Bader Nana Wormwood 2011 Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth
Bader Nana is a Kuwait-based Lebanese multi-instrumentalist with a lot of experience and talent who released his first record (entitled Wormwood) with the help of his family and his friends in 2011. Any fan of progressive rock and metal music should give this gifted artist a fair chance. His first strike is surprisingly well produced, and finds the right balance between progressive arrangements (as in the epic thirteen minutes long closer “Destroyer Of Worlds”) and more accessible and catchy moments (seen in the heavenly light “The Answers”).
The dominating and very well employed keyboards, along with several well thought-out sound and vocal effects are, in my opinion, the record’s strongest point. The drums sound surprisingly vivid and diversified and the melodic down-to-earth vocals perfectly fit the genre as well. The vocal performance is even far beyond average and really surprised me positively. The bass and guitar work is also convincing enough but could have a little bit more impact and power at some moments.
The music reminds me a lot of big names like Ayreon, Dream Theater, and Spock’s Beard. The young musician clearly has a foible for fantasy and science fiction-related atmospheres and topics, and other releases include allusions to famous computer game soundtracks as well. Despite many quiet moments, the record never gets boring and flows slowly and smoothly like warm honey. The record is very fluid, and the transitions between the single songs are very well done – you should certainly listen to this release in one shot. I could listen to this record for hours and hours without getting all too bored. Many songs offer a multitude of intelligent ideas – take for example the diversified “Journey”, which is probably my favorite song on here after a few spins.
You can give this record a fair chance on the Bandcamp page of the artist, and pay whatever you want to purchase this smart release. According to other reviewers, his latest output and second full length release might be even better, and I will definitely follow this guy’s activities. In comparison to all progressive-oriented (and often rather dull) one-man projects, this one here is definitely the best I’ve heard. As this is only a debut record, there might still be more greatness to come in the near future.
Two years after the rather convincing debut release Wormwood, the Kuwait-based Lebanese progressive metal wunderkind Bader Nana is back for good with a new record entitledAnthology. Despite its title, this album is no best-of release, but features eight brand new songs, plus a bonus track that came out a few months after this record’s initial release. The young multi-instrumentalist once again wrote all lyrics, performed vocals, and played all instruments. He got some support from Ramzi and Ziad Ramman from JLP Band who performed some percussion elements, acoustic guitars, and a guitar solo on two tracks as well. I’m not that into one-man projects but Bader Nana is a honorable exception, and in comparison with many basement products, this record features crystal clear production of the highest international standard.
The final result is another versatile progressive rock and metal record for fans of bands such as Dream Theater, Spock’s Beard, or Symphony X. My personal highlights include, first of all, the atmospheric “The Unbeliever”, that opens with slow keyboard melodies and enchanting female vocals before the song gets a heavier and modern progressive metal touch. What follows is a powerful track with space rock and symphonic metal elements. The dynamic song constantly and successfully meanders between harsh and soft parts that come off sounding perfectly coherent.
The following instrumental “11:11” kicks off in a smooth mood, with enchanting keyboard layers and peaceful acoustic guitar sounds. Flamenco and other folk elements, as well as jazz-oriented parts, can be found throughout this appeasing potpourri. Bader Nana put more elements in this song than most other genre bands put into entire records. Despite this, the song sounds down to earth and well-structured. Usually I’m not all that into instrumental songs, but this one has an intellectual beauty that immediately attracted me.
My favorite song is maybe the heavier and more modern sounding “War”, which shows off the darker side of Bader Nana. The clever use of atmospheric and conceptual sound samples and a few vocal effects make me think of a James LaBrie song. This track also features undoubtedly the catchiest chorus on the record, which turns out to be very warm-hearted, smooth, and dominated by almost romantic vocals. In a year when many progressive rock and metal bands didn’t meet my expectations, I would call this track the best progressive metal song of the year. You don’t believe me? Well, listen to this record!
Note that the bonus track “Burning Daylight” is another amazing instrumental song you shouldn’t miss. After a folk driven and psychedelic introduction, the song gets a heavier touch with mysterious keyboard sounds and heavy guitar riffs. The mixture of these smooth and heavy extremes is definitely the main strength of Bader Nana.
It’s hard to tell whether this young artist’s first or second record is better. Both are probably pretty equally great and worth your time and attention if you like progressive metal. You can listen toAnthology for free but I strongly encourage you to purchase this album.