Monday, 9 January 2012

FATHER AND SON

Pandora are an Italian prog band from Cuneo that was formed in 2005 on the initiative of Beppe and Claudio Colombo, father and son... Beppe Colombo during the seventies was a music fan and a musician who never had the chance to record an album, but his passion for music has always remained and he passed it on to his son Claudio. So, along with keyboardist Corrado Grappeggia they started an interesting musical project blending influences from the past (PFM, BMS etc.) with a “heavier”, modern taste (Dream Theater): a kind of bridge across the generation gap. Pandora’s debut album, “Dramma di un poeta ubriaco” was released by AMS/BTF label in 2008 and the result is excellent. The line-up on this work features Beppe Colombo (synth, organ, backing vocals), Claudio Colombo (drums, percussion, bass, acoustic guitar, synth), Corrado Grappeggia (vocals, synth, organ, piano) and a young guitarist, Christian Dimasi (electric guitar, backing vocals).


The opener “Il giudizio universale” (The Last Judgment), aggressive and desperate, is an imaginary dialog with God on the Day of Judgment... “Here we are before you! / We are the exiles, breed of Eve and Abraham / And we’re waiting for the apocalyptic and universal Judgment / Everybody is guilty / We bend our heads and accept the fate / But you, try to explain this fate / To the innocent children, tired and hungry... Wandering souls hanging in the limb of time / There’s no one anymore / No one who has got any tears to cry / Anguish rules... Silence rules... / Behold what you have done!”.

The next track, “March to Hell” is a beautiful instrumental. According to an interview with the band it was written thirteen years before and it was inspired by the war in Kosovo. The band imagined all the mighty ones of the earth marching naked towards hell on a powerful, fiery “marching beat”. So, close your eyes and try to imagine the scene while listening to this track...


“Così come sei” (The way you are) comes as the calm after the storm, acoustic and delicate... “You are as you are / You can’t help it, that’s the way you are / You want to come down / When suddenly you go up, up, up / Your arms broaden and become wings / You go up, up, up...”. Then the rhythm rises in a wonderful crescendo featuring sudden changes in musical direction, taking off and landing again on a softer atmosphere... 

The long “Pandora” is probably “le plat de resistance” of this album... A gloomy voice describes the opening of Pandora’s box: only a little, pretty blue bird remains to give comfort to humankind while evil is spreading all around... Then the music flows in every direction and the members of band can showcase their great musicianship and their taste for challenging compositions...


The acoustic ballad “Breve storia di San George” (Short tale of Saint George) is about the legend of Saint George and the Dragon, where the “hero” kills the monster with his spear and saves a princess. You can find here an almost medieval atmosphere... 

The title track “Dramma di un poeta ubriaco” (Tragedy of a drunken poet) is about a poet who relies on alcohol to draw inspiration. He dreams of setting his bottles on fire to break free from his addiction... The music alternates frantic passages, delicate piano arpeggios and soaring melodies featuring a particular bittersweet mood.


The complex, long “Salto nel buio” (Jump in the dark) closes the album. The track is dramatic and almost mystic. It’s divided in four parts: reflection, jump, fall and awareness. The mood is dark and the lyrics develop some reflections about death...

Well, on the whole a very good album, full of energy and freshness... 

From the book Rock Progressivo Italiano: An introduction to Italian Progressive Rock

Pandora: Dramma di un poeta ubriaco (2008). Other opinions:
Jim Russell: Dramma di un poeta ubriaco is a modern symphonic winner that is going to be a knock-out for many prog fans with its combination of beautiful sounds and bold jamming... (read the complete review HERE).

Read the interview with the band at Progarchives. Click HERE

More info: