...And The Runes Begin To Pray

Pandaemonium - ...And The Runes Begin To Pray ©2000 Underground Symphony Productions
1. The Alchemist
2. Birth Of The Fallen Angel
3. Sabbath Day
4. Wings Of The Wind
5. The Dark Before...
6. The War Of Races
7. ...the Light
8. Lone Warrior
9. Pandaemonium
10. The Alchemist (piano Version)

Someone needs to take a trip to Italy and tell the people living there that there are other types of heavy metal besides overblown, ostentatious, epic power metal. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy a good “flight of fantasy” disc as much as the next guy, but lately these bands have been delving deeper and deeper into the vats of cheese and coming up with some stuff best left alone.

This disc, for instance, might have been left buried deeply and undisturbed for quite some time. Pandaemonium are a new band to the epic power cheese scene. Their disc has been around for quite some time in many other incarnations. What I mean is that nearly everything on this disc is begged, borrowed, or just plain stolen from some other epic power cheese band. There are bits of Rhapsody, pieces of Blind Guardian, chunks of Hammerfall...and most of those bits, pieces, and chunks are things those other bands had the sense to discard.

Any time I open up the liner notes booklet and see the solos marked within the lyrics, I know I am in trouble...since when are solos part of the lyrics? Anyway, I am brave. “I have a teenage daughter, I can take anything this disc throws at me,” I reason. Boy, was I wrong. The music is good, quite catchy at places. There are some definite possibilities here. Seriously, this band has some talent and a good grasp of technical merit, pointless solos aside. It isn’t until the singing begins that I realize that this disc is a mistake, somebody’s idea of a really bad joke. Which one of you was it? Come on, ‘fess up.

The singing on this disc is comprised of every bad singing idea you ever had in your life. Growling vocals over a choir singing in the background. A lead vocalist who has a wonderful voice when he stays in his range...only he rarely stays in his range. His voice tends to be stratospheric. “It’s not so bad,” I tell myself. Then he launches himself into a hold pattern around Saturn. I don’t know when I have heard a vocalist so out of control. He sounds like he was singing while hopping about on a pogo stick after having consumed several large espressos. He warbles and screeches higher and higher until your ears are begging him to stop. He doesn’t stop. Once he has reached the range of a tortured cat, he holds it there. Soon you are reduced to begging for the disc to be over. And that was track one.

Needless to say, this is not a disc I can recommend. It will possibly appeal to the Rhapsody crowd, but it may prove to be too cheesy even for them.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 07/2001

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