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X-Panda - Reflections CD (album) cover

REFLECTIONS

X-Panda

 

Progressive Metal

3.53 | 12 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
3 stars X-PANDA are a five piece Prog-Metal band out of Estonia and this is album number two for the guys. There's plenty of orchestration on this one and even a youth choir. Not being big on orchestral moments this one just hasn't hit the spot for me despite recognizing that this is a very talented band. I haven't heard their debut but I understand it's more instrumental.

"The Game" gets us started and they hit us hard right off the hop. I like when it settles into a dark groove with restrained vocals. Everything kicks in on the chorus including some orchestral action. Contrasts continue on this catchy opener. I'm impressed with the instrumental calm after 2 minutes that builds to a powerful guitar led section. A good start! "Denial" is the epic at around 12 1/2 minutes and man there's a lot of orchestration on this one. It opens with sweeping strings as a crunchy groove joins in. This is like a theme for a movie bringing to mind bands like KAMELOT and SYMPHONY X. A calm follows as reserved vocals join in. Not big on this at all, especially the vocals 4 1/2 minutes in. It starts to build around 5 1/2 minutes until they are bringing it hard with orchestral movements and more. Vocals are back around 7 minutes and I'm just not digging them at all. Another calm before 9 minutes that I like a lot more as we get a jazzy vibe with prominent bass. Nice. It kicks back in late.

"Hit And Run" is better with that heavier sound, lots of depth here. Love when it settles with almost spoken vocals. This is more like it. Contrasts between the heavier sections and the more laid back vocal passages continue. I like this one. "Slave Of Lies" brings us back to the orchestral stuff. It kicks into a more powerful groove 30 seconds in including riffs. Love that bass a minute in as it settles and the vocals arrive. It picks up 1 1/2 minutes in. The heaviness here really hits the spot. A nice guitar solo follows then back to the vocals and heaviness. Good song.

"Rise Up To Fly" opens with orchestral music as the vocals, drums and more join in rather quickly. I like when his vocals go to a higher pitch but he doesn't do it for long. Catchy stuff. There's those higher pitched vocals again. Nice. "On The Way" opens with drums and piano as the guitar and bass join in. The guitar doesn't do much for me here. This is an instrumental but I'm not into it. "Reflections-Inner Battle" is dramatic and orchestral to start. I like when the sound intensifies after a minute. A calm arrives before 2 1/2 minutes as the song pretty much comes to a stop as mellow sounds can be heard like picked guitar and atmosphere as the reserved vocals arrive. The tempo starts to pick up 4 1/2 minutes in as the vocals continue to be the focus. It turns all instrumental quickly after this though. This is better. Vocals are back with orchestration later.

"Reflections-Silent Friend" opens with solo piano and atmosphere as strings and more sweep in. Fragile vocals follow. Flute replaces the vocals for a while then they return and then it picks up. Not into this at all. It's fairly powerful 4 minutes in as the vocals have stopped but they join in before we get an almost dead calm 5 minutes in. Piano, atmosphere then relaxed guitar follows. "Esivanemate Perand" is sung in their native language and is ballad-like. It does pick up some with orchestration. A fairly moving piece with vocals ends it.

The debut sounds more like my thing but please check this band out, especially if you like orchestration in your Prog-Metal.

Mellotron Storm | 3/5 |

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