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Agents Of Mercy - Dramarama CD (album) cover


Agents Of Mercy



3.92 | 204 ratings

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4 stars In my review last year of the The Fading Ghosts Of Twilight, the first album by Agents Of Mercy I said, or words to the effect of, that for the calibre of the performers it was a largely disappointing release, lacking memorable melodies and hooks. Well the main songwriters, Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings, Transatlantic etc) and Nad Sylvan (Unifaun) have clearly taken note of what I said (yeah right!) and returned with a far more satisfying and enjoyable effort. They are once again joined by Stolt's Flower Kings cohort Jonas Reingold on bass and new in are drummer Walle Wahlgren and keyboard player Lalle Larsson, both of whom have played with one or more of the other players here at one time or another in other projects.

As already mentioned, I'm pleased to report that Dramarama is a far superior work to their debut. While it may tread the same ground of symphonic/neo prog the compositions are better constructed, this time with plenty of strong hooks making it more accessible, at times even the occasional Beatles influence seems to come through. I'm not suggesting Dramarama is all about sugary melodies as there's plenty of great playing to get your teeth into. Just listen to the excellent and lengthy synth solo from Larsson on Journey for example and whilst the overriding objective it would seem is not on complexity, with this sort of musical muscle it still impresses with some well thought out instrumental interplay, even if it is of secondary importance, the song being king here. This time around around for reasons I can't put my finger on, I find Sylvan's voice much better too, perhaps because there's more for him to get his teeth into this time.

This album has a more upbeat feel and the band turn in a much more dynamic performance than on their previous release. Some tasteful acoustic moments sit well alongside the more bombastic sections and the greater variety makes for a more well rounded album as a whole. At the end of the day though it's simply a much better collection of songs than their debut where the stronger melodies shine through.

Whilst I couldn't say that Dramarama is the equal of Stolt's greatest work with The Flower Kings it's nevertheless a very enjoyable album, particularly pleasing for me because of my apathy towards their debut. This should please most fans of the players involved here and worth 4 stars.

Nightfly | 4/5 |


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