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Drama — Strange Expression
(Fortress 007, 1992, MC)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1994-05-01
A trio from Erie, Pennsylvania, Drama's music combines three qualities that are seldom found together in the right proportions: hard hitting, high energy progressive rock; an excellent singer; and a semblance of accessibility. Much of the music here harks back to earlier times, in a very authentic way, rather than hitch-hiking on the Dream Theater prog-metal wagon. Musically, parallels could be drawn with early (pre-2112) Rush, although vocalist/bassist Kevin Hulthberg has adorned that sound with some outstanding vocals, occasionally reminding of Greg Lake or Brad Delp of Boston. Add to that some keyboards added by guitarist Chris Rodler, and one might have an idea of where Drama seems to be coming from. As the album progresses, the band takes that basic sound and expands it out into some new directions, with tracks like "Sign of a Mystic Moon" and "Miracle of Great Device," where the keyboards begin to play a more important role within the sound, capably balancing some of the more hard edged tendencies of the guitar-bass-drums format with smoother attack. The last track, "What Words Can't Say," is worthy of special mention, a slower, more relaxed track than all the others, with a splendid solo for Chapman Stick.
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