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Pantommind - Shade Of Fate CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.10 | 40 ratings

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4 stars Bulgarian band PANTOMMIND was formed back in 1993, and as they are still active as of 2014 they should probably be described as a veteran band at this stage. Their output have been rather limited however, with one demo and two full length albums issued to date and a third album in the works. "Shade of Fate" is their debut album, and was released through Laser's Edge subdivision Sensory Records back in 2005.

As far as placing Pantommind within a musical context goes, that is an easy task. Progressive metal is the name of the game here, and a variety of it that most likely can be described as belonging to the Dream Theater school of this stylistic expression. Powerful and emotional compositions with room for gentler escapades just as much as for sequences where the musicians can showcase their technical skills, and while the compositions may not be quite as quirky as Dream Theater may be the sound, mood and overall atmosphere is one with distinct similarities to this highly influential band. Which may or may not be incidental, as Pantommind's stated influences does reference bands and artists of a rather different stature altogether.

Be that as it may be, we're still dealing with music sharing many similar qualities. Staccato riff constructions or slower, drawn out riffs in majestic arrangements with distinct keyboards contrasting tonal range and supplementing harmonies, occasional sequences with dampened guitar sounds giving more room for the keyboards to soar and vice versa, and plenty of instrumental sections where the guitarists and keyboardist all get to showcase their skills as providers of atmospheric motifs just as much as technically challenging solo runs. Quirky instrument details are given room as well, and there's also room for compositions exploring gentler and even ethereal landscapes on this production. A strong lead vocalist with a finely controlled melodic delivery fits in beautifully in this context, and as far as delivery goes you won't find much to criticize on this disc, if anything at all.

Well made classic progressive metal, well performed, but perhaps a tad too predictable in nature. That is a challenge for any specific style heavily explored I guess, to continue making music of that kind that carries an element of surprise or that has been so perfectly made and executed that it gobsmacks you. So while any specific weaknesses are hard to find here, the details that makes this album one you must buy rather than one you should explore are just as difficult to track down. The brief instrumental Spectastral is the sole composition I'd point to for the latter, due to some truly haunting keyboard moods as the detail elevating the total experience of that particular song.

Still, if you have a soft spot for classic era progressive metal, Pantommind's debut album is one that quite clearly warrants an inspection. As long as you enjoy that type of music in general and the bands most commonly described as belonging to the Dream Theater school of progressive metal bands in general "Shade of Fate" is a production you should enjoy from the onset until the final track ebbs out. Just about the only weak spots you'll find are the two bonus tracks, and that is due to mix and production of these two compositions not being at the same level as the rest of this CD.

Windhawk | 4/5 |


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