Tuesday 25 October 2016

Album Review: X-Panda - Reflections

This second album from Estonia’s X-Panda is a nugget of pure gold. Reflections recalls some of the finest moments of bands like Queensryche, Kamelot, and yes, Dream Theater in a seemingly effortless display of high caliber musicianship. The nine songs pressed on this piece of plastic roll out of the speakers with a fluid, graceful, motion that so many bands yearn to capture yet will never attain and definitely not with a sophomore release. What I find most endearing about this band is their strong slant towards the symphonic rock territory. When I heard their song Denial for the first time I was blown away. Here is the best melodic metal song of 2016, on a prog metal disc. The progressive side of the band was the sort that showed off their chops on their respective instruments but was restrained enough to as not become annoying. But still, prog fans can’t help but become enamored with the lightning fast shredding of Risto Virkhausen or the ultra clear and passionate voice of Tamar Nugis. 

The Game is where I got my Kamelot comparison from. It begins the album with a punchy riff that segues into a climbing orchestral buildup before Nugis’s crystal clear voice cuts through the music and causes the listener to stand upright. Instantly, I noticed that he has much more control over his abilities than he did on Flight of Fancy. He can move from note to note with perfect precision and is really quite a treat to hear. A pure, powerful, prog metal track that gets the disc going in the right fashion. The already mentioned Denial is a bit more complex than The Game in the music department. Hit and Run speeds the tempo up in the beginning before the verse break. It is very dark in nature. Slaves of Lies and Rise Up to Play are the two melodic sympho-prog rockers recalling again Kamelot influences, especially the former. On the Way is a “surprising” instrumental that sees the band exploring within thefusion jazz genre.

Reflections shows X-Panda ponying up the goods. They have become stronger in all the right categories and have created a blend of music that appeals to so many senses. Technical precision that is razor sharp combined with an arena rock melodic sensibility has never sounded sweeter. Reflections will be this band’s high water mark to reach for the rest of their career.

You can buy Reflections here. Follow X-Panda on Facebook

Post a Comment

Follow on Instagram

© Metalhorizons. all images are © their respective owners. Design by FCD.