MARILLION – Script for a Jester’s Tear (Deluxe Edition – Remixed and Remastered)
Reviewing a release by prog gods Marillion is always a treat regardless of whether we are talking about a new studio album, a live record, or a remastered deluxe edition of a glorious past opus such as the one in question here, namely the hugely influential debut offering titled “Script for a Jester’s Tear”. While said LP was originally released back in 1983, this beautifully packaged and utterly impressive box set, which contains four CDs, a Blu Ray disc, informative liner notes, and photos of old flyers and concert posters, is nothing short of a stroke of brilliance. That should hardly come as a surprise though as Marillion remasters and reissues and whatnot usually ooze class and quality all the way through. That especially goes for the deluxe edition of the morose “Brave” that came out in 2018 and that most certainly goes for the one that we are focusing on here too.
The haunting and heartfelt musical content of “Script for a Jester’s Tear” is as striking and inspiring as ever, which is perfectly exemplified by all the discs that are housed in this lavish-looking box set. Everything sounds incredibly crisp and clear here. Musically, the album is as intriguing and wildly compelling as ever while the lyrics are as eloquently written as they come. Overall, the performances are brimming with confidence and the tracks are overflowing with ideas. One could argue that this collection of cuts may well display one of Fish’s most passionate and emotionally charged vocal deliveries ever committed to tape, but such a discussion is for the Marillion message boards and not necessarily this review. Anyway, there was a strong chemistry between the various members of the group in the early eighties and to these ears, “Script” is the most melodically infectious piece of work in the Marillion canon, which is saying something. Such pristine classics as “Chelsea Monday” and “Forgotten Sons” are full of character and sonically speaking, these sparkling new remixes sound superb.
The 2020 stereo remixes are astounding and a true delight to immerse oneself in and they pack plenty of punch too, but what exactly do you get besides the studio album? Well, the diverse “Market Square Heroes” EP is included (topped off with the bonus track “Charting the Single” that was not to be found on the original 1982 release). Best of all is the previously unreleased “Live at the Marquee Club”, which was taped in London in December 1982 and scattered across two CDs here. The live gig sounds surprisingly good and I am blown away by the power and bombast of the audio tracks. Vibrant, lively, and warm are the key words here. The Blu Ray disc is entertaining too thanks n large part to the in-depth interviews with all the band members from back then. A band’s early days and humble beginnings are usually the most fun to learn and hear about, which is also the case with Marillion. The information and trivia revolving around the lyrics and artwork is very cool and there is a hilarious story about the group buying stage props from Hammer Film Productions at an auction. Apart from promo- and live videos, all the audio tracks from the CDs are also to be found on the Blu Ray disc but in shiny DTS-HD quality.
As I said earlier on, this luxurious and in-depth set of material is beautiful, rich in content, and a mesmerizing listening experience, which ought to make this a mandatory buy for all you lovers of progressive rock out there. “Script for a Jester’s Tear” may sound a little more of its time and perhaps even slightly naive in places compared to its successors, but nevertheless, this deluxe edition highlights a skilled ensemble with a white-knuckle grip on dynamics doing what they do best and it marks a significant event in prog rock history. If you want originality and authenticity, this is exactly the kind of release to turn to. In summing up, this is a must-have, an immersive experience, and hours’ worth of content.