Artist/ Band: Agents Of Mercy
Title: Dramarama
Label: Foxtrot Records
Year of Release: 2010
Offical Artist/ Band Link

The Review:

Roine Stolt. Do I really need to say anything more in regards to his body of work? Without a doubt, one of the most respected musicians in the progressive genre with his band The Flower Kings. He has established himself in the upper echelon of today’s prog musicians. I won’t get into his other projects like Transatlantic, Kaipa and The Tangent because that would make this (my first) review MUCH too long. Suffice it to say, the respect fellow musicians and the fans have for Roine is truly abundant.

As amazing as the first incarnation of Agents were, it seems Roine has assembled a truly stellar band for the follow up. The constants are (of course) Roine, fellow Flower King Jonas Reingold on bass, and vocalist Nad Sylvan. Now in the fold, however, is drummer Walle Walgren, and Karmakanic keyboardist Lalle Larsson. With the first album under their belts, I found Dramarama to be a bit more focused and streamlined. “Cohesive” comes to mind when comparing the two.

I think with Agents being more of a “band” now, it’s reflected in the music therein. The album kicks off with a blistering song entitled “The Duke Of Sadness”, which should appease Flower King fans alike. Throughout the album is the usual sturdiness of a Stolt project. Omitted are the 20-30 minute epics like “Stardust We Are”. What we have are shorter, more controlled songs. The fat has been trimmed, and the songs are lean and VERY mean. As much as I like the Kings, I thought there was too much gimmickry in postproduction. Anything from horse noises to a sample of the old lady yelling, “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up” seemed to be added as if an afterthought. This I found very annoying. Seems the producer side of Stolt has left all of that behind…thank goodness.

This album isn’t breaking new ground. It’s just solid from beginning to end and a natural progression (pardon the pun) from the last album. I’m not really certain what comes next for Agents, but they have been responsible for some of the better progressive music of 2009 and, now, 2010.

Reviewed by Eric Walker on November 20th, 2010

The Review:

Agents Of Mercy returns with it’s second album entitled Dramarama. This time around they have a solid line-up that takes them from a project to a full fledged band. Roine Stolt (guitar), Nad Sylvan (lead vocals) & Jonas Reingold (bass) are joined by Lalle Larsson (keyboards) and Walle Wahlgren (drums). I hope that this line-up records many more albums in the near future.

After several listening sessions, I feel that the music flows a lot smoother, from song to song, than the debut. I think this was because they upgraded from project to band status. The music is firmly rooted in symphonic based progressive rock with some pop leanings.

Opening up the album is “The Duke Of Sadness” (9:17). This song sounds somewhat similar to some of the more melodic songs from The Flower Kings or Transatlantic.

“Last Few Grains Of Hope” (6:47) is one of my favorites off the album. It has a slight dark vibe to it, mostly with the lyrics. There’s a sense of hopefulness within the lyrics as well.

“Peace United’ (5:44) is an upbeat “happy” song that has a Beatlesque vibe. Without sacrificing quality, this could easily be a hit single due to it’s accessibility.

“Journey” (7:38) is a mellow song that builds up slowly to a climatic ending. It’s nothing overly dramatic or overindulging, just a very down to earth sounding song.

“Gratitude” (6:27) is the closest you’ll get to The Flower Kings sound as you’ll get on this album. It’s another mellow track and could be considered a ballad. It’s contains some of Nad’s best singing too.

“Meet Johnnie Walker” (5:28) is a Genesis meets The Beatles song. This is another of my favorites off the album. It’s so infectious sounding, especially in the chorus part.

“Cinnamon Tree” (3:15) is an acoustic based song and the shortest track on the album. This is another ballad that sort of recalls the Phil Collins late 70’s Genesis sound.

“The Ballad Of Mary Chilton” (4:28) is another acoustic song that has slow waltz feel to it. It has a folk song quality to it too.

“Roger The Tailor” (4:35) is a quirky slightly psychedelic song that reminds me a little bit of the title track from A Trick Of A Tail.

“Conspiracy” (4:05) is swing type song which has elements of The Beatles, Genesis and The Flower Kings. This is another favorite of mine off this album.

“We Have Been Freed” (8:36) has a late 70’s era Genesis feel to it combined with The Flower Kings. It’s quite a somber ballad type song that flows so easily that it doesn’t feel like an almost 9 minute track.

Ending off this magnificent album is a song called “Time” (5:00). There’s a Beatlesque quality to it that also can be considered a ballad. This is another of my favorites off this album. It concludes Dramarama perfectly.

In closing, I’m glad the band stepped-up their already perfect sound. If you enjoyed the first one, this will knock your socks off! Dramarama is one of the best releases of 2010 and gets a high recommendation especially if you’re a fan of the band as well as The Flower Kings, The Beatles and Transatlantic.

Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on November 30th, 2010


01. The Duke Of Sadness
02. Last Few Grains Of Hope
03. Peace United
04. Journey
05. Gratitude
06. Meet Johnnie Walker
07. Cinnamon Tree
08. The Ballad Of Mary Chilton
09. Roger The Tailor
10. Conspiracy [Video]
11. We Have Been Freed
12. Time

Reviewed Discography

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