Verbal Delirium – The Imprisoned Words of Fear
Now, with autumn in full ‘bloom’ and winter approaching, Verbal Delirium, the finest Prog band out of Greece, strike back with their third album called “The Imprisoned Words of Fear”. A collection of songs chock full with their unique signature melancholy sound and a few surprises up their sleeves. They were the big surprise band for many who attended the ProgPower Europe festival in 2013 and are responsible for one of the most beautiful songs in recent years, namely ‘Sudden Winter’ from their second album “From the Small Hours of Weakness”. With the lyrics video single ‘Images from a Grey World’, the first impression was that Verbal Delirium were going for a decidedly heavier approach than before. So my curiosity was sparked for the experience of the whole album
The short (as in ‘prog short’, meaning just about 3 minutes, the average duration of a pop song) intro ‘Words’ paves the way, establishing the mood of the album. ‘Close To You’, the first of three ‘shorter’ songs (again, a short prog song meaning around 6 minutes), starts the sonic journey for real with a nice riff, that quickly gives way to a bass groove with a folky flute melody on top, discarding the notion of an altogether heavier approach from the start. But only for the best. Swathing mellotron tapestries, (sometimes jazzy) piano bits, roaring hammond organ, keyboard sounds definitely play an integral role in Verbal Delirium’s music. But it is the whole package with a tight grooving rhythm section and top notch guitar playing, that brings the excellently crafted songs to life.
‘Misleading Path’ has Änglagård and Anekdoten written all over it, with a short greek sounding interlude in the middle that pops up again at the end. And the wordless vocals even evoke memories of Magma, the inventors of the so called Zeuhl music, though a great deal more accessible and less weird. The aforementioned ‘Images from a Grey World’ turns out to be more the exception than the norm with its heavy guitars and roaring hammond, even flirting with metal the way drums, rhythm and lead guitars are thundering through the heavy parts. But it works out perfectly, both given the dark lyrical content and in the context of the whole album, as the last of the three shorter songs.
‘The Decayed Reflection (A Verbal Delirium)’ starts in an upbeat way, with the happiest Mellotron part I’ve ever heard, courtesy of a dancy bass groove and some funky guitars. Further on, we delve into more Änglagård and Anekdoten styled material, but don’t get me wrong, Verbal Delirium always sound distinctively their own. I am just trying to give you, the reader, some points of reference. Especially the frequent use of piano make them stand out. Also, the swedish masters of mellotron melancholia often have a certain ‘dusty’ quality to their sound, which Verbal Delirium avoid altogether. Not that it’s a bad thing, the Verbal Delirium sound just seems a little bit more timeless to me, embracing both vintage and modern sonic qualities. In the second part of the song, some stunningly beautiful lead guitar work calls for attention with a tone one of my personal guitar favorites, Mr. John Mitchell (Arena, It Bites, Frost*, Lonely Robot) would not be ashamed of.
After a subtle beginning and careful build up, the second part of the 13 minutes longtrack ‘Fear’ features an absolutely gorgeous symphonic arrangement, courtesy of honorary seventh band member Nikitas Kissonas. In a kind of stark contrast to that, the first half of the last track ‘In Memory’ surprises with dark electronic vibes, that work incredibly well once you’re over the first bewilderment. The subtle one-note guitar is reminiscent of King Crimson‘s ‘One Time’, but ‘In Memory’ takes an entirely different turn altogether. The hauntingly beautiful vocals of mastermind and singer Jargon conveying exactly that sense of longing I came to love in ‘Sudden Winter’. A heavy guitar/organ break leads into a beautiful instrumental bass/mellotron groove, that transfers the electronic pattern into an organic band sound. It is growing and growing and growing – only to drop down into the electronics from the beginning, denying the epic release which makes it all the more (in-)tense. The vocal arrangements complement the programmed drums beautifully, and this time a sort of relief is granted after a new build up – a descent into a completeley unexpected dissonant blastbeat finale. Yes, you read that right. Blastbeats! And it works magnificently. What a surprise ending to a brilliant album. Well done guys, you pushed your boundaries and succeeded immensely, surpassing your previous efforts by simply putting out the best Verbal Delirium Album to date. Thank you for this beauty!