Album Review: X-Panda – Reflections

X-Panda - Reflections

It takes something special to release one album and be noticed on a larger scale. But to follow it up with an equally acclaimed second effort without becoming drab is a plateau hardly reached by a younger band. After their debut Flight of Fancy was met with a lot of positive criticism throughout the prog metal world, X-Panda present their sophomore effort, Reflections.

From start to finish Reflections has a lot to offer. Some tracks have that bonafied symphonic prog/power feel and variety to them, while others hold an obvious nod to the earlier forms of progressive metal. The constant change of momentum throughout the album keeps it from becoming monotonous and dry. Given the time and effort put into the songwriting it’s easy to notice before the first verse of “The Game” that these guys have a lot of talent, and aren’t afraid to push the envelope.

The most important thing to mention would be the maturity X-Panda’s sound has gone through between their first release and Reflections. Overall, it’s become more balanced and rich all while Tamar Nugis‘ voice gives off a noticeable fullness compared with their first release. It should go without mentioning that every member of X-Panda has a truckload of talent and imagination, but taking that and successfully putting ideas to sound without making it generic is something far more rare. Not one verse, chorus, bridge, intro/outro seems fake. Talent aside, Reflections still has a lot to offer.

X-Panda promo 2016

The first song throws you head-first into a well organized tracklist that suffers from absolutely no low points or boring sections. No song seems dragged out or sluggish, yet there’s a lot of variety. To be more specific, the beautifully composed “Denial,” which happens to be over twelve minutes long, is a rollercoaster ride of emotion that never gets repetitive.

Otherwise, every other song on the CD is strong in it’s own way. Along with the solidity of the album as a whole, the feeling changes several times which keeps a fresh feeling throughout, and also raises the replay value significantly.

All said and done, this has to be one of the top 10 best sympho prog releases of 2016. The production could suffer a bit more perfection, but aside from that there’s nothing else to complain about. The cover art is interesting, although somewhat bland, yet it portrays a lot about the undertone of every song in a different way. If you’re a fan of anything progressive I highly suggest buying this album. X-Panda is not a band to be taken lightly, and should be considered a threat to all the lackluster prog/power bands that are also trying to make it big.

Tracklist:

01. The Game
02. Denial
03. Hit and Run
04. Slave of Lies
05. Rise Up to Fly
06. On the Way
07. Reflections: Inner Battle
08. Reflections: Silent Friend
09. Esivanemate parand

Line-up:

* Kaarel Tamra – keyboards
* Risto Virkhausen – guitars
* Roland Jairus – bass
* Karl-Juhan Laanesaar – drums
* Tamar Nugis – vocals

with:

* Raahel Pilpak – backing vocals
* Mick Pedaja – backing vocals
* Mari Ronimois – backing vocals

Links:

http://www.x-panda.net

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/XPandaband

 

 

https://twitter.com/XPandaband

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdKk974_9vvShHeB7ZtfMYQ

https://www.instagram.com/xpandaband/

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