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Dracma - A Fine Stormy Weather CD (album) cover





3.57 | 39 ratings

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4 stars Dracma's debut album "Limits" was already a very decent Neo-Prog product but it suffered of a weak drumming, improvable production and lack of originality, following the Neo-Prog cliches excessively. These three points were properly addressed in this their next album "A fine stormy weather", clearly a more mature, professional and distinctive record, already at a level to compete with the big international names of the genre.

Previous drummer Jose Luis Pacheco was replaced by Eduardo Camblor who delivers a much better playing, helped also by a much improved engineering. Incidentally the credits in PA as of today are wrong mentioning Rod Oliveira as the drummer (I believe he joined the band after this album had already been recorded). Everything sounds better and tighter, also the guitars and the vocals, although lead singer Pedro Jimenez retains a strong accent in the all-english lyrics. The keyboards and bass were already very good in "Limits" and they get also even better here. The music is still mainly keyboard driven but much more balanced, with all the instruments contributing with a strong performance.

At first we feel that the melodies and musical phrases are not as melodic and catchy as in "Limits", but after some spins we realise that this is in fact for good. The band does not stick so much to the Neo-by-the-book formula and, while this is still clearly typical Neo- Prog, the music is more distinctive and personal and less obviously derived from Fish-era Marillion, IQ, Pendragon etc.

The album contains 5 songs with lenghts between the 7 and 11 minutes plus 2 short instrumentals. The opener "Beating life" starts with a powerful intro of guitar and neo keyboard scales which quickly shifts to a soft 5/4 arpeggio and is then followed by many dynamic changes, a really good track.

"Portrait of Falgars" is the first short instrumental, a duet of acoustic and nylon guitars similar to some of Steve Howe's acoustic pieces.

"The Mask" is again very Neo in style, with many changes but well structured, not sounding like several fragments glued together, and very good playing by all the band members. The same comments are applicable to the next track "Inner Castle", this one more similar to Pendragon. Excellent bass here.

"Arenys" is the second instrumental, a beautiful song in classical style with piano and acoustic guitar and some cajon.

"Hope" has a very good instrumental intro followed by a soft guitar arpeggio, then developing into different moods, and the closer and longest track "Inside Out" starts softly with acoustic guitar and piano and develops once again into several good Neo-Prog sections.

If you like Neo this is highly recommendable. The possible criticism to this album is that except for the 2 instrumentals, all the other tracks are quite similar in style, all very good but not distinctive enough, even after some listens it is hard to distinguish which section belongs to which song. There is nothing really surprising or highly original, no masterpieces, but it is a very solid album and with really good musicianship.

Gerinski | 4/5 |


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