Jargon – The Fading Thought
Every now and then, a song comes along that will completely enamor you and you will spend hours, days, weeks, months, years of listening to it, thinking about it, dreaming of it, dwelling in its dreamed-of realms. ‘Sudden Winter’ from Greek prog rockers Verbal Delirium was certainly one of those songs for me and I can still get lost completely in its beautiful melancholy and sweet sadness. Between then and now, the 2016 album. “The Imprisoned Words of Fear” built on that and expanded the sonic palette of Verbal Delirium to an exhilaratingly rich and diverse, yet cohesive masterpiece. (Read my review here)
Fast forward four years, and Verbal Delirium frontman and mastermind Jargon is presenting his first solo effort, “The Fading Thought”. Lyrically a continuation of the idiomatic ‘The Decayed Reflection (A Verbal Delirium)’, this album is clearly exploring the more organic, chamber prog facets of the Verbal Delirium sound. Centered around Jargon’s nostalgic melodies and signature piano play, it is the string quartet of Kostas Karitzis & Thodoris Mouzakitis (Violin), Stelios Papanastasis (Viola) and Aris Zervas (Cello) that plays an equal role next to the traditional rock ensemble. Guitarist Nikitas Kissonas was also responsible for the arrangements of the string quartet while bass player Leonidas Petropoulos also handled production, mixing and mastering duties, both no strangers to the Verbal Delirium universe. Completing the picture is Wil Bow on the drums, making this solo album a real team effort in the end.
The opening instrumental ‘The Film’ sets the tone magnificently, the first notes of Jargon’s piano are enough to send shivers down my spine and the string quartet adds the cinematic feel of a period arthouse love drama. A thread that will weave throughout the entire album. Released digitally on bandcamp and on vinyl, Side A is featuring almost as much instrumental music as it does feature vocals. The ‘Dance Of The Framed Words’ is as proggy as the title suggests, while ‘Light’ plays on a simple melody. The two vocal driven songs ‘In Search Of The Invisible Thin Line’ and the ‘The Fading Thought’ deliver what I came for equally – beautifully melancholic prog rock – throughout their 5 and 7 minutes play time respectively. The title track adds an extended solo section and interesting 3-part song structure.
Side B starts off with the single ‘Time Is Running Out’ (not a Muse cover), perhaps the most Verbal Delirium-esque song on “The Fading Thought”. Heavy guitar riffs that are bordering on metal sonically (like on the Verbal Delirium song ‘Images from a Grey World’) are still nowhere to be found though. The slight dissonances of ‘How Can I?’ are flirting with the avantgarde and some creepy additional backing vocals from Lupe make it even more spooky.
Jargon – Time Is Running Out (click here if the video doesn’t play)
The classic string quartet sound returns at the start of ‘The Last Temptation’, a chilling build-up with percussive dark piano sounds until bass and drums join around the three-minute mark. Overall a prime example how to integrate a string quartet into a band, making them equal partners and not only background musicians. As is the whole album more or less. A seamless segue leads us into the final ‘Window to the World’, where we finally reach the heaviest outbursts, without losing as much as a notch of the ethereal beauty. But spiralling into a dissonant, climactic ending, that suddenly spits us out back into our own grey worlds.
In a world that is facing uncertain times on an unprecedented level, we find hope and beauty in the most unexpected and unusual places. We draw much needed strength from there, and your humble reviewer seems to be a human being who finds exactly that in a couple of songs others might find sad and depressing. A couple of songs that form a flawless, atmospherically dense album. An album full of (bitter-)sweet nostalgia and melancholia is what I expected from Jargon’s first solo release – and “The Fading Thought” delivers in spades. If the artwork seems too grey for you and something more colorful is what you’re looking for, this album might not be for you. If you’re looking for the multifaceted (and mostly pleasant) shades of grey, step right in.
- The Film (05:33)
- In Search Of The Invisible Line (04:53)
- Dance Of The Framed Words (02:38)
- The Fading Thought (07:17)
- Light (03:54)
- Time Is Running Out (06:54)
- How Can I? (06:22)
- The Last Temptation (07:10)
- Window To The World (4:45)