Panorama – “Around The World” (ROAR! Rock Of Angels Records)
Aptly named as a band given the members come a range of countries like Finland, Switzerland and the US – not to mention the title of this stunning debut – Panorama is Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69, Gus G, Unisonic) on bass/producer, Christian Palin (Random Eyes, ex Adagio) on vocals, Sammy Lasagni (Gods of Silence, ex Kirk, ex Godiva) and Ben Varon (Amoral, ex Grease Helmet) on guitars, and Philipp Eichenberger (Gods of Silence, ex Kirk) on drums! Originally conceived in 2008 when Palin met Lasagni when their bands toured together, it would not be until 2015 when the two connected one cold winter’s day and committed themselves to collaborate – the outcome of which are the stunning songs making up “Around The World”. Completing the circle was Dennis Ward, who so impressed with the quality of the material, not only agreed to produce the album but also play bass! What’s truly outstanding about this veteran band is just the sheer range of styles they take in, from the title track opener which is essentially 80s AOR to follow up ‘Stand My Ground’, which is much heavier but doesn’t lose sight of those heart grabbing melodies and soothing harmonies in a more 90s melodic hard rock style reminiscent of Gotthard. On ‘Gates Of Babylon’, Palin’s suave highs and the flashy techno riffing made me think of Tate era Queensryche while on ‘The Highest Mountain’ the ultra catchy singalong harmonies brought back memories of the Scorpions at their most melodic, along with some heart breaking keys and of course, a tear jerky solo. In complete contrast however, was the sassy slide riffing street rock of ‘Jammin In The Jungle’ with again, a monster hook and ultra catchy chorus that just had me boogin’ right along to its massive amounts of bad ass attitude! As for dual guitar melodies, then check out ‘All For One’ which has Lasagni and Varon all over it like a Euro version of GnR – awesome – along with those soaring vocal harmonies and Palin’s own soul resonating across the song. Slowing things down but definitely upping the heaviness is ‘The Other Side’ but amazingly, despite Philipp Eichenberger’s hard drumming, the band doesn’t lose sight of those catchy melodies be it vocally or again in those impressive guitars. Ending with the double bass drumming driven ‘World On Fire’ it’s definitely metal but thanks once again to the guitar melodies, the perfect synch has been found between the furious fire and cool ice that this amazing collaboration bring together. Let’s hope this isn’t a one off!