I never want to give up on the year too early. Many times, my favorite albums of the year are discovered within the last couple months. Georgius, discovered through a recommendation by a reader, is a perfect example of it. The new album “String Theory” is evocative, grey, and so incredibly sublime. This album is everything I’ve wanted out of a new album, even though I didn’t realize exactly what I wanted.
Now, the specifics behind this album are a little confusing, so I’m going to try to spell them out for you. Georgius is the pseudonym for Jerzy Antczak, guitarist for Albion. This is basically his solo project. Nevertheless, it can be difficult to find his project. His Facebook page, for example, is under “Ego, Georgius”, which I believe is the name of his first solo album back in 2014, with the name of the project second. Anyways, the players on the album include Georgius (Jerzy) on vocals, guitars, and keyboards; Rafał Paszcz on drums; Krzysztof Wyrwa on bass guitar; and Aisha on backing vocals.
Hailing from Poland, you will notice the same tendency to the moody melancholy and dark prog in which other Polish bands seem to thrive. Georgius, however, has a unique and varied sound, probably coming from the unabashed display of the Polish accent in Jerzy’s vocals. The project’s sound features lots of ambient, cinematic soundscapes that many times build to a boil before breaking into a tasty groove. Both “Howling Winds of Jezebel” and “Little Ant” play this way, with the latter reminding me of the Braveheart soundtrack in its darkly ambient moments, for some reason. You’ll also hear burning waves of electronic tones and bright ambient noises, too, such as birds or heartbeats. This adds so much atmosphere and just feels right with the way the songs flow. Each song has something special, too, whether it’s a novel instrumental or memorably haunting section, such as the dark vocal inflections set against the key-driven groove at the end of “Pill”.
The meat of the album, though, is guitar work. Jerzy’s guitars are fantastic artistry that rivals the best of the year. Much of the music is driven by the passionate soloing found on every track. Some of these solos can’t really be called solos, though, as they often last most of the song and take the songs to new places and new rhythms, such as on “Apathy (In the Garden of Despair)”. I cannot emphasize enough how strong the guitars are here. From acoustic strumming to pealing solos full of emotion, the guitars are the heart and soul of this album.
Jerzy’s keys are exceptionally full and orchestral in nature, crafting wondrous tapestries of sonic awe, especially in the more ambient parts of the album. You’ll also hear a couple amazing synth solos, usually at some sort of break in the song, such as on “Precipice”. I get weak knees when I hear a gravy synth solo. You will also find lots of synthesized voices here, too, which comes off a little strange sometimes because there is no effort to hide the synthetic nature of the voices, but it still ends up becoming an endearing part of the experience.
Rafał’s drums and Krzysztof’s bass are wonderfully necessary here. Usually in a solo album, the other players often fade into the background. These players, though, lay down an incredibly important and groovy foundation for all the ambiance, guitars, and keys from Jerzy. They are the ones who provide the fantastic breaks in the music and the funky vibe throughout the album.
This album has really captivated my imagination. Jerzy’s vocals are unique and incredibly endearing. The vocal lines and lyrics are unlike much of what I’ve heard recently, and Jerzy sings his heart out in a way that I don’t hear very often. Somehow, this guy makes a song called “Little Ant” work perfectly, even with a chorus that would be difficult to pull off by literally anyone else. I can’t imagine most of the songs here working with anyone else as vocalist. Thematically, the lyrics center on this idea of not being just another follower in this world. When it comes to life and especially religion, the album digs deep, accusing many of simply following and being “little ants”, always working without any real purpose or understanding. The album asks us to think; to pursue understanding and truth.
So, at last, Georgius’ new solo effort “String Theory” is an album that has really gotten my attention. My love for Progski’s dark melancholy is what first fixated me, but it is the unique vocal lines and emotional performances that have kept coming back for more. I do wish that it were easier to buy a physical copy of the album, and I especially wish the album were available on vinyl. That aside, this album is one of my favorites of the year, and I feel that it will only grow on me from here.
Find Georgius online: