Saturday, 26 September 2009

Solaris -Nostradamus Book of Prophecies (1999)

The band Solaris was formed in 1980 by some university and college students: István Cziglán (guitars), Róbert Erdész (keyboards), Attila Kollár (flute), Attila Seres (bass), Vilmos Tóth (drums). This formation has only one recording, the song "Solaris" which appeared on Rockhullám (I don't if this is a single, album or a Hungarian rock collection) and later on the Marsbéli krónikák. In the next year Attila Seres and Vilmos Tóth left the band and they were replaced by Gábor Kisszabó on bass and Ferenc Raus on drums and came another guitarist, Csaba Bogdán. This new formation released another single and had about 10 radio recordings. Then came some other changes in membership the band remained: István Cziglán on guitars, Róbert Erdész on keyboards, László Gömör on drums, Tamás Pócs on bass and Attila Kollár on flute. This formation recorded and released The Martian Chronicles, had a lot of concerts and was broken up because the one and only Hungarian recording company wasn't interested in progressive rock. Some of the members formed the popular group Napoleon Boulevard (or Napoleon Bld.), a popular band which played pop music, not a very bad one, but pop. Seeing their succes (over 1 million LP-s sold in three years) THE recording company invited them to make another Solaris LP. A part of the contract was the releasing of the old materials. This was Solaris 1990, a double LP which appeared later on a single CD without the B side of the second disc. Later, the whole material appeared on a double CD with two bonus tracks included. Then came another long silence, the band's existence practically came to an end, the members joined other formations, when they received an invitation to the Progfest in L.A. The material of this concert appeared in their Live in Los Angeles album. This concert was followed by another at the Rio Art Rock Festival, The Martian Chronicles was released in Japan and these gave the band the courage to make a new album: Nostradamus (without László Cziglán who died meanwhile).
Solaris' music is a bit "lumpy" with an instrumentation what remindes me to the early heavy metal bands. Something like Barclay James Harvest, but more aggressive guitar and drum playing. The band uses many instruments, but not in an orchestra-like way. Every instrument is accentuated, has it's own "personality", without suppressing each other, altogether the music sounds good. It has an electric sound, like ELP or Tangerine Dream. The drums give a strong rhythmical base, with a low-key bass what the guitar, keyboards and flute are doing their job on, with much fantasy. Overall, it's a good music with a powerful and quite unique sound. -- Bálint Ákos

Book of Prophecies part 1 — 2:45
Book of Prophecies part 2 — 13:11
Book of Prophecies part 3 — 4:33
The Duel — 7:18
The Lion's Empire — 6:39
Wings of the Phoenix — 4:52
Ship of Darkness — 5:51
Wargames — 4:27
The Moment of Truth part 1 — 5:00
The Moment of Truth part 2 — 1:53
Book of Prophecies radio edit — 3:26

- Casaba Bogdan / guitar- Robert Erdesz / Waldorf wave, Akai S6000, Moog prodigy, Emu protheus XR-2, Doepfer MS-404, Korg Mi, Yamaha TX 802- Laszlo Gomor / Sonor drums, Zildjian cymbals- Gabor Kisszabo / Washburn & Fernandes jazz-bass- Attila Kollar / flute, vocals- Tamas Pocs / Warwick fortress bass, Rickenbacker-4001

Ullmann Zsuzsa - vocals
Demeter Gyorgy - vocals
Gerdesits Ferenc - tenor vocals
Bator Tamas - bass vocals
Varga Janos - guitar
Vamos Zsolt - guitar
Muck Ferenc - saxophone

Review by Marcelo (Marcelo Matusevich) PROG REVIEWER from excellent album, very intense and symphonic. Solid flute lead work (Kollar Attila is one of the greatest flute players), lots of majestic chorus interventions (singers of Hungarian State Opera) and the strong participation of drums, bass, guitar and -specially- the electronic keyboards, makes "Nostradamus" a must. SOLARIS is one of the few bands where, despite the prominent flute role, the listener doesn't think about JETHRO TULL, because the sound is pretty much symphonic and pompous. This conceptual album about the prophecies of Nostradamus goes on through some dark atmospheres and emotive landscapes, mixtured with powerful and, at the same time, delicated melodies. All tracks are simply highlights, confirming once more the full-quality line and the unique original sound of this superb Hungarian band.


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