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





4.23 | 1989 ratings

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The Sleepwalker
Prog Reviewer
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.

The Sleepwalker | 3/5 |


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