4 out of 5 Stars!
Bad Dreams is a new band from Argentina that plays rather engaging Progressive Rock of the Neo-Prog variety. In many ways, the band reminds me of a cross between groups such as IQ, Also Eden, or Pallas, but with some of the mellower and ethereal aspects of Pink Floyd or Moonrise popping up on occasion.
Now, generally speaking in regards to the six tracks on offer here, there is certainly nothing original when it comes to the band’s style or sound—in other words, there are absolutely no barriers broken in the name of Progressive Rock overall—but the band’s music is always well-performed, seasoned, grand, and sophisticated in both instrumentation and songwriting, and exceptionally melodic, yet occasionally moody during various segments of numerous tracks.
Upon first listen, it appeared that various keyboards (both modern and vintage) seemed to dominate many of the songs, such as on the lengthy opening title track, the more commercial-sounding “Closer,” and the final “The Day Before Tomorrow,” whereas on other songs such as “A Good Man” and “The Hunters (Alien Statement About Men),” which feature some electrifying guitar solos, that guitars actually reigned supreme. But in retrospect (ie. my second, third, and fourth hearings of the album) I realized that the balance between keys and guitars is indeed quite equal, an optimal blend of instruments. Not to be forgotten, the rhythm section of the band admirably holds its own, providing an ultra-solid backbone throughout the proceedings, while the singer, with his clear and crisp tone along with his perfect English enunciation, has quite the captivating voice, reminding me of a complex merging of vocalists such as Peter Nicholls (IQ), Bret Douglas (Cairo), and Ted Leonard (Enchant/Thought Chamber/Spock’s Beard).
Unfortunately, the band’s name, Bad Dreams, is a tragic misnomer, since the group is anything but “bad,” and the music is hardly the soundtrack of nightmares. Instead, the group’s music is almost hypnotically enjoyable, and the musicians are wickedly talented, so I eagerly look forward to any future material Bad Dreams has in store.
So in short, Apocalypse of the Mercy is an album that, in my estimation, should appeal to a wide spectrum of Prog-Rock aficionados. Therefore, I encourage anyone interested in new Prog-Rock bands to investigate this release at your earliest convenience, and (hopefully) you will also savor the material offered here as much as I did.