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byron - Forbidden Drama CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.95 | 42 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Forbidden Drama' - byron (8/10)

Having been introduced to this Romanian art rock group by an esteemed colleague, I was interested to hear what this group would sound like. Being from a country that's certainly not known for their export of progressive music, I had never even heard of these musicians before they were brought up to me, and little idea of what they would sound like to boot. However, from my first listen onwards of this impressive debut release, I must say; byron (lower case 'b' intended) has a new fan with me.

Taking modern frustration with the social ills of consumerism, capitalism and cultural shallowness and channeling it into music, the artists that make up byron have conjured up a theatrical production that while certainly not sounding completely 'out there' and groundbreaking, is still a fresh and intelligent addition to the world of modern progressive rock. While having a unique sound under their belt, comparisons to such bands as Porcupine Tree and Anathema are not entirely unreasonable... However, the existing fanbase of these bands gives byron a real opportunity to spread their wings and take off, if given the right exposure.

The music itself is alot more song-based than alot of other progressive acts. Skirting the edge of alternative rock, cabaret and a heave of other styles, byron melds them all together into something cohesive and solid. The frontman of this group, Dan Byron is definately seasoned in the realm of recording and composition. Having done work in the established Romanian acts Kumm and Urma, Dan and his talent had already matured by the time he got to this stage in his career. A strong vocalist all his own, Byron (the man) delivers a unique vocal performance here, in no small part due to hints of his Eastern European accent. However, the lyrics (which at times, are especially profound, considering the topics covered) are very clear to the ear.

The instrumental skill of the musicians is very tight, although the constraints of alternative/art rock seem to limit their ability to really plant themselves as 'virtuosic.' However, the real focus here is on that of beautiful melodies and catchy hooks. Some of the strongest tracks like 'Dawn Of A Drunk Bum' and 'No Man's Land' are made even better by their socially conscious lyrics, coupled with a really good band effort. 'Essential Piece' could fit very well on the radio with an upbeat, even poppy guitar lick that drives the song alongside some strong-as-always vocal work.

While the music that is 'Forbidden Drama' rarely blows me away and the album flow could be a bit better (some of the track transitions are a bit choppy,) byron has crafted an exceptionally strong first release with this album. A refreshing focus on actual songwriting as opposed to typical prog excess gives this band a special place in the realm of modern prog. While 'Forbidden Drama' is not perfect, the potential of this talented group is evidently clear, and I await their future musical offerings eagerly.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |


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