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CAJA DE PANDORA

Symphonic Prog • Mexico


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Caja De Pandora biography
In 1981 a group of skilled Mexican musicians formed by Alejandro Lomelín (keyboards), José Terán (guitar), Antonio Castro (bass) and Víctor Illaramendi (drums), join in order to form a Progressive Rock band.

Almost in the run the band starts the recording sessions of their self titled debut album, but in the mean time Victor Illaramendi leaves the band in pursue of his career with another band and is replaced by Eduardo Medina.

With this new lineup CAJA DE PANDORA completes the recording of the album which because of financial problems is not released until 1991 when Deneb Records releases it with 3 excellent bonus tracks.

Before writing this short bio (Not much to say in a bio of a band that released only one album) I listened their self titles debut and must say that is impressive, because the band blends Baroque and Medieval influences with passages of pristine Rock and a bit of Jazz with the lead keyboards of Alejandro Lomelín who obviously has Classical formation.

Despite many people try to compare CAJA DE PANDORA with 70's Symphonic pioneers as CAMEL or even with Italian bands like BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO or PFM; the truth is that I find their style absolutely unique and interesting from start to end.

Maybe a few ELP reminiscences and dissonances similar to the ones of GENTLE GIANT, but not enough to call any of this bands a determinant influence in CAJA DE PANDORA'S style.

A great addition for any Symphonic listener who likes instrumental music in the style of the 70's but with an absolutely unique sound.

:::Iván Melgar Morey - Perú:::

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CAJA DE PANDORA discography


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3.46 | 6 ratings
Caja De Pandora
1997

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CAJA DE PANDORA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Caja De Pandora by CAJA DE PANDORA album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.46 | 6 ratings

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Caja De Pandora
Caja De Pandora Symphonic Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Open (carefully) this Pandora's Box!

One of the things I don't really like when reviewing a Mexican album, is that I know that even here in my country these bands are not given the credit they deserve, just a selected group of people know them and it is very sad, I would be happier if I knew progressive rock was better known, starting here, in my own country. But well, there are some people like me who can add a grain of sand in order to help those bands in a positive way, so despite some of those groups no longer exist (like Caja de Pandora) I don't care, but I am happy to review their music.

This album (sadly their only one) was released back in 1997; its name is Caja de Pandora as well and it contains 12 songs compelling a total time of 50 minutes. "Apocalipsis" opens it, showing a clear oriented keyboard song, though the fat bass notes appear here and then, and a constant drumming accompanies the song, it is led without a doubt by the keyboards, I must say that the audio quality is not the best here.

"Cuento de Hadas" begins again with some soft keyboard sound and mood, and then it changes a little bit into a faster time track, but then it slows down again, and the history is repeated during the whole song.

"Ilusion" is a very nice piece, it begins with some bass notes and then an exquisite piano playing appears. Later, the music becomes joyful and then a distorted guitar solo enters, pretty nice song.

"Requiem para el silencio" is short but good, the keyboard sound helps to build the song structure, and the guitar is kind of Howesque, I believe Yes was an influence for them. The second half of the song turns into a faster tempo track, where the member's skills are shown. "Horizontes" is actually alike to the previous ones, I mean, the piano sound predominates along with a punched bass and nice drums, this is great symphonic prog, though I repeat, the quality sound and record production does not help the band at all. In some moments, this song reminds me to both Rick Wakeman and Alan Parsons Project.

"Camino Mágico" begins with a soft rhythm, drums-keyboard, and then some Nintendo-like noises appear, honestly I don't know if they intended to create this sound as a dynamic addition, or it was just fun, but to my ears, it does not help the song.

"Reunión" is an excellent track which starts with some guitar a la Gentle Giant, and then bass and drums appear with the same rhythm, which later is changed into a faster and daring song, and in my opinion it happens to be one of their best tracks here, I like it, it is enjoyable.

"Luz en la Oscuridad" is another good song, starting with piano in a classical mood, making a short stop and then a more aggressive and challenging rhythm is implemented, but then it changes making some jazzy or even reggae-like moods, without losing the progressive element, of course. The bass lines are very noticeable during this song, and then in the second half of the same, a classical piano encounter begins, giving the track a different texture, delicious in some moments.

"Esperanza" is the shortest track reaching only 1 and a half minutes, some piano, guitars and a relaxing mood.

Well, the album ends here, I assume there was a re-issue or something, because I see in the previous review that it has 3 bonus tracks, which I don't know so I cannot comment about them. It is a nice album, a good effort of this disappeared Mexican band, but honestly it lacks of something, the time I've listened to it I've felt there is something missing, so this album does not impresses me, to the point I don't really feel like giving it more than 2 stars, I feel terrible but this time Caja de Pandora did not provoke anything on me, in fact I felt bored in some moments, so I recommend it only for collectors.

Enjoy it, anyway!

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 Caja De Pandora by CAJA DE PANDORA album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.46 | 6 ratings

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Caja De Pandora
Caja De Pandora Symphonic Prog

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

4 stars It's almost always a pleasure to review Latin American albums, because normally you can find much more than what can be expected form a band of a determined genre, being that it's usual to find ethnic references carefully blended with Symphonic (plus some surprises) and the final result is normally richer than what bands limited to a determined sound or style can offer,

CAJA DE PANDORA is one of this releases, the Folk references are not as clear as in other groups, but there are present, in such a way you practically don't notice them, and the strong Symphonic elements seem the main sound, but if you listen carefully there's a lot to be discovered.

Their self titled and only release starts with "Apocalipsis", a strong introduction wit lush and sometimes distorted keyboards where the skills of Alejandro Lomelin are more than evident, the only problem is that after a minute it becomes a bit repetitive until the third minute where a dramatic guitar solo by José Jorge Teran Gómez who closes the track in a different mood.

"Cuento de Hadas" (Fairytale) has a strange folksy intro that I can't define if inspired in Native American, Mayan or Oriental music, and that is the beauty because the mysterious and undefined sound prepares the listener for nothing specific. But the change comes, after a short frenetic passage, the song turns into a fluid Symphonic soft track interrupted by short sections in which the atmosphere of the introduction of the song is repeated, this time with a great bass job by Antonio Castro Barragàn. The radical changes and the different moods make of this song a great piece of art.

"Ilusión" (Illusion) has a jazzy and bass based intro with the fast piano enhancing the style and solid drumming by Eduardo Medina, but the song starts to gradually morph into a soft form of Symphonic, but as always with blasts of power and strong distorted guitar solos, simply brilliant.

"Requiem Para el Silencio" (Requiem for Silence) shows us again the jazzy side of CAJA DE PANDORA, if you ask me, I dare to say there's a FOCUS influence in the soft atmospheres, but without the spectacularly of Thijs Van Leer. After one minute the song changes dramatically into an elaborate Symphonic - Neo Classical fantasy of sounds and influences, but only for a short time before they return to the jazzy sections that are kept until the end with drastic and violent interruptions.

"Horizontes" (Horizons) takes us back to Symphonic territory, but his time with more energy and power but to be honest, also some AOR influences, specially in the typical 80's keyboards. At the end after a contrapuntal section, the song flows to the end with strength and power.

"Camino Mágico" (Magical Road) surprises me as one of the best tracks in the album, starts a syncopated and rhythm but soon turns into a very complex expression of Symphonic Prog with FOCUS hints, specially in the Flemish oriented guitar solos reminiscent of Jan Akkerman, special mention for Antonio Castro Barragán who does an outstanding percussion work.

"Reunion" is a short jazzy track with Hard Rock fugue and a fantastic piano performance and amazingly abrupt changes, and works as an intro for the dramatic and powerful "Luz en la Oscuridad" (Light in the Darkness) that reminds me of Rossini's William Tell Overture, but soon changes into a mysterious and again jazzy track with excellent management of rhythm that is enhanced by the piano.

The original version is closed with the spacey and melodically beautiful "Esperanza" (Hope), but my version has three bonus tracks that I usually omit, but in this case I will talk about them, because we're before fantastic music.

"La Gruta del Rey de la Montaña" (The Hall of the Mountain King) may be considered a joke, because we should expect something close to Mussorgsky's famous work, but instead of a Russian Nationalist work, we get a fantastic blend of Baroque and Medieval music boosted with strong Rock passages, but in the middle starts an incredibly complex and dissonant section where each musician has the chance to prove his abilities, the only word I can use is breathtaking.

"El Tema de Pandora" (Pandora's Theme) is another Baroque & Roll fantasy, incredibly fluid and elaborate that must be enjoyed from start to end....But the grand finale is "Eclipse", a KING CRIMSON complex oriented track, one of the most experimental and interesting tracks I heard in a long time.

I usually don't like instrumental albums too much, but "CAJA DE PANDORA" is an amazing album that deserves much more attention, if not essential, at least an Excellent addition for any Prog collection.

It's a shame this excellent band stopped their career at this point........4 solid stars.

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 Caja De Pandora by CAJA DE PANDORA album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.46 | 6 ratings

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Caja De Pandora
Caja De Pandora Symphonic Prog

Review by barp

4 stars A superb album of complex symphonic prog. Although it was recorded in the nineties the CD has the atmosphere and much of the sound of classic prog produced in the early 70's. It brings to mind the sound and style of early to mid period Yes instrumental passages. Fantastic interplay between all the instrumentalists. Intense uplifting music. Highly recommended!

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 Caja De Pandora by CAJA DE PANDORA album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.46 | 6 ratings

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Caja De Pandora
Caja De Pandora Symphonic Prog

Review by Steve Hegede
Prog Reviewer

4 stars If you are familiar with the Mexican prog scene from the 80s, you probably know that many of the bands produced music characterized by short, but intense, tracks ranging between 3 to 4 minutes in length. The music, for the most part, owed alot to ICONOCLASTA's first album and the quality also reached the levels of that incredible album. CAJA DE PANDORA were no exception, and the band released an album of high-quality prog. "Caja De Pandora" rates up there with ICONOCLASTA's first album and "Delerium"'s "Primer Dialogo". The music here is quite intense and emphasizes energetic interplay between the guitarist and keyboardist. If you are a fan of any of the classic bands to come out of the Mexican prog scene, I'm sure you will enjoy this band.

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