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X-PANDA

Progressive Metal • Estonia


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X-Panda biography
The style of X-Panda can be described as energetic and theatrical. It is both progressive while simultaneously accessible and catchy. Their music has a powerful melodic edge as well as a great metallic basis as well as jazz fusion hooks and enhancements - it is a mixture of progressive metal, fusion, industrial and motion picture soundtracks. Fusing different genres and using live visuals enables the band to create shows with wide spectrum of emotions and dynamics. The band is influenced by Dream Theater, Planet X, Virgil Donati, Simon Phillips, Joe Satriani, Porcupine Tree and Nightwish among others.

X-Panda was founded in 2009 in Tartu, Estonia. Their critically acclaimed debut album Flight of Fancy (2011) was nominated album of the year in metal category of Estonian Music Awards. X-Panda has been performing at music festivals in Latvia, Finland and Lithuanina. The band has played several times in Holland: Progmotion festival in 2014 followed by concerts at Cultuurpodium Boerderj, W2 Poppodium and Den Bosch in 2015. X-Panda has released music videos for the songs "Revelation" and "Slaves of Lies". The band has collaborated with E STuudio Youth Choir, Tartu Youth Choir, Tallinn International Youth Orchestra as well with Tartu University Symphonic Orchestra.

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X-PANDA discography


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X-PANDA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.83 | 26 ratings
Flight Of Fancy
2011
3.78 | 7 ratings
Reflections
2016

X-PANDA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

X-PANDA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

X-PANDA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

X-PANDA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

X-PANDA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Reflections by X-PANDA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.78 | 7 ratings

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Reflections
X-Panda Progressive Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Reflections' - X-Panda (53/100)

X-Panda made their debut to the world in 2011 with Flight of Fancy. I actually got a chance to hear it around the time that first album came out, and while I more or less branded them off as another Dream Theater hopeful at the time, they had at least made enough of an impression to remember flickers of the debut when a second album wheeled into view. Five years since the debut, it's clear that X-Panda have pushed their envelope beyond the confines of the jazz-tinged DT acolytes they used to be. Although they're still following prog metal convention a bit, their guiding influences have been expanded to include Nightwish and Muse.

The result is an album that feels practically buried in the weight of its ambition. On the one hand, trying to take after more than one band simultaneously is one way to come up with a more distinctive sound. It's a shame that pushing themselves forward has come at the cost of the things I liked most about Flight of Fancy. Where the mostly instrumental format gave a circa 2011 X-Panda the opportunity to flaunt their finesse, the vocal- based songwriting and flashy "cinematic" arrangements keep the band's core musicianship from shining out near as much. Full-blown orchestral arrangements, choral accompaniments and varied styles are all go-to placemarks for a rock band that is self-consciously pushing themselves to their limits. I think it's resulted in some very impressive ideas, but their evolution between albums doesn't seem so much an improvement as it is merely a transition to a new set of strengths and weaknesses.

X-Panda gave vocals a spin on a few songs from the debut. Bassist Tamar Nugis lent his voice to mixed results; at the least, it was a refreshing change of pace from the mostly instrumental arrangements they originally dabbled with. I wouldn't have thought a vocal-heavy X-Panda album would have been a great idea then, and I don't think so now. It's a really common pitfall for prog metal bands to include vocal at the cost of engaging instrumentation. It's hard to write vocal lines on top of crazy time signatures and busy arrangements, and vocal sections are often simplified to the point of sounding half the time like edgy AOR. Even if it wouldn't be fair to judge X-Panda by the same rubric as before, the vocal focus is the clear suspect that robbed them of their livelier parts. They have included these crazy film score orchestral parts perhaps as a way to compensate, but the whole way they go about it feels a greater part flash than substance. Much like Muse, their orchestra sounds big and conventionally epic, but there's little about it to justify its inclusion. Even the most basic orchestral scores take a ton of work to arrange, but this sounds like the predictable collection of bombastic flourishes and orchestration they could have mustered. To their credit, 9 out of 10 rock bands who opt to get classy with a backup orchestra fall short in much the same way.

Although I'd blame the album's shortcomings on the fact that they opted to get vocal on Reflections, it's not hurt by what they added so much as what they had to take away in the process. Nugis' voice might sound awkwardly thin and out-of-place fronting an expensive-sounding orchestra, but I wouldn't say his voice is bad at all. Nonetheless, knowing how to perform and compose effectively as an instrumental group carries a very different set of requirements than conventional songwriting. With average vocals to keep them from normally taking flight the way they should, and an unnecessary orchestra to further distract from the band, I think X-Panda's desire to move forward got in the way of their existing strengths. Unsurprisingly, my favourite track here is the one where they decided to fall back on old habits. "On the Way" is a familiar plunge into jazz fusion; it's pleasant and light enough, but it demonstrates they're still more than capable of bringing the best out of themselves. I respect X- Panda for trying to find a fresh identity. I don't think the evolution's worked out this time, but they've clearly lost none of that original potential.

 Reflections by X-PANDA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.78 | 7 ratings

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Reflections
X-Panda Progressive Metal

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars X-Panda is an Estonian progressive metal fusion band who have released two albums over seven years of history, the latest being "Reflections". I was contacted by someone in the band and asked to review the album. I told him I'd be glad to listen but warned him that I had a lot on my plate and I might not get to the review so soon. Some weeks later I finally heard the album, and after three listens, here I am putting fingers to the keyboard.

"The Game" kicks off the album. It's a full-on heavy rocker with a catchy arena rock chorus and pumped with synthesizers. More like a heavy neo-prog act that is shooting at a memorable, almost mainstream song, X-Panda leave you wondering what this album will deliver in the way of progressive rock in spite of the impressive opening song.

The second track, "Denial", would attempt to answer that with over twelve minutes of powerful symphonic metal complete with strings and brass. The rock band contribution doesn't strike me as musically complex yet the music packs a solid punch with the symphony adding the needed weight. The guitar riff is a simple chugger as a melodic and well-executed guitar solo takes over past the middle mark. Tamar Nugis is the vocalist and though he proves himself to be a theatrical singer with great power behind his voice, I find that at times on this track he is being overly dramatic. My red pen for striking down album weak points was raised once or twice here but I let it pass this time.

"Hit and Run" begins with a strong heavy riff but soon falls tragically into a formula that I dislike. After the opening riff gets a second run through with synthesizer adding a dark feeling to the heaviness, the song abruptly drops in bombast to make way for the vocals. The guitar is gone and only this mechanical and cold synthesizer plays while Nugis sings. The predictability factor maxes out here as the music clears way for two piano notes and whammo! the riff is back. But as I'm shaking my head thinking, "Formulaic! (heavy, drop down to light, go heavy again)" I can't help but notice that I am enjoying the music as it intensifies. Before long, I'm no longer caring about any formula and loving the heaviness and the bombast of the song's closure.

By "Slaves of Lies" the symphonic metal feel is in full force and I can't help but think about Symphony X from their "V: The New Mythology Suite". But then the music takes two surprising turns, the first with "Rise Up and Fly" which loses the heavy guitars and goes for an 80's pop vibe or maybe more like Depeche Mode but covered by this modern day band. Nice touch. Then comes the instrumental "On the Way" which really sounds like something from a 90's Steve Morse album. No heavy guitar here either but instead some nice guitar rock with a touch of jazz and a wonderful bit of lead guitar work. The music changes as the keyboards are given a chance in the spotlight. Bass guitar takes us back to the main guitar theme. Though much has impressed me thus far, this track really stands out.

"Reflections" comes in two parts, "Inner Battle" and "Silent Friend". The former brings us back to symphonic metal again. It's big, bold, and powerful with brass and strings accompanying the metal band with synthesizer. The Symphony X comparisons gain credibility. Then the music suddenly drops to delicate acoustic guitar joined soon by piano and vocals. Nugis sounds like a vocalist in an Ayreon rock opera now and the woodwind instruments come leading the song towards the heavy return of the guitars and then another ear-capturing lead guitar solo. The brass returns for a powerful punch of a finish. We hear rain and some pretty piano. More theatrical vocals and synthesizer and strings and then, surprise surprise, a flute plays a jig to strummed guitar while the symphony holds a beautiful but slow background. The symphony and the drums then take the lead with some electric guitar in the background and then that wonderful jig returns this time joined by hand percussion. The symphonic metal power comes back and the whole shebang wraps up with a finale of delicate piano with more lovely lead guitar.

The album closes with a song called "Esivanemate parand" which I'm going to guess is sung in native Estonian. This final track is almost like an opera/pop fusion similar to "Con Te Partiro" as sung by Francesco Sartori. I have to say that Nugis' vocals are at their best here, in my opinion, and really pack emotive power and passion. The acoustic guitar gets the lead solo break before we return to the anthemic climax of the song. On my second listen through, I decided that this might be my favourite song on the album. This song was the clincher for me that made me decide that I wanted the CD!

This has turned out to be quite an album. Though I was a bit skeptical about it at the start I have found the album to be full of pleasant and exciting surprises. I predict that this album will grow on me more with subsequent listens. Well done, X-Panda!

 Reflections by X-PANDA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.78 | 7 ratings

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Reflections
X-Panda Progressive Metal

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

4 stars X-Panda is a five piece band from Estonia and this is their second album. I haven't heard the first but I understand it is more instrumental. Influenced by Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree and Nightwish, on this album there sounds like a Muse influence as well; I'm not sure if the first album had that or not. The tracks on this album are mainly divided between more catchy shorter tracks and longer experimental cuts. With the exception of one track, all the vocals are in English. "The Game" is an anthem-like melodic rocker that is single material. Good song, even contains an instrumental middle section where the tempo slows down. "Denial" is the longest track. It contains a string section. Very symphonic and not very heavy. The vocal part begins with just strings and keyboards but later the whole band joins in. The vocal melody in the middle reminds me of Muse. Nice fretless(?) bass work near the end before a ripping guitar solo.

"Hit And Run" is very electronic sounding with a darker, mysterious vibe. Some vocal effects which compliment that vibe. Less electronic and more rockin' in the middle section. Ends with more Muse-like vocal melodies. "Slaves Of Lies" starts out cinematic and symphonic before going into the main part of the song: symphonic metal with verses that groove. "Rise Up To Fly" is another track which is single worthy. Catchy song which is very Muse sounding. "On The Way" is a great jazzy instrumental. Revolves around a great melody on electric guitar. Halfway the tempo picks up and we are treated to a synth solo. The title track is divided into two parts. The first, "Inner Battle" starts out dramatically with orchestral and symphonic sounds, then the band joins in. Later just acoustic guitar and symphonic atmosphere, then vocals and piano. Eventually goes back to full band again with guitar solo.

Part two is called "Silent Friend." Opening with sprinkling piano and symphonic backing. After the first vocals comes a folky flute part; later it comes back as the music turns into a kind of jig. The last track is a ballad sung in Estonian. Overall a really good album. The music here is not extremely heavy or complex. I would recommend this to someone who enjoys both Dream Theater and Muse. I will give this a 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars.

 Reflections by X-PANDA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.78 | 7 ratings

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Reflections
X-Panda Progressive Metal

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Some three decades ago I would probably be able to kill for album like that. "The Game" would be my glam-rock piece of the month, "Denial" could be beaten then only by (still) fresh Dream Theater music (X-Panda play similar progressive metal here, just less complex,more tuneful and better arranged (or more polished - you chose) - and significantly more theatrical).

"Rise Up To Fly" opens with orchestra's strings (for sure band owe a lot to Finnish acts like Lordi and Nightwish), "On The Way" contains interesting (for this genre) piano soloing in combination with genre trademark "crying" guitar. "First part of "Reflections" ("Inner Battle") is bombastic and full of theatrical drama, it's one among a few peaces which will probably will make happy more heavy music fans. The closer is a ballad sung in Estonian and it has true country's popular music touch (at least crossing Estonia by car each time during last three decades I can hear similar music on local radio).

So - what do we have here in total? If you don't care about modernity in your music level of "heaviness" or/and "progressiveness" is not your main criteria, "Reflections" is really well played and recorded, professionally arranged crossover album with lot of tunes and light touch of Nordic spirit. Vocals are competent, use of orchestral arrangements is very tasteful and common sound is really pleasant (incl. well-balanced sound mix).

X-Panda fortunately are not another Dream Theater clone, they demonstrate their own mix of bombastic glam-metal, folk-prog,progressive metal and characteristic Nordic symphonic heavy rock. All brew is professionally cooked and if you don't expect modern tricks and don't worry about obvious 80s-90s influences in your music, you will probably will enjoy listening to this release.Strong 3,5.

 Flight Of Fancy by X-PANDA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.83 | 26 ratings

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Flight Of Fancy
X-Panda Progressive Metal

Review by oscillator11(J.M.)

4 stars My first Estonian album ever, but what a great music! To judge from the photographs the band members are still young, but what a maturity in their playing and in their compositions. Once I started to listen to this album I couldn't stop for days. Their seemingly weak spot is in my eyes their strength. Listening to this album gives you the impression that you have to do with a band that haven't yet made up their mind what style to play and exactly that is making the album exiting and captivating to the end!

The band move from jazz-rock to Symphony X orientated metal to classical progressive symphonic rock and don't even hesitate to add a piece of Gothic metal.

Most of the music is instrumental and that's just good, because the vocal of bass player Tamas Nugis qualities aren't up the incredible maturity of the technical skills of the band.

An album like "Flight of Fancy" takes time to sound familiar, because at every new listening you discover new elements in the music.

"Dark" is a fine piece of dark metal with a touch of gothic added and a fantastic symphonic lead guitar. Title piece "Flight of Fancy" gives you a piece of melodic and extremely harmonious jazz-rock.

"Siren" is more in a vein of bands like Symphony X, but with weaker vocals. "Calm Waters" is a more quiet jazz-rock composition with a beautiful warm bass to sustain it.

The album ends in the style in which it begun with once more choral interventions and a solid metal based sound. This is truly an album to check out!! Great music. Can't wait to discover what they will come up with next!!

Oscillator11

 Flight Of Fancy by X-PANDA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.83 | 26 ratings

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Flight Of Fancy
X-Panda Progressive Metal

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

4 stars It's not easy, oh it's not, when you live most part of your life in only one country. There's nothing wrong with that, but when it comes to know where places are and understand the different cultures, it's complicated.

It's easy for most of us being familiar with USA, England, Italy or even Brazil, the place I was born.

So when you found out that some band comes from.. Estonia, well, you really can't imagine what kind of music will be, when when you discover that they play Progressive Metal/Progressive Rock, it really comes as a shock, initially. Not because of any prejudice, but because you never imagines such places to have any different music and only because... you never heard of any band or just a couple of bands that comes from that place.

Now that I've explained this little thing, I just need to say that doesn't matter from where X-PANDA came. The things that matters when Flight Of Fancy (2011) starts is how good is that. And it is!

The little 'Intro' comes most as some piece of sound to delivers the first real song 'Black' that starts when we thing, well, another Progressive Metal band. But that's a mistake. X-PANDA mix more than only that, they deliver a sound full of details where orchestral parts and very good keyboard driven layers by Kaarel Tamra are really important, maybe the one thing that keep us with Progressive Metal in our heads are the guitars parts from Risto Virkhausen, that most of the times are playing heavy syncopated riffs, but he also plays alot in the 'solo' field, where the guitar is soloing most of the time with nice melodies. So, no, I don't count X-PANDA as a Progressive Metal band in the end.

One nice thing about Flight Of Fancy (2011) is that every track have a little text that explain a bit every song before going into each lyrics. I just love that kind of stuff and very few albums have that.

Most of the album is instrumental, they're all great, a big mix of this guys influences but with personality, but I really would like to have more vocals, Tamar Nugis (he's also the bass player) have a very good voice and 'Black', 'Siren' and 'Revelation' prove that.

A very solid first album with a great psychedelic cover and a amazing production, Karl-Juhan Laanesaar drums sound like real drums, which is a problem for me in the big majority of new albums. My only complain is the lenghty of the album, in my opinion almost 70 minutes is a bit too much.

I highly recomment the record and if you're not sure yet jump on their Bandcamp page and check out 2 tracks of the album (x-panda.bandcamp.com/album/flight-of-fancy).

On top of all that? The band is working on their second album that will be released around mid 2013.

 Flight Of Fancy by X-PANDA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.83 | 26 ratings

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Flight Of Fancy
X-Panda Progressive Metal

Review by CCVP
Prog Reviewer

3 stars New blood

In these past five years or so the progressive metal comunity has come to experience the rise of a somewhat dead subgenre of progressive metal, the so-called fusion metal or jazz metal. Having its roots in the mid 1990's, jazz metal was supposedly dead by the end of the decade, when its biggest names either disbanded or were met with so many difficulties that it was nearly impossible to go on. The stark changes in the music business industry and the big opportunities the internet has come to offer to new strugginlg artists, however, came to come in handy with the redevelopment of the subgenre, causing not only the old acts to regroup, release new material and experience some degree of success, although limited to a strict niche, but also giving birth to a number of promissing and exciting new acts, being X Panda one of such.

When the band came to me, offering their work and asking for a sincere feedback I was already familiar to their music to some extent, since I took part in the process of their evaluation and adition to the ProgArchives database. In adition to that, being an enthusiant of progressiver metal only made it more natural and downright easy for me to write this review.

The band's music, despite borrowing heavily from whatever jazz influences they have, have their roots firmely set in the progressive metal side. Right in the first (propper) song, the mini epic Black, you can have a real good sense of that, with references and inclinations to Derek/Rudess-era Dream Theater and Shadow Gallery (this last one can be heard specially in the melodic piano and guitar lines and musical development) all around. Liquid Tension Experiment and Derek Sherinian (solo output), might I say, all related with Dream Theater, also can be recognised along as noticeable influences to the band's creative process, leaving to Dream Theater the undisputed place as the main source of inspiration for this Eesti four-piece.

Wile the wide influence they have from the american progressive metal band can be seen as a big advantage, as their music will be met and consumed more easily by the progressive metal fans, as Dream Theater is undisputably the biggest, most loved and most successful act in the genre (what can be seen in the reviews of my fellow collegues, many of them avid fans of the mentioned american band, as myself), I also see it as a big disadvantage, because: 1 - there is a miriad of bands that take Dream Theater as their main influence, what could make this promissing band be dismissed as a clone; 2 - Dream Theater has many haters inside the progressive comunity; 3 - even if there are interesting, orginal and intelligent musical ideas in the album they can get lost amongst the many that are inspired directly out of an idea from the makers of Images and Words.

Another downside for me was the solo section of the album, reserved for the keyboardist and the drummer; even if those are not pure solos, meaning that the main instruments are accompanied by the rest of the band, I personally do not like this concept and, unless it is delivered with perfection, it most certainly loses my attention, which is what happens in this case, in spite of the band's most honorable efforts to deliver.

As it could be expected by any progressive metal band that strives for greatness, the instrumental department is close to perfection and, and here it comes the biggest strength of this ensemble, the players are able to bring to the listener both the roughness and technicality of the traditional progressive metal group as well as the melodious songs with a feel that few progressive metal groups are able to have. The vocals are also presented with caution, meaning that the album is almost completely instrumental and that the vocal parts do not get in the way of the instrumental work.

Rating and final thoughts:

Fight of the Fancy is a decent enough debut if you ask me. It presents the band's music and premise very well and let you wanting more. It also show how promissing X Panda is as one of the new faces in the jazz metal ranks, they are definitely a diamond in the rough type and will most surely surprise everybody in the future, and I hope they do. For now, they have a solid debut album as their acheivement. Three stars.

 Flight Of Fancy by X-PANDA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.83 | 26 ratings

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Flight Of Fancy
X-Panda Progressive Metal

Review by ErnilEnNaur

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.

 Flight Of Fancy by X-PANDA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.83 | 26 ratings

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Flight Of Fancy
X-Panda Progressive Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Flight Of Fancy' - X-Panda (7/10)

X-Panda is a new band from Estonia that largely represents everything that is great, and everything not-so-great about the current state of progressive metal. Although many of these potential up-and-comers have Dream Theater calibre skills, the similarities with Dream Theater do not tend to end there, with many bands coming off as copycats. One could never accuse X-Panda of being poor musicians or even composers, yet despite this set-up for brilliance, they possess an utter lack of originality that confirms many of my doubts surrounding this scene in progressive music.

With that having been said, I cannot deny that X-Panda are a fantastic ensemble of some of the most promising new musicians I have heard in the past year, speaking in regards to their skill, of course. On the prog metal spectrum, X-Panda lean towards a melodic and even catchy sound for the genre, using many of Dream Theater's typical tricks, but framing them within a song structure that embraces hooks. It should also be mentioned that X-Panda are a largely instrumental act, with bassist Tamar Nugis only singing for a few less involving pieces that may have felt empty otherwise. The instrumental format was an excellent choice for X-Panda, and while their songwriting is accessible enough to incorporate a voice without it feeling too crowded, the choice to go without puts a greater focus on the skills and details of the musicianship. X-Panda are certainly not in the golden books for originality, but choosing to convey the melodies through guitar make 'Flight Of Fancy' feel a little different than the typical prog-power metal bands that pop up eight days a week.

Although each musician and instrument contributes an important part to the sound, the guitar work of Risto Virkhausen is my favourite thing about X-Panda. Although he sounds a little close in sound to Dream Theater's John Petrucci, he is able to go from highly technical displays, to emotional leads and catchy hooks, often without the frame of one song. I would have no problem calling him one of the best new guitarists out there, had he and the rest of X-Panda not sounded as if they were not so blatantly copying the sound of one particular band. Now, very few bands ever find a sound that is entirely their own, but to my chagrin, there were elements across the board throughout X-Panda's sound that I felt as if I could trace back to some point in Dream Theater's career; be it a guitar tone, a odd-time riff, the way the solos are structured, and so forth. At worst, it is unintentional plagiarism, but X- Panda is only one of many bands within progressive metal that look to Dream Theater for a template. Although it keeps 'Flight of Fancy' from receiving a full-fledged recommendation, the talent and skill here go without question, and the use of beautiful melodies and hooks makes X-Panda's debut something of a winner in the modern prog metal canon.

 Flight Of Fancy by X-PANDA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.83 | 26 ratings

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Flight Of Fancy
X-Panda Progressive Metal

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Young Progressive Metal band from Tartu,Estonia, formed in 2009.The original line-up consisted of Risto Virkhausen (guitars), Kaarel Tamra (keyboards), Karl-Juhan Laanesaar (drums) and Liis Ring (bass),soon Ring was replaced by Tamar Nugis.X-Panda debuted in 2011 with the album ''Flight of Fancy''.

Grounded is some sort of Progressive Fusion/Metal field,X-Panda deliver edgy but also elaborate musicianship on this album,far from the noisy,cliche and abstract presentation of some mediocre bands of the style.Filled with quite long and diverse tracks,this work shows a band switching from smooth passages to heavier parts with tons of professional interplays,always deeped in refined melodies but also catchy bombastic grooves.Their style contains elements from Jazz,Classical Music and even Electronic soundscapes with rather limited vocals and plenty of space for their numerous shifting moods and sudden breaks.The best comparison would be the high class work of LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT.

This is definitely a band to keep an eye on.Not very original,this mix of styles has been played a lot lately in the Prog Metal field,but everything I hear is played with talent and passion.A more original approach should lift the band into a legend.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Thanks to Bonnek for the artist addition.

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