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X-Panda - Flight Of Fancy CD (album) cover

FLIGHT OF FANCY

X-Panda

 

Progressive Metal

3.82 | 25 ratings

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EatThatPhonebook
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 7/10

"Flight Of Fancy" promises great, adventurous things for X-Panda.

X-Panda are an Estonian (!) Progressive Metal band that apparently have come out of nowhere with their debut "Flight Of Fancy" released in a year where there is room for many great albums in the music scene. This debut is a huge surprise, an extremely fresh, original and brave work by young, extremely talented and well educated musicians. Together, they create something that is not really an album, but a massive and solemn promise that they'll be the rulers of the Prog Metal scene in no time.

Is Progressive Metal a word that is starting to get less clear? Maybe it's simply expanding: here, the second option is what I like to believe X-Panda wants to do with the genre. What this band did with this album shows the great talent that underdog countries such as Estonia can have. It is great to hear hidden talents slowly coming towards the open, towards the outer world. There is only to thank X-Panda, for reminding us what Progressive Metal should mean, which is variation, progression, and experimentation, but also change. The reason why Prog Metal is getting less clear is because of bands such as these, that are able to expand the term, and still being able to remain in that box.

Their music is strongly influenced by Jazz Fusion, it is in fact largely instrumental, to the point where it's almost more of a Jazz effort, because of song structures that imply it clearly. To mind, Haken seemed a sort of influence for this band, because of their wide eclecticism in keyboard sounds, something that is heard abundantly in the landmark album "Aquarius". Despite the pretty wide experimentation, jazziness and progressiveness, there is no denying that the melodies are strong in each one of these tracks, another reason why Haken comes to mind: the songwriting can be quite catchy at times, when it's not focusing on constant melody changing, like in most of the album. As a matter of fact, these songs are best described as shapeshifters: they constantly change form, constant time changes, constant melody changes. This chameleonic piece of music can, let's admit it, go a little too far over, to the point where after about an hour the listen get's somewhat tiring. There is musically tons of variation, but in a way, I feel like I'm listening to basically the same track over and over again. Exceptions be made for some that just don't have the same nature of the rest of the songs.

The album, despite not being the most solid thing out there, has moments that were almost shockingly huge standouts, not only for 2011 tracks but for Prog Metal tracks in general: the song that captures the most of what I just said is the wonderful, extremely touching title-track, a great seven minute trip that contains some of the most touching moments you'll ever hear from this genre. Songs like the eleven minute "Black" or "Dickybirds: use sort of the same kind of songwriting, with always a very highlighted musicianship. The few sung songs are really good too, especially the dark tones of "Siren" or even the quieter segments of "Black". "Journey" Of A Dream"'s more melodic moments are indeed a great treat for the listener, but the eleven minutes could get tedious for some. The second part of the album I can't help to find it a bit weaker, however the shiny moments are more than a few, like in "Rhythm Department" or "Crystal Gazing".

A unique and brave album that gives great hope and ambition for this band, that hopefully will rise up to become what they deserve to be. A really enjoying experience that will leave pleased any Prog Metal fan.

EatThatPhonebook | 4/5 |

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