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Bad Dreams - Déjà Vu CD (album) cover


Bad Dreams


Crossover Prog

4.06 | 79 ratings

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5 stars I was among the many skeptical minds that wondered about the future of Crossover prog, a style that has had some early failures as well as some outright winners but that has really come a long way in the 21st century with an explosion of marvelous talents worldwide. Being part of a PA team dedicated to Crossover certainly helps in discovering new artists, for the benefit of the greater prog community. A few weeks ago, I got my first taste of Argentinian group Bad Dreams, a stunning 2015 debut called 'Apocalypse of the Mercy' which blew me, along with many other fans, sideways! I salivated, drooled and waxed eloquently about the sterling music within the gorgeous package, a finely chiseled group of veteran musicians who had honed their chops as a Genesis tribute band. That album, chock full of crushingly gorgeous melodies, really ignited a profound flame within my soul and I felt compelled to hunt down this sophomore recording, knowing full well that my level of enthrallment might rise even higher. The core group is the same: Guitarist Ariel Trifunoff is a delirious talent both evocative and intense, keyboardist Jorge Tenesini displays perfect style, combining modern synths with delicate piano and organ, a subtle bass player in Alex Calvera and a solid rock drummer in Fernando Cornejo. But singer Gabriel Agudo tackles the microphone with zeal and a passion that is both surprising and invigorating.

The effective 'Samurai of the Rising Sun' opens the curtains convincingly, showing off spooky atmospherics with scratching guitar licks and steamroller rhythm riffs, allied with thrilling keyboard carpentry. The sudden pretty piano motif carves the first melody effectively, letting Agudo to begin telling his story, ratcheting up the gusto, until the breaking point which comes with a long and stupendous shrieking howl that will catch you by surprise. That dastardly piano maintains the melodic pressure on the gorgeous title track, a showcase for guest Steve Rothery, who needs no introduction, to later peel off a solo that will make your skin shudder. Initially a piano and vocal platform that sheds tears in between the hushed words, tailored into an ornate composition with some adventurous bass guitar foray to boot. This blooms into a harder expression, drums pounding, 'feeling in my veins' and Agudo yelling 'Never!' as Steve Rothery screeches through the keyboard-driven clouds, with an 'otherworldly guitar solo' that takes no prisoners.

'Fallen' has bassist Calvera bruising his double-necked Rickenbacker (a la Mike Rutherford) forever forward, forging a symphonic impression that seems both deliberate and restrained. The careful build-up is quite an achievement especially when things get shifted into overdrive, as Ariel Trifunoff peels off (pun intended) a firecracker of an axe solo, all fizzle and sizzle, hinting as much at Vai/Satriani than Hackett or Howe.

There, far away in the haze, a flicker of imperceptible light seems to shine on the mirrored clouds, reminiscent of the most glorious prog melodies, when an emotionally charged piano takes over the reins of a melody that needs only some lyrics and Agudo's powerful vocal delivery. Drama, passion and power all coalesce into one hell of a beautiful musical moment. The acrobatic and spiraling guitar sparkles festively, a luminous fire that sears the arrangement with grace and fury, Trifunoff showing both virtuosic class and boundless dexterity. The mellotron- fueled symphonics elevate this to celestial heights and once again, I am convinced that I am listening to something beyond the norm.

A minuscule 3 minute little acoustic guitar tableau is presented by the mercurial Trifunoff, who studied at the celebrated Manuel de Falla conservatory and his prefect technique shines brightly, like the fiery Argentine sun glowing as it sets over the Pampas and the blue 'Moonlight' appears .

The band cares not to hide its influences, so the next track is so obvious and evident, just from the title 'A Trick of The Wind', an homage to Genesis that formed their early career and a fitting tribute to a breakthrough prog band. The style at first is closer to a 'Harold the Barrel/Battle of Epping Forest' tinge, the pummeling organ notwithstanding as well as the sheets of Hacketty guitar swaths that both playfully congeal into a typical Banks- styled synth solo. Awesome upbeat and nostalgia-drenched modern prog!

'Frida' ends on a lullaby love song, the proverbial feel good ballad that sounds more English than Latin, a divinely orchestrated, pastoral and acoustic piece a la Anthony Phillips, flushed with a long and pristine synth solo and some more choir mellotrons to weaken the knees even further. Proving once again that the legacy of Peter Gabriel-led Genesis is very much alive even in the most contemporary settings, literally 40 years later and still wise after the event. Bad Dreams is not just another run of the mill clone wannabe but a truly original and extremely gifted musical outfit that displays all the ingredients and the passion that made the Nursery Crime boys so endearing.

And eternal.

5 Been there and done thats

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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