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Pandora Snail: War And Peace

Pandora Snail are a Russian progressive rock band from St. Petersburg, Russia and formed in 2008. They recorded their first album War And Peace in 2011 but it wasn't released until this year on the Russian label Art Beat. In the band are Ulyana Gor (keyboards, vocals), Oleg Goradze (guitar, electric guitar, sounds, vocals), Kirill Klyushin (bass guitar, contrabass), Artem Gareev (violin) and Igor Cheridnik (drums, percussion). Although vocals are listed in the credits the music is completely instrumental to my ears.

The band play a style of eclectic prog that is both melodic and complex, using a template of classic prog ala King Crimson combined with a fresh approach utilizing Eastern European folk music as an inspiration as well. The combination of electric instruments and violin gives the album a dynamic and vibrant feel and the musicianship from all band members is excellent. The disc opens with "Dilemma", a progressive number with a quick tempo and thick bass groove. The song transitions through many different motifs while still maintaining its melodic integrity from great use of keyboards to crunchy riffs to enchanting violin play. "By The Mountain River" is another proggy gem with pretty arpeggio guitar and elegant violin leading into another tasty bass groove. "Submarine" has a more jazzy feel while "To Catch The Wind" features more odd meters and off kilter guitar riffs.

The album's centerpiece is the epic "James Pont" and at over sixteen minutes the players really take advantage and show their chops. Loaded with changes and varying tempos, this one should delight most fans of instrumental prog, veering in different directions without sounding forced or over the top. The jazzy piano interlude is particularly smart and the drums and bass are sublime.

This is a lot of music to absorb and at over sixty minutes can seem a little daunting as there is so much happening in every tune. The catchy melodies and grooves will really make the time fly by. Rarely are debut albums this good.

Track Listing:
1. Dilemma
2. By The Mountain River
3. To Catch The Wind
4. Submarine
5. James Pont
6. Mother's Tears
7. Red Rivers
8. Stones' Names
9. Dance Under The Bullets
10. After The War
11. Satori

Added: December 5th 2015
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Facebook Page
Hits: 1361
Language: english

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