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Panta Rhei - Panta Rhei CD (album) cover

PANTA RHEI

Panta Rhei

 

Symphonic Prog

2.26 | 8 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars What is, and what might have been

While other recordings by Panta Rhei predate this release, this was the band's first official album. Released in 1980, some three years after their stillborn debut interpretations of works by Bartok, this self titled album consists of 10 original compositions by the band. Already there has been some turmoil in the line up, although the core of Kalman Matolcsy on keyboards and the Szalay brothers on guitar and bass is still present. Originally intended as an instrumental album, Andras Laar was brought in as vocalist at the request of the record company.

After the brief instrumental introduction of "Ut a varosba (Road to town)" Laar becomes the focus for the lyrical " Mozaik (Mosaic)". The song is far more commercial than anything on the "Bartok" recordings, setting the tone for much of this album. The general feel here is light, almost pop at times, with little of the ELP influences the band were known for.

On "Feregdal (Bug Song)", the band begin to sound like the more commercial side of Amon Duul 2, with strange vocal arrangements and strong lead guitar. Laar's vocal style is at best variable, his contribution to "Emlek (Souvenir)" being decidedly mediocre.

While there are no feature tracks as such, the latter half of the album is occupied by a suite of tracks based on the seasons. The piece starts in "Winter", opening with some powerful church organ before a strong synth solo picks out a theme. Unfortunately, Laar reappears to break the otherwise pleasant, PFM like atmosphere. Thereafter what has the potential to be a rewarding package becomes too pop orientated, with too many catchy hooks and too little exploitation of the band's instrumental prowess. The closing "Teli dal (Winter Song)" is a pleasant acoustic guitar based song very much in the way of Magna Carta.

Panta Rhei were clearly put under pressure by their record company to come up with something commercial, a point which is made apparent by the superior unreleased and rare material now available on compilations. This album could have been great, but unfortunately this is a tale of what might have been, not what is.

The album sold respectably in the band's Hungarian homeland, but is virtually unknown beyond those borders. The band would stop touring shortly after this album was released, metamorphosing thereafter into PR Computer.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |

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