Koos J. Thönissen's Cryptic Nature - 'Pandor' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 29, 2018    
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There really are few reasons to get excited about what is a decidedly under par offering.

Having been the bassist in numerous aspiring bands, Koos J. Thönissen decided it was time to strike out on his own. Not only has this man crafted a lengthy Rock Opera, but also a multi-cast, narration-led fantasy piece where a dragon is brutally orphaned at birth and rescued by a unicorn, before starting the long journey to right those wrongs. The ethos here being that if you're going to record an album, then you might as well record the grandest, most challenging type of album imaginable.

Thönissen not only wrote all the songs on 'Pandor', he performed the bulk of the instruments as well, with only one lead guitar part and flute coming from outside collaborators. Vocally things are much more of a team effort with Huw Lloyd-Jones (ex-Also Eden) being the best known of six. Ranging from Symphonic, Power and occasional Extreme Metal to atmospheric mood pieces, the idea appears to be, quite rightly, to illustrate the mood and tone of the story as it plays out. However, as it does, it becomes all too apparent why these sorts of albums tend to be handled by musicians of vast experience who have the clout, knowledge and budget to back it up with a stellar cast. Unfortunately, Thönissen struggles on every count, the musical ideas over long and obvious, while, rather unforgivably, some of the vocal melodies and pitching simply don't come up to scratch.

Emmelie van Duerzen and Jacqueline van Elsbergen faring worst when they are asked to recount vocal ideas that simply don't fit their surrounds. The awful multi-part vocals on 'The Meeting' being particularly guilty, while the gang voices on 'Certamen Ultimus' aren't even perfectly in time with each other. Add in that the growls during 'Gol Matoo / Meteorite Impact' – that represent our underground dwelling baddies, the Molgar – sound like Gene Simmons arguing with someone via a bad phone connection and the lifeless narration from Ian Jillings that over explains the story at the start of every song, the fact that these are actually a welcome relief says plenty.
With programmed drums sucking the life from uninspired riffs and keyboard lines, there really is no respite as a cluttered production and overbearing mix compound the ever-increasing issues. When you factor in that the story itself is hardly groundbreaking stuff, there really are few reasons to get excited about what is a decidedly under par offering.

Steven Reid

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