The collaboration of Karmakanic and Agents Of Mercy during several live concerts in Europe and America must have been effective and positive for Roine Stolt and Nad Sylvan. The second Agents Of Mercy-album Dramarama sounds rather strong thanks to the help of several members of Karmakanic. They certainly have lifted the musical level on Dramarama to outstanding progressive rock music. Their debut album The Fading Ghosts Of Twilight was a fine piece of work (see review), but also a bit of a disappointment for the many aficionados of The Flower Kings. Some people had expected an album in the vein of TFK, but compared to the music made by this Swedish band the album was more tranquil, more relaxed. Mr. Stolt didn't have the intention to sound like TFK as he mentioned in several interviews.
However, on the second album of AOM you can hardly deny the many TFK-influences. This makes Dramarama a very enjoyable release for people who like TFK and related bands. That also applies for the compositions for they are of a much higher level. The debut album started strong, but had its weak moments from time to time. Frankly speaking, The Fading Ghosts Of Twilight suffered from a number of mediocre tracks. This is not the case on Dramarama. After the strong opening piece The Duke Of Sadness, the high level of the compositions remain until the final piece Time. Music wise you can enjoy much more guitar and synthesizer solos. Especially Lalle Larsson does a great job behind his synths. Sometimes his solos shift the music towards jazz rock or fusion. A good example is Journey. In this piece we can also notice that the rhythm section consisting of bassist Jonas Reingold and drummer Mickael'Walle' Wahlgren work perfectly together. The groove they create is sometimes very strong.
In reviews of the debut album some people wrote that the music sounded a lot like the early albums released by Genesis, but I can only partly agree with them. I think Dramarama has much more resemblance with the music of Genesis than The Fading Ghosts Of Twilight. The many Mellotron-samples and the voice of Nad Sylvan are due to this comparison, but you can't blame them for that since both Roine Stolt and Nad Sylvan have been inspired by the music this British band made in the seventies. Or as they say themselves: 'the concept was to find the roots of our inspiration and the sounds we love, so there's the obvious late sixties and early seventies feel.'
Well, I don't mind listening to all those influences from Genesis and The Flower Kings. I think most prog heads will probably enjoy this album as much as I did. As far as I'm concerned Dramarama doesn't contain any weak spots and never has a dull moment!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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