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Pandora Snail - War and Peace CD (album) cover

WAR AND PEACE

Pandora Snail

 

Eclectic Prog

3.91 | 128 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I heard a lot about this Russian band recently and I was wondering how to get their debut CD when I was asked to review War and Peace around the same time. Lucky me! When I heard their music I was quite surprised: first because of their stunning musicianship. all members of Pandora Snail are extremely skillful musicians who are masters of their instruments. Second: the songwriting is very mature for a debut and third: the arrangements and the performances aim towards the music, not showing off. Those two last points surprised the most. Usually instrumental music played by virtuosos sounds more like an exercise of technique to impress other musicians than to please the ears of music lovers. Pandora Snail is a clear case of team work. And I like it!

Their music is hard to describe: there are several obvious influences (classical music, jazz, fusion, symphonic rock, heavy prog, folk, even some avant guard bits), but the mix is quite different, producing a very fine sound that defies categories and show they´re already developing a unique style. Most of the songs are led by violinist Artem Gareev, who reminds of Curved Air´s Darryl Way, but there is room for all others to show their incredible talents. I found myself looking over and over the credits to see how many players there were around: it´s hard to believe there are only five musicians. Igor Cheridnik, for instance, proves he is more than an excellent drummer, making good use of several percussion instruments along the record. Guitarist Oleg Gorgadze has a subtle and delicate way of playing that is as smooth and efficient as it is beautiful. Kirill Klyushin will delight anyone who enjoys creative bassists that knows how to fill up all the holes with his fluid and tasteful bass runs. Last but not least we have the vintage sounding keyboards of Ulyana Gor, a fantastic composer. She knows how to put her keys at the right moments with a discreet, but very good, touch. All in all the performances are impeccable.

As for the songs themselves: varied, eclectic and very good. this is the kind of CD you can hear from start to finish without having a single boring moment. it is ok that is not perfect. The 16 minute suite James Pont does not work as a coherent whole, it sounds like three very different songs put together rather disjointed. Still, those 3 parts separately are very good. Personally I also found the sudden tempo and mood changes a bit too much for just one record. Some of the slower stuff would benefit from a more "straight" approach and should explore more of their beautiful melodies. But this is just my personal opinion. Overall there is no way to deny that 90% of the time the music is perfectly built and there are sublime moments all over the CD. My personal favorites are By The Mountain River, Submarine, Mothers Tears and the eight minute Satori, all of them with some of the best instrumental music I have heard in many years. But if you want to know what they are capable of doing in terms of putting pure beauty into a song just listen to Stones Names and try not have goose bumps in you throat!

Conclusion: helped by an excellent production and mixing, this is surely one of the best releases of 2015. I have been listening to War and Peace for about two weeks and it´s one of those albums that will probably get you on the first listen, but it also grows with every time you hear it. Definitely a must have for anyone who likes great music. Pandora Snail is the nicest surprise I had this year so far.

Rating: between 4 and 4.5 stars. Highly recommended!

Tarcisio Moura | 4/5 |

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