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(43:05, Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Ervelet 1:45 2. So Close and Yet So Far Away 5:16 3. Dancing Generation 5:26 4. Lullaby 7:54 5. They 3:14 6. Erased 5:14 7. Time 5:09 8. The Scene Remains 5:59 9. OK 6:48 10. Reprise 4:12 LINEUP: Jargon – vocals; keyboards Nikitas Kissonas – guitars Nik Michailidis – bass With: Tolis Liapis – drums Elsa Papeli – cello
Prolusion. The Greek outfit VERBAL DELIRIUM was initially formed by composer and keyboardist Jargon back in 1999, but numerous line-up alterations over the next few years resulted in no real progress for the first few years of its existence. A demo was scored in 2007, and with what appeared to be a stabilized personnel situation a full-length debut album was recorded in 2009. The material recorded earned them a deal with the French label Musea Records, which released the album towards the tail end of 2010.
Analysis. When mentioning Greece these days, people will associate this either as one of the countries where they have spent some of their best-ever vacations, reference the numerous impacts this ancient nation has had on history and civilization, or you'll be thrown into a debate about the current economic climate in general and the major chaos the rotten government finances of Greece in particular have contributed to a severely negative impact in that context. Apparently a nation on the brink of bankruptcy at the time of writing, it would also appear that despite these circumstances many fine artists have started to appear from that country in recent years. And Verbal Delirium is as fine a proof as any of just that. Quite a few will have a hard time describing the musical exploits of this fine act. Some elements in their compositions can be traced back to classic acts like The Beatles, but indie-tinged details recalling Radiohead and harder-edged themes closer to acts like Dream Theater in stylistic expression are all parts that make up the musical whole of this band. And while not a revolution as such in the realm of art rock, disco-laden grooves also make an appearance on this CD. But as diverse as the musical components are throughout, I'm pretty sure of one thing: Unless I'm very much mistaken, all of these songs have initially been composed and planned on the piano, while the final arrangements have been worked out afterwards. This debut effort has a strong sense of identity to it, perhaps due to what I surmise has been the compositional approach, but also due to the vary nature of the songs themselves: With a few exceptions aside this is an album that uses, employs and exploits contrasts, mostly by pairing off themes with distinct differences in tonal range, pace and intensity. Dampened, gentle verse parts featuring clean guitar motifs and a piano paired off with a massive, richly textured chorus passage sporting dampened riffs, symphonic backdrops and a generally more intense atmosphere is a fairly common setup form this band. And they know how to add variations to this basic formula, be it in the shape of subtle electronic sounds, gentle guitar details or keyboards and organ utilized in addition to or in place of the piano and vice versa. There are many enticing and compelling creations to enjoy on this fine disc. But more or less surprisingly it is the final track that made most of an impact on me with this production, a relatively gentle and simplistic piano ballad. Partially because it revisits themes explored earlier on this disc, hence the name Reprise I presume, but also due to the strong emotional vocal and instrumental delivery on this composition that results in one of the finest examples of this kind of songs I've come across for quite some time. With PR and marketing power behind it a song that could and most likely should be a major hit.
Conclusion. Strong moods and distinct melodies are at the forefront of the material showcased by Verbal Delirium on this occasion, and as such those with a fancy for capital P progressive rock may not find what they are looking for in this case. But those with a soft spot for acts like Sylvan, especially the more recent parts of their discography, should be a core audience for this band. While different in overall stylistic expression, I believe the overall dynamics of the compositions should resonate well with that particular crowd.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: July 1, 2011
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