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Pandora Snail - War and Peace CD (album) cover

WAR AND PEACE

Pandora Snail

 

Eclectic Prog

3.96 | 109 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
4 stars PANDORA SNAIL is an eclectic progressive rock band from St Petersburg, Russia and in case you're wondering, the name is a combo derivation from two novels by the Soviet era Russian science fiction writers the Strugatsky brothers (Arkady and Boris) in which the PANDORA part of the name comes from the 1990 (written in 1965) novel "Беспокойство (Anxiety)" which took place on the planet PANDORA whereas the second part comes from the 1966 novel "Улитка на склоне (SNAIL on the slope)".

The album title WAR AND PEACE automatically conjures up assumptions that this is a concept album about Leo Tolstoy's epic novel of the same name but this is progressive rock music here and to assume anything will lead you far astray! While this album is indeed a concept album, it has absolutely nothing to do with the novel other than the vague similarities that any comparison of two opposing forces could bring.

The dualistic nature of the concept begins right on the album cover itself. On the front side we see a young girl looking out of her house viewing the devastation of the tumult, unrest and dispute. On the reverse we see the same house from the outside looking in and displaying the same girl as an old woman peering out into the placidity of less violent times. The tracks supposedly represent different aspects of these two extremes but personally i can't tell one from another as far as any sort of theme is concerned. The music has slow parts, fast parts, sad parts, happy parts etc. so i don't think the album is very successful in conveying this, but it matters not though because this is quite the fun ride here!

The music is an interesting mix of ideas and is all instrumental. The dominant instrument is the violin which Artem Gareev passionately delivers and adds a nice unique gypsy feel all the while giving the overall effect a melancholy that disappears once the instrument drops out of the scene. The tracks were constructed mostly on piano with all the parts worked out on keyboards and then transmogrified into further sonic explorations. This method of musical composition lends an interesting sound to the mix. With a gazillion and one plus bands out these days pumping out progressive music it is rare indeed to find a band that has mustered up their own sound on their debut album. PANDORA SNAIL has done just that.

In addition to violin, Oleg Gorgadze plays some very adept King Crimson-esque guitar riffing that can sound like full-on heavy metal and then toned down completely into angular rhythmic acoustic passages that have playful interactions with Kirill Klyushin's powerful bass and contrabass lines as well as with the percussive prowess of Igor Cheridnik. Although the album was primarily composed on keyboards, Ulyana Gor's keyboard contributions are mostly subdued for most of the album playing the atmospheric generator role rather than leader of the pack, however there are some pure piano runs that lift the veil and point to Sergei Rachmaninoff as a major inspiration and the fact that classical music in general has played just as much a role in their music as have countless 70s prog rock bands.

This one was a grower that sounds better every time. Don't even think of listening to this without fully focused attention on board for you will lose a lot. This is one of those highly complex albums that has instant hooks and patterns but provides more depth as continued listens ensue. The careful attention paid to detail is admirable. The trade-offs between the musicians, the skillful arrangements and the pacing of the tempos, tones and time signatures is quite the musical bliss! In the tidal wave of new progressive rock bands from all over the world coming to shore, there are only a few that are surfing at the top and PANDORA SNAIL with their unique and captivating sound is surely one of them pounding out some impressive chops on their very first release. Great job!

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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