Well, what a surprise as after listening to the opening track of distinctly progressive metal the music in the second track moves swiftly over to a heavily orchestrated symphonic progressive sound and what a revelation it is too. Beautiful flowing guitar with melodic choral styled keyboard fills all enhanced and complimented by a full on orchestra. Besides that the laid back yet quite majestic vocals of Tamar Nugis add a particularly exciting atmosphere to the music and perfectly compliment the proceedings. And then in the same style of providing surprises at every corner the band continue to unwrap more disguises in their musical armament with a whole host of musical formats packaged up within this album offering. Some beautiful latin style jazz tinged progressive rock for example on the track entitled “On The Way” and then another shft over to what could frankly be the sound track of a modern 21st centuary Western. The arrangements throughout the various compositions are drenched with colour and atmosphere all further accentuated by the wonderful baking provided by Tatu University Orchestra together on some tracks with the E Studio Choir. Whether the overall complications of the music could be reproduced in a concert situation might be difficult to say but with modern technology and advanced equipment being available it might not be a problem, however, such full on sound as it is on this album would take a massive feat of expert audio engineering to reproduce the sound exactly. What is particulary fascinating is how the the music twists and turns throughout the nine tracks with subtle time changes interchanging rhythm and tempo with apparent simplistic ease. All of the members in "X-Panda" are absolutely first class musicians, fantastic percussion, adventurous bass, colourful swirling keyboards and beautiful but energetic lead guitar and as mentioned above enhanced by the inclusion of orchestral accompaniment. . I repeat too that the vocalist has an amazingingly expressive voice full of passion and style which immediately adds a further dimension to the bands appeal. It is pretty unusual too find an album where all the songs are first rate without any poor or medicore ‘‘throw away’ tracks.
Summary: An excellent album full of quality tracks and fine musicianship throughout with solid vocals and interesting orchestral accompaniement. My only criticism would be the name of the band X-Panda which upon further research seems to relate to a range of car seats?
Artwork: A nice tidy package with ample information and lyrics to the songs.
1. The Game
3. Hit and Run
4, Slaves of Lies
5, Rise Up to Fly
6. On the Way
7, Reflections: Inner Battle
8. Reflections: Silent Friend
9. Esivanemate Parand
Kaarel Tamra: keyboards Risto Virkhausen: guitars Roland Jairus: bass Karl-Juhan Laanesaar: drums Tamar Nugis: vocals
Tartu University Symphony Orchestra (Estonia) conducted by Lauri Sirp, except Reflections: Inner Battle: Jiiri-Ruut Kangur E STuudio Youth Choir conducted by Kiilli Lokko
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