Verbal Delirium is an artrock/progressive rock band from Greece. The band has already released the following albums; "So Close & Yet So Far Away" (2010), "From The Small Hours Of Weakness" (2013) and “The Imprisoned Words Of Fear” (2016). In the year 2019 I saw the band perform at the "2Days Prog +1" festival (Italy) and the "Progdreams" festival (The Netherlands). Your reviewer was completely blown away at both performances. So I was eagerly looking forward to the new studio album "Conundrum", which will be released on the Bad Elephant Music label at the end of November.
Jargon - lead & backing vocals, additional keyboards; George "La Trappe" Pagidas - bass; Stratos Morianos - keyboards; George "K" Kyriakidis - electric & acoustic guitars; Vasilis "Will Bow" Armaos - drums
Guest musicians: Marios Ivan Papoulias - violin on "Falling - In Pieces", Nicolas Nikolopoulos - saxophones, clarinet on "Conundrum"; Nikitas Kissonas - backing vocals on "Falling - In Pieces" and "Intruders"; Leonidas Petropoulos - backing vocals on "Falling - In Pieces" and "Intruders"; Konstantina Vretou - backing vocals on "Falling - In Pieces"; Eva Milou - backing vocals on "Falling - In Pieces"
The album opens with two linked songs "Falling" (2:51) and "In Pieces" (4:59). So you basically get "Falling In Pieces". "Falling" is a mysterious and atmospheric opener with menacing instrumentation and polyphonic vocals and backing vocals. A piece of music that works towards a climax in terms of intensity. So the sequel is called "In Pieces" and Jargon immediately proves that he is a fantastic singer who knows how to keep the listener's attention. He is supported by several backing vocalists who provide the beautiful vocal harmonies. At the end the menacing atmosphere returns with heavy and freaky guitars and beautiful keyboard orchestrations. The Latin vocal choirs give the ending its special atmosphere.
Surprisingly, "Intruders" (5:30) has a more upbeat atmosphere with fine polyphonic choruses reminiscent of the Beach Boys and/or Todd Rundgren. This is interspersed with heavy instrumental parts that are more metal oriented. A lot of attention has been given to the vocals and vocal choruses. The bombastic ending is really typical Verbal Delirium and I can't wait to hear this live.
The next track is called "The Children Of Water" (5:42) and has a nice build up with lovely vocals and develops into one of my favorite songs on this intriguing album. You can enjoy wonderful melodies and an instrumentation that is nowhere over the top. A beautiful song. Then it's time for the title track from the album "Conundrum" (6:32). To my surprise, instruments like saxophone and clarinet are used in this song. This benefits the diversity of the music. This instrumental track is mainly up-tempo and the intensity of the music slowly builds to a kind of climax. Expect varied drumming and wonderful synth and keyboard parts in this track with a somewhat jazzy and oriental atmosphere.
This is followed by two long compositions. The first of the two is called "The Watcher" (9:03) and is developing into my next personal favorite. Mainly because of the beautiful vocal melody lines, the wonderful heavy guitar work, good drumming and full keyboard orchestrations. Another song that slowly reaches a climax in terms of intensity. At the end the tempo slows down a bit and beautiful and melodic vocal parts follow again. "Neon Eye cage" (9:30) opens with a jazzy piano and delicate vocals. After that, the song gets more volume due to full keyboard work. Various rhythm changes and up tempo vocal parts follow. The instrumental part that follows with broad synths and melodic guitar work is very nice. After the next vocal part, the electric guitars really get the space they need. The musical transition that follows is really beautiful.
The album comes to an end with the beautiful "Fall From Grace" (5:53). A song with a calmly constructive tempo and beautiful melody lines. Not only in terms of vocals and the piano, but the melodic guitar solos can certainly be there as well. Not for the first time, slowly working towards a climax. This is definitely one of the best songs on the album.
With "Conundrum" the fourth studio album of the Greek formation Verbal Delirium, the band gives us a very strong album. A consistent album in terms of compositions and quality. The band sounds mature and seems to have found its niche in the prog scene. The music can be described as art/prog rock with a heavy bite. Verbal Delirium is blessed with a fantastic vocalist and composer (Jargon). Can't wait to hear this music in a live setting. This album is a must for fans who already know the band. And if you don't know the band yet, you're in for a big surprise.