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Bader Nana


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Second Life Syndrome
5 stars Well, he did it. Bader Nana achieved what I didn't think was possible. This completely independent, one-man band has bested his debut album 'Wormwood'. His sophomore album 'Anthology' is not just better than the previous album, it blows it away handily. This is not to take anything away from 'Wormwood', for it is an amazing album.

For those not familiar with Bader Nana, he is a multi-instrumentalist from Lebanon who composes and performs his music by himself. He sings, plays the instruments, and writes the lyrics. For those who have written music, you know that this is incredibly difficult as there is only ever one perspective on the music. Bader Nana, though, seems to have little trouble with any of this. His compositions are extremely tight, his lyrics are very well-written, and the melodies are catchy and complex. His music is often labeled as neo-prog, but I think a label of 'heavy prog' would be more appropriate, especially on this album. 'Anthology' is a little heavier overall than 'Wormwood' and displays some downright awesome guitar jams that are instantly enjoyable. However, he also keeps his amazing synth, and his drumming is as off-tempo and chaotically consistent as ever. He also throws in plenty of other instruments to spice things up a bit. With all of this, the music becomes layered in such a way that several amazing things constantly converge to form music with incredible height and originality.

Bader Nana not only brought his musical chops to show us here, but a new layer of maturity seems to have been learned. Gorgeous melodies, restraint, amazingly structured songs, and a true sense of progression all make it into this album without a hitch. One thing I am especially impressed with is how smoothly he can transition between time signatures: I'm not sure I've heard anyone do it better. This can especially be heard on the first track 'The Discovery': This song has an incredible structure and melody, and I daresay that it is one of the top 5 songs I've heard thus far in 2013. Amazing stuff. Aside from this track, my other favorites are Day Dreamer, Liquid Fire, and The Great Beyond. All of the other tracks are sensational as well.

Throughout 'Anthology', Bader Nana shows a consistent maturity and skill in writing music and lyrics, and there are some truly classic and incredible moments: moments where you feel this strange welling in your chest, as if music couldn't get any better (I often feel that when listening to Riverside or Haken). His skills and attention to detail are evident, but so are his sensitivities to emotion and lyrical quality. Bader Nana has again crafted a masterpiece, and this album is sure to make my Top 10 list of 2013. Best of all? This album is completely free on Bandcamp, although I paid some money because such amazing artists need to be supported. Either way, give it a listen.

Report this review (#952895)
Posted Thursday, May 2, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars On "Anthology" the Kuwaitian Bader Nana establishes himself as a strong Neo Prog act, and as my personal favourite new prog artist of the 2010s. After the spectacular "Wormwood" he comes up with another release of insanely catchy and tasteful choruses, moog-like synth solos, prog metal riffing and some subtle Eastern elements. And man, does it work. These days I don't seem to get goosebumps that easily (probably due to aging a bit), maybe five new songs a year can produce them, but on the first two tracks "The Discovery (Apsinthos)" and "Daydreamer" I find them all over me. The lyrics are somewhat simple but manage to catch those secure and always flowing deep emotions that most of us have pretty well. The greatness doesn't even subside that much as "Liquid Fire" presents a layer of tasty grooves and melodies, a stellar track. "The Unbeliever" is a bit downside and puts the album as a whole just below five stars (it feels like a crime to prevent it from having them all, still). "11:11" is a dreamy melodic instrumental featuring some collaborated acoustic guitar and percussion providing some even pretty folkish parts. "Allie" is a traditional ballad, almost close to boring but manages to get away with it, being only a mediocre track. The album gets its tension back on "War" which while being maybe the 'metallest' track on Anthology has a nice late-Dream Theater like atmosphere and again an amazingly good chorus. The ending mini-epic "The Great Beyond" is an appropriate closer, not quite on the masterpiece level these kinds of songs could be but a very good track nevertheless. Right now, after listening to this album I'm feeling like Kevin Moore never left Dream Theater and I'm again that teenager going to highschool who was just getting into prog through progressive metal.. and simply enjoying it very, very much. And another thing I'm finding is me, someone who almost intensely dislikes track-to-track reviews, doing it exactly like that. Well, I suppose this album is worth of an exception.
Report this review (#959078)
Posted Tuesday, May 14, 2013 | Review Permalink

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