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X-Panda: Reflections

Hailing from Tartu, Estonia X-Panda is a relatively new band having have been around since 2009 and released their debut Flight of Fancy in 2011, which I did have the pleasure of reviewing. The overall consensus was an album of high regard. Reflections is their latest effort and given the fact this is only their second album is a very impressive statement by the band and does not disappoint.

The current band line-up is Kaarel Tamra (keyboards), Risto Virkhausen (guitars), Roland Jairus (bass), Karl-Juhan Laanesaar (drums) and Tamar Nugis (vocals), with Jairus being a their latest member.

Bombastic, theatrical and orchestral are just a few adjectives that describe what this band presents us with Reflections. The disc opens with the pure bombast of "The Game", a progressive metal tune with theatrical aspirations and cinematic flair. The lead vocals are catchy and the riffs heavy but refined with no excess wastage. It's a great track with a good mixture of heavy and softer soundscapes. "Denial", the longest track on the disc, begins with an early symphonic crescendo and is much more bombastic than the first track but with moody atmospheric parts as well making for a well-rounded epic sound. When the huge symphonic arrangement took hold, helped by the Tartu University Symphony Orchestra, I couldn't help but think of a less gothic Nightwish, particularly their more recent stuff. On "Hit and Run" the mood is darker and the music more electronic with the heavier parts having some excellent riff progressions. Again Nightwish comes to mind on the bombastically heavy "Slaves of Lies". The riffs are thick and chunky and fit well with the orchestrations and the guitar solo has great feel. More cool use of electronics can be heard in the bottom end of "Rise Up to Fly". This one has a slight Muse feel, especially in the vocals. The two part "Reflections" is another highlight beginning with an orchestral crescendo before turning into a lovely acoustic ballad followed by a wonderfully soaring guitar solo. It's both light and heavy, moody and atmospheric and very orchestral.

The last track "Esivanemate Pärand" has Nugis singing in his native tongue. Sweeping orchestrations and pretty piano and acoustic guitar has the album ending on a quieter note. It's quite a beautiful ending to what is really a stunning album. Highly recommended!

Track Listing:
1. The Game
2. Denial
3. Hit and Run
4. Slaves of Lies
5. Rise Up to Fly
6. On the Way
7. Reflections: Inner Battle
8. Reflections: Silent Friend
9. Esivanemate Pärand

Added: February 12th 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 1807
Language: english

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