth to some excellent bands my initial impression of the early days of the neo prog movement was one of disappointment. Of that first wave of albums including Script For A Jester's Tear by Marillion and the first releases from IQ, Pallas etc, nothing came close to the excellence of the bands they were influenced by like for example Genesis and Yes. They fell short in the musicianship department and the songs though clearly inspired by the music I had grown up with in the seventies, to my ears were watered down versions with a more commercial edge.

With the benefit of twenty six years since it was released I'm able to look on Script For A Jester's Tear more favourably than I could have done then, judging it on its own merits rather than a direct comparison to the seventies heyday of prog. The word that went around at the time though was about this band called Marillion who were going to be the new Genesis, sounding like the band did in their early days. This was very exciting news as Genesis were now well and truly going down their more mainstream road. The reality was somewhat different however. Here was a band clearly influenced by Genesis, but lacking the musical skill and experience to truly pull it off.

Over the years I have grown to appreciate Script more as a reasonably good neo prog album. The six songs, most around the eight minute mark show a band developing their songwriting and musical skills with some decent melodies and enough space to stretch out over different musical themes. The results while being a little predictable at times and a bit leaden in execution, particularly in the rhythm section show a band with promise which would be fulfilled a couple of albums later on Misplaced Childhood and Clutching At Straws. The best of the bunch here is Forgotten Sons which flows better than most of the album, some of the musical joints lacking cohesion and some themes being undeveloped. Here though they nail it and create some musical tension, lacking on most of the record.

Script For A Jesters Tear while having grand intentions falls short of excellent, to a large extent down to the band at this stage lacking the musical chops to match their vision. Hats of though to guitarist Steve Rothery, who's Dave Gilmour influenced style was already showing promise. Marillion did get much better though and lets face it, this albums a far more satisfactory piece of work than the first Genesis album. Good but far from essential then.

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Posted Friday, December 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars The absolute peak of Neo-Prog.

Neo-Prog is a very difficult genre for me to review fairly. Most of the bands that work within this genre have certainly got the spirit of prog in their hearts, and Marillion is no exception. I really want to love them, if only for their commitment to the genre.

Unfortunately, the customary sound of this genre does not conform to my tastes. This has perhaps more to do with the production than the music, but for me it's unavoidable. All the hallmarks of 80s pop music are present - the gated reverb on the drums, the synthesizers pushed WAY forward in the mix. Worse still, the highly simplistic drumbeats common to the period have found their way onto most tracks here.

And yet, I have awarded this album 4 stars. Why? Well, the only thing that can overcome this sort of production for me is terrific songwriting, and the 6 compositions here are uniformly excellent. The songs are very melodic and sparsely arranged (for prog) which puts a huge amount of focus on Fish's vocals. This is perfectly acceptable, as his voice is powerful and emotive. His delivery, modelled closely on that of Peter Gabriel, makes for several highly satisfying crescendos throughout the album.

For me, the disc's highlights are "The Web" and "Forgotten Sons". The Web is far and away my favourite Marillion song, and therefore my favourite Neo-Prog song. It features some utterly majestic, and insanely catchy synthesizer work, which I assure you is not something I say lightly. Synthesizers have never been my favourite instrument, but here it is quite literally the perfect accompaniment to Fish's outstanding singing. This track also features by far the most interesting work from both members of the rythm section, and a very pleasing guitar solo indeed.

Forgotten Sons ends the album in truly epic fashion, and anything else would have seriously hurt this album. It's the sort of musical journey that simply demands an epic ending, and these boys really delivered. The first couple of minutes are somewhat The Web like, with the synths and rythm section shining once again. But before long, we hear a lone distorted guitar riff, with some character voices in the background, and we know this a different beast. From here the listener is treated to a slightly psychadelic funky section, which is excellent. Finally, the album reaches it's apex as it builds to a crescendo with drum rolls galore, giving way to delicate melodic guitar, synths and vocals. Glorious.

Truly a masterwork within a genre I don't even normally like.

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Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Marillion - Script For A Jester's Tear (1983)

Who said prog was emotionless?

This record has become a standard for the progressive scene. To some it is a representation for the comeback of the seventies mindset and a beginning for the neo- progressive genre. Marillion's sound was the product of the eighties studio rock sound and the seventies symphonic echoes played with modern keyboards/synthesizers and the recognizable ugly eighties drums. The vocals remind us of the dedicated theatrics of Gabriel, but lead-singer Fish gave theatrical vocals a totally new dimension. This new dimension would be essential for further development of the progressive genre, since it replaced some of the technical aspects of the music. There are no highly sophisticated parts or noodlings (as some might say) on this album, it's very functional and dry. The guitar-solo's of Rothery are good, but again very functional. Some rhythmic findings stand out as a very important contribution to the end-result of the music.

The albums itself offers six emotionally moving songs with a strong link to political and social situations. The title track is an epic type song with a strong emotional feel and great vocals. He Knows you know leans strongly on the atmospheres of the eighties symphonic sound. Other standout's are Garden Party with it's subtle vocals and Forgotten Sons with its great political involvement.

Conclusion. The sound of this record is not as attractive and dynamic as it's main influential seventies symphonic groups, but the new dimension of the important and dominant theatric vocals of Fish is a great finding. Furthermore Marillion founded a new base for further neo- progressive bands to develop in this specific decade and also the nineties renaissance of progressive music. This effect is actually a greater achievement then the album itself, though it stands out as a touching affair. Four stars! I do recommend to buy the live dvd from this album if you like this album. It shows the band playing very well and it makes it's musical vision much less abstract.

Report this review (#274054)
Posted Thursday, March 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Script for a Jester's Tear is an emotionally troubled ride through the world of Marillion's front-man Fish. It is in your face and theatrical to a degree which I don't think Peter Gabriel Ever Achieved. Fish lays a formidable and anguished performance. Speaking of Gabriel, I think Fish sounds more like him here than he will later. Sonically, Script could have come from no other decade but the 1980s, gated drums, fat pounding bass lines, processed guitars and uncomplicated heavy synthesizers set the tone. On top of that, there is scarcely a major key to be heard on Script. It is not an album for a sunny day.

This lays down an important qualifier for Script from a Jester's Tear: you have to be prepared for the sound of 1980s rock steeped with even more pretension than it might usually entail. However I do not think you should take that as an ill omen. As far as I have heard, Marillion is singular in its ability to take that generic 80s sound and do something truly interesting with it. It still sounds good after 27 years unlike so many other productions from the decade.

I will say though that this album does lack diversity. Marillion have chosen a sound and they stick to it. There is perfect counterpoint in the last album I reviewed, Acquiring the Taste by Gentle Giant. They are all over the map, but Marillion have the tendency to retread the same motifs. Therein lies my biggest criticism for the band and the album. There are 7 tracks, the average length of time clocking in at just about 8 minutes. 5 of 7 are over 8 minutes, nothing is longer than 9 or shorter than 5. Each of them have hard rock film noir back up to the same gut wrenching vocal performances. Rather than getting a new song it feels like your merely getting a variation. The general theme is broken hearts and self loathing and disestablishmentarianism, all Fish staples.

I've forgone my usual track by track take on Script for a Jester's Tear because I think I would be saying the same things a few too many times. The best song on the album is the title track. Script is Marillion distilled to a homogeneous state. By 5 minutes in you've heard all the variety you are going to get, and by minute 40 I find it begins to wear. Never mind the plethora of bonus material which comes packed with the 1997 CD re-master.

I generally do not mention bonus tracks in my reviews as I prefer to take on the album as it was when it was released and not as some studio exec thinks it ought to have been. This is especially the case on the re-master because it effectively includes the Market Square Heroes EP, which should be reviewed on its own merits.

If you are enamoured with the Marillion sound you probably already have this album and you think it is a lot better than I do. If you are new to Marillion, it is good, but not as good as the essential Misplaced Childhood. The same themes reappear there but they are taken up by a more mature and exploratory band to maximum effect. Script for a Jester's Tear is good enough for three stars out of a possible five.

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Posted Saturday, March 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the Best and Most Relevant Debuts in Prog Rock History

Script For A Jester's Tear is one of those albums that, whether you love it or hate it, is a defining album in the progressive rock genre. In 1983 almost all of the progressive rock giants of the seventies were in a downward spiral into commercial songwriting. Marillion emerged from the U.K., creating an unexpected progressive rock masterpiece in 1983 with Script For A Jester's Tear. Twenty-Seven years later, this still stands as one of the finest progressive rock albums out there.

The first time I heard Script, it was one of the most remarkably positive first listens I've ever experienced. The first time I heard this I was absolutely blown away, and soon bought all of the Fish-era Marillion albums. Having heard all four of their early albums, Script For A Jester's Tear isn't even my favorite album with Fish behind the microphone, which just shows what a great band Marillion is!

I've often heard this album (and band) called a "Genesis clone", and I can't help but feel a little offended whenever I hear that. Sure, Fish sounds a hell of a lot like Peter Gabriel, but once you look past that, these two bands don't have much in common. This debut has a very distinct 1980's sound, mostly in the production. The drums have that distinct 80's synthetic sound, and the synthesizers sound from the era as well. I wish the production quality were better, but it's not that much of a problem. The music is so great that I can excuse a few flaws from a production perspective.

The music played here is symphonic prog rock. It has 80's production values and instrumentation, so you can call it "neo-prog" if you want, but I always just look at this album as progressive rock. I think the neo-prog label on any band is a little misleading. "Neo-prog" was essentially a movement that revitalized prog in the 80's, but the bands in the movement still played normal prog rock in the vein of any other symphonic prog band from the 70's.

One of the best things about early Marillion in my opinion is the fantastic vocals and lyrics from Fish. His singing style can be so emotional, yet he can be so aggressive and powerful as well. Fish is one of my favorite singers, hands down. The lead instrument on this album is usually Steve Rothery's guitars. He gets most of the solos, and Mark Kelly's atmospheric and melodic synthesizers are usually in the background. This contributes significantly to Marillion's overall sound.

The drumming from Mick Pointer is decent. He doesn't really do anything special, but he gets the job done. I do, however, believe that this album would have certainly benefited from better drumming. The bass playing Pete Trewavas is pretty great as usually. I do think he got better with time, but he still does a fantastic job on this debut album.

This album consists of only 6 songs, most of which are over the 8-minute mark. All of the songs are fantastic standalone tracks, as they are all memorable and easily distinguishable from each other. It'd be hard for me to pick a favorite because, as I said earlier, all of the songs are absolutely fantastic! There isn't a single weak track on all of Script For A Jester's Tear. If I had to pick a favorite, it would either be the title track, The Web, or Garden Party. They all are well worth hearing, though.


As I've mentioned earlier, Script For A Jester's Tear is a complete masterpiece, so don't be surprised when you see me give this album 5 stars. This isn't even my favorite Fish-era Marillion album, but it would be a crime for me to give this less than a perfect rating. If you're new to progressive rock, this should be one of the first albums you hear. It really is THAT good!

5 stars.

Report this review (#276907)
Posted Thursday, April 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
The Sleepwalker
3 stars Marillion's debut is considered to be the beginning of the subgenre of neo-prog. The sound that the band creates on this album could easily be described as an 80's reincarnation of Genesis in their progressive heyday. Still, there is a difference between the sounds of the bands, very notable being the very dominant synthesizers and somewhat heavy drums on this album, which I suppose are part of the sound that's distinctive for the 80's.

I'm not really sure where the album gets it's high ratings from, but I suppose the historical value plays a role in it. Personally, I find the album to have quite a few very weak moments, such as the title track, which seems to lack any direction during the first half; Fish's immature and forced vocals on "He Knows You Know"; and the gimmicky feel that "Forgotten Sons" has at times. Fortunately there's plenty of good material on it, like "The Web" and "Garden Party", both being songs full of warm synthesizers and interplay between soft and gentle verses and bombastic riffs and solos. Also, Steve Rothery's guitar playing on the track "Chelsea Monday" should be mentioned, as he delivers some great melodic solos there.

Apart from the dominant synths and thick drums mentioned before, Fish's vocals also stand out in its own way. The vocals could easily be compared with those of Peter Gabriel, having a similair sound. Fish also states to be influenced by Peter Hammill, known best from the band Van Der Graaf Generator, which might explain his sudden outbursts and sharp vocals at times. Though I'm a big fan of Peter Hammill, these fierce outbursts by Fish often sound somwhat forced and immature and therefore annoying, in particular on the song "He Knows You Know". Fortunately Fish doesn't sing like this constantly, and his less fierce parts sound excellent.

Script For A Jester's Tear is a decent debut by Marillion. It's got many flaws, and therefore is not much of a consistent disc, but fortunately there also are plenty of enjoyable moments. The album might appeal in particular to those who enjoy Genesis and aren't scared away by pounding drums, dominant synths, and a tad rough vocals.

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Posted Thursday, May 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Synonym of progressive rock

I'm in front of another breath-taking debut album! It's Script for a Jester's Tear by Marillion. It's very hard to review such a phenomenon album. Probably one of the best albums in music history. Constant magic full of energy, emotion, great compositions and polished musicianship. This album turns around the destiny of dying progressive rock and creates one of its main streams - neo-progressive rock, despite being a strong return to the typical symphonic rock of Genesis. Especially the voice of Fish,which is real reminicent of Peter Gabriel's. All that embarrass some people, who don't want to judge the album only on its own merits. It's perfect note by note. Every single tune is situated where it has to. Moreover, it's the right successor of Genesis' legacy. I think after all these words I would not comment Script for a Jester's Tear song by song. It's completely unnecessary! Highly recommened for all who loves music in general, sincerity in art and those who believe in God, because this album wasn't made by humans, but by God!

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Posted Sunday, May 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Born in 1979, Marillion was one of the most creative bands of the eighties. One of the expoents of the Neo-Prog genre, the original line-up was Steve Rothery, Mark Kelly, Mick Pointer, Pete Trewavas and the vocalist, Derek Dick aka Fish. The first phase of the band is known for the strong influence of Genesis, especially on Fish's voice, that sounds a lot like Peter Gabriel, from Genesis.

Their first album, Script for a Jester's Tear, is a magnificent work: dense and poetic lyrics sung by dramatic vocals incrusted on excelent instrumentals, with lots of guitar and keyboards and an excelent rythmic work.

The title track. one of the most beautiful and dense songs ever. A magnificent lyric. A cathartic sound. From the simple intro, with just a piano and Fish vocals, with the organ joining after, slowly the song builds. Every instrument is a highlight, and of course, Fish's voice is the most beautiful element of the song. Love isn't a common theme Progressive Rock deals with. There's a beautiful interlude with delicate acoustic guitar and strong bass guitar. The last 3 minutes are tear-jerking. Words are not enough to describe this.

He Knows You Know, the second track is very good too. The song has very good backing vocals and Pointer's Drumming. The lyrics are about drugs. The song has very good on the guitar and on the synths, and has a more agressive feel than Script.

The Web is a keyboard heavy song, and the keys sound magnificently along Fish's vocals and the drumming. Rothery's clean guitar is very nice. Again, Fish sings with his soul. The transitions between the mellower and heavier parts are incredible, we have very good guitar soloing and keyboards Riffs. The song becomes lighter and after a very good keyboard solo, we have the last stanza of the lyrics, ant the song ends.

Garden Party begins with people talking and birds chirping. The synth riff is excelent, Trewavas bass is very good too.e pássaros. The birds come back sometismes. Rothery does a very good guitar line, and after we have everything again. Kelly is a superb keyboardist.

Chelsea Monday begins with some weird effects, and then the bass guitar enters doing a very good line. The tempo is slow and melancholic, but excellent. Rothery is a very good guitarrist, and we notice lots of David Gilmour influence here. Yes, this is a melancholic song, but not a depressing one. The sounds are very beautiful, everything is on perfect harmony.

Forgotten Sons opens with what seems to be a radio being tuned, and has an "uptempo feel". Again, the synths shine, The rythmic base is very interesting. We have interesting spoken vocals over the music, and the guitar sounds nice too.

This is a Magnificent Work, it's almost impossible to say wich song is the best, but i'm going to pick Script.

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Posted Sunday, June 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars After the golden age of the Progressive Rock, maybe the last masterpiece of the genre, as an integral album, was Script for a Jester`s Tear, the Marillion opera prima. They combine all the ingredients that you can expect from the progressive rock, in a superb production, with the addition of the modern sound and a great mixing. Here we find long tracks, great instrumentals, progressive drumming, change of rhythms and fantastic lyrics. The music has an enough virtuous job and is in the vein of the melodic progressive rock, just like Genesis. In addition it is enough aggressive. All the tracks are good, but the absolute highlight is the title one. The closing section is just unique, combining the sad and melodic voice of Fish with superb guitar solos, all over a great mattress of keyboards. The other great ones are Forgotten sons and You know he knows. The keyboardist Mark Kelly shines everytime, something that will never happen again in the Marillion history, and in my opinion, that is the one of the main ingredients that makes this album the best of the band. The web is another great progressive track with many instrumental parts. Garden party and Chelsea Monday complete the album in a good way. Highly recommended for any progressive rock fan. Easily five stars.
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Posted Friday, July 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars The start of the best and most talented Neo Prog band ever is this album, an excellent effort that seduced and fascinated many progressive rock fans. "Script For A Jester's Tear" is today considered the best and most important album of the genre, even though it has a very strong competitor, the band's third album, "Misplaced Childhood", which is in my opinion their greatest masterpiece. In fact, frankly speaking, I find this album a bit overrated, even though there are some moments and songs that are in my opinion worth the listen and rightfully acclaimed, like the wonderful title track, a tour de force of the band.

With my surprise, in this album I found less Genesis like vocals, but more Genesis like instrumentation, very enjoyable at times, mixed with the heavy synth 80's moods, a unique element in Marillion (Fish era) music. Some parts are even influenced by melodic and cheesy like pop of the time, even though there is always a great original touch to it.

Many consider this the best Neo Prog album because it contains in the most quintessential way one f the most interesting and fascinating themes of this genre: the theater, great medieval courts and halls, Jesters, minstrels. I'm not sure if the lyrics concern exactly these subjects, but I always feel like I'm in another world, medieval times, when I listen to Marillion and in particular this album.

The first three songs are incredible: the title track is a bomb, with beautiful melodies, delicate at times while in others epic sounding and haunting like few other Marillion songs. "He Knows You Know" is another gem, a great melodic piece with some great moments by Fish, and a surprisingly good work from the backup vocals. "The Web" is the song that has the most epic taste, thanks to the haunting and appealing melody, which reminds of Medieval pieces, thanks also to some great passages and to the length of the track, almost nine minutes.

From here it goes downhill: "Garden Party" has some nice moments, but it isn't exactly a great song, since it has it's weaknesses, and "Chelsea Monday" has some really goos moments and passages, but overall it never really convinced me. Finally, "Forgotten Sons" is definitely the weakest track off this album, long, boring, repetitive and easily forgettable.

As a conclusion, I would consider this easily an excellent addiction to any progressive rock fan, but definitely won't consider this an essential masterpiece, since, like I said earlier, it has it's weak moments.

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Posted Saturday, August 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars I remember buying this when it was brand new and listening to it with a delight which approached ecstasy, for here we had a worthy heir to Genesis, or so I thought at the time. But time has been less kind to this than the music which inspired it. Marillion are blander and more metronomic than their heroes, less given to delicacy and instrumental colours. The deadening robotic drumming which has blighted music since the 80s is much in evidence, as it is formulaic 'crying' guitar in the background. If it cannot be compared in scope, originality or inventiveness to the high watermark of the genre of a decade previously, it must be viewed within the context of the time, when the old school were devoting themselves to getting MTV approval. All prog fans must be grateful to Marillion and this album in particular, in keeping alight the dim flame of progressive music during the dark days of the early 80s. By comparison to the work being done by the established prog bands at the time, this stands a minor masterpiece.

The opening of the title track, the unaccompanied half cry of "for here I am once more " is still an inspired gesture. Fish immediately announces himself as a vocal dramatist in the vein of Peter Gabriel. Fish does produce a memorable half-shrieking performance on the whole album, if his lyrics are sometimes self-consciously dark and fall into the trap of trying to cram too many words into one sentence.

My favourite track is probably "Garden Party" which I remember always produced a good reaction when played live. Other tracks are worthwhile but not particularly varied.

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Posted Sunday, September 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Though Marillion remain popular to this very day, for many, it is the first four albums that really matter. Released in 1983, 'Script For A Jester's Tear' would kick-start a hugely-successful decade for the group, with follow-up 'Fugazi', the commercial smash 'Misplaced Childhood' and 1988's 'Clutching At Straws' all continuing the shiny, keyboard-and-guitar dominated neo-prog themes. Of course, the glue that links these four albums is lead-singer Derek Dick, more commonly known as Fish, and once he left the group thanks to internal tensions following the release of the popular 'Clutching At Straws', Marillion would change forever. However, this is where the Marillion story begins and, alongside 'Misplaced Childhood', it remains the group's defining statement, a cunningly-crafted, pop-edged, instrumentally- impressive album filled with haunting melodies and Fish's trademark squawking jester vocals. Both the title-track and the epic 'The Web' are the stand-outs on an album with a strangely- sombre tone, but in truth, one can happily listen to 'A Script For A Jester's Tear' all the way through without feeling the need to flick the needle forward. Alongside IQ's 'Tales From The Lush Attic' and Twelfth Night's 'Fact & Fiction', this is undoubtedly one of the high watermarks of the early-1980's neo-prog scene. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
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Posted Wednesday, October 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the debut album by Marillion and saved many Prog rockers lives when Genesis" went all abacab on us. The title track starts off with Fish and his lonely voice stating that here he is once more......Strange since this was the debut album???? However aside from that he is then joined with some melancholic piano playing by Mark Kelly which always reminds me of my Sisters ex jailbird boyfriend for some reason. Sweet synths enter the mix as Fish goes into a playground but can't get on the swings or roundabouts, prompting a tantrum of yelling that the game is over. Steve Rothery then takes over with some soulful Gary Gilmore -ish guitar playing. Next up is "HE KNOWS YOU KNOW" a song about Dr Stefan cutting down somebodys tranquillisers before they are ready. The song is very wintery sounding and has a very distinct blonde barmaid feel to it. Apart from Dr Stefan this song appears to be about yellow fevers too. bleak but beautiful. "THE WEB" opens up in nice Ronnie Roast fashion with crashing sounds before Fish auditions some rain for some reason. I find the rest of the song doesn't really go anywhere though. "GARDEN PARTY" Could have been "Genesis" in one of their lighter moments, solid drummer by Mick Fleetwood and some nice keyboard lines by Mart Kelly ensures that this song will warm the 1978 cockles of your heart in the finest fashion possible. "CHELSEA MONDAY" is back to a bleaker sound again, and tales the tale of a Princess in a catalogue having a Chelsea Monday. Some great guitar soloing by Steve Morse in this one. "FORGOTTEN SONS" is without a shadow of a doubt the greatest anti war song ever written, although it's not as good as "Sequences" by Twelfth Night on the Live and let live album. Fish is at his caustic and Vince Anstey best on this one as he parades the carpeted corridors of Whitehall. The newscaster part sounds a little bit too much like "our little Shaun" for my liking, but that is a minor critisism as the whole band takes us all home on a tidal wave of proggy heaven with waves of sound which bring to mind, Bob, Maureen and three teasing chinese checkers players.

Enjoy Chit

Report this review (#327657)
Posted Saturday, November 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The debut album release from the most recognized Neo Prog artist in the world. Released unto the British public on March 13 of 1983, the single "He Knows You Know" was released on the last day of January. Mark Wilkinson's distinctive artwork would grace all of the band's first eight albums. I'll never forget the reverence with which my musical friend held this album in--it was as if the Second Coming (of PG-era GENESIS) had just happened! I heard this album the day it came to American record stores--my roommate bought it on the basis of album cover and proceeded to play it to death. While I was impressed that (finally!) a band was trying to imitate ("carry forward" I liked to say) the Gabriel-era GENESIS sound, I was dismayed with the quiet, murkiness of the sound--instruments and channels were so melded and quiet--I could hear the Gabriel-like vocals and Hackett-like guitar parts, and could see/hear the mythic references similar to GENESIS but it wasn't appealing--it wasn't catchy enough or inviting enough to draw me in, get me involved, get me to like it.

1. "Script For A Jester's Tear" (8:39) our initial introduction to "the new Genesis." The styling imitation is unmistakable but sound choices, engineering, and subtleties in Fish's voice make this not quite as close to the masters as one would try to have us believe. Still, an admirable construction and even higher praiseworthy performance from the lead singer. Organ and guitar are weak, drums and bass worthy. (17/20)

2. "He Knows You Know" (5:22) BABYLON-sounding electric guitar intro precedes sparse and simple foundation over which Fish's highly-theatric Peter-Gabriel-like voice tells his story. I find it hard to believe that this was well-received as a charting single in both the UK and USA. There must have been a lot of Old Genesis-starved consumers out there at the time. Gabe was never as demonstrative as Fish was. This must be where DISCIPLINE's Matthew Parmenter learned his chops. (8.75/10)

3. "The Web" (8:48) descending blues-rock chord progression (think the ending of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven") supports opening vocal until things soften drastically in the second half of the opening minute for a more delicate story-telling section. This 100-second heavy-delicate pattern cycles through thrice before Steve Rothery is given the first instrumental solo at the four minute mark. He does show some nice chops despite his thin, mixed into the back sound. Nothing very new or exciting here. (Once again, I may be handicapped by my inability to hear/process lyrics.) There are definitely some issues with the isolation with which each track is beholden to; the music never seems to blend. (16/20)

4. "Garden Party" (7:15) sounds so much like one of GENESIS's earlier more staccato songs (think Nursery Cryme). Yes there are a few unique flourishes here and there, and, of course, a new libretto, but the song could otherwise have been stolen from the Trident Studio cutting room where Nursery Cryme was edited. Fish here displays his usual exceptional theatric story-telling acumen but shows flaws in his actual singing voice (pitch and sustain). (12.5/15)

5. "Chelsea Monday" (8:16) though the music opens sounding a little more New Wave-ish (Esp. treated drums) but the vocal and even lyric sound like they were nearly directly lifted from a Peter Gabriel Genesis performance. AT 2:10 things kick into full force with a classic blues-rock Neo Prog vengeance. Steve Rothery's guitar seers in a solo of over 90 seconds (though he cheats a bit with the addition of a second track to reinforce and harmonize some of his notes). A soft tinkling synth and picked guitar passage ensues as Fish sings. Sustained and wah-ed lead guitar notes accompany Fish's transition back into full force voice and then Rothery really begins to soar and seer despite Fish's persistent vocals and shouts of "Chelsea Monday." Pretty good song; great performance from Fish and Rothery. (17.5/20)

6. "Forgotten Sons" (8:21) surfing through televisions stations is superseded by another pseudo-New Wave passage until 0:50 when synth and staccato power chords signal a shift. The guitar solo that follows sounds as if Rothery is trying to mimic the guitar sound of Flock of Seagulls' PAUL REYNOLDS. An annoying metallic rhythm guitar remains persistent throughout, even when the music style and sounds shift in the third minute. At 4:10 there is a pause and then another shift as increasingly numerous voices read a kind of prayer or declaration of grievances and power. At 5:48 a door opens into a completely lush GENESIS soundscape over which Rothery and Fish perform with notable confidence and restraint. This final section is almost enough to salvage this otherwise forgettable son(g). Nice way to end an album--leaving the listener with a positive impression. (17/20)

Total time 46:41

To my ears, the sound production on this album was always too quiet, too compressed. With all of the subtleties that were occurring on multiple layers at any given time, I felt as if I'm always straining to hear the music. I believe that much of the power concealed in this music has been trapped within this constrained, closeted effect. I have the same "problem" with all Fish-era Marillion: it does more to put me off and irritate me than draw me in. Too pretentious, too imitative, too weak melodically and certainly lacking in the classical and folk influences that the originators drew from. I'll take the lush simplicity of Hogarth-era Marillion over this stuff any day.

B/four stars; a nice addition to prog world but by no means the Second Coming.

Report this review (#330955)
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars After gigging almost non stop for 2 years Marillion finally got into a studio and recorded. You can tell that this material was honed to perfection from the moment the title track starts. As far as debut albums go this sits at the top table.

Script is just mesmerizing. A poignant plea for lost love and one of fishs' finest lyrics. Rotherys heartfelt guitar work backed by kellys deft keyboard swirls leave an almost dreamlike landscape for fishs tale of the jester who showed you tears.

He Knows - the drug song is, for me, the weakest song on the album. Musically its a little bland but it does allow the Lyric to shine through. "slashed wrist, scarlet fever..... pumping arteries ooze their problems through the gap that the razor tore" Bleak stuff.

Just as bleak is the bedsit hell of "the Web". Another sublime piece of rothery guitar on this track coupled again by kellys jagged keyboard riffs.

Garden Party - Bouncing along at the start of side 2 this is still a live favourite. The upper classes in all their grubbery.

Chelsea Monday - Heartbreaking tale of the aspiring actress who commits suicide for her 15 mins of fame. A beautiful and moving piece.

The album closes with forgotten sons. This song of british forces in the then troubled Northern Ireland is an incredibly powerful piece.

A band who , at the time, were labelled as a genesis rip off. I've never understood that sentiment as although musically very similar i always found marillion to be superior songwriters, musicians and in Fish a far superior frontman and lyricist. I've never subscribed to the idea that who does it first does it best.

In closing, this is arguably the finest debut album ever. Essential listening.

Report this review (#348480)
Posted Thursday, December 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars A classic debut album marking the beginning of neo-prog. Marillion became known for providing progressive music for the 80's while most other bands were sounding commercial.

There isn't really much I can say that hasn't already been said on this site apart from my opinions on it's sound. I don't think it's the best by the band but it's certainly great. Many other prog fans mention the similarities to Gabriel and Genesis. The influence is definitely there but Marillion's talent shines through and they have some of thier own distinctions. Singer Fish's voice is very rich, and perhaps more theatrical and emotional than Gabriel's. The songwriting is poetic and creative and the musicianship wonderful. I particularly like the keyboard work throughout the album.

I like "Garden Party" the best, as well as " Chelsea Monday" but all the music is great here, very dark and melancholic. I do think it's slightly dated, but that's not a big problem as a lot of music I like is also dated in many ways! It would be a really worthy part of any prog rock music collection. 4 solid stars.

Report this review (#349643)
Posted Saturday, December 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Based on PA reviews I made Script... the first marillion album I got and I'm very glad I didnt make it the last. While it may be a solid debut, this album is certainly not the peak of Marillion's discography or even the Fish era. I think this album benefits from the "wow I cant believe this was their debut" factor when really it is not one of their best albums looking back. The title track is great and still one of my favorites, but I hardly ever listen to the rest of the album anymore. Unless you like listening to albums sequentially, I wouldnt recommend getting this album until you already have misplaced childhood and clutching at straws (and really marbles and brave are better too but its hardly a fair comparison). Some people say it sounds too much like genesis and I dont actually care about that, I just dont think it's nearly as good as their other albums. That said, if you absolutely hate this album, you probably wont like any of the other Fish-era albums either. 3.5 stars but closer to 3
Report this review (#356195)
Posted Saturday, December 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was my first Marillion purchase in the late 1990's and was based on discussions that occurred in the Paperlate Genesis mailing list. I had all the early Genesis, Yes , ELP etc from the 70's but was out of the music scene during the period of my marriage (1982) until my divorce (1999). You can imagine my excitement in hearing this CD when I was hungry for more Prog.

Script is a masterful recording and is easy to see why it so highly rated in the Progarchives (50% of reviewers give this 5 stars). It has all the things that a Prog listener would want: extended length tracks (4 of the 6 tracks clock in at over 8 minutes), lots of time and mood changes throughout each of the songs, instrumental passages with guitar and keyboard solos (but never self-indulgent), lyrics that convey a message rather than just hooks, interesting bass and drum lines. Yes this has 5 stars all over it. Every track is equally as good.

The only problem is that it is a masterful reproduction of the early Genesis sound but with social commentary lyrics rather than historical flavours.

At the time of this release it would have been great to hear some good ol' 70's style Prog given that Yes and Genesis had moved into a different (some would say more commercial) sound. And Script is just as enjoyable in the 2010's. Marillion's best work is still in front of them when they will discover a more original style but the foundations have been set.

An essential piece of progressive rock music that belongs in every collection but falling short on originality and therefore 4 stars.

Report this review (#358941)
Posted Monday, December 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I was apprehensive about checking out the whole neo prog scene because of the many disparaging comments from other prog fans. However, I decided to check out this band, Marillion, since it seemed to garner the most praise for the sub-genre. I first heard the title track, which quite honestly is as good as any of the stuff that Genesis, one of the group's clear influences, put out during its prime. The rest of the album reaches similar heights, and it's very consistent. The vocal delivery and accompanying music is very passionate, often resembling emotions that the band wishes to conjure from listeners.

Now, the music itself is not exactly complex, but it is still fairly progressive in nature. This is not quite as experimental or technical as many other prog bands are, but in the end it still retains that influence. Regardless, the album stands as its own and needs no genre classification.

This album does manage to bring listeners on quite a melancholic journey, but some songs are clearly weaker than others.

Report this review (#371191)
Posted Sunday, January 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars I was wrong about this album. "Script for a jester tear" is not an album so bad.I must hear it again to recognize that ... and now I have to change ALL my review about this album.Still so, as I explained in "Misplaced Childhood"(which I liked the first time I heard him), I do not like the voice of Fish, and perhaps never will like (but I also called this album garbage, right?) .

One thing I would like to emphasize is that I do not agree with those who say that this album was not the first neo-prog (the supposed style "neo-prog" albums of the post-Gabriel Genesis is very different), but I don´t found so many influences from Genesis here, I actually think this album has more influences from new wave.The few influences of Genesis are the voice of Fish and some passages, but nothing more.

3,5 stars, just because of Fish and the influences of new wave.On general, this is a good album, better than I thought.

Report this review (#371889)
Posted Monday, January 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars A great debut album!I love it!It's so miserable and depressing.But there are ironic and angry moments(Garden Party and Forgotten sons).This album has mature playing,wonderful compositions and superb emotional vocals by Fish which can make you cry.I adore the melancholic guitar melodies of Rothery and the bass playing of Trewavas especially here.

The artwork is splendid!I like very much the covers of Mark Wilkinson.It describes perfectly the concept of the album.

My favorite tracks are:Script for a jester's tear(sad beginning!The lyric"I'm losing on the swings.I'm losing on the roundabouts"is awesome),He knows,you know(anti-drug track,"Problems problems"!),The web(emotional and decisive spirit,0:36-1:32(incredible sentimental moment)) and Chelsea Monday(misery,wonderful bass introduction)

It doesn't need to say anything.Appropriate for all listeners!One of the must-have Marillion albums.

My grade:9/10

Report this review (#382920)
Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Script for a Jester's Tear

"So here I am once more" abducted into the british poetry floating within the intricate melodies of one of those odd relics debut album; something not seen since Genesis' Gabriel's era. Yet not an easy listening, Script for a Jester's Tear brings a dark tour into the messed up mind of this character. The title track explores the crush brokenhearted soul since that whisper softly claiming for explanations until it explodes in yells blaming the taunted emotions and begging for love at the end of a poignant melody. He Knows You Know explores a sense of false relief trough drugs addiction and mental deliriums running to a desperate phone call that chains to The Web bringing clarity for the tormentors feelings inside his guts until a joyful point when his will claims for thus "decisions had been made". Garden Party arrives as a consequence of those choices and playfully swirls with musical cadence into a roundabout as circus or a fair tune that plays up and down among cherish bells and happy keyboards of gory lusty satisfaction. Chelsea Monday broke the line and tells a moody glum tale of a naive girl dreams, condensed trough an eighties guitar style almost as The Cure. But then the force returns on the radio tuning to a shadowy fantastic fanfare running across forests of guitar riffs, keyboard harmonies a la Genesis and narrative passages on which Fish plays with his vocal range singing-speaking as two actors on dramatic duel. Then the riff guitar roves over the stage with the subtle company of drums and bass until the drums opens the curtain to a new corridor sobered by the bass' only note stabbing the silence as a sting with a double vocal-actor declaiming fatal verses of death with the riffs crying till the end for those Forgotten Sons. The joy in its more commercial scottish mood comes with Market Square Heroes kind of self indulgence. Three Boats Down from the Candy explores the theatrical qualities of the band, pretty dim still in a hurry. But then, an epic almost medieval guitar tune demands ears and minds to be attending as its told the emotional layers of the fantastic creature Grendel, asking for comprehension for thus son of darkness singing his monologue from stage to stage into glum atmosphere, nearly a mirrored bizarre twin for Supper's Ready with an eighties bass style and a grandiloquent organ bridge concluding with that energetic passage full of percussion and guitar riffs as well as brilliant keyboard and vocal textures. Charting the Single is a soft charming and warm farewell stuck in their time. Voracious of sounds and words this record is just sublime.

Report this review (#433001)
Posted Wednesday, April 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars Marillion and Fish are as iconic as the 80s decade itself.

The debut for Marillion is a milestone album that virtually started the Neo Prog genre single handedly and also kept alive the prog scene during the difficult 80s. Prog took a nosedive after the glorious 70s and bands like Rush and Marillion were the saviours of the genre.

Fish was the mastermind of the band and his enigma shines through on the debut. Fish's dramatis personae, composure and self assuredness holds the album together, and he is well supported by the incredible keyboard wizardry of Mark Kelly, percussion by Mick Pointer, the indispensable Steve Rothery on guitars and maestro bassist Pete Trewavas, who would later continue to dazzle as Transatlantic's bassist.

The tracks have become bonafide classics, namely the title track, The Web, Garden Party and Chelsea Monday. The epic Grendel raises her ugly head, on the bonus CD version and is well worth a listen, and Market Square Heroes is included among other singles and alternative takes, so it is definitely worth getting hold of the bonus double CD version.

Trewavas is excellent on bass and the guitar work throughout is absolutely exceptional. The songs have infectious hooks and the voice of Fish is mesmirising, a storyteller style with high octave resonating timbre. The songs are lengthy with a great deal of instrumentation to revel in. Although the debut album is definitely not my favourite from Marillion, this album is still excellent Neo and is important for grounding the foundation for other Neo style bands to come such as Pallas or IQ. This album acts as a blueprint for how to reinvent music. "Misplaced Childhood" would bury this for sheer quality but "Script for a Jester's Tear" is highly revered as one of the greatest albums of the 80s.

Report this review (#440667)
Posted Friday, April 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I missed Marillion in their first incarnation and only became aware of the earlier albums after being introduced to the Hogarth era by my astute older brother. I love the Hogarth stuff and became aware through blogs and other reviews of a considerable split in the Fish/Hogarth camps. I took my time in approaching the first 4 albums. I am a big fan of earlier Genesis and expected to like this album for this reason, having read many comparisons of Fish with Peter Gabriel (not a bad thing!) To my surprise and pleasure, it was not Genesis I was reminded of (although elements are there of course) but due to the structure and use of the vocals I was reminded of Van der Graf Generator. Fish's vocals are very reminiscent of Peter Hammils. The music is always interesting and all the songs are strong. This is a very strong debut , the band seems to have sprung up fully formed.
Report this review (#563622)
Posted Monday, November 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars The neo-prog movement had already been underway for a couple of years at least when Marillion's debut album came out, but this is the release which made it catch fire - in particular, the fact that a new prog band could emerge in 1983 and bring out an album which made it to the top 10 of the album charts was amazing to all. The album deserves it too; despite critical sniping about the band's similarity to Genesis, the fact is that Marillion had their own distinctive and original sound straight out of the gate. Yes, you can hear Genesis influences here and there - in Fish's theatricality, say, or in the pastoral interlude in Garden Party - but you can also hear snatches of Camel and flashes of more modern New Wave bands if you listen carefully. What's more, the emotionally fragile and bleak atmosphere captured on the album's best tracks - such as the title track or Forgotten Sons - is unmistakably Marillion's own.

The one criticism I'd have of the album is the usual one - Mick Pointer's drumming is workmanlike at best and doesn't really add much to the proceedings. Then again, he isn't much of a presence on the album - a lot of the time his drums are either quite low in the mix or are simply not playing. But even this isn't enough to knock the jester off his perch. Five stars.

Report this review (#574326)
Posted Thursday, November 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars The first album where bonus songs are as strong as the original ones.

The album that started it all, the one many following acts will be trying to imitate (more or less successfully) and also the album where "the voice" shines fully. It's wonderful, how many colours, emotiones and pain Fish can handle, isn't it ? One then wonders how much of these stories is true.

The model album how Neo Prog and Prog itself should sound like, exploring interesting themes (lyrically it's a heaven) comparable with Selling England By the π, with a great cover art (you can imagine the suffering and occasional joy of the proverbial jester.

Even the most conservative members of our Prog society thaws here and rate highly, so what can you expect of someone like me, known symphatisant with all genres of Prog.

5(-), so don't give me your effing problems!

Report this review (#587111)
Posted Monday, December 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Anachronism Part 1: Impressive Start

Before you read my Marillion-reviews please consider this: I'm a big fan of the Hogarth-Years ( and this, of course, means that I may find myself in a strange minority here ), anybody who came to know me personally can tell you that whenever it comes to Marillion I'm making pretty sure that, to me, there can "only be one true Marillion" and this is the current line up. So it may come to the surprise of many when they see my ratings of this album ( and a few others that came before "Seasons end" ), but my fanship does not condemn what went on before. Truth is that I liked it from the start, especially their debut.

It's close to being a prog-rock-masterpiece, yes it is, from the beginning with "Script" to the very final chords of "Forgotten sons", and it was "He knows you know" that made me buy this album - well, in the 80s, I was really impressed with the power and passion that drove this song, in spite of the desperation it deals with. I was a regular guest in Rock-Discotheques, even dancing and singing to it... hard to imagine for anyone who knows me nowadays ! But, as you can see with what made me buy the album ( and even more so with my lifelong love to BJH ! ) - I'm not that much a "proghead" at all, I'm simply into good songs with good melodies and I quite like a decent pop-appeal. "Script", to me, is Prog, and it's Prog of the better kind, but as with all of Marillion's pre-Hogarth Albums it appears to be a little too close to good ol' Genesis, so maybe the "Neo-Prog-Thing" is not really mine, cause when it comes to choose I still prefer the "Originals".

It's not Fish's fault at all that his voice reminded me of PG from the start - it fits the music very well. And here the music is full of good songs, melodies, feel. But what keeps "Script" from being a true 5-star-Album is the drumming ! Most of the time I'm listening to it I sit there and wish for Phil Collins giving the music what it really needs. Then again, Ian Mosley should solve that "problem" afterwards... and I know that Marillion with Fish made addicts of many prog-lovers, delivering the "stuff" they were hungry for, so I have quite some understanding for those who don't understand me and why - until Hogarth's arrival - I rated Marillion as a "good but not favourite" band, while they wished for a never-ending delivery of their well-loved "stuff".

In 1983, when the Marillos released this record, it was pretty sure that future Genesis would not anymore... so what they did was very welcome. And, yes, it was very good. Concerning this album - i like the mood and the color it delivers and I can easily forgive that the drumming isn't really first-rate. It was a very good thing to start with and an impressive introduction but, on the other hand, it sounded like an anachronism to me. What's very right about this anachronism is that you can hear the musicians playing the music they really loved and wanted to play, following the footsteps of then rather unfashionable "dinosaurs" who all more or less headed into new directions, losing a lot of their "prog"-approach but scoring hits on the pop-market. Marillions success with "re-inventing" prog to a younger audience ( and bringing it "back" to bunches of elders who wanted to turn back the clock ) and, one by one, climbing the charts, was well deserved - I admit.

Report this review (#610430)
Posted Sunday, January 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Marillion - Script For a Jester's Tear (9/10)

So this is the album wich will kill my "empty paper" syndrome since it's my first review. Of course, it's a quite an emblematic album for me, my introduction to the prog world. In fact the introduction itself was with Genesis "Selling England by the Pound" but this was the firt proggish album that really blew me off in a time that i was restricted to a "metalhead".

About the technical aspects of the music here i believe that with more than 1000 reviews there is'nt much i can add so i'll stay focused in my personal impressions. First of all there's a theatrical impact since the first lines wich blend perfectly with the cover. It's all about hopelesness, loneliness and a lot (i mean a LOT) of romantism, sometimes really powerful, others quite naive, but in general it works and even if you aren't "touched" by its mellow . The second aspect is the teamwork, altought the keyboards here keep the main lines there's space for everyone to show their skills, like Pete Trewavas bass in the web or Rothery's gilmorish solo in Chealsea Monday, the tight drums of Mick Pointer in Forgotten Sons.

Finally there's Fish vocals wich are truly "love or hate" kind. It's hard to stay in between with his Peter Gabriel-like voice, but hes far from a simple clone, since it's quite passionate, something like the timbre of Gabriel but emotionally close to Hamill (the closing section of the title song really brings the tragic style from Hamill to my mind. In general terms it's a 5 star album for it's historical value (well it's the starting point for a new genre in prog), but it's quite excessive so a 4.5 stars for this groundbreaking masterpiece.

Report this review (#633933)
Posted Tuesday, February 14, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars The only doubt that "Script For A Jester's Tears" leaves in my mind is the following: This album could not conceive, write and record Genesis? Well, who knows... To want to be picky we would find millions of defects and, maybe, we panned for being too POP! Fortunately "sript For A Jester's Tears" is the debut album of Marillion and I say this without fear, one of the few true progressive albums of the early 80's! A deduction must be stated that its "Script For A Jester's Tears" is a clone of Genesis albums, much of what could be if it were written by the "trio" Genesis! Music is not difficult, the truth, because very simple, straightforward and POP! To see the glass half empty ... I've seen (!), But to see the glass half full should I say "Script For A Jester's Tears" has gathered that part of Genesis fans disappointed by the turn POP. Unfortunately too few. In a review like this I will not talk about individual songs, in my opinion, all exactly the same level (high). I must write that Fish is a copy of Peter Gabriel but in the end, there are also echoes of Barclay James Harvest and Camel. It is not too obvious and, of course, takes second fiddle to the style of Fish. What, I say with some pride, Bernardo Lanzetti (Acqua Fragile, PFM, solo) was heard from Fish that has metabolized it too. This is not random: some compositions of PFM were similar (conceptually) to Genesis and, therefore, when PFM has become equal to a British band, with Bernardo, it was definitely one of the plays of Fish. But, to see well, Marillion are, at this stage, only one of many Symphonic Prog band that Britain has given birth. Therefore, why was a genre created around them? Probably to show that there were new bands in the movement that reflected the initial spirit of the genre, but without distorting whisking together all the various components of the same genre. In my view, however, at this stage, what can not I warn him and it seems only appropriate to praise a huge debut album. That, for some reason, does not present anything unusual or totally memorable.

Far be it from me to speak negatively of the story. But expose my views I stimulate. The desire to be honest is huge. I have been here. Yet I can not, after what I wrote, noting that "Script For A Jester's Tears" is, in every possible view, a masterpiece!

Report this review (#704422)
Posted Monday, April 2, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Historically Critical, but a Child of its Time

I think it is fair to say that every prog fan should have SCRIPT FOR A JESTER'S TEAR. It is an essential part of the history of prog rock and I hold a respect for it somewhat as I do the Beach Boys' PET SOUNDS. At the same time, neither of those records really connect with me and both sound extremely dated now. While every single reviewer notes the Genesis comparisons, what instead is the most dramatic first impression left by this album is the early 80's key sounds, over the top reverbs, and production style. This album, to me, has more in common with Styx's MR. ROBOTO than Genesis' FOXTROT.

The only viable rock drummer in my high school was a year older than I, and basically lived in a Marillion shirt while everyone else wore Metallica or Iron Maiden. I always thought the artwork was interesting, and borrowed albums from him a few times to try to figure this odd sound out. I never did. The production on this is so heavy handed that it takes alot of work for the musicianship and songwriting to come through, at least for me now. Even back in the 80's, the sound itself overwhelmed the lyrics. The drum sound is terrible, and the key tones lack interest. The guitars would actually sound pretty good if the reverb were simply dialed back 50%. In 2012, the ethic is on the opposite end of the spectrum now with everything being mixed to sound like its 2 feet away from your face in a closet. But even by 80's standards, everything here is underwater.

The production is not the only thing that scream early 80's. There are new wave allusions a la Blondie or perhaps Discipline era KC as in the mid section of "Forgotten Suns." The video- game ethic is still evident. Some of melodic themes do remind me of Dennis DeYoung. Mark Keys' synths are as much Asia or Kansas as Tony Banks. Fish's dramatic delivery alludes to Gabriel but is actually much more over the top and arena targeted. To be sure, he is one of prog's most powerful vocal stars. His skills include some of Hammill's tricks and crazed tension.

Digging through this, however, reveals some nice theatric prog. I agree with other posters that "Garden Party" is probably the best track, but all of the album is good. The pacing is also strong, with good contrasts and variety in emotional subject. The energy is powerful. As with all neo-prog, there's a certain pop element that is not my personal preference. And aside from Fish, none of the players really have anything new to offer. Steve Rothery is certainly solid on guitar, but we've heard it all before. On the other hand, some of Mick Pointer's fills are pure cheese.

It's extremely difficult to rate a classic that is long past its prime and doesn't connect with me much personally. I'll go right down the middle.

Report this review (#726379)
Posted Friday, April 13, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars In the doldrums of music in the 1980's life was dark and bleak, or maybe techno and poppy. Then in 1983 came this release, SCRIPT FOR A JESTERS TEAR from Genesis-clone Marillion. Great album. Very atmospheric. I saw them in concert in 1984 when they came to the States and enjoyed every second of it. They were with Utopia. I have the regular cd release without the bonus tracks. Fish and the band started what is now called Neo-Prog and thank you for that, boys! Not much else to say except it is not perfect, but darn close. 4 and a half stars.
Report this review (#733637)
Posted Friday, April 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Review #2 So here I am once more In the playground of the broken hearts One more experience, one more entry in a diary, self-penned Yet another emotional suicide Overdosed on sentiment and pride Too late to say I love you Too late to restage the play Abandoning the relics in my playground of yesterday

Every time I'm listening to these lyrics everything is coming back to me.

I have spend over 25 years listening to the first albums of Marillion, and every time I listen to these lyrics I have goosebumps. I still remember the day I listened this record for the first time. It was a blast!

It was the year that Marillion has just released 'Misplaced Childhood', and the song 'Kayleigh' was in every radio. The were promoted by 'Kerrang' magazine if you remember, so combining the song and the magazine in my mind, I thought to myself: 'Ah, another sleezy metal band that tries to achieve success with stupid ballads'. How misteken I was... I was 18 years old then, just leaving my Heavy Metal days behind, and had just started discovering the newly fownded paths of Prog-Rock. A few Eloy albums, Pink Floyd (ofc), Moody Blues, Procol Harum etc...

So, one day I entered a record shop and I saw this album. I don't know how and why, but the painting on the cover did something to me. I fell in love with it! So there I was an ignorant 18 year old boy, trying to decide what to do. Yeah yeah, stupid heavy metal band... But this cover! So I asked one guy that was working there. His answer was 'ah, some new English Progressive Rock band or something like that. But you should buy their new record. It has Kayleigh inside'. Ha! 'No I don't want Kayleigh' I thought. I want this! Anyway, I bought the record, and went straight home almost sure that I gave all my money to buy something very bad but with a great cover!

That feeling lasted up tp the point I put the record on my stereo. Side A: 1. Script for a jester's tear. hmmm let's see. I open the record's gatefold and started to read the lyrics as the voice of Fish and the first notes of the song filled the room. I have no words to express that feeling. I was shocked! How can one song can be so perfect? In a nutshell, I was listening this record for a whole week straight. Nothing else! I took it out only to replace it with 'Fugazi' that I bought a few days later. And then with 'Misplaced'... And many years later I made on my hand the tattoo I always wanted to do. The Jester, together with a part of the album's cover.

As you can easily understand I can't be objective about this record. I spend almost a decade having Marillion's records as my most beloved company in good and bad times. But now that I'm older, wiser (:P), and far more informed in Progressive Rock, I can say that it is an excellent record! From the first note until the last. (The weakest song for me here is Garden Party. My best are Script and Chelsea Monday.)

In my opinionthis is an album that every fan of Prog-Rock should have. Not only because it's a very good one, but also because - as another guy mentioned before - when all the great Prog bands of the '70's were losing their way, this album came to remind to everyone that Progressive Rock is here! And it will be as long as there are people like the ones on this site that keep the fire burning.. Thank you! :)

P.S: I'm not English or American, therefore English is not my main language. So please forgive the mistakes I surely did... :)

Report this review (#804291)
Posted Tuesday, August 14, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars I feel somewhat left out of the historical and emotional impact that Marillion had in 1983 simply because I was born a few years after the fact. So, I don't have that first-hand account as to the impact/hope it gave to the underground progressive rock scene of the '80s.

I first heard Marillion through their last album with Fish in CLUTCHING AT STRAWS, and the man's vocal delivery sounded halfway between Peter Gabriel's theatrics and Phil Collins's timbre. On SCRIPT, Fish apparently went near-full-throttle Gabriel on the voice including the emphasis on the dramatic side of the voice. So, it's my understanding that Fish's vocal delivery is the reason for the many Genesis comparisons. Everyone else in the band just has shears of influence mingled with other styles to create their own playing style, guitarist Steve Rothery in particular. The man sounds as equally influenced from Gilmour and Latimer as he does Hackett. And Mark Kelly's keyboard array fits into the term ''contemporary'' without getting too annoying.

The songwriting itself varies throughout the album. The big draw card for SCRIPT FOR A JESTER'S TEAR for progsters is that 2/3 of the content breaches the eight minute mark, enough for a cozy sit-down with the music but short enough to be satisfying. All four of the eight minute tracks have their moments, but the title track is the most gripping, opting to really scale the dynamics and jerk at those emotion strings, and quite effectively. The remaining three eighters all have their moments but ultimately run too long for their lengths. The little rant in the middle of ''Forgotten Suns'' sounds little more than a big lipped alligator moment to me in the realms of it not making any sense and being so goofily over-the-top.

The two shorter tracks actually steal some of the fun from the big daddy epics. ''Garden Party'' is an extremely close second place on the album in terms of quality with the edge on the bass and the slight shift in the metre (the song is not in your standard 4/4 if you listen closely). ''He Know You Know'' is little more than an '80s pop prog pastiche, but sometimes the album needs a song of lesser intelligence for balance.

Recent bonus reiusses add more content from Marillion's early days that didn't quite make it on the record. One of those is an enjoyable little pop tune called ''Market Square Heroes'' which really would have fit nicely on the original record. Another is the mammoth epic ''Grendel'', or the 1983 version of ''Supper's Ready''. The comparisons are quite obvious, particularly the ending section which bears an uncanny resemblance to ''Apocalypse in 9/8'', but there's a section in the middle that I swear was from Alice Cooper's ''Halo of Flies''.

In short, if you like Genesis theatricality mixed with Pink Floyd simple complexity wrapped in '80s keyboards, then SCRIPT FOR A JESTER'S TEAR will fit nicely in your collection. I actually think this is a rather decent to good album that had the potential to be great if ''Market Square Heroes'' was included and some of the epics were more fleshed out.

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Posted Thursday, January 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars With my own definition of "progressive rock" being that creative and unusual musical ideas (such as odd time signatures, inspired chord progressions, and variations of sounds/moods) are being used through-out rock oriented compositions, I guess I would have to qualify this as prog, but it's the wrong end of prog for my tastes!

My main problem is that each part drags on for far too long, and not enough is happening during these semi-long songs. It doesn't make it better that few ideas are interesting at all to me. Half the sections are built on steady 4/4 beats with slow predictable chord progressions, with a guitar solo and/or vocals on top. Barely any odd time signatures (only during one part of the title track), barely any surprising chord changes. There are some creative rhythms being used here and there though, but they are far from each other.

It might be true that they were heavily influenced by Genesis, but they left out the more creative and interesting details that in my opinion made Genesis so good, and what's left is mostly slow, repetitive and sappy. Although, if you enjoy poetic lyrics (I personally don't care for lyrics at all) and Fish's dramatic/emotional vocals (which I can barely stand), then I can understand why you'd appreciate it a lot more than I do.

Stand-out tracks: Script For a Jester's Tear and Garden Party

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Posted Tuesday, March 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars The 80's are usually considered a dark time for prog in terms of quality. But in 1983 came Marillion, with their debut album Script For a Jester's Tear. These guys are a unique melting pot of a number of different bands. They have the lush environment, flashy synth passages and theatric vocals of Genesis, some Pink Floyd-like atmosphere and tasty guitar solos a la Gilmour, and the heavier edge of Rush, especially evident in the bass. Despite this, they manage to convey their own unique sound. Script of a Jester's Tear is a perfect example of this.

Songwise, the album isn't terribly diverse; that is to say the instrument choice and overall scheme is mostly the same on every song (every song usually contains a catchy upbeat theme, a slower section with vocals, and a dramatic and tasteful guitar solo, or a combination thereof). It is also this reason that this is a rather consistent album, with every track being good.

As a whole the album carries the Genesis, Rush, and Pink Floyd sound as mentioned. Although classified as Neo-prog, I've always viewed it more as Symphonic Prog, with an 80's sound and production. This isn't terribly complex; there are a few odd meters and other rhythmic oddities. Perhaps what I like most about the band is that they cleverly mask the complexity, especially in 4/4 passages which sound like they're in an odd time. But overall, this is a very easy listening and consequently is pretty easy to get into.

Overall, with this album, Marillion pretty much started the Neo-Prog genre, and ensured that prog would not fade out in the 80's. It's importance in this regard, and the fact that it is one of the most energetic, melodic, and emotionally exciting albums gives it a position amongst the prog classics.


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Posted Wednesday, June 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Really getting into Marillion at the moment, and "Script For A Jester's Tear" the undoubtedly my favourite, both from Marillion and the whole neo-prog genre. I love the 80s twist this band puts on progressive ROCK, and not pop like its number 1 descendant "Misplaced Childhood". Just when progressive rock was lost through punk and the then-current post-punk/New Romantics scenes, Marillion came along and made it popular again, shining a whole new light on the genre. The birth of neo-prog, and filling the chasm of early 80s music with colourful combinations of all sorts of progressive flavours swirling about in the air.

The title track is such an excellently crafted song. All of the sections flow so well into each other, with Fish's vocals dripping with emotion through every lyric (all of which are outstanding). Very good melodies, and all of the instruments slot together seemingly effortlessly but this can't have just been luck - these people are awesome songwriters! The advantage to such an album being made in the 80s is that the recording techniques were much better, and it really helps you get into the album here. The guitars on here are particularly favourable for me, and the story of the jester is told so well, with the intriguing artwork being the perfect visual aid for such a track. Kind of wish there was one for each song really!

The intro of "He Knows You Know" instantly brings back some Genesis classic techniques. The guitar intro sounds like an even better "Follow You Follow Me" intro, and the drums are quite Phil Collins-esque (as with the rest of the album), and the lyrics on here are seriously incredible! I love the obscure imagery (especially the line "venom in your stomach, poison in your head", and the melodies work so beautifully, and the "He's got problems" acts as a great climax. Topped off with more great synths and guitars, another outstanding track. The track segues into "The Web" after quite a comical phone call, and angry stabbing keyboards. All of the instruments already mentioned evolve to a slightly different style on here, with more superb lyrics and symphonic climaxes. Astonishingly, the bar still doesn't at all, and the odd thumping occasional rhythms and melodious guitar solos are present. As with the whole album, quite a theatrical song which has been proven to work excellently live.

"Garden Party" has a very offbeat over the place repeating hook which is just irresistible, with a rolling Tony Banks style keyboard underlying. Lovely inclusion of the tweeting birds on the peaceful sections too! The track doesn't evolve as much as the previous ones, but therefore allows time for some great solos and for you to really indulge into the song. The last couple of minutes are so sonically thrilling and really keeps up the album's consistency! "Chelsea Monday" then enters with some intriguing lyrics. Again, the band shapes their signature sound to encase the melancholy mood of the song brilliantly (i.e. the short keyboard arpeggios, slide guitars, and bass playing chords all over the fretboard instead of staying down low).

As with the whole album, I love the substitution of the 70s mellotron with the 80s synths. Great that their not regurgitating those safe prog cliches like many bands nowadays. The lyrics and melodies are of course very original once again, and key to the song, but it would be nice to hear some more expensive chord progressions throughout, but the more typical sonic drone keeps me interested I guess, so I wouldn't know what to do. "Forgotten Sons" ends the album, sort of reminding me of a Rael character from "The Lamb". I love the sort of irish jig the keyboards play to back the guitar, and the delayed vocals of Fish along with his extraordinary style. Once again, reminding me of Peter Gabriel of Genesis! (There are other influences that pop up, such as Yes, but not as substantially). The guitar clacking backs that odd duet so well, and employs great sustaining techniques on the whole song. It sort of morphs into a congregation of multi-tracked Fish praying about some very thought-provoking and needing lyrics, even relating to The Lord's Prayer! The reaching for the emotional pinnacle that comes across on all 7 tracks is insanely beautiful, and the versatility on these is literally epic and absolutely timeless.

A: One of my treasured albums amongst my collection, never getting boring and tired. Despite the lack of the key progressive elements (time signatures, chords, etc.) it still remains just as interesting as any Genesis album. Such an untouchable masterpiece; I don't think any of their other albums really come that close to it...

Script For A Jester's Tear: ***** He Knows You Know: ***** The Web: ***** Garden Party: **** Chelsea Monday: **** Forgotten Sons: ****

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Posted Friday, July 19, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album rocked my world when I first heard it back in 1983 and it has been a constant traveller with me through the years. There have been many comparisons with Gabriel era Genesis (which I love dearly) and although I do see why that is I must say that this was harder edged than Genesis were emotively and musically. Today I scour the music world for music that compares, especially on the vocal side - where Fish could instantly go from extemely gentle, to outright anger, to sarcasm without skipping a beat. This guys voice was a musical instrument on its own here in the context of the band and the music. The closest that I've found in recent music is Stu Nicholson from Galahad. I don't know why but only recently am I starting to enjoy Peter Hammil's work with Van Der Graaf Generator and I see similarity between him and Fish as well relating to delivery.

Steve Rothery is amazing on this album with his very emotional lead guitar breaks, as is Kelly on keyboard duty. Hell, the whole thing is an amazing work of musical heaven. At a time when "prog music" was very much on a downhill track this album was one of the pillars that held things together and further than that it forever changed the face of the music that I know and love. Neo Prog was born and today, although I love all kinds of music, the neo prog umbrella is what I find myself standing underneath most of the time when I listen to music - which I do a lot of the time.

There is not a track on this album which I don't love immensely or that I find to be an album weak point. I don't have the extended release although I did add "Grendel" to my personal electronic copy of the album as I feel it rounds the album off superbly. A giant work from a giant band - a fully deserved 5 stars from my side for an album that not only impacted me relating to my future musical preference but also solidly impacted the face of prog music.

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Posted Sunday, July 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars There are many prog albums over the years that have enjoyed a dazzling musical entrance. The mighty riffs of Red or the piano arpeggios of Can You Understand (Ashes are Burning) come to my mind immediately. Not many albums, however, have enjoyed a striking lyrical entrance, with the vocalist softly rendering a powerful turn of phrase. Script for a Jester's Tear is one of those few. "So here I am once more in the playground of the broken hearts". With such a spirited entrance, it is hard for me, at least, to dislike the album that follows.

Not only does this line serve as a fitting opening to the album, it is also used as a motif for the title track as such. It is a technique that singer and lyricist Fish employs throughout the album. Not just a repetitive chorus, but a lyrical motif as a theme is explored through the length of a composition. As you can gather from this, Script for a Jester's Tear is very much a lyrical album.

Menswear's review mentions that this is an album that you need to read the lyrics along with to enjoy. In addition to that, I would also opine that your interpretation of a track's emotions might be completely at odds with what the band intended if you do not read the lyrics. Let me explain. For instance, Chelsea Monday sans lyrics might sound like a cheesy, overly melancholic dirge. That is at least the impression I got and, combined with Fish seemingly wailing through it, it may not be an inviting proposition. But on reading the lyrics, one gathers that it is a biting, ironic account of a narcissistic starlet. Thereafter, my impression and opinion of the track changed greatly. I especially love the lines, "Perform to scattered shadows on the shattered cobbled aisles/Would she dare recite soliloquies at the risk of stark applause".

Lyrically, Marillion are hard hitting, emotional and poetic right through, also attacking high society, politicians and war along the way. Their assault, unlike Genesis's witty approach, tends to be direct and in your face. Fish accentuates this directness to further distinguish the band from Genesis. He is usually heard wailing, shrieking or growling (NOT death- growls, mind) and Peter Gabriel-esque light hearted moments of pop comic relief are nowhere in sight. The emphasis is on forcefulness rather than finesse.

The finesse (or relative lack thereof) is also what distinguishes Marillion further from not only Genesis but the other prominent bands of the first wave of 70s prog. There's not much by way of subtlety in the music. Similarities with Banks and Hackett begin and end with arpeggios and the tone respectively. It might sound closer to 80s Banks, I give that.

But this is essentially hard hitting, keyboard based 80s rock music attempting to fit into the complex structures of 70s prog. The textural depth of great 70s prog which made the complexity more palatable is not quite in evidence here. Mark Kelly's keyboards sound rather predictable after a while and there is more of Kelly and less of guitarist Steve Rothery on this album. That would change to an extent on Fugazi and more the better, in my opinion. The drums too lack dynamics and tend to be rather loud and stiff. Even as Fish slips into soft falsettos to contrast his grittier, angrier moments. The expression in Fish's lyrics and vocals doesn't seem to be evident in the accompanying music, save some superb Rothery solos. The "Oh, it was the 80s" apology doesn't entirely convince me because Kate Bush used 80s technology to craft the incomparably more eclectic The Dreaming. Nor is the musicianship nearly as virtuoso as on King Crimson's Discipline. Who's to say that, given the chance, even in the 70s, Marillion perhaps may not have matched up to the standards of Genesis or King Crimson, musically that is.

Still, the complexity of five of the six tracks (excluding the radio-ready He Knows You Know) also serves to make it an engaging listening experience. Taken together with the lyrics, the album is more than solid and has an appealing consistency (if a bit tiresome on days when you are not quite in the mood for listening right through). Four stars for a very satisfying album that just lacks that something extra to push me to consider a five.

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Posted Saturday, October 5, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars I've first read about Marillion in 1994-1995. Then I bought the well known in CIS (Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Kazakhstan, etc.) rock encyclopaedia by Progressor (Eugeny Menshikov). The guy knew a bit of a little about many of performers he mentioned there. And the author's view was a bit too specific. So, everything in the world was considered art-rock or inclining with art-rock. Back then I could not have an idea of many singers he noted upon. But at least I got an info, though not necessarily correct. Thank you, Mr. Menshikov, you did a very decent job!

One of the most intriguing articles in the book was of Marillion. The title of the band was very fairysh, and when I read the discography given after the article... Man, we got jester! I was in love with the imagery that I imagined on my own when reading of the stuff like this. I would fall in love with Tarzan's adventures in a year after that.

Now, to be frank, I first listened to their music in 2000-smth. I had an expectation of the music from the medieval fairy tale consisting of the respective imagery, respective melodies, respective bridges linking the main melodies with all surrounding parts, variety. I had already known and loved so much early Genesis (primarily, Trespass and Foxtrot). I thought of the consistency that made Looking For Someone so tremendous. I thought of the grandeur of Cressida's Munich. I thought of what I had read in rock encyclopedia when I was a child.

What I really heard in Marillion's debut, really disappointed me, thus making me a moderate hater of any neo prog. Really fine imagery, really fine art work (on their first albums), really groundbreaking melodies (on their first 3 albums), plots, spirit. I adore, I respect. The bad side is the banal plain linking of the perfect melodies in the song, arrangements looking all the same, complex expected unexpected changes in mood and rhythm that do not really work. It may be 80s, or it may be better sound producing, or clearer recording quality, but I bet I was not able to hear the lyrics. I am not a native English speaker, I am Ukrainian, I can speak Ukrainian and Russian. But when I listened to Peter Gabriel, I could pick some verses. And I heard the man singing in different voices. Here I was expecting for a musical tale, with voices sounding different. The first track sounded so promising to me in all respects.

What's then? Basically, all the same, and never as great the first track. I have heard FISH squealing, FISH singing, FISH speaking, going to the start, unexpected change, 80s melodic bridge, banal drumming, finish of the tune. Talented musicians that really created good melodies but went nowhere with them. I'd rather expect for more elaborated but however a variant of JT's Up To Me performing. You got the main melody and developing over it, making a sonata form upon it - but no, Marillion chose their own path. This problem would be perfectly seen in their later albums, notably in Incubus from Fugazi. We start from the great intro that would no longer appear in its perfection. I mean, I really felt like listening to some black metal with fine orchestration in the beginning and just ahh, oohh, rrgh afterwards. More intelligent incarnation, but however.

It is totally the same that blackens Camel's heritage in my eyes. Such perfect melodies that lead nowhere. At first, I gave it 4 stars because it is known as the first neo prog recording ever, and thanks to them for playing such intricating intricated deep music in the hard and heavy in all respects 1980s. Then I've listened to it just for rating giving purpose, and honestly I've found the bonus tracks' melodies even more engaging than the originals'. It is worth of two stars and that is what I give it now. I still listen to it sometimes (and I also listen to the next 2 albums). Decent as the start of the movement, banal in the arrangement sounding. Yezda Urfa sounding does not beat Gentle Giant, Gabriel singing & fairy-tale lyrics & perfect main melodies could not beat real Gabriel-era Genesis. Every lover of the classic 70s prog must hear this album (and, probably, its 2-3 successors) to get an idea of the substyle, though. Although, musically it is a banality raised to a power of cult.

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Posted Thursday, October 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Prog as if punk actually happened. A stunning debut that combines the anger and immediacy of punk,the power chords of metal, the melodies of symphonic prog and the vocal theatricality of Peter Hammill. While certainly rooted in early-80s Britain, this brilliant album has nevertheless stood the test of time and retains a freshness and relevance to this day.

Fish's lyrics are direct and literate, ranging from sentimental introspection to searing social commentary with much raw emotion on display and occasional doses of humour thrown in (particularly evident on Garden Party). Those lyrics combine beautifully with the music produced by the abundance of song-writing and technical talent within the band.

While the understated Chelsea Monday has a brilliant hauntinq quality, the stand-out masterpiece must be Forgotten Sons, a dramatic evocation of the human cost of Britain's military presence in Northern Ireland that retains its relevance wherever British (or other) troops are required to intervene in conflicts that they little understand and cannot hope to quell (sound familiar?).

An essential recording that placed Marillion at the vanguard of the neo-prog movement.

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Posted Sunday, December 15, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Genesis went pop by the end of the seventies with "... And Then There Where Three". But in 1983, we were gifted with a revitalized "Genesis" come back provided by Fish and his partners! "Script For A Jester's Tear" is an album that marks the return of progressive rock as a great musical force, that was getting lost at the time. The first time I played this album, I thought "Is this the voice of Peter Gabriel?". Of course Fish's singing has much in common with Gabriel's, but the fact is that the whole sound is influenced by the classic Genesis. And being this way, the results couldn't be bad! The album comprises six songs with more than 7 minutes each, except for "He Knows You Know" that has a little more than 5. This album is a must for every serious progressive rock fan. 5 stars!!!
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Posted Friday, January 3, 2014 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars Although the neo-prog branch of symphonic progessive rock started in the 70s, it's pretty easy to pinpoint just where the movement caught fire in the drought years of the 80s. MARILLION burst onto the scene with this classic and reminded the musical world that prog wasn't dead but merely taking a siesta while all the angry punkers were having their short stint in the limelight. As the punk scene was becoming splintered into diverse new arenas such as new wave, no wave, post punk and more, MARILLION delivered a message that despite the attempt to suffocate the movement by dumbing everything musical down to the lowest common denominator, prog was like a nasty weed that continues to grow and thrive in the cracks of the pavement.

Although Fish does nail the Peter Gabriel thing quite spectacularly, I would have to add that he sounds much more like Peter Hammill at times. With strong and lengthy compositions and energetic band members delivering with gusto this is one of my favorite albums in the whole neo-prog subgenre. Fish has never sounded better and despite my usual dislike of overtly borrowing of another's past workings I have to admit this album delivered the right thing at the right time and was done extremely well at that. One of those cases where I like the influenced better than the influencers.

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Posted Tuesday, January 7, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Since the two bands are always lumped together, I checked out what Genesis was doing in 1983. They put out their self-titled album, which is usually abused for not being progressive enough. I personally like the Genesis album a lot, and I hold the unpopular opinion that Genesis were just as entertaining after Gabriel left.

Frankly, I'm not a fan of neo-prog all that much. I listen to progressive music to hear something I haven't heard before. For people who were looking to fill the Genesis gap, like the group of rock musicians I lived with during college, Script for a Jester's Tear was probably just the thing. I'm writing all of this because it is relevant to my ultimate opinion of this album. I'm giving Script (for short) a 4 star rating. While I'm aware of its place in progressive music history, Script is just not a 5 star album for me.

Script definitely contains many of Marillion's best songs. I love "The Web", "Garden Party", and "Chelsea Monday". I prefer Hogarth's singing over Fish's, which I sometimes find overwrought. I think where Marillion succeeds in comparison to Genesis is in lyrics, regardless of which Marillion vocalist we're talking about. Gabriel's lyrics are often TOO clever for their own good, while Hogarth/Fish are easier to connect to emotionally. The only song on Script that doesn't meet up to the standard of the others is "Forgotten Sons" IMO. However, that's an exception. Overall, Script for A Jester's Tear is definitely a 4 star album.

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Posted Tuesday, August 5, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Marillion is a band that I've grown more fond of over the years that I've known them. This album, I believe, has only a modest Genesis influence at best, and is quite original. Sure, Fish at times resembles Peter Gabriel, but that's trivial.

The opening title track really sets the stage for what's to come on here. The track goes through several different sections and transitions perfectly from one part to another. However, the other tracks on the album are all very good as well, particularly Chelsea Monday, The Web, and the closer Forgotten Sons.

Of all the tracks on here, He Knows You Know is my least favorite, particularly because of Fish's vocal delivery, but I still do like the progression of the track, and feel like taking it out of the album would not be a wise decision.

This is a fantastic debut, and was a great foundation for the band to build upon on future albums, which grew further away from this sound.

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Posted Thursday, October 2, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Another victim of time and listening in too often, I guess. I got Script For A Jester's Tear on vinyl in 1990 or 1991, when I still had no CD player of my own, and I immediately loved the whole album. If I felt there was a slightly weaker song then, I guess it was He Knows You Know, but I absolutely adored Chelsea Monday, Forgotten Sons and especially the title song.

So here I am once more in the playground of the broken hearts. Boah!! What a start of an album. And then this final part, this monster of a guitar solo over this innocent line "Can you still say you love me?", not to forget all those little word games in the slow section. No wonder I named one of my best private cocktail creations after this song. But unfortunately there is what I call the rhythm part in between. For more than 20 years I didn't mind it, Script For A Jester's Tear was firmly one of my Top 5 songs. But now that I've heard it what feels like ten thousand times, it feels repetitive and a wee bit boring so I've been trying to avoid the song for quite some time now. But it's certainly not as bad as The Great Gig In The Sky, I still love the first two and the last three and a half minutes of Script. Unfortunately it is impossible to cut out the part I don't like so much, so I will have to keep avoiding it or get over the dislike (probably the latter).

However, nothing has changed about the five other songs on the album. They are still among the best Neo-Prog has ever delivered. My personal ranking and rating of them has always remained the same. The issue about the title track reduces the overall rating from perfect 5.0 stars down to 4.4, though I wouldn't swear on my life and magic that this will never change again. So it is 4 stars for now.

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Posted Tuesday, January 27, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was the first neo-prog I had ever heard . It was back in 1983 and I first thought this was some ill timed early Genesis rip-off. But after listening to it over and over with sort of a perverse guilty pleasure fascination, it grew one me. At the time nobody was supposed to like this sort of stuff as the post-punk style fascists had declared this kind of music unacceptable. Well screw those long gone idiots; this is a time piece that still stand up. I give this four stars and I also disagree with all of those who savagely maligned Mick Pointer's drumming. On the album itself it sounds fine to my ears.
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Posted Saturday, January 31, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars Marillion's 'Script For A Jesters Tear' is in my opinion the definitive Marillion album. No matter how good the follow-up Marillion records have been, and there have been some crackers over the years, nothing has ever come close to matching the power and creativity shown on the 'Script'. There isn't a single ounce of fat on this album, every note has its place and every vocal is a lesson in perfection. Plenty of room is given throughout the compositions for lengthy instrumental sections, and the band are in complete harmony in every moment.

The album starts with the title track, 'Script For A Jesters Tear', which might be the best song Marillion have ever written. The naked vocals of Fish in the opening few bars can't help but make you think of Genesis's 'Selling England'. I have always wondered if this was an intention of the band, a sort of homage to their favourite band? But soon the rest of the band join in and this song blossoms into such a powerful piece of music and demonstrates just how amazing Fish is as a vocalist, particularly in the closing moments.

The rest of the album is equally compelling. I don't really want to do a track-by-track review of this album as it's not really my style, but I'll say that every song on this record is brilliant, and I never skip a single minute of this disc when I sit down to listen. It is utterly memorizing music I've never once gotten bored with it.

If I ever get stranded on that desert island this album will DEFINITELY be coming with me! Absolutely 5-stars, perfect progressive music for all tastes!

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Posted Saturday, July 18, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars Marillion's album Script for a Jester's Tear was one of the first albums I bought as a young teenager. That said, it means a lot to me, as do many albums to many people, especially those from their formative years. So, I am biased about this....Also, I hadn't heard Genesis' early Gabriel music at that time, so I didn't know the heritage or the references. That came later.

So, kicking off we have the title track, which sets the scene for Marillion in general. Whimsical, smart and beautiful music, with something extra. That extra was Fish's vocals. At the time, enigmatic and interesting and if you weren't aware of Gabriel, as I wasn't at 14, Fish was unique. Certainly in the backdrop of the 1980's rather dull and dry electronic pop scene, I hadn't come across anything as interesting as this other than Ozzy Osbourne, from his Blizzard and Diary days with Randy Rhoads. Clever lyrics support the musical changes throughout the song, although I have heard the accusations levelled that these were mostly 6th form wistful teenager lyrics. That may be kind of true, but I didn't know of any teenager with such an expressive voice. Part of the success of this song is the genuine feeling that it puts across and that it was long a winding, full of changes.

He Knows You Know speaks for itself. It's a great short song that packs a punch about the drug life that some people find themselves ending up in. Steve Rothery's guitar work showing up very well, with a tasteful and emotive solo as are all Mr Rothery's guitar solos. The Web is a meandering song, with some fine moments, but to me, one of the weaker ones. (that comment will no doubt land me in all kinds of trouble...)

Garden Party is a classic and represents Marillion well. This song hooked me straight away. I have to say, I prefer the Recital Of the Script or Reel To Real versions of this song as they are slightly less stilted.

Chelsea Monday is dripping with imagery and a lesser band might have found themselves plodding through this song and stalling, but Marillion keep it alive all the way through with emotion aplenty. A song about the small and perhaps pitiful lives that some people box themselves into, in this instance, the loneliness of a young girl, hoping that her "prince in his white Capri" will whisk her away from the drab life she has given herself. Pinning all her hopes that some young guy will come and set her free. Doesn't happen, "what a waste". This song is one of my favourites.

Forgotten Sons is what is says it is. Musically strong, it's a fantastic strident song in the beginning, highlighting the supposed thrill for a young person who's joined the army, then moving on to the obvious downsides of "joining up", such as killing innocents, destroying your soul and eventual death by a "terrorist" and the devastation caused by the death of the soldier on his/ her family. All good stuff, and a song that referenced the euphemistically named "troubles" in Northern Ireland at the time. Never meant as political song, according to Fish and it isn't really. It doesn't take on the bigger issues of war and the propagandised term "terrorist", it's more of a personal tale I suppose. Personally, I feel that if you are dumb enough to go killing and murdering other people on the behalf of other people, who're paying you to do murder, you deserve what you get. I thought that then and think that now. Musically, it's one of the highlights, certainly the guitar hook at the end and Rothery's sublime and beautiful playing is a high point as well as a superb showcase for Fish's vocals which run the gamut of spitting anger, sorrow, mockery and pain. He had such a distinctive, expressive and wide vocal range, which he has sadly lost along the years, but perhaps his vocals have gained in other subtler ways since.

A magnificent album, certainly in the top 2 Marillion albums for me, and highly recommended. For me, this was Marillion at their most vibrant; it remained that way for the next album for me. After that, well.... that's all opinion as well isn't it?

Report this review (#1453498)
Posted Sunday, August 16, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars First and best neo-prog album ever?

Released in 1983, "Script For A Jester's Tear" marks the genuine birth of the neo-progressive rock genre. MARILLION mixes various ideas from the 70's prog masters like GENESIS and PINK FLOYD with the energy, urgency and synthesizers of the 80's. One may find the influences too obvious, the songs less complex and interesting, and Fish's theatrical singing trying too much to mimic Peter Gabriel's. However, from these elements, the band manages to modernize (at the time) progressive rock and to define a new musical sub-genre. This first opus already offers a novel approach, many keyboards and guitar soli, and sonorities that cannot be found in the 70's classics.

Featuring several ambiance changes, the title track is a true delicate depressive musical drama. A little gem, with an aerial guitar. On the contrary, "He Knows You Know" is rock-ier and sharper. The fantasy synthesizer playing will become typical of the neo-prog style. Then comes "The Web", alternating tense and soft beautiful passages. This song contains very nice and refreshing keyboards and guitar soli.

Although less remarkable than the other songs, the punchy "Garden Party" is also quite pleasant. The melancholic "Chelsea Monday" contains a pretty unreal guitar play, sometimes sounding Gilmour-ish, but used in MARILLION's world. This magical atmosphere was quite new at the time. The powerful finale is simply great. The ender "Forgotten Sons" is my favorite song of the record. Featuring the most lively and ferocious passages of the disc, it also shows different influences, like a slight funky feel. A successful marriage between keyboards and lyrical guitar, with a beautiful evanescent finale. It rocks!

Although shorter when compared to the prog classics, the compositions manage to offer good progressions, changes and variety. MARILLION manages to build their own identity by merging their different seventies inspirations into the musical landscape of the eighties. Despite a dated sound, this first opus is rather refreshing and promising, and opens new horizons for other bands to come.

Simply essential for every fan of the genre. Also the one to start with for Gabriel-era GENESIS lovers. With "Fugazi", "Script For A Jester's Tear" is MARILLION's best album, as well as one of the best neo-progressive record of the 80's!

Report this review (#1558683)
Posted Wednesday, May 4, 2016 | Review Permalink
5 stars Review Nş 128

"Script For A Jester's Tear" is the debut studio album of Marillion and was released in 1983. The album was released after their fantastic EP "Market Square Heroes" with also "Three Boats From The Candy" and on the B side with their great epic "Grendel". The line up on the album is Derek Dick "Fish" (vocals), Steve Rothery (guitars), Mark Kelly (keyboards), Pete Trewavas (bass) and Mick Pointer (drums). Beyond "Market Square Heroes", this is the only album to feature Pointer in the group. He left Marillion to found Arena where he is still their current drummer.

"Script For A Jester's Tear" has six tracks. All songs were written by Fish, Rothery, Trewavas, Pointer and Kelly, except "The Web" which was also written by Brian Jellyman and "He Knows You Know", "Garden Party" and "Forgotten Sons" which were also written by Jellyman and Diz Minnett. The first track is the title track "Script For A Jester's Tear". This is a fantastic song, is a brilliant opener and is also without any doubt a memorable musical moment on the album. It's clearly progressive rock music with a strong melody and sung wonderfully by the magnificent voice of Fish. It's a song that reminds us perfectly, the good old times of the progressive rock music, especially the masterpieces of Genesis in the vein of Gabriel's era. The second track "He Knows You Know" was the song chosen to be Marillion's second single and is a song that tells us about the abuse of drugs, and alludes particularly to intravenous drug use. This is the shortest song on the album but it's still a great track and represents also another great musical moment on the album. It's a very powerful song with powerful lyrics too. The song begins with the guitar followed by Fish's voice and soon the keyboards appear also and then, the song reaches its great musical climax when the drum section enters on the scene. The third track "The Web" is another great song with a beautiful composition and powerful lyrics and is very enjoyable to listen to. Probably it isn't as appealing as the other two previous songs, but it's without any doubt a song that fixes us firmly into the territory of the progressive rock music. This is a very melodic song and it has also a magnificent harmonic musical progression, making of it a truly progressive track. It has also magnificent individual musical performances, especially the fantastic guitar work of Rothery and the magnificent and bombastic keyboard work of Kelly. The fourth track "Garden Party" was another song chosen to be released as a single and it was their third single. This time, the song is a parody of social elitism and snobbery in our society and this is probably the least depressing song on the album. The lyrics are absolutely fantastic, very satiric, and it represents perhaps Fish's best lyrical performance on the entire album. This song reminds me strongly the very personal and unique style of Gabriel in the good old Genesis' times. This is also, in my humble opinion, another great track. The fifth track "Chelsea Monday" is another great song and represents another highest moment on the album. This is one of the simplest tracks on the album but it's still a very powerful song. It became one of the classic songs of the band and it remains, even today, as fresh as it was in those days. This always was one of my favourite songs of the group, very mellow with a very reach musical ambience and with also very deep lyrics that almost make us cry. The musical arrangement of this song is, for my taste, absolutely fantastic. The sixth and last track "Forgotten Sons" represents another highlight of the album and is without any doubt a perfect way to close this incredible musical work. This track represents for many of us the best musical moment on the album. The opening of this song is very powerful and reminds us a group of soldiers marching into their destination, the battlefield. It's also a song with very powerful lyrics and a clear political message. This is, in my humble opinion, one of their greatest pieces of music with absolutely fantastic individual musical performances, culminating with a great guitar solo. This is really a very powerful and overwhelming song, a great close for the album.

Conclusion: It's commonly accepted that "Script For A Jester's Tear" is with "Misplaced Childhood" probably the two best studio albums released by the group in the music era of Fish. It's also true that the opinion of which of these albums is the best, is divided. Both have their supporters. However, and in my humble opinion, "Misplaced Childhood" is a better album because is a more cohesive and well balanced musical work. Still, nobody can't deny the fundamental importance of "Script For A Jester's Tear", in those times, for progressive rock. In a certain way "Script For A Jester's Tear" was as important as "In The Court Of The Crimson King" of King Crimson was for the progressive rock music in the 70's. In the summer of 1982 the punk explosion was gone but remained some echoes, a parade of a new romantic musical movement. So, when the music world seemed to be at the mercy of the new romantics, "Script For A Jester's Tear" represents a landmark and a breath of fresh air that progressive rock music, so needed at the time. We can even say that since "Script For A Jester's Tear" the world of progressive rock has raised again and no longer was the same.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#1743311)
Posted Thursday, July 13, 2017 | Review Permalink
2 stars I tried so hard to let this album grow on me, I really did. I'm a big Marillion fan and their early work is so exciting and fun to listen to. But not so much with the bands debut, 'Script for a Jester's Tear'. I struggled over this album for ages and ages, trying to think of what to say. The thing is, every song has it's high and low points. For example; 'Forgotten Sons'. The first half of this song features some of my favourite Marillion melodies. It's vibrant, energetic, and catchy. But when the song reaches the four-minute mark, it just stops dead. I feel like it's lost all its momentum, and the remainder of the song fails to catch my interest.

This is pretty much how I feel about every song on the album.

With the only exception being 'He Knows You Know', which is the only song I like all the way through, it just feels like there aren't any songs that I like from start to finish.

It's my only legit complaint, because otherwise, this would be a fantastic debut album. The passionate guitar playing, the beautiful keyboard melodies, the witty lyrics, it all comes together nicely to give Marillion a fresh and refined sound, that helped revitalize the prog scene in the 1980's.

'Script' isn't a bad album, but I really can't justify giving it more than two stars.

Report this review (#1778894)
Posted Sunday, September 3, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars Prologue: Those were disappointing progrock years for me, between 1978 and 1983, with And Then There Were Three by Genesis, Tormato by Yes, Love Beach by ELP and The Final Cut by Pink Floyd and even my beloved Rush flirted with reggae and new wave, on Signals in 1982. In March 1983 I stumbled upon an album that had caught my eye, due to the mindblowing artwork: Script For A Jester's Tear by Marillion. A year ago I had listened to their maxi single Market Square Heroes/Grendel but I was not really convinced of their potential. However, I took a look at the awesome vintage instruments (like Strat ' and Yamaha guitar, Rickenbacker ' and Fender fretless bass, Minimoog synthesizer and Mellotron) and the fascinating, poetrical lyrics. Then I decided to give Marillion a second chance, the rest is history.

1. Script For A Jester's Tears (8:39) : What an incredible and legendary first part with only Fish his almost spoken words and tender Grand piano, then the music becomes more lush and finally a bombastic eruption featuring howling guitar runs and emotional vocals ('Yet another emotional suicide, overdosed on sentiment and pride'). Next the composition alternates between catchy, dreamy and compelling, in perfect balance to support the wonderful Fish vocals and the poetrical lyrics. All topped by Mark Kelly his distinctive sparkling synthesizer flights. The outstanding final part delivers dramatic vocals and moving work on guitar, with the use of sustain (Steve Rothery is a huge fan of Carlos Santana).

2. He Knows You Know (5:22) : This is more melodic rock, wonderfully coloured by guitar and keyboards, with the focus on Fish his powerful vocals and his cynical lyrics.

3. The Web (8:48) : Another great start, now with a telephone call and then a climate that shifts between bombastic outbursts and catchy beats. We can enjoy those sparking Mark Kelly synthesizer flights, strong Fish vocals and a long and moving guitar solo, emphasizing Rothery his important role on this album.

4. Garden Party (7:15) : Cheerful melodic rock with a strong tension between the mellow and up-tempo atmospheres and tasteful work on keyboards and guitar. Fish sings in the vein of the provocative Jim Morrison: 'I'm rocking I'm f xxx ing !

5. Chelsea Monday (8:16) : A sultry atmosphere featuring subtle guitarwork (with slide and sustain), a buzzing bass and dramatic vocals ('Catalogue princess, apprentice seductress, buried in her cellophane world in glitter town, of Chelsea Monday)', culminating in a sumptuous outburst with fiery and howling guitar runs, goose bumps! The dramatic shifting moods match perfectly with the contrasts of the life of the young woman in this song, topped by awesome, very compelling guitarwork (sustain, volume pedal). The final part changes from bombastic to a slowly fading, dreamy atmosphere, with wonderful words about a sad situation. What a superb composition, legendary (neo) progrock!

6. Forgotten Sons (8:21) : Another very captivating and compelling composition about a victim of society, this time those who are unemployed and choose to go into the army. Fish shines with his venemous vocals and lyrics, the atmosphere fits perfectly with Fish his anger. Halfway another highlight in (neo) progrock, a breathtaking instrumental part with biting electric guitar runs, accompanied by propulsive drum beats, culminating in a very compelling final section with moving electric guitar and dramatic vocals ('On the news a nation mourns you unknown soldier count the cost, for a second you'll be famous but labelled posthumous'). In order to top this sumptuous neo prog grand finale, Marillion got the brilliant idea to use the unsurpassed Mellotron (choir section) in the EMI studio, again goose bumps!

The bonus disc: This is an interesting extra feature with often a more or less different colouring of the instruments, especially in Grendel (string-ensemble, halfway a jam session by guitar and keyboards and finally a guitar solo with wah-wah), Chelsea Monday (acoustic guitar, powerful Moog Taurus bass pedal sound and a remarkable presence of Mellotron violins in the final part) and He Knows You Know (softer climate, with Mellotron and organ sound).

Epilogue: I was 22 years old when I bought the vinyl in 1983, now I am 57 and listening to this album I am still carried away by Marillion their wonderful first album, timeless music! And it paved the way for the socalled neo- progressive movement, as a bridge between the Seventies and the Eighties. Because early Marillion is rooted in the classic progressive rock sound, but less self-indulgent and less complex. And it features that typical Eighties attitude: more song oriented, more melodic and more 'down to earth' lyrics. Marillion remained superior, and IQ second best.

Report this review (#1911855)
Posted Tuesday, April 3, 2018 | Review Permalink
5 stars In 1983, musical world seems to be in a dead-end. While the big Zeppelin did crash after Bonham's dead, Pink Floyd was releasing the 1st Roger Waters solo album Final Cut. Genesis and Yes were going nowhere with the Genesis album (aka Shapes) and 90125.

Then radio station CHOM-FM started to play a song called He Knows You Know on a regular basis. It is that year I discovered Marillion. Script For A Jester's Tear still remains a masterpiece today and the best album produced by the band. Despite the poor drumming from Mick Pointer, this album has everything a prog lover can ask for, including the wonderful illustration from Mark Wilkinson.

Album starts with what is probably the most emotional song Marillion did write. Script is that good. I love this song. Everything seems perfect in this 8+ minute song. From the a cappella "So Here I Am Once More" to the final "Can You Still Say You Love Me", the song is a roller-coaster between great guitar solos and more quiet sections.

He Knows You Know and Garden Party are the most straight-forward songs and are very good. The Web and Chelsea Monday are both real gems with again great guitar parts by Rothery.

Then, the grand finale of the album, Forgotten Sons. Starting with sounds coming from many radio channels, including snippet of Market Square Heroes, the song hits us right from the beginning. Each and every musician has his shining moments. Even the drum is sounding good, thanks to the military march beat. The final section, sung by Fish, starting with "You're just another coffin" is just to give goose bumps.

With this first album, Marillion did help the progressive music to stay alive. I did listen to those songs thousand of times since 35 years, and they are as good as they were back in 1983. Masterpiece, I give 5 stars.

Report this review (#1977902)
Posted Tuesday, August 14, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars While the progressive scene seemed to suffer for the destructive force of punk, NWOBHM and disco especially in Italy, in other countries the movement continued to produce with old pals changing some directions (like Camel with nude and single factor) and new entries. Marillion are, in my humble opinion, the starting point and the reference for future bands of the new era. I admit not liking the era very much, yet I consider the Script as an excellent addition. First of all, being a watershed between "old" and "new" you should listen to it to have an idea. Let me say I prefer the live "Recital" when listening to the Script as a whole (so the recital deserves a 5/5). Anyway, the studio version is a really good piece. Go straight to "Garden Party", it's intro is def. an 80ties stuff. I remember listening to the single because I heard Andy Ward was playing on it (despite he just did the video shootage) and being quite skeptical about the song. After some time I listened again, this time to the full album and I was intrigued by the narrative force of Fish. Indeed, Genesis are a strong reference, since Fish draws a lot from Peter Gabriel hat, singing/acting in a very solid way. He adds harder or "more cruel" stuff to his voice and you can really feel the anger of knowing that "the game is over". So the two focal points are Garden Party and the titletrack, with a surrounding of greatly balanced songs (I personally prefer Three boats than He knows you know - the other single hit). Lyrics are the best they ever wrote quite complex compared to Misplaced Childhood ones. Music is fine, with some great solos from Rothery. An excellent add-on to progressive music, you can stop at this piece or go on with the evolution.
Report this review (#2201064)
Posted Wednesday, May 8, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hello! I'm new to Progarchives! I'm thankful for this website! This is my first review so I will do the very best I can.

First thing's first: What a band! Marillion, formed in 1979, arrived at their first official and professional lineup in 1982, a year before this beauty came out in 1983. For a debut prog album, this one made a critical statement, in my humble opinion. It really set the stage for the neo-prog subgenre along with IQ's "Tales from the Lush Attic," released also in 1983. The first thing that jumps out at me was their youthfulness and eagerness, which i really appreciate. If there is anyone out there that is a fan of early Genesis ('Nursery Cryme,' 'Foxtrot' and 'Selling England by the Pound' era), this is for you! I will say, however, Steve Rothery's guitar filled out so much space and was a little more aggressive than Steve Hackett, although both are very fine guitarists. I'm sure many have said this, but Fish's vocals are very reminiscent of Peter Gabriel's style.

Now, the album itself... Marillion were criticized for being Genesis soundalikes, but I believe they developed their own sound. Rothery's guitar shone and twinkled in songs like "Garden Party," Pete Trewavas' bass had this burst of low end that was very satisfying. It reminds me a lot of Chris Squire's sound from the early Yes era ('Fragile' and 'Close to the Edge'). Mick Pointer's drumming was interesting, and strong. And of course, Mark Kelly's virtuosity on keyboards is undeniable. Songs like "Forgotten Sons" had a very creative Scottish-esque jig after the first verse. His ability to fly across keyboards and play multiple keyboards at once is a great technique to watch, let alone listen to.

For me, "Chelsea Monday" had more of a new wave feel, which is fun, although it retained the characteristic uncertainty of musical direction that Neo-Prog can and often does have.

The title track was a great song for experimentation as well as "The Web," which I am particularly fond of. And of course the single "He Knows You Know" had a Genesis vibe, for me at least. It reminded me of "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" for some reason. I think it was the vocal layering in the chorus.

Overall, I would give this album a 4 star rating. It is a landmark in Neo-progressive rock music, they were still polishing their sound. As far as being a debut effort, I'm very pleased and impressed!

Report this review (#2288702)
Posted Friday, December 20, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars Marillion is a Neo-Prog band that formed in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, in 1979. They were the most commercially successful neo-progressive rock band of the 1980s. The album reached number seven and spent 31 weeks in the UK Albums Chart, eventually achieving a platinum certificate. There were not to many good progressive rock bands in the 1980's so seeing that this album came out in 1983 still shocks me. Now lets review each song individually.

Script for a Jesters Tear - This is my favorite song in the album. This song is just stunning! Right away you realize that the vocals are going to be good. The vocals always gave me a Peter Gabriel vibe. After the mellow and beautiful intro to the song it really picks up when piano and drums come in. It is very grand. The guitar work on this song is also great and drums and bass go along with the song nicely. The ending to the song is incredible. With the piano in the background and great singing by Fish. This song is definitely one of the best songs of the Neo-Prog genre. ( 5/5 )

He Knows You Know - How can you make a song that can top the previous song? ( Script for a Jesters Tear ) Well... you can't. This song does not compare to the previous song. It has some nice keyboards but this song is a little to pop for me. Its not a bad song. Just does not top anything else in the album. ( 3/5 )

The Web - The song starts off strong with the great keyboard work by Mark Kelly. The instrumentals in this song are just awesome. Same with the guitar solo during the middle of the song and the instrumental during the end of the song.. I just love it. This is a great song. ( 5/5 )

Garden Party - Just like the first song in the album ( Script for a Jesters Tear ) the keyboard work is great. Same with the bass and drums in the beginning. They fit together very nicely. The main thing i like about this song is the instrumental during the middle of the song and the chorus at the end. but overall, its a very pleasant song. ( 4/5 )

Chelsea Monday - " But for now it's just another Chelsea Monday " This song starts off slow but then picks back up around the 2:00 minute mark. Trust me when i say the guitar work on this song is fantastic. The song always gave me a dark feeling throughout it. This is a very interesting and unique song ( 5/5 )

Forgotten Sons - This song is one of those songs that ends stronger then it starts. The beginning of the song is good but its nothing that's out of this world. It has great keyboard like usual but I also enjoyed the drums on this song. I also like the instrumental that starts around the 3:00 mark it is very groovy. But for me, the masterpiece of the song starts around the 4:10 mark to the end of the song. I just love everything from 4:10+ in this song, its just incredible! The vocals are just outstanding and captivating. The first 4 minutes and 10 seconds of the song is good but every that comes after that brings it up to the rating I am giving this song. ( 5/5 )

Overall this album is one of the best progressive rock albums of the 80's and also one of the best progressive rock albums in general. This is how Genesis should have sounded like in the 80's. ( 5/5 )

Report this review (#2314458)
Posted Monday, February 10, 2020 | Review Permalink

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