PANDEA - Soylent Green

Pandea - Soylent Green

12 songs
59:17 minutes
*****
Pure Steel

Bandpage

Pandea is a metal band from Berlin that was founded in 2005 but waited until now to release their debut Soylent Green. The two members Dan Uhden (guitar and synthesizers) and Mario Le Mole (bass and vocals) hired two drummers for the recording sessions. Uhden and Le Mole are otherwise employed in Mind Odyssey and were in the popular East German metal band Merlin back in the GDR.

Soylent Green is a concept album about the same titled science fiction movie from the early Seventies with Charlton Heston before he became a gun freak. Many musicians that were already active in the GDR show up as guest on this work that Pandea is labelling a symphonic heavy metal opera, a description that I can’t quite follow. It sounds more like a journey straight through the metal world. Sometimes their modus operandi works, but at other times they reach dead ends. The spoken word intro and outro are rather superfluous, Final Real loses itself in sluggish mid-tempo structures and never really takes off. Eden Again is supposed to be epic but fails due to its high amount of kitsch. Point Of No Return, another unspectacular cut, comes with raw vocal lines that don’t match the mood. But let’s stop with the negative points, because there are also some highlights. Some tracks, like Lost Eternity, Nomadic Life and Flesh And Light are rooted deeply in the Eighties, reminding strongly of Helloween. Even the vocals show parallels to Kai Hansen. The multi-layered choirs are also amazingly arranged. The most rocking moment comes with Today’s Tuesday where Accept may have been an inspiration. Hands Tied Up feels like a small rock musical, and despite occasional cheesiness, should still be considered the standout track on this album.

The metal opera genre has been defined by such giants like Savatage, Jon Oliva’s Pain, Savious Machine, Queensr˙che,… Pandea still lack the ability to make it all sound coherent. Too often the parts feel artificially constructed and don’t integrate well into the overall picture. Let’s face it: Pandea overestimated themselves and are not inspired enough to come up with an hour long project that happens to please from beginning to end.

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