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3 stars A typical neo-prog album, with all well-known neo elements: '70s music influences with modern sound (spirit of GENESIS and even CAMEL are present), English vocals and nice melodies. Enthusiastic interpretations, but nothing new. "The Sect Of Ignorance", the longest track, is the highlight of an album that won't disappoint all those who love bands like MARILLION or IQ. A good debut stuff, overall.
Report this review (#1778)
Posted Saturday, May 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 3.5 stars for this great debut...

DRACMA were found in 1993 in Barcelona,Spain and were one of the few bands to record an album,before they signed a label.So,in early 94' DRACMA had enough material to create an album,which was recorded in Trama Studios.Finally their debut was published by Mellow Records a year later.DRACMA's sound lies somewhere between neo prog in the vein of early MARILLION and melodic progressive/art rock like the Swedish TRIBUTE.There are excellent guitar parts in the style of STEVE ROTHERY,dominated by good solos,while the vocals -although they have a slight Spanish accent- easily manage to get the listener into the album's atmosphere.Besides these elements,there are also tons of nice keyboards (again MARILLION's Mark Kelly comes to mind),while there is lots of space for smooth/atmospheric instrumental passages,not unlike TRIBUTE or even PINK FLOYD.Regarding this album was recorded only in a week,it's much above an average release,with superb strong musicianship and intense climates.Strongly recommended to all MARILLION and neo/symphonic progressive rock!

Report this review (#212294)
Posted Friday, April 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Fairly standard Neo-Prog is what we find in this debut album by the spanish Dracma. The band which this sounds most similar to is early IQ, with other usual Neo references like Fish-era Marillion, Pendragon and occasionally Pink Floyd or Camel.

The backbone of the music is the good keyboards of Jordi Amela with the typical interplays with a good enough guitar and a nice upfront bass. Incidentaly the album credits in PA as of today are wrong mentioning guitarist Jordi Prats as bassist and ommiting the actual bassist Jordi Planas (yes Jordi is a popular name in Catalunya). Unfortunately the drumming of Jose Luis Pacheco is not so strong, with matters not helped by the fact that the sound of the drumkit especially the snare is not very good. All the lyrics are in english, the voice of Pedro Jimenez is not bad but he can not help a strong accent which can put off some people.

The album opens with the short instrumental "Open your gates", very neo, which leads to the upbeat "Answers" featuring several time signature changes, 7/8, 10/8 and 6/8 at least.

"Felling a tree" starts with a powerful interplay between keyboards and guitar and changes mood with a soft middle section, the style similar to Marillion's Script or Fugazi albums.

"Some faces of a runaway rabbit" is a nice instrumental starting with semi-classical piano followed by faster sections, with several dynamic changes and nice atmospheres.

"Visons from the park" starts with a very IQ-like keyboard arpeggio combined with powerful guitar, quickly settling down to a soft 5/4 beat. Again the typical neo references such as Pendragon come to mind.

"Feather's flight" is a short atmospherical keyboards instrumental, and then we have the 13- minute-plus suite "The sect of ignorance" with multiple tempo changes and again full of typical neo cliches. It has catchy melodies and nice sections but it lacks definition and purpose for a suite.

Two short soft songs close the album, the instrumental "Rain Clouds" based on acoustic guitar with some keyboard layers and "Two factions" also with acoustic guitar and vocals.

Respectable debut and recommendable to Neo fans, but do not expect an outstanding album. It follows the Neo formula too much by the book, it has catchy melodies and musical phrases and several nice developments, but it's not very original and there are better albums in this style, besides the improvable drumming and production. Their following album "A fine stormy weather" is clearly better and features a welcome change of drummer.

Report this review (#285358)
Posted Sunday, June 6, 2010 | Review Permalink

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