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Pandora Snail - War and Peace CD (album) cover


Pandora Snail


Eclectic Prog

3.92 | 128 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Pandora Snail kept showing up on the PA homepage, and I figured it was time to listen to something new so I tried to see if I could order their album from somewhere. I couldn't find it on Amazon in any of the four countries where I have an account, so I left it. Only a couple of days later, I received a PM from the band asking me to review their album. I downloaded the music and I was able to play it on my computer but for some reason it wouldn't go into my iPhone. So I just ordered the album from the band for $20 including international shipping. It was one of the best deals I ever got on a CD.

This is an album that is an easy joy to listen to with skilled composers and talented musicians. 'War and Peace' is an apt title as the music has both a heavy aggressive side and pastoral side, albeit often a busy one. During the first listen I felt that the music embodies aspects of higher level seventies prog a la Gryphon without the krum horns, The Enid without the orchestra, and a bit of Camel without the strong jazz leanings, and without sounding recycled adds a freshness and rejuvenation to classic prog. However, more than the above- mentioned bands, Pandora Snail combines traditional folk, modern prog folk, heavy prog / heavy progressive guitar rock, classical piano and violin, a fingerprint of jazz, and a reoccurring almost boogie disco beat with skillful slap bass. At one point I almost expected to hear Boney M's 'Rasputin' begin! Dance beats aside, fans of Wobbler's first two albums, some of White Willow's more prog folk rock, or the Japanese prog band Outer Limits will easily find this instrumental album a delight.

The opening track 'Dilemma' introduces what Pandora Snail are going to be about. With many styles and rhythms and motifs coming at you in just under six minutes, it's a very busy number that plays like a medley. It reminds me of Wobbler from 'Hinterland' or 'Afterglow'. The violin is not just for colour but a lead instrument that shines with diversity sometimes accompanying classical piano or sometimes heavy guitar.

Although there is a unified style and sound to the album, Pandora Snail smoothly and expertly shift meter and rhythm changes, change melodies and motifs, and shoot from style to style within the same track as though it were second nature. To be sure, the heavy guitar sound is not a passing experiment but rears its massive head frequently. Just as often though, you can expect beautiful piano and acoustic guitar, searing violin solos, in- your-face drum rhythms, and some clever bass breaks. Pandora Snail does seem to tread all over its map, but the music does so without sounding lost and meandering. The band has a direction to follow for each track.

The sound is wonderfully captured and produced; very clear with all instruments easy to discern even when the band is going full tilt. The digipak is beautiful. At only $20 U.S. for international delivery and limited numbered edition it is an excellent value! I'm most grateful to the band for contacting me. I might have given up trying to acquire it through the usual channels and missed out.

An album that I find easy to go back and play through again, there are also some stand out tracks for me, including "Stones' Names", "By the Mountain River", and "Satori". But so far there are no tracks that have lost my attention. If you can't find a copy of the CD, PM the band from PA directly and ask. I recommend it.

FragileKings | 5/5 |


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