Drama - Flying Over The 21st Century

Year of Release: 1998
Label: Musea Records
Catalog Number: FGBG 4228.AR
Format: CD
Total Time: 54:05:00

This is the second album from the French group Drama, and it's a goodie, filled with high-energy prog instrumentals and hook-driven vocal numbers. As far as comparisons go, it's hard to say exactly who this band sounds like, but Yes definitely leads the list, especially considering that Di Fusco's vocals have a kind of Jon Anderson sound to them, only in a lower register. That's not to say that Drama sounds like a Yes clone, because they don't, although you can hear Yes-like bits in their pieces, especially in some of the background vocal arrangements.

This album is almost evenly divided between instrumentals and vocal pieces. The album opens with a 10-minute instrumental, in fact, that could easily be used as soundtrack music. This piece moves through many different sections, each one maybe a little briefer than it could be. In fact, there are so many great musical ideas in this piece that it could easily have been expanded to 20 minutes and still contain no fluff. The other instrumentals on the album, too, are loaded with well thought out guitar themes, keyboard washes, and stirring synth solos. Most solos are not mere noodling, being melodically driven around the song's main theme.

The vocal pieces on this album usually start off with a typical verse/chorus structure, plunge into a proggy instrumental section, and then return to the vocal. The vocal melodies are wonderful, with rousing choruses that are hard to get out of your head (although I should note that the lead vocal sometimes sounds a little strained). A couple of the songs lead off with acoustic sections that build into the full combo, offering up plenty of dynamic tension. Some songs even reach prog-metal intensity, with driven guitar parts and pounding/throbbing beats.

If there's one thing you can say about Drama, it's that they chose a name that well reflects the music they play. This is dramatic stuff, so much so that these guys should consider soundtrack work. You may notice that the group's drummer is credited with playing "sampling drums." Listening to the album, I'm not sure whether this means a real drummer played an electronic kit or that the drums are sequenced. In any case, they sound great. All in all, this is an album that I'll be playing a lot.

La Magna Carta (9:44) / Rooftop Sauce (6:43) / Punchinello Dying (8:53) / Big Bang (9:36) / Forbidden Roots (4:47) / Taj Mahal (7:09) / Proxima Centauri (6:48)

Eric Azhar - guitars, keyboards, programming, background vocals
Jean-Francois Duboc - bass, background vocals
Louis Di Fusco - lead and background vocals
Laurent Guillot - sampling drums, background vocals
Ralph Adam - background vocals

Drama (1996)
Flying Over the 21st Century (1998)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin FR

Added: February 5th 2001
Reviewer: Clayton Walnum

Artist website:
Hits: 852
Language: english


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