Released: 2010, Pure Steel Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Pandea hails from Berlin, Germany – and have now one full-length album out, titled SOYLENT GREEN on a German label Pure Steel Records. The album is a concept work based on the 1973 film “Soylent Green”. In that film, Charlton Heston's detective character, Robert Thorn, investigates a criminal conspiracy concerning the human ingredient of soylent green against the background of a dystopian future. I haven´t seen the movie personally, so I cannot say how accurately or inaccurately the concept on the album follows the theme in that film.
The lineup on this record, however, makes the impression that this is more like a project act, having featured many guest musicians on the recording sessions – the same way like Tobia Sammet´s Avantasia, or Arjen Lucassen´s project Ayreon. There´s 16 musicians all in all involved with this recording – and with these 16 musicians (guitarist Dan Uhden and vocalist Mario LeMole sort of being the main characters on this opus, both known for their bands Mind Odyssey and Merlin) they have created an album that music-wise surely links them up with such names as the aforementioned Ayreon and Avantasia, but also Gamma Ray, Helloween, Savatage and probably even many other Heavy/Power Metal acts around.
What is so great about SOYLENT GREEN, it´s a very varied album – introducing the songs with several different tempos, moods, etc., but first and foremost taking a listener for a quite breath-taking journey that makes her/him return back to it over and over again (happened to me anyway). Surely one of the album´s strongest assets is to have a bunch of talented musicians work on the songs for this concept album, sharing the same ambitious vision of what it could be all about in the end when thinking of the whole concept based on the film “Soylent Green.” It´s somewhat easy to hear that everyone has put his best effort into this, to make it sound as perfect and rich as possible. Listeners are fed by different moods all the time, and that´s what keeps them sticking to this record for quite some time, I assume. A soundtrack feel is present constantly, which obviously is one of the album´s main purposes as well, kind of strengthening the concept for this record even more.
I am pretty sure many of you want to check this out if bands/projects from Avantasia to Ayreon to Gamma Ray – and the like, have just ever been your cup of the sweetest tea. The album´s got lots to offer, and will surely lift Pandea´s name to the lips of many who basically seek for more pompous and symphonic elements in their modern-day Heavy/Power Metal. Thus, this album can be reckoned as a very cool and professionally made opening from this Berlin-based Pandea.