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Pandora Snail - War and Peace CD (album) cover


Pandora Snail


Eclectic Prog

3.92 | 124 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nš 23

Surprisingly, a few days ago I received a PM in my Inbox of Progarchives from an unknown band, Pandora Snail, asking me to review their debut studio album, 'War And Peace', which was released few months ago. I must confess that I was taken by surprise by that request. However, I accepted and here I am trying to do my best despite the risks.

Pandora Snail is a Russian band native based in St. Petersburg and that was founded in 2008, but only became a solid band in 2010. The group had a settlement process of stability a bit long, but finally they managed to make their first work, in 2015. However, according to their official page, their debut album was recorded already back in 2010, but has only now seen the light of the day by the hand of the Moscow based record label ArtBeat.

The musical influences are mainly the progressive rock of 70's. We can see also influences from the classical music. The band's sound is heavily based on piano and keyboard skills of Gor, although the other musicians also leave a deep impact in the music, especially their violinist Gareev. However, the performances of the other musicians leave a deep impact too, like the guitar work of Gorgadze which is very nice and the bass lines of Klyushin are also great.

Pandora Snail is composed by five professional musicians. Their music is based on compositions by Ulyana Gor, a classical trained pianist, and by their guitarist Oleg Gorgadze. The line up on the album is Ulyana Gor (keyboards and vocals), Oleg Gorgadze (guitar, electric guitar, noises and vocals), Artem Gareev (violin), Kirill Klyushin (bass guitar and contrabass) and Igor Cheridnik (drums and percussion).

'War And Peace' has eleven tracks and is an instrumental album. The first track 'Dilemma' shows right away of what the band is all about. This is a song with great melodic lines, sweet melancholic folk parts and a nice symphonic splendour. The second track 'By The Mountain River' follows the same melancholic path. Some new nuances emerge when the piano plays some interludes in the jazz/rock style. It's also notable the guitar and the violin works on it. The third track 'To Catch The Wind' is a heavier track in the King Crimson's vein of the 80',s with a funk touch. It shows another side of the band, a livelier side where once again we have the usual duel between keyboards and violin. The fourth track 'Submarine' is a track with a typical symphonic melodic sophistication beginning in a relaxed way and turn into a vibrant song. It's a track also with a jazz/rock tune and where all the band's members give their best. The fifth track 'James Pont' is the lengthiest track on the album. It was put in the middle of the album to show us that it's the centrepiece of it. This track clearly shows their best prog side. Things on the track carry us to the early 70's in the most progressive style. This is a very ambitious track with many tempo changes that also reminds me King Crimson. The sixth track 'Mother's Tears' starts as another melancholic track that gradually evolves nicely until the end of it. This is a track with a mix of simple symphonic melodies, and on this song the band returned to the land of the serene lyrical music. The seventh track 'Red Rivers' is the smallest track on the album. This is another very enjoyable track in the vein of the progressive symphonic style. Despite being very short, it's very impressive the good skills of all band members. The eighth track 'Stones' Names' is another very impressive track. This is a song that develops in the same joyful musical spirit, of the all album. It's one of the most beautiful songs on the album, beautifully driven by drums and percussion. The ninth track 'Dance Under The Bullets' is a track in the jazz/rock style with a touch of funk in the progressive vein. This is another track full of quick musical passages and where the support rhythm section, shines. The tenth track 'After The War' sounds a little bit a chaotic track because it seems to have some improvised parts. It's a dark and heavy track with some great creative moments. This is a very progressive track with some beautiful time changes. The eleventh track 'Satori' is a very beautiful and incredible voyage on the album. The song closes the album with a feel of happiness, probably because it represents after the war. This is an incredible track that despite be the second lengthiest, we never get bored with it. This is really a great and perfect end to this surprisingly good work.

Conclusion: 'War And Peace' is a very nice surprise. It's an album with the presence of groomed and complex arrangements despite the great range of style influences treated. Those influences go from symphonic, folk, jazz/rock, funk, classical even to heavy rock. Theirs influences are from many, diverse and great bands of the 70's, such as Yes, King Crimson, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Curved Air, for instance. However, what impresses me most is that they have a very own style, probably given by the traditional Russian melancholy. If it's true that five years have passed since their original recordings, I'm very curious to see how the band developed, waiting anxiously for their next work.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |


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