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




Symphonic Prog

3.64 | 91 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I must confess I was a little skeptical at first about the potential of this project. A concept album about Chinaīs domination of Tibet? It sounded like one of those records where the cause debated is quite noble but the musical side takes a back seat on it. Besides I never heard of these musicians before. Nor about their creator, composer and producer David Rohl. And the ratings here varied wildly. However, I decided to take a chance on it and I was rewarded by getting a true 70īs jewel!

Side one consists entirely of the epic Om Mani Padme Hum, divided in four parts (or movements). The vocals are sung in tibetian and, believe it or not, they worked brilliantly. Musically this is symphonic rock at its best, with some fiery guitar solos, soaring choirs and wonderful keyboards. Nothing really groundbreaking of course, fairly common stuff of the time in fact, but excellent anyway. The instrumental part of this work reminded me of works by artists like Rick Wakeman and Renaissance were doing then, while the orchestrations bring up memories of Burt Bacharachīs arrangements he had done on the film Lost Horizon (1972). Some eastern sounds and rhythms are evident too, but not too much.

Side two is made up of four independent short songs, all still dealing with the main theme of the invasion and dominance of Tibet. But those tunes tend towards a less symphonic and more prog rock approach. Here we have english vocals and again nice guitars and swirling Hammond organs. All good ones, by the way. I really liked David Durantīs versatile vocals and the terrific musicanship of all involved. Production is ok for the time and there is not a single note wasted throughout the record. I guess the highlight of this album is the epic Om Mani Padme Hum, but the rocking side two is also quite powerful too.

Conclusion: one of the best obscure concept albums I found in many years, if not the best. Inspired, melodic, bombastic and very well done. I was tempted to give it a five star rating, but I think a 4.5 one is more fitting. If youīre into great symphonic works of the 70īs you canīt miss this one. Highly recommended!

Tarcisio Moura | 4/5 |


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