The new five-member alternative rock band from Athens, Greece – Jester Syndrome carve out a sonic territory that’s all their own. It has rough edges and a kickass core. It teems with gritty guitars, melodic cello lines, and hard banging drums. Most of all, it’s entirely distinctive, in an era of smoothly over-produced mainstream radio rock. You’ll know when you’re listening to Jester Syndrome’s music, because you’ll feel the might of the bombast and the raw garage influences. This is the sound of a band remembering how to use their instruments – another lost art in the 21st century.
On their self-titled EP, song by song, Dimitris Nikolopoulos (Guitar, Vocals), Eva Pantazi (Drums), Antonis Hatzimichalis (Lead Guitar), Stella Emmanouilidou (Cello), Yiorgos Gazis (Bass) and Kyriakos Papadodimas (Bass – “Falling Star”) reconcile rock with its core qualities, and seek new kinds of authenticity in songwriting sobriety and maturity.
Right from the outset, the vocal hooks are muscular, carrying immense weight with total ease. While the templates of crunching sound, form the perfect backdrop to the narratives.
The sonic audacity and bursting euphoria of “Weeping Willow” quickly shows us how talented and tightly knitted Jester Syndrome are as a group. This song signals a confident step into the world, as there is a palpable sense of urgency to it.
The music encapsulates raw energy, harsh yet melodic instrumentation, and an infectiously edgy attitude. Intense, effortless melodies that cut through the street-smart danger. The ability to sound vitally alive whilst simultaneously not giving a fuck is evident.
“Falling Star” is thick, fuzzy and anthemic, with the kind of romp-about riffs, and rock sophistication that feels effortless. On top, the vocals boom with melodic thunder. Part of what makes this track so special is its deceptively masterful songwriting and arranging, which provides a “push and pull” for the listener as it switches tempo. Somehow, Dimitris Nikolopoulos has cut through the impenetrable wall of overdriven guitars and pulled out acres of melody.
“Lice On The Head” features sumptuous slices of angular guitar motifs and a runaway rhythm. It is compelling evidence of what makes the band tick, with a fantastic display of swirling guitar-driven rock majesty.
Stella Emmanouilidou’s supersonic Cello, and Yiorgos Gazis’ gear-shifting bass, mesh beautifully around Eva Pantazi’s pounding drums. The combination is a winning one. It’s a masterclass that twists and turns throughout, ascending to a series of triumphant peaks.
Jester Syndrome switch the template on “Sam”, but only in the initial tempo. The jangling crunch of the electric guitars still dominate the band’s aesthetic, alongside the haunting vibrancy of the cello, and the deeply rich vocals.
You can feel the texture of the overdriven guitar frequencies alongside the cello lines that pull on the heart. It explores diverse tones and textures, but without betraying the band’s monolithic, thundering signature sound.
All throughout this EP there is a lot of joy to be found in hearing these musicians play together, with thoughtfulness and vigor. The guitar’s domineering qualities blend beautifully with the impacting vocal melodies, to broaden the recording’s emotional range.
The Jester Syndrome EP rocks, and is ferociously raw in places, but the execution of each track is meticulously cutting-edge. The Recording and Mixing at Feedback Studios by Dimitris Tsagmakis, as well as the Mastering by Stamatis Fousekis, definitely adds quality to this equation.