Japanese Metal is on the up and this band are at the forefront.
The internet can be blamed for a great deal of the worlds evils that’s for sure, however one thing it can be proud of is the not inconsiderable part it has played in opening the ears and minds of music fans all over the world. Musical trends of countries and continents that previously would have been completely off limits to most of us are now viewed as the norm. Many Western bands have incorporated Eastern influences into their compositions and indeed the same can be said for the reverse scenario, making the gap between the two thankfully smaller but no less diverse and intricate.
Visual – kei band Pan-d-ra are perhaps the embodiment of that amalgamation and conjoining of styles and influences, dancing as they do between a number of genres and tempos with consummate ease. J-Pop, ballads, power metal, stadium rock, it’s all here in various quantity’s and degrees, making for a highly entertaining and enthralling listen. The vocals of Toshiki are particularly strong, almost Gothic in its delivery in places, the track ’Loyalty’ showcasing the sound to its best effect with a highly addictive 80’s classic rock riff that is really well executed.
The album as a whole is very much a Heavy Rock affair, although, as I eluded to earlier, it does throw some musical surprises in to the mix from time to time just to keep things fresh and vibrant. This philosophy works well, especially when comparing a track such as the Rock driven ’More Than Now’ to the Japanese titled track 8, which is an out and out bounce along dance track and although the songs could not be more different in style if they tried, it all gels surprisingly and remarkably well.
The band have actually been together since 2008, with the current line up in place since 2011 and I’m guessing that each individual member has brought their own tastes and influences to the table when putting this album together, such is the variety on offer.
The twin guitar work of Naoya and Tsubasa is pretty much jaw dropping in its complexity in parts, ’Lamentful Sky’ being a very good example of the high standard of work being produced here, my undoubted favourite track of the album, it twists and turns, building to a wonderful twin guitar assault that fires along at machine gun pace before coming to an abrupt end.
Album closer ’Forever’ sums the band up really well, a bunch of highly motivated and talented musicians out to prove a point. The point being that if a job is worth doing, then it’s worth doing well. To that end they succeed, I came away from listening to this album feeling motivated, upbeat and perhaps more importantly, eager for more.
‘Elpis’ is available through all online stores
Live photos courtesy of http://www.helcanen.be