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Caja de Pandora - Caja De Pandora

Artist: Caja de Pandora
Title: Caja De Pandora
Label: Deneb Records CD SD01
Length(s): 51 minutes
Year(s) of release: 1997; Sol &
Month of review: 05/1997

Line up

Eduardo J. Medina - drums
Jose Jorge Teran Gomez - guitars
Antonio Castro Barragan - bass
Alejandro Lomelin Mora - keyboards

Tracks

1) Apocalipsis 3.33
2) Cuento De Hadas 4.39
3) Ilusion 4.37
4) Requiem Para Il Silencio 3.10
5) Horizontes 3.01
6) Camino Magico 3.43
7) Reunion 2.32
8) Luz En La Obscuridad 5.14
9) Esperanza 1.43
10) La Gruta Del Rey De La Montana (bonus) 5.02
11) Tema De Pandora (bonus) 7.53
12) Eclipse (bonus) 5.00

Summary

Never heard of them up to now, but the name of the band means Pandora's Box for you who hadn't already guessed.

The music

Recorded in 1991 and 1992, this CD release (and I do suspect this is a rerelease of the vinyl version, in that it contains bonus tracks) brings us in the first up-tempo progressive rock with the feet very much in the seventies (as are the trousers of some the players, but that is beside the point). Apocalipsis as it is called is a rather prototypical instrumental, and shows that the sound on this CD is not as clear as one might have hoped. So here, not the music of the seventies is combined with the technique of the nineties, but it has to be said that the melody is intruiging.

The same holds for Cuento De Hadas that has a fairylike melody (and yes I know, Cuento de hadas means Fairy Tale), with an important role for keyboards, but also a large number of breaks and mood changes. Especially the guitar part betrays the Mexican/Hispanic origins of this band.

Illusion is an up-tempo piece with fuzz guitar and a highly psychedelic sound. Personally I'm not that fond of this kind of music, because usually it is merely displaying technique and in fact this track does sound like a showcase for the abilities of each of the band members. The keyboards solo reminds me a lot of ELP, very bombastic and over the top.

Requiem Para El Silencio reminds me somewhat of the older Camel, with a rather jazzy but still thoroughly progressive sound. I'm not sure whether the freaky intermezzo's are meant to be funny, but they do seem that way.

Horizontes then again reminds of Asgard (Flight of Silver Drakkar in fact) with that catchy keyboard melody, but this band turns it into something far less serious.

Reunion is an up-tempo guitarrocker with driven percussion and that same drive is present in Luz En La Obscuridad, which by the way is a rather jazzy piece ending with the beautiful pianowork it started with.

The closer of the original album Esperanza might at first sound like a majestic synth based end to this album, but the band still succeeds in ridiculizing their attempts.

The first bonus track Kings Cave Of The Mountain (or La Gruta Del Rey De La Montana) sounds a like a rock rendition of a classical piece and can be compared to a fuzzy version of Ekseption.

Pandora's Theme starts with a nice clean guitar solo, but sadly turns to rather freaky up-tempo progressive rock that is not very interesting and is a little too disjointed for my tastes (note that the booklet tells us that the length of this track is 2.49).

Eclipse starts out threateningly and theatrically. Unfortunately the melodies are not that good. Still there's drive present also in this song, but the melodies are lacking a little in my opinion.

Conclusion

An amateur band in the sense that the mix and production sound a little muddied and also the band seems to concentrate a little too much on technique at first. Still, most of the melodies are quite good and the breaks show well, humour in their approach to music, glueing together beautiful parts on keyboards, disjointed percussives and fuzz guitar. In fact I should think that this album should appeal to lovers of seventies progressive rock such as early Camel. Remember though that the sound of Caja de Pandora is somewhat less accessible and more psychedelic than their English example.
© Jurriaan Hage