w/Paul Kahan of Pandemos

Pandemos frontman Paul Kahan onstage as part of The Dagger Rebellion (
Lisa Sanchez
The Agora hosted a medley of bands Saturday, May 17th including Innoculation, Abstration, Carriedbysix, and Cringe. Unfortunately, Pandemos were not among the ranks of those playing the show. Originally the evening was slotted to be the kick-off release for Dirt Kingdom, Pandemos's debut album. Due to artistic setbacks, Pandemos had to step away from performing because they knew their release show would not be the jaw-dropping spectacle they strove to achieve. However, they weren't completely absent from the Agora show, lead singer Paul Kahan sat down with me to explain the bands tough decision and the ultimate delivery of Dirt Kingdom in its entirety.
Pandemos is comprised of Kahan and Kevin Czarnecki, who deliver an intense onslaught of technical metal. Although Pandemos is a relatively new band, Kahan has been involved in music and the Cleveland scene for the last ten years, or in his words, "too long". His previous band, The Dagger Rebellion, is a fixture in Cleveland since the mid-2000s and have opened for heavy-hitters like Chimaira and Mushroomhead. Despite their success, Kahan cites Pandemos as his more mature, grown-up project. "Dagger (Rebellion) was created when I was still in high school, so it kept that same mentality. Pandemos is goal oriented. It's my 'time to grow up' band" stated Kahan, whose release show also doubled as his 25th birthday party.
Considering the goal-oriented nature of Pandemos, Kahan explained the importance of the live show. Pandemos are meant to play with a movie in the backdrop, a movie which Kahan co-wrote alongside Joel Anger and co-directed with Anger and Justin Romanak. Once the film (also entitled "Dirt Kingdom") went into post-production it became evident that editing would take longer than anticipated and ultimately not be finished by the May 17th release date. "The show that I promised, we weren't able to deliver." said Kahan, "I don't deal in empty promises, and when I say I'm going to do something, I do it."
Although it would have been possible to go on without the accompanying film, Kahan cited artistic integrity as his main factor for not performing, "I'm not in a band where our show comes from just one sense. I want our performance to speak to people on multiple levels. If I can't deliver that, then what is the point?" An aesthetic performance is unique and not an everyday attraction in the Cleveland metal scene, and Kahan affirmed Dirt Kingdom is well worth the wait. "We're trying to be a different kind of band. I want people to care more about Pandemos as a whole, instead of the individuals who are in the band. I don't care if people know who I am, I just want the audience to get the whole experience. The album is worth the delay, I'm not going to go out there with something I'm not proud of."
There is nothing worse than putting love and effort into something only to have it delayed and rescheduled. But, "Dirt Kingdom" the movie is more than just the culmination of hard work from Kahan and the featured actors. "The story comes from a personal place," said Kahan while he described the plot of Pandemos's movie. The film follows a man with Cotard delusion, or Walking Corpse Syndrome, an affliction which makes a person believe they are actually dead, despite being able to function as a living person. It is Kahan's, Anger's, Romanak's letter to political extremists, and mixes elements of historical events and personal sentiments.
Despite these unpleasant set backs, Dirt Kingdom, both album and movie are now scheduled to be released in July 2014 with an accompanying CD release show. With the false start still in memory, Kahan remains excited for the actual release of the album and ultimately being able to perform his multi-layered live show. Although I dare to imagine what kind of energy the real live Pandemos show will bring in the coming months, Kahan assured that "the surprise is in the making, no one will knows until it happens on stage for everyone to see."