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Mandalaband - Mandalaband [Aka: Mandalaband I] CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.64 | 91 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Free Tibet!

This debut album is by far the best of Mandalaband's three albums and (presumably) the sole reason that they are listed as Symphonic Prog. This album is also the only album on which Mandalaband is really a band; on the subsequent two albums they were more of a 'project' led by David Rohl (similar in structure to the Alan Parsons Project). But just like the subsequent two albums, this debut is similarly conceptual or thematic and the theme or concept this first time around was about Tibet.

It was quite hard for me to find this album, but I finally managed to find it on vinyl LP and I transferred it to my computer. I have subsequently tracked down a version of Mandalaband II on CD which contains the four-movement suite Om Mani Padme Hum as a bonus track. On the vinyl album this largely instrumental epic named after a Buddhist mantra and with occasional vocals in an unknown (to me) language takes up the first half while the second half is left to shorter and more direct songs sung in English. The sound of this album is quite unique, but bands and artists such as Focus (think Hamburger Concerto), Mike Oldfield, Caravan, Yes, Emerson Lake & Palmer and Beggar's Opera readily come to mind. While none of these references are quite able to fully capture the multifaceted nature of Mandalaband, this album will appeal to fans of classic Symphonic Prog.

After the rather gentle epic, the second side speeds things up considerably with the heavy Determination. This song has a very Yes-like (think Roundabout) bass and keyboard approach. This is probably my favourite track of the album. Song For A King is more Camel/Caravan-like, a nice melodic tune. Roof Of The World once again picks up the tempo a bit and this one reminds me a bit of Beggar's Opera or possibly Arthur Brown. Looking In is another Caravan-like, slightly jazzier piece that closes this album in fine fashion.

All three albums by Mandalaband are worth having, but this is definitely the one to go for first.

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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