2012 ended up bringing me some good music, despite it was, in the last 10 years, the year that I listened to least new stuff due to other priorities in my life. This particular album was one of the best things I listened to, and many reasons support this:
I picked up the CD with low expectations to tell you the truth, as I’d never heard of the name before and I thought Bader Nana was the name of the band. Yet, and after I listened to the whole stuff for the first time, I immediately was compeled to go google the name and was blown away when discovering that Bader Nana is a Lebanese guy, living in Kuweit, who is doing almomst everything in the album. With but a few collaborations, Wormwood is basically a one-man work…and it is awesome in many ways!
The musicality of the album is, in most aspects, absolutely reminiscent to Dream Theater, especially if you consider the mellower and more melodic side of this stellar band. But if in many cases this collage to the most reckoned band in Progressive Metal is seen as a castrating thing and a lack of originality, in this particular case it adds to the fascination that one feels when listening to the album: here we have one guy, one single guy, playing with the same savyy, technique and ease as a whole band of fantastic musicians. What results out of this is one album that could easily have been released by Dream Theater somewhere between Octavarium and Systematic Chaos. I mean, it has all ingredients of melody, power playing, instrument interaction and overall quality that any of thise albums has to offer. And even the vocal style is similar even if the tone is not.
Wormwood starts in a mellower format and increase in power throughout the album. A sort of crescendo, considering the whole thing. The playing is, as said, nothing short of breathtaking in many moments, with special emphasis on the guitar and keyboards. The melodies are extremely fulfilling and the heavier parts are filled in technical details and crystal clear guitar parts. The production helps put everything together and is done in a way that really elevates the result.
I have become a fan of this Lebanese guy, and will surely be keeping an eye on news coming from the Middle East now. And honestly, not only I am very glad that Russian label MALS has discovered and decided to release this artist work, as I hope this guy gets the recognition that he deserves. And, honestly, if part of me wishes that Bader Nana tries some more personal things, the other part wishes that he continues emulating Dream Theater with the quality that is demonstrated in Wormwood, because that means we get more fantastic albums of a very particular style that is much appreciated here.