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Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
X-Panda - Flight Of Fancy CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.83 | 31 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars 9/10 A great debut that serves up equal doses of familiarity and originality.

X-Panda (who's name obviously means a desire for expansion) build upon their inspirations (Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree, Nightwish) and create something that is undeniably good old progressive rock, but sounds neither old nor tired. Many bands are unable to break away from their influences in several albums, but X-Panda have done so on their very first and very good album. "Flight Of Fancy" is a fantastic debut from a great new group.

The production is almost unbelievably good for a debut album and no serious fault can be found, even when specifically looking for one. The choirs are real, as are the violins. Plenty of synthesizer effects are thrown into the mix to further emphasize the atmosphere, which is quite jazzy and always adventurous.

X-Panda perform their music with confidence and professionalism and while pretty much every band member gets his chance to shine, the musicianship is never sacrificed to showmanship (an error that many prog bands these days seem unable to avoid making). The vocals are the icing on the cake here. Though seldom used, they serve to highlight the best moments on the album. When female vocals come in at the very end, the effect is even grander and leaves one wishing that vocals were used a bit more often.

It thus follows that "Flight Of Fancy" features mostly instrumental music that emphasizes strong songwriting and atmosphere. The overall mood of the album is quite positive and energetic, but there are plenty of deliciously dark (but no less energetic) moments along the way. When it gets heavy, it gets pretty darn heavy, but never for too long. You'll get your chance to bang your head furiously, but you'll also be able to think and feel during the quieter moments. The riffs and melodies are always catchy, fun and delightful and there are plenty of surprises along the way (Dickybirds sounds like an epic battle theme from a Final Fantasy game at points). The devastating closing number "Revelation" is guaranteed to both make you sing along and leave you wanting for more of the same.

In conclusion: If you haven't heard X-Panda yet, give them a chance. Few bands out there nowadays can impress with every aspect of their music, but X-Panda are one such band. They have created one of the most enjoyable albums that the prog rock/metal has seen in recent years and I believe they have earned their place in every prog fan's collection. This is one flight you'll want to take.

ErnilEnNaur | 4/5 |


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