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Neo-Prog • Estonia

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Pantokraator picture
Pantokraator biography
Estonian band PANTOKRAATOR (aka Panto, Pantograator, Pantogrator, Pantokrator, Propaan) were formed in 1983, when high school band Propaan decided to rename themselves as Pantokraator. At the time, the line-up consisted of Erik Sakkov (keyboards, guitar, flute, synths), Riho Kukk (bass), Priit Karm (drums, vocals) and Mait Karm (guitars). After their first concert under their new moniker, held in December 1983, Aivar Otsing (bass) replaced Kukk.

The band wrote many compositions for the next few years; as well as being at times a rather active live unit. They staged two rock plays, and won many awards despite not being a recording unit.

However, in 1990 that the band made it into a recording studio; now with a totally revamped line-up. Sakkov is by now the only original member left, with Peeter Jogioja (percussion), Andres Moro (guitars), Aivar Otsing (bass), Roland Puusepp (drums), Lauri Saatpalu (vocals) and Anne Turnpu (vocals) as new members.

The economic climate in their native Estonia forced the band to go on hiatus in 1992; and it would take 14 years before it ended. Sakkov and Saatpalu were the instigators in the resurrection; and when Pantokraator's second album Tormides÷÷jad was issued in 2009 they had been joined by aforementioned Puusepp and newcomers Triinu Taul (backing vocals), Taavi Langi (guitars) and Henno Kelp (bass).

Besides issuing a new album in 2009, a book chronicling the band's history were released at the same time; and besides the written biography three CDs containing all material recorded by Pantokraator were a part of this package, named Valge Raamat.

Pantokraator official website

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PANTOKRAATOR Videos (YouTube and more)

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Tormidesoojad: Storm Eaters by Pantokraator (2013-05-04)Tormidesoojad: Storm Eaters by Pantokraator (2013-05-04)
CD Baby
Audio CD$29.34
Tormidesoojad: Storm EatersTormidesoojad: Storm Eaters
CD Baby 2009
Audio CD$15.93
$19.95 (used)
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PANTOKRAATOR discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

PANTOKRAATOR top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.13 | 5 ratings
Pantokrator I
3.09 | 9 ratings

PANTOKRAATOR Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PANTOKRAATOR Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

PANTOKRAATOR Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PANTOKRAATOR Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Pantokrator I by PANTOKRAATOR album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.13 | 5 ratings

Pantokrator I
Pantokraator Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Legedary Estonian band from Tartu, originally named Propaan and formed in 1981 by Erik Sakkov, Riho Kukk and Mait Karm.The group changed several line-ups and names during its career -Pantogrator between 1983 and 1986, Pantograator in 1987 and Pantokrator between 1988 and 1990, but it was always among the most active bands in ex-Soviet Union, performing live in many great festivals and touring extensively.As Pantokrator the band released an LP/cassette in 1990, entitled ''Pantokrator I'', with Peeter Jogioja on percussion, Andres Moro on guitars, Aivar Otsing on bass, Roland Puusepp on drums, Mart Moldau on keyboards, singers Lauri Saatpalu and Anne Turnpu and of course Erik Sakkov in guitars, flutes and keyboards.

Pantokrator seem to have established a sound of their own in this album, which is a nice mix of modern Psychedelic Rock, Folk and accesible Progressive Rock with electronic touches here and there.The musicianship is supported by some nice work on vocals by the group, which have a very folky North-European feeling.Folk elements appear also in their sound, either as reworked rockin' tunes or in a more traditional form, based on keyboard themes.Other tracks escape from this form, having a very atmospheric mood, based on spacey grooves, laid- back guitars and electronic ambiences, like the great ''Itk'' with its fantastic, theatrical female narration or the dreamy ''Jai servi seisma''.A couple of them have also a light Neo/Art Prog approach, where the synthesizers are really upfront but with a very thin sound.This flaw on synths along with the short timelength of the album (only 32 minutes) are its biggest black holes.

Not exactly a lost pear from the ex-Soviet Union grounds, but definitely a very nice work of Art/Progressive Rock blended with folky tunes, which deserves some exposure.Recommended if you run over a copy.

 Tormidesoojad by PANTOKRAATOR album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.09 | 9 ratings

Pantokraator Neo-Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Wonderful modern, melodic prog from Estonia

Pantokraator currently is one of only 14 bands from Estonia in our database, and the only neo-prog entry. Being the first Estonian disc in my collection I was quite eager to hear music from this country. Panto is a band whose origins date to the early 1980s. While there have been many personnel changes and a long period of hiatus the band have emerged with a strong new album, as well as a book/career retrospective explaining their long history. This band has recorded over 100 songs and played numerous shows and festivals.

You might expect a relatively small, self-released effort to be of low production quality but you'd be wrong. Like Senza Nome of Italy this is a completely high quality release with great sound, packaging, and art, absolutely as professional as any new release you'd expect from a high visibility act. The 10 tracks are in the 4-6 minute range and could be described as upbeat neo-progressive with some local folk flavors and somehow a global spirit as well. Being an Italian prog aficionado I find myself instantly at ease with the Estonian language singing---I don't know truly how similar they are but I can tell you that they don't feel so different from Italian vocals. There is a certain flair and expressiveness that both share. Vocal duties are a mixture of male and female voice (mostly male) and they are very good. Keyboards are bubbly and have that modern neo-prog exuberance that admittedly is not my cup of tea personally (I'll take piano and atmosphere, thanks) but along with the guitars and percussion they are extremely well played. My favorites are not the most rocking compositions but rather the softer and dreamy ones like "Pilvedesse souan paadi." "Paike mu Paike" has a brisk techno-pop edge sounding almost like it was written for them by a reunited Abba. I think I most enjoy "Tule tule" which features sunny acoustic guitar backing a male/female duet and a quaint keyboard run---a simple and very positive vibe. "Kasmu" is the one that feels world music influenced to me with an interesting rolling percussion and a backing female vocal in the style of Mike Oldfield would utilize. The only criticism I really have is that things can seem a bit too safe, packaged, too professional if you will. I would like to hear some longer instrumental sections and perhaps a bit more grit---then again, I realize I'm in the wrong genre for grit so that's my problem! But there are some tracks where I would have appreciated them taking the time to go off on a wilder tangent just as the song was ending. They give us a taste of this is the exciting title track "Tormidesoojad" but I could use more of it.

This album should please all fans of modern, melodic progressive rock. This is probably 4 stars easily for such fans, my rating of 3 is only due to my tastes being different from this kind of music. A lovely lyric book provides lyrics, photos, and English translations. Release is a tri-fold digipak.

 Tormidesoojad by PANTOKRAATOR album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.09 | 9 ratings

Pantokraator Neo-Prog

Review by rushfan4
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Translation to English - The Storm Eaters

As a member of the Site Monitor team I had the pleasure of hearing this album prior to its addition to ProgArchives in order to find an appropriate genre for this. The band, Pantokraator, hail from Estonia and the lyrics are in their native Estonian, and the music although quite definitely progressive rock also consists of the folk sounds of Estonia.

My strongest impression of this album is that this is what Fish (ex-Marillion) would sound like if he were singing in an Estonian band. To my ears this very much sounds like a Fish solo album or Fish-era Marillion album but with some female vocals and of course the addition of Estonian rhythms and sounds. They are also somewhat folksy as well and at times remind me of Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull. Could have a little to do with when the flute makes appearances.

For those who have read my posts within the ProgArchives forums you will probably know that I have an issue with listening to lyrics that aren't in English, since I have no idea what is being sung. The band helps alleviate this some by including an English translation within the CD booklet. And surprisingly enough, for me, the vocals sound quite beautiful and fit in nicely with the music. Maybe there is still hope for me.

It is my opinion that this album will appeal to many prog fans, but especially those who are fans of Yes, Genesis, Marillion, Jethro Tull, and Peter Gabriel.

I really have enjoyed my listens to this album and based on my interpretation of the ProgArchives guidelines I have rated this album with 3 stars. It is a good CD, and it would be a good addition to any prog rock music collection. Especially those of fans of the bands mentioned above. However, as much as I have enjoyed it and as good as I think it is, I don't feel that it is either essential nor would it make an excellent addition to any prog music collection.

 Tormidesoojad by PANTOKRAATOR album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.09 | 9 ratings

Pantokraator Neo-Prog

Review by nikow

3 stars I happened to find this album by chance. I was visiting Estonia, and saw this album in a local super market. Apparently it was brand new at the time, and the back cover of the cd promised "45 minutes of Estonian ethno-progressive rock" so I just HAD to buy it instantly.

I don't know anything about their history, but this album is surely a fine one. I can't compare their sound to any other band, they sound so unique. The music sounds like it's influenced very much by Estonian folk music still retaining a modern sound.

Their sound is characterized with Lauri Saatpalu's and Triinu Taul's vocals with some near vintage synth sounds combined with a guitar sound which would not sound out of place on a prog metal album. They sing in Estonian, and it's a beautiful language. Thankfully the lyrics are translated in English in the booklet. The vocal melodies are, without exception, very pretty. I feel that Triinu Taul is very underused though, I would have liked to hear her nice voice more. Now it seems to be in the background a lot of the time. It's a minor thing though as Saatpalu is quite charismatic singer. He hasn't got a broad range, but his voice is very pleasant and mixed quite front.

The other players are good, a solid rhythm section and some guitar and synth solos here and there. I just wish there were more guitar and synth solos though. Judging by the short solos, they can really play, and I can't understand why there's no more soloing and jamming.

The production of the album is great, as is the artwork. The album seems to be very professionally made, and therein lies the problem. They seem to play it safe a bit and it's a very pleasant album with lots of originality which surely makes you feel good, but that's it. No chills, no revelations of any kind, just pleasant feel-good music. That's why I'm giving it 3 stars.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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