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Pantommind is a band that has washed over me unnoticed. It seems that the band has been around for over 10 years, and they've released one self-financed album before (namely "Farewell" in 1999). Actually it isn't too surprising that I haven't heard of Pantommind before, since the band is Bulgarian and hasn't gained a lot of recognition internationally. Well, this is about to change with "Shade of Fate"... hopefully.
A glimpse of the booklet revealed some of Pantommind's influences that are "Devon Graves, Psychotic Waltz, Fates Warning, Crimson Glory, Dream Theater, Savatage". The references to Devon Graves and his former band, Psychotic Waltz, definitely got my hopes up. I expected highly original, "hippy" progressive metal. However, I found out that the material is more influenced by the other bands. The only Psychotic Waltz influences are some guitar solos reminiscent of Dan Rock's leadwork (actually I've always enjoyed Rock's style of playing, and thus Pete Christ has made a good choice on this album regarding the leads). In addition, the whole eighth song "Mindtrip" is definitely influenced by Psychotic Waltz and Dan Rock's Darkstar projects. In case you've heard the last Psychotic Waltz album (the misspelled "Dark Millenium", which didn't even feature Buddy Lackey aka Devon Graves) and/or Dan Rock's Darkstar projects, you'll notice the similarity of "Mindtrip" to Dan Rock's atmospheric, cinematic sci-fi metal instrumentals. Both the synth and guitar playing on "Mindtrip" gives an impression of Dan Rock's playing.
Tony Ivan, the vocalist, has rather transparent, limpid voice that occasionally resembles the ex-Fates Warning singer John Arch. In addition, Fates Warning influences are scattered throughout the whole album along with Savatage and Dream Theater. Actually, the latter can be heard rather often on this record. DT influences become apparent in, for example, "Spectastral" and "The Final Line". Nonetheless, Pantommind's music is definitely original, although it shares similarity to some well known acts of the scene.
Unfortunately, the production on this album isn't of the same high quality as are the compositions. The main reason for this are the drums, which occasionally sound a bit thin and even sharp. Fortunately, the mix is otherwise rather good. Mastering has been handled proficiently as well, and thus the album is quite appealing to listen to. Scaldor and Pete Christ ran the show regarding both mixing and mastering.
All in all, I'm really content with Pantommind's second album "Shade of Fate". In case you listen to progressive metal, you should definitely give Pantommind a listen.
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- MAGE (April 30th, 2005)
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