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DR. NO

Neo-Prog • Spain


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Dr. No biography
This is a Spanish progrock band from Catalonia, the northern region of Spain with Barcelona as their capital. In 2003 DR. NO released their first album entitled "El Bufo De La Cort" (in English 'jester'). The band features the duo Enric Pascual and Conrad Dubé along guest musicians Pere Mestres, Jaume Moncusi and Dani Anguera. The music has strong echoes from early MARILLION but also CAMEL and PENDRAGON, the compositions are very melodic with lush keyboards and excellent, very moving guitarplay. The vocals are in Catalonian, a blend of Spanish, French and Portuguese, very distinctive!



Why this band must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
This is wonderful and moving symphonic rock featuring distinctive Catalonian vocals, lush keyboards and excellent electric guitarwork.

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DR. NO discography


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DR. NO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.23 | 9 ratings
El Bufo De La Cort
2003
3.93 | 8 ratings
Guerrers de Mitjanit
2009

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DR. NO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Guerrers de Mitjanit by DR. NO album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.93 | 8 ratings

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Guerrers de Mitjanit
Dr. No Neo-Prog

Review by Gerinski
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It took 6 years for this catalan band to release their 2nd album (bringing also a change of spelling from 'Dr. No' to 'Doctor No') and 2 more to get it released by a decent label (Musea). Compared to their already decent debut this album sounds much better and much more professional, now sounding at standard international level. The addition of drummer Jordi Salvador is a huge improvement, and new bulgarian guitarist Vili Pankov delivers more modern-sounding solos ranging in style from Steve Rothery to Gary Moore to Richie Sambora. The musical direction is still a very accessible melodic neo-prog, the early Marillion influences are still there but much less obvious, now they sound more like generic neo, sometimes in borderline with crossover, but also with some clearly symphonic parts.

While the debut 'El Bufo De La Cort' had a very consistent level around 3 stars, here we find more variation, a great 24-min symphonic epic, several good neo songs and 2 weak pop songs, but these account for only 10 out of 68 minutes of music so one should not be too harsh about them.

The 24-min title epic (penultimum track) is excellent symphonic, this track alone is worth having the album, with many changes and lyrics (in catalan in all the album) about the catalan warriors who fought the castilians (and lost) in 1714. But before that we have a bit of everything.

'Al Final La Llum' (At Last The Light) is a typical neo upbeat opening track, nearly 8-min long song, much in the style of IQ or early Pendragon, good if you like that.

Then we have the 2 weakest tracks, 'No Oblidis Mai' (Never Forget) which is a radio-friendly single, not prog but not bad, and 'Angel De Foscor' (Dark Angel) which is a dispensable AOR song. But don't give up too early, things get better from here.

'Miralls' (Mirrors) is a good introspective song clearly inspired by Marillion's She Chameleon, then we have the 15-minute 3-part Nazdrave which visits many different moods: upbeat, slow, mid-tempo, a beautiful classical piano section, back to mid-tempo neo? a very good song overall.

Then we have the 24-min star epic already referred to, pure great symphonic worth the album, really, lots of changes and nice atmospheres here.

The last track 'Herois' (Heroes (Come Back Home)) closes the album with an upbeat and more optimistic touch, telling to the warriors who fought and were defeated that they have to come back home where they will anyway be praised, even if the war was lost.

Those who seek highly complex prog must stay away from this, but recommendable to fans of melodic symphonic neo-prog who are fond of discovering obscure bands and albums.

 El Bufo De La Cort by DR. NO album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.23 | 9 ratings

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El Bufo De La Cort
Dr. No Neo-Prog

Review by Gerinski
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Obscure catalan band, the project of Enric Pascual (main composer, vocals, keyboards and drums) and Conrad Dube (bass, keyboards and vocals) and 3 guests providing guitars and additional keyboards (these by Jaume Moncusi ex-member of Metamorfosis whose only album Papallones i Elefants I have reviewed).

Imagine a more pop-oriented version of early Marillion (from Marquet Square Heroes to Fugazi) and you get an idea. Most verse and chorus sections are quite poppy, melodic, easy- listening 4/4 melodies, but they manage a neo-prog sound by the lush keyboards with arpeggios reminding of early Mark Kelly, tempo breaks now and then, and extended instrumental passages in which guitar solos a la Steve Rothery abound (these being among the best in the album). The choice of keyboard and guitar sounds also contributes to the early neo-prog feel.

The album title means The Jester Of The Court adding to the early Marillion references, and the lyrics of the first and last tracks are about the jester's feelings, but less acid and poetic than Fish's. The rest of lyrics are rather trivial.

The vocals are not great but not annoying either, the bass just does the job without being outstanding and the drums are the weakest instrument, playing rather simple and not helped by the equalization of the different pieces of the drumkit. This album could have been much better had they hired a really good prog drummer. Anyway keyboards and guitars are good and form the main body of sound.

The first 2 tracks remind of Market Square Heroes and Chelsea Monday respectively, after that the compositions get more personal. The short instrumental Estacio Pirenaica is fine but consists of two different sections which do not seem to flow together. The closing 11-minute title track is the proggiest, a really good song.

Far from essential and surely not for fans of highly challenging, complex prog, but recommendable for those who enjoy light, easy-listening melodic neo-prog and who enjoy discovering obscure rarities.

 El Bufo De La Cort by DR. NO album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.23 | 9 ratings

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El Bufo De La Cort
Dr. No Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars DR. NO was the idea of former HARNAKIS drummer Enrico Pascual who contacted bassist/keyboardist Conrad Dubé,so the formation of the band becomes a reality in 2000 with Rubén Vilarroya also on keys.The band became a live monster around the region of Cataluna,but suffered numerous line-up changes,mainly due to the fact that of Pascual handling the drums at studio,but being the vocalist on live shows.Finally they were signed by the Dutch label Xymphonia Records to release their debut ''El Bufo de la cort'' in 2003.

The style of the band stands somewhere between mid- to late-70's GENESIS and old MARILLION,but unlike these bands,DR. NO had not a gifted charismatic singer as Gabriel,Collins or Fish.Pascual's voice is average with no signs of a dramatic or theatrical twist.Musically however,the album is a winner,a balanced Neo Prog and Symphonic Rock affair with beautiful guitar solos and dramatic symphonic keys all the way.More specifically,after the two first songs,which are just good,the album turns into a symphonic storm with long instrumental passages,careful breaks and haunting atmospheres with evident MARK KELLY influences on keys.It is rather a pitty the band hadn't a real winner behind the microphone,the result would be possibly even more attractive.

Even this way,''El Bufo de la cort'' is a nice surprise by a rather unknown Catalan band and it will be definitely appreciated by both Neo and Symph Prog maniacs. Recommended.

 El Bufo De La Cort by DR. NO album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.23 | 9 ratings

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El Bufo De La Cort
Dr. No Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Dr. No is an obscure band from Spain from this decade. They release only one album in 2003 named El bufo de la cort (The jester of the court) at small dutch label Xymphonia records. The band was formed by Enric Pascual who is the main composer of the pieces, lyricist, he playes here at almost all instruments, keyboards, drums, and handle vocals aswell, but has a musical friend Conrad Dube who help him on some parts with bass lines and some backing vocals. The album is to me more towards symphonic prog with traces of neo, with beautiful and lush keybords arrangements and great guitar parts. The album sounds very melodic with only here and there a touch of neo prog, specially the keys and guitars are in this field. Anyway a pleasent album sung is distinct catalan language, very emotional and very mellow in places. The atmosphere of the album is ok, sometimes too naive, usual to my ears combinations, not bad of course, but to vague in contrast with other albums from that period. The voice of Pascual is ok, nothing realy impressive , but good, goes with the music hand in hand. The best pieces are Canco d'esperanca (Song of hope) with excellent keybords arrangements who sounds very happy, very positive, joyfull moments, a mellow pieces where Enric Pascual truly shines No se el teu nom (I don't know your name), brilliant piece and the highlight from here, nice smooth guitar interplay with great keyboard atmosphere, in the background but very effectiv, and the title track a nearly 11 min of symphonic prog, with spacey guitar play not far from Camel and even some Marillion traces are to be found here, good piece. So, over all a good album, a little naive and very shy here and there, but with plesent and enjoyble moments, 3 stars. The cover art remind me of early Marilion, but the music seems to me more close to Eris Pluvia or Camel and only vague resemblence with Marillion.

 El Bufo De La Cort by DR. NO album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.23 | 9 ratings

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El Bufo De La Cort
Dr. No Neo-Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A spanish neo prog band, that sings in catalonian dialect and with a CD named like that (El Bufo De la Cort means Jester) is something you don´t see every day. It makes you think their most important reference might be the great Marillion of the 80´s. And it is, in a way. The first tracfk is typical Marillion copycat, but the remaining tracks, although still very much influenced by this english band, have a very personal sound.

The core of the band is the duo Enric Pascual ( vocals, drums, keyboards and percussion), also responsible for all the lyrics and most of the music, and Conrad Dubé (bass, keyboards and vocals). They are helped by Pere Mestres (electric guitars) and Jaume Moncusi (keyboards) plus Dani Anguera (guitars on two tracks). The resulting CD is very pleasant symphonic Rock sung in their native language (which sounds very good and give them a distinctive charm). Pascual does not have a very outstanding voice, but it fits well within their ramework. The guy certainly knows how to deliever the songs with passion what lacks in technique.

The guitar parts are excellent, with some very melodic solos and licks (very much in the Steve Rothery vein, and one of the album´s highlights)) and the keyboards are simply wonderful: very tastefully arranged and played. Production is only average, but adequate. There are no fillers, all the tracks are good, with many emotional, poignant moments and some powerful instrumental breaks here and thre. Pascual is quite a talented songwriter, but I believe he is not at his peak yet.

I´m really glad I found this CD and I hope Dr No will release a follow up soon. If you enjoy neo prog, you should not miss this one. A nice surprise!

Rating: something between 3,5 and 4 stars.

 El Bufo De La Cort by DR. NO album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.23 | 9 ratings

BUY
El Bufo De La Cort
Dr. No Neo-Prog

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

3 stars What a surprise: a Catalonian (region around famous Spanish city Barcelona) progrock band with a English name on a Dutch label! On the cover you will notice a jester (in Spanish this is the album title 'bufo de la cort'), this reference is not a coincidence because from the very first moment on the music is drenched into the early Marillion sound. Especially the first track "Arlequi" sounds like a Catalonian progrock version of "Market Square Heroes" featuring an up-tempo rhythm and a enthousiastic approach. But Dr. No is more than just another early Marillion sounding group. First the wonderful lush keyboards sound, delivered by three members, featuring lots of keyboards including strings, a grand piano and the Mellotron. Second the very tasteful and refined compositions, from dreamy to compelling and even bluesy (the short Estacion Pirenaica has hints from early Wishbone Ash). Third the splendid, very compelling electric guitarwork (with echoes from Latimer and Rothery) featuring lots of sensitive, often howling soli, EXCELLENT! And four the beautiful vocals in the Catalonian language, a mix of Spanish. French and Portuguese. A WONDERFUL SYMPHONIC ROCK ALBUM


Thanks to erik neuteboom for the artist addition.

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