Ah, the beauty of the Internet – looking up your teenage favourite bands and discovering they’re still making music!
I’ve written quite a bit about Extreme in the past – they were one of my favourite bands of the 90’s, and Nuno Bettencourt was my idol as a guitarist. I knew he was still performing, so I discovered his new band Dramagods and managed to get my hands on a copy of their album, Love.
It seems that the focal point of Dramagods is Nuno. But although he’s recognised as a guitar god, Nuno also fronts the group and he’s a surprisingly good vocalist. He carries off a range of material on this album, from hard-edged rock to more sensitive material.
Another surprising aspect of this album is that it isn’t filled with extended guitar solos. Instead, the guitar solos only appear where they’re suitable – they’re not the focus of the songs as I sometimes felt they were in Nuno’s earlier work.
Love: The Best Bits
Best bits? The whole album pretty much kicks ass! The strongest material on Love is the uptempo stuff. The opener, Megaton, is an explosive start to the album – and makes brave use of synth alongside a dirty, grinding riff, alternating between this and a soaraway chorus.
Lockdown is a little more laid back, but features a blistering solo from Nuno. One of those frantic, palm-muted, ascending solos that are his signature. I’m also loving Fearless Leader – it has this chiming, pretty intro that descends into grinding guitar and merges into a dreamy-sounding chorus. Heavy is in the same vein, hard grinding riffs with an irresistible groove.
By far my favourite track is Pilots. Not only is it the most infectious track on the album, it’s the one that sticks in my head most regularly. Great singing from Nuno, and tongue in cheek lyrics – “Red-eye girls you are the best/time to dim the lights my stewardess/think we’re gonna feel some turbulence/relax”. My only gripe is the 57 second long organ intro. Cut that shit out, I just wanna hear the song!
Oh, Dramagods have been around long enough to know that ballads pay the bills. I’m please to report though that every ballad on Love kicks the arse of More Than Words. Ten times over in fact.
What have we got? Interface does heartbreak well, with tender verses and big, heartfelt choruses. This kind of stuff gives me a lump in my throat. Seriously. Something About You is one of those tunes that plays over a big emotional scene in…Grey’s Anatomy or something like that.
Oddball acoustic track is Broken, which is slightly out of place on the album, but a fantastic showcase of the band’s diversity and a very raw, throaty sound from Mr Bettencourt.
Although the final 3 or 4 tracks are relatively forgettable, the rest of the album is a joy to listen to. Another blogger sums it up perfectly:
Great arrangements, great songs with hooks and twists. Emotional and upbeat, beautiful and dreamy, itâ€™s highly recommended! It deserves your attention, no doubt!