Eyes Of Pandora
Blizzard Records, 2000
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/02/2001
Eyes Of Pandora is a Miami-based band who are not what they may seem to be on the surface. Going into this disc, I fully expected to hear a progressive-based band who maybe called upon the spirits of some similar-veined metal bands with even a touch of Celtic influences.
Boy, was I wrong - and I'm thrilled to say that. This group, led by vocalist Susan Tojo, reminds me of the glory days of acts like October Project - bands with a strong female vocal presence who weren't afraid to rewrite the rules of rock music to fit their own needs. Simply put, this disc smokes anything I've heard in a long time.
Unlike the aforementioned October Project, Eyes Of Pandora aren't afraid to tackle some less heady subjects, as on "1969". Yes, it is still a song that will make the listener think, but it doesn't necessarily challenge the listener to approach the song on a different mental level. Instead, the band allows the listener to take their music and words at face value and derive from them whatever they choose. I like that kind of flexibility in my music, and Eyes Of Pandora do not disappoint.
Everything about this disc seems to work in the group's favor, from the excellent production sound (thanks to Eric Alexandrakis - yeah, I know that won't make up for what Duke said about his CD a few months ago, but I'll give credit where credit is due) to the absolute mastery of the musicians who share in this. My only criticism in this regard would be that I'd like to hear guitarist Robert Gueits let loose with solos more often; when he does, the mood is elevated significantly. Special mention should be made regarding bassist Carlos Gutierrez's work, which is rightfully brought to the forefront on more than one occasion.
Yet something in the back of my head keeps telling me that even this CD is not a perfect indication of what this band is capable of. If that's the case, then their next disc should floor me from the moment I take the shrinkwrap off.
Tracks such as "Rosemary Says," "Damaged" and "Factory City" all suggest that Eyes Of Pandora is a debut effort worthy of more than mere praise. Instead, this suggests the birth cries of a group who are much better than the mere classification of "rock" or "pop"... and whose independence might hurt them.
I'm not saying in the least that they should become a cookie-cutter band - indeed, that would be the worst move they could make. It's just that many people - consumers, programmers, label execs - don't like to take chances with something that doesn't fit the pre-programmed patterns they're used to. For those who don't answer the challenge, they'll never know what they're missing. Those who dare to listen closely to this disc will realize just how damned good it is.
Eyes Of Pandora is a disc that should knock you off your feet and leave you wanting more. Eyes Of Pandora is a group who are more than deserving of your time, money and attention. Here's hoping the right people wake up from their cappucino-induced comas and give them a fighting shot at the big time. Lord knows they've proven that they're deserving of it.