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viernes, 2 de octubre de 2015

Solaris - Nostradamus Book Of Prophecies (1999)


Artista: Solaris
Álbum: Nostradamus Book Of Prophecies
Año: 1999
Género: Rock sinfónico
Duración: 60:02
Nacionalidad: Hungría


Lista de Temas:
1 to 3. Book Of Prophecies (20:35)
4. The Duel (7:20)
5. The Lion's Empire (6:40)
6. Wings Of The Phoenix (5:08)
7. Ship Of Darkness
8. Wargames
9 to 10. The Moment Of Truth
11. Book Of Prophecies Radio Edit

Alineación:
- 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

Este es un excelente álbum compartido por nuestro amigo Alejandro, otra vez un discazo de éstos húngaros que los pusieron entre los mejores trabajos que salieron en la década del 90. Imperdible, absolutamente y totalmente recomendado. Un disco para asombrarse...




Otro aporte de nuestros amigos, ahora es Alejandro quien nos manda este discazo de los otros geniales húngaros progresivos. Este álbum conceptual se grabó luego de que la banda tocara en el festival Progfest. Fue tal el éxito que decidieron grabar otro álbum juntos, y este es el resultado. Para muchos fans esta es su mejor disco, y para mí también. Por desgracia, el guitarrista original murió antes de esta grabación, y en la gráfica del disco la banda dice: "Todos sentimos que el viejo Czigi debería estar aquí entre nosotros."


En 1995, la banda fue invitada al ProgFest ’95 de Los Angeles. Este es un festival de tres días y el segundo día Solaris fue la atracción principal. Este exitoso concierto fue publicado en un CD doble, Live In Los Angeles. Después de este concierto, han recibido invitaciones para otros importantes eventos de música progresiva.

Esto es lo que nos comentaba Alejandro sobre el disco:

Armonías misteriosas con instrumentos de viento, es como describen este impecable album de la banda de Rock Progresivo
proveniente de Hungría. Es un trabajo bastante agradable para cualquier oido musical, altamente recomendable para toda
la gente que busque algo nuevo que escuchar.
Solaris es un fabuloso grupo húngaro que se ha distinguido por editar excelentes discos instrumentales de manera esporádica. Esta obra “Nostradamus, el libro de las profecías” está inspirada en la leyenda (?) de las visiones profeticas de Michel De Nostradamus.
La música presenta además del característico Rock dinámico y orquestal de Solaris, varias innovaciones a su estilo. Por ejemplo, el grupo ha decidido presentar la obra musical como si fuera parte de una banda sonora, sin perder un ápice de su fuerza rockera, con sus melodiosos solos de guitarra, teclado y con el protagonismo de la flauta. Además fusionan con mayor fuerza, la música clásica y la música étnica.
Otra de las innovaciones de este disco, es la presencia de un coro clásico. Las intervenciones vocales en idioma latín, aparecen en los momentos clave de la obra y le dan al disco, un estupendo toque de grandilocuencia.
Cabe hacer notar que el disco está dedicado a la memoria de István Cziglán - guitarrista fundador del grupo - quién falleciera en diciembre de 1998. Aún con la desafortunada muerte de Cziglán, Solaris sigue siendo una de las formaciones más sólidas del mundo.
El presente es un trabajo excelente. Los seis músicos de Solaris han llevado con gran acierto el aspecto conceptual, los arreglos y que decir de las composiciones, verdaderamente destacadas. Categóricamente puedo afirmar que Solaris logró enriquecer -aún más- su brillante estilo y sus composiciones, conformando un disco extraordinario, el mejor de su historia o al menos equiparable al aclamadísimo “Marsbeli Kronikak”.
Alejandro

La primera canción "Book Of Prophecies" es una epopeya en tres partes con una duración total de 20 minutos, abriendo el disco con una forma muy dramática y teatral. Flautas, coros masculinos y femeninos, guitarras, teclados, toques espaciales, duelos instrumentales, cada sección es cautivadora, esto es fantástico.
Le sigue "The Lion's Empire", buenos bajos y bonitas melodías pueblan el tema antes de pasar a "Wings Of The Phoenix" que es conducido por guitarra y flauta. "Ship Of Darkness" cuenta con muy buenas, impecable, secciones de percusión que son implacables. "Wargames" es básicamente un buen rock progresivo guiado por coros femeninos, que en el disco tienen mucho protagonismo. "The Moment Of Truth" se compone de dos canciones, con saxos, excelentes guitarra, coros, secciones pastorales y cuerdas suaves. Todos los temas son muy parejos y muy buenos, y no resalta uno sobre otro, siendo un disco creado para ser escuchado de un tirón, todo es parte de una misma cosa y nada sobresale del resto, todo combina, y todo tiene un gran nivel.

Vamos con algunos comentarios de gente que escribió sobre éste disco:

Solaris es un fabuloso grupo húngaro que se ha distinguido por editar excelentes discos instrumentales de manera esporádica. Esta obra “Nostradamus, el libro de las profecías” está inspirada en la leyenda (?) de las visiones profeticas de Michel De Nostradamus.
La música presenta además del característico Rock dinámico y orquestal de Solaris, varias innovaciones a su estilo. Por ejemplo, el grupo ha decidido presentar la obra musical como si fuera parte de una banda sonora, sin perder un ápice de su fuerza rockera, con sus melodiosos solos de guitarra, teclado y con el protagonismo de la flauta. Además fusionan con mayor fuerza, la música clásica y la música étnica.
Otra de las innovaciones de este disco, es la presencia de un coro clásico. Las intervenciones vocales en idioma latín, aparecen en los momentos clave de la obra y le dan al disco, un estupendo toque de grandilocuencia.
Cabe hacer notar que el disco está dedicado a la memoria de István Cziglán-guitarrista fundador del grupo- quién falleciera en diciembre de 1998. Aún con la desafortunada muerte de Cziglán, Solaris sigue siendo una de las formaciones más sólidas del mundo.
El presente es un trabajo excelente. Los seis músicos de Solaris han llevado con gran acierto el aspecto conceptual, los arreglos y que decir de las composiciones, verdaderamente destacadas. Categóricamente puedo afirmar que Solaris logró enriquecer -aún más- su brillante estilo y sus composiciones, conformando un disco extraordinario, el mejor de su historia o al menos equiparable al aclamadísimo “Marsbeli Kronikak”.
Rael


En éste disco la música de Solaris sigue siendo de un poderoso contenido melódico, a menudo enlazado con temas de Europa oriental y se destaca por el uso de desarrollos temáticos dinámicos y extensos. Como es habitual, hacen un muy buen trato de los instrumentos principales, como la flauta, la guitarra y los teclados y su énfasis no está en producir largos solos sino que en el empleo de dichos instrumentos dentro del contexto del desarrollo de cada pieza individual.
O sea, un disco al más puro estilo Solaris que tanto nos ha gustado siempre...

"BOOK OF PROPHECIES" es el tercer disco en estudio de estos húngaros que tienen una de las mejores propuestas del progresivo sinfónico actual. Si te gusta Camel, Pink Floyd y Jethro Tull y aún no has escuchado a Solaris, entonces estás perdiendo tu tiempo leyendo esto.
La música de Solaris se caracteriza por la presencia de teclados muy dinámicos, una guitarra poderosa con influencias de Camel y Pink Floyd y una flauta en primer plano que hace recordar los mejores solos de Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull).
"Nostradamus, Book of prophecies" es un disco conceptual que narra a través de 10 temas musicales algunas de las principales profecías de Michel de Notre Dame. Este señor de origen judío fue un gran médico y uno de los profetas más famosos de la historia. En mi opinión personal, este disco supera su primera obra magna, "Marsbéli Krónikák" (The Martian Chronicles"), y está muy arriba en mi lista de los 100 mejores discos de rock progresivo de 1969 a la fecha. A continaución comento brevemente algunos de los tracks de esta obra:
La primera pieza del disco es una Suite de 20:27 denominada precisamente "BOOK OF PROPHECIES", en la cual se incluyen tres cortes ligados entre sí, "Foreword", "Birth of Visions" y "At the Gate of Eternity". La música inicia con coros gregorianos (pero nada que ver con Enigma, ojo!) y una flauta con sonidos prehispánicos muy protagonista y muy bien ensamblada, precedida de unos requintos bastante buenos. En esta suite Solaris pretende describir musicalmente el inicio de las visiones futurísticas de Nostradamus.
Por momentos la música, sobre todo los teclados, son muy al estilo de su primer CD "Crónicas Marcianas", pero aquí con una gran presencia de coros que cantan textos en latín.
"The Duel" (7:20) se refiere a la profecía en donde Nostradamus predice un duelo singular entre un joven león y un viejo león, donde obviamente pierde el viejo. No recuerdo cual fue el hecho histórico relacionado con esta profecía, pero el tema es un corte dinámico con muchos cambios de ritmo y con un gran trabajo de la guitarra y la flauta entrelazadas, así como de los teclados. La flauta continúa siendo el instrumento principal a veces muy al estilo de Ian Anderson de Jethro Tull.
"Wings of the Phoenix" (programado en Manticornio Radio, ¡dos veces! ;o) es la predicción que Nostradamus tuvo a cerca de un líder loco y poderosísimo que a mediados del siglo 20 dominaría brutalmente una buena parte del mundo, al que llamó "Hisler"!!!. Es un corte muy poderoso con un predominio nuevamente de la flauta, teclados y guitarras, en ese orden, que en ciertos momentos presenta influencias medievales.
Los últimos temas (9 y 10) están ocupados por "The Moment of Truth (Parts 1 & 2)" (6:40), es donde Nostradamus predice con exactitud su propia muerte. La música sigue los patrones del álbum, aunque su principal novedad es la introducción al saxo al inicio de la pieza.
Martín Hernández

Esta es una composición mucho más lograda que el disco debut de la banda. Recrea un ambiente de oscurantismo y magia, a través de trabajadísimos pasajes corales y el uso adecuado de instrumentos de viento y de efectos electrónicos.
El disco parte oscuro desde un principio, con el largo Book Of Prophecies que ocupa las tres primeras pistas, mediante el uso de coros y percusión de características medievales llenando el ambiente. Las melodías son intensas pero hermosas, y el trabajo en la flauta es magistral, siendo ésta una de las ocasiones en las cuales, dado el sinfonismo de la composición y del ambiente, no es natural la comparación con Jethro Tull. Los teclados y el sonido electrónico son uno de los sellos distintivos de Solaris, utilizados también magistralmente en este desarrollo.
Continúa el disco con The Duel, una canción de enardecido ritmo y poderosa interpretación, con excelentes pasajes corales y de flauta, más la sólida banda y los excelentes teclados. ¿Se refiere quizá a la profecía de Nostradamus sobre la muerte de Enrique II, luego de recibir una astilla de lanza en un ojo en un torneo?
The Lion's Empire es una canción larga, quizás referida al imperio de Napoleón profetizado por Nostradamus, con muy buenos riffs de guitarra eléctrica y la inclusión precisa y certera de la flauta. Una de las características destacables de esta banda de clase mundial es justamente esa, la combinación exacta de este instrumento en medio de sonidos eléctricos distorsionados.
En un clima y forma muy similar a la anterior discurre la siguiente canción, Wings Of The Phoenix.
Ship Of Darkness es uno de los puntos más altos de este disco, una canción sorprendente, con intensos pasajes de flauta y de sintetizadores, más unos inquietantes y algo macabros bajos corales. La percusión y el bajo tienen un protagonismo también en largos segundos de la canción, con una interpretación estupenda, en especial alrededor del minuto 5, con un largo diálogo entre flauta y bajo.
Wargames es la única canción cantada del disco, en lenguaje húngaro, y con los consabidos y oscuros acompañamientos corales. Varias de las profecías de Nostradamus tienen relación con guerras, como las bombas atómicas en Hiroshima y Nagasaki o como las mismas guerras napoleónicas, lo que le da significado al título de esta canción. La aguzada guitarra de Bogdan y los efectos de ametralladora de los sintetizadores, más la marcha y las bombas del final nos invaden por completo, sumergiéndonos en el campo de batalla.
Un hermoso saxo nos tira hacia afuera de esa locura, para hacernos desembocar en el momento de la verdad. The Moment Of Truth es una hermosa canción, con erizantes coros en latín y la omipresente flauta llevando la voz cantante. Todo esto para terminar con una hermosa interpretación de la melodía en guitarra acústica de la pista diez.
La pista once es una versión editada para radio del Book Of Prophecies y se presenta en el disco a manera de bonus track. A mí modo de ver, se hizo una versión más digerible, menos oscura de la canción, cuyo resultado es igualmente apreciable.
Sir Lawn Mower

Un enorme disco del progresivo de otra banda muy injustamente poco valorada.
Como dicen por ahí, es una banda que parece agrupar los aspectos característicos de las bandas clásicas del Prog y con muy criterio plasmarlos a todos en música que, sumada a ideas propias de mentes, trilladamente, brillantes, sacan manso disco como este.
No me voy a detener a describir en la música en sí, es exquisita y fuera de cualquier cuestionamiento, solamente una idea general. Sinfónico instrumental y muy prolijo como Camel, con mucho condimento Space a lo Pink Floyd y/o Eloy, teclados Yesseros, flauta y energía a lo Jethro Tull y demás cosas que las van a disfrutar cuando lo escuchen.
Este es para mí su mejor disco. Obligatorio; que lo disfruten.
Jesu


Y aquí algunos comentarios en inglés que no sé si tiene sentido que lean, porque a todos les encanta el disco y piden encarecidamente que lo conozcas si es que hasta ahora has tenido la desgracia de vivir sin escucharlo.


An 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.
Marcelo Matusevich


When traveling in Hungary I saw in a record store a CD that seemed to be based on Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles (a book dear to me in my youth), by a Hungarian band (named after Stanislaw Lem's classic novel!), totally unknown to me. I did not risk buying it, hoping I come across it again. Later I found only the other CD (from 1999) which I bought. It was risky but succesfull purchase. First of all the level of their musical skill and a very balanced production were beyond my expectations. In deed it stood comparison with classic symphonic prog albums, and with the best of Neo Prog in terms of sound excellence. And there wasn't even a word sung in Hungarian (how would that sound?!). Instead there's some male choir singing in Latin in some tracks, but basically it's an instrumental rock album.
I feel I SHOULD like it more - play it more often, that is - since I have praised it almost like a masterpiece. Powerful, dramatic, also sensitive, and played fantastically. And there's even a flutist (which has no debt to Jethro Tull or Focus or any at all). But there is one clear but to me. It's a bit too heavy listening experience. Couple of tracks are not far from prog metal (a genre I dislike). For example in 'War Games' that male choir keeps repeating the title and the result gets pretentiously pompous. The long opening track is strong and majestic in a great way and I would wish the remaining album to calm down. It does that beautifully in the end (if you don't count the radio edit of the opener) but too much in between are full of heavy tension. All in all, friends of dramatic symphonic rock will most certainly enjoy this interpretation of the prophesies of Nostradamus.
Matti

This is the last studio album of this great band, and for me, their best album, martian chronicles and solaris 1990 are both excellent albums, i own all of them , but in my humble opinnion i found nostradamus like the best album, because the music has its particular sound, the only power and intelligent sound of the Kollar Atilla flute, and all the mix of the instruments ,the synths , flutes, bass, percussion, all together makes the perfect album, it has the symphonic sound, but different like the classic symphonic bands ( the classic bands dont use some of the instruments that solaris choose to make this masterpiece), anyway, the opening track is the complete book of prophecies, 20 minutes of extraordinary travel in time and in mind, this track could be one album , because is reallybeautiful, but the only tracks makes this album a masterpiece, not serious the same thing without the other tracks, one track makes the next song, and thats why i found this album very interesting, please hear to it, i can guarantee that you´´ll be happy after listened to it.
Guillermo H. Urdapilleta

After their acclaimed gig on the Progfest 1995, Solaris was very motivated to keep on making music, even to make a new album. Well, eventually they came up with that new CD in 1999 and I'm very delighted about it! The source of inspiration was the famous and controversial work from visionair Nostradamus. I have read a lot about Nostradamus and his works, it sounds very interesting but to me there is too much room for interpretation and many people use it as a kind of Bible!
But back to the music from Solaris, the CD starts with the long composition "Book of prophecies" (3 parts, 20 minutes), first a sound collage, then a wonderful build-up featuring a sampled choir, percussion, a modern keyboard sound, howling electric guitar and spectacular synthesizer runs. Of course the music from Solaris delivers those distinctive, Jethro Tull-like flute play, very tasteful blended with keyboards and guitars. Remarkable is the colouring of the climates with exotic sounds like the South-American pan-flute, the native North American and African chants and the Australian didgederoo. The tracks "The duel" (lots of propulsive organ waves), "The lion's empire" (powerful guitar-riffs) and "Wings of the phoenix" featuring saxophone) showcase the typical Solaris sound: strong and dynamic featuring many shifting moods (slow, bombastic, swinging), loaded with great soli on lots of instruments. The other songs sound more adventurous like the captivating "Ship of darkness": fat synthesizer flights, JT-like flute and percussion are the home-base for a blend with musical ideas like a choir, howling electric guitar and a break with bass guitar. The intricate composition "Wargames" contains a lot of tension between a sampled choir, floods of organ, flute and guitar, GREAT! The song "The moment of truth" is a very dreamy song, divided into two parts featuring sensitive electric guitar, saxophone and beautiful piano play. The bonustrack is an 'edit-version' (3,5 minutes) from "The book of prophecies". I own all the previous Solaris CD's and have to say that I'm stunned by the way Solaris has succeeded to sound as a band from 1999, so creative and exciting. This CD is dedicated to the memory of guitarplayer 'Czigi' who died very sadly in 1998. He would have been very proud on the result of this CD. GREAT PROGROCK FROM HUNGARY!!
Erik Neuteboom

I've been putting off writing this review for six months now, feeling it would be a challenge that I seldom felt up to. Well, I still don't feel up to it but Nostradamus is so good and Solaris is so underappreciated, no that's not fair, so unknown, that after enjoying Nostradamus again today as I always do, I decided enough already, I've got to tell America (and wherever) about this masterpiece, even if it might not do them any good.
I'll explain. I've written over a hundred music reviews and Nostradamus is the first and only one I've written without the benefit of the CD or album. How did I do that, you wonder? Thank God for downloading! I would buy it if I could, really I would. I did buy their freshman release, The Martian Chronicles, from a Russian vendor, which is also a gem, unfortunately it is but an Opal to the five caret Diamond known as Nostradamus.
Before we get into Nostradamus, a little background on Solaris
Hungarian progressive rock band Solaris got its start in 1980. The group was formed by the now deceased István Cziglán (guitar), Róbert Erdész (keys), Attila Kollár (flute), Attila Seres (bass), and Vilmos Tóth (drums), all school friends. They took their name from the title of book by SF writer Stanislaw Lemand and based their songs on classic science fiction. In 1984 SOLARIS released their first album "The Martian Chronicles", it sold almost 40,000 copies. Solaris did not release another album until 1990 when they released their sophomore effort simply entitled, Solaris - 1990. Sometime thereafter the Solaris disbanded, to the dismay of thousands of Progheads.
The consummate prog-rock album Nostradamus - Book of Prophecies might never have been made except the people at Progfest convinced Solaris to reform and be the headline band at Progfest 1996 in Los Angeles. Their performance at Progfest was so fulfilling that the members decided to formally reunite Solaris and dedicate themselves to the recording of a new studio album. The slightly Camelish music with lots of fantastic flute playing got the band kudos wherever they went.
The band's interest into the paranormal led them to Nostradamus who eventually became the subject of their next studio album. Unfortunately this album had to be recorded without founder member guitarist Cziglan Istvan who succumbed to a terminal disease in December 1998. He is still featured in a portion of the album, though I know not where. This album is dedicated to his memory,
Nostradamus - Book of Prophecies
Now let's get to the actual music, which is why I was reticent to take on this endeavor. I suppose Nostradamus should be considered an instrumental, though there are choirs singing throughout, in Latin however, not in English. I further suppose the music which is classified as Progressive Rock is indeed Progressive Rock, though at times it does sound like a little of many styles including New Age. How does one describe music that changes extremely not only from song to song but within songs? How does one describe songs that vacillate from Hawkwind to Therion, to Jethro Tull, to Enigma and all the time remain beautiful and intriguing? How?
"Book of Prophecies", the three part twenty minute plus extravaganza has basically the same refrain with different deliveries from simple to complex, from prog rock to operatic. Part I is a short piece predominantly new age sounding with native sounding voices then the the choir followed by a flute and a didjeridoo segueing into the thirteen minute eclectic part II. It is mostly symphonic almost operatic sounding with interludes of contemporary and new age using a plethora of uncommon instruments and chants. This music is never obtrusive, instead it's melody enfolds and embraces the listener, leading to a state of bliss. Part II seems to stop several times, each time injecting a new element into the mix, ending mildly chaotic. Part III is strongly progressive. It begins slowly and builds slowly with the flute, which has a large part throughout the album leading the way followed by strong guitar work and keyboards(synths)
In the "The Duel," flute and Hammond duel it out in a rather mild manner, picking up the pace only in the second half in yet another version of the original refrain. The next song "The Lion's Empire" builds up suspense with light flute and guitar playing leading to a straight rock interlude interspersing with a strong Progressive sound. The sixth track, "Wings Of The Phoenix", is like a battle of instruments with the flue and the guitar seeming to take the lead. Strong performances by guitar and synths lead to a great finish.
"Ship Of Darkness" another heavy progressive flute driven number, projecting mysterious images. The eighth song "Wargames" has a similar melody that was used in J.C. Superstar (I think it's actually an old Jewish melody) done progressive style, interspersed with simulated(I hope) machine gun fire and chanting of War Games. It ends with a military marching band playing to war sounds, before fading out.
Finally we get to "The Moment Of Truth" a fairly pleasant easy going song featuring our choir and some nice flute/guitar work in two parts. "Book of Prophecies (Radio Edit)" the last track is a condensed reprise of the three part beginning. Actually a great way to finish.
If you're a prog-head, you don't want to miss this one. Beg, borrow, steal or even(shoosh) downlo*d this. Just get it! This is Flag ship material!
If you're not a prog-head but you enjoy Symphonic, New Wave or even World music, this could be of interest to you, though it's probably too much trouble to try to get. It is hard to get.
Duane Daum

This concept album came about after the band reformed to play a one off show at Progfest. It was so successful that they decided to record another album together, and this is the result. To many fans this last studio record of SOLARIS is their best. Unfortunately their original guitarist passed away before this recording, and in the liner notes the band says: "We all feel that old Czigi should be here. Among us." The music itself is mostly flute led with a fair amount of guitar, and the choirs are a nice touch.
The first song "Book Of Prophesies" is really broken down into a seamless three song epic lasting for 20 minutes. This one is my favourite. It opens with some brief dramatics before some gentle flute and light drums take over. Lots of atmosphere ends the first section. It continues into section two a 13 minute long piece. A male choir comes in a minute in and it's quite powerful. Guitar arrives before a great female vocal melody passage. This part is catchy, and the male choir is back. This is fantastic ! We get male and female vocals with some excellent guitar coming and going. The highlight of the third section is the guitar soloing so beautifully as the male choir sings. Nice. "The Duel" is ok but didn't impress me alot. I like the organ and flute. Some good bass lines 2 1/2 minutes in. Guitar and vocals to end it.
"The Lion's Empire" has some heaviness a minute in. Some good bass a minute later followed by a nice lazy guitar melody. Uptempo section 6 minutes in as flute ends it. "Wings Of The Phoenix" is led by the guitar and flute. Some tempo changes as well. "Ship Of Darkness" features some great sounding drums that are relentless. Guitar and flute trade off as some heaviness arrives before 4 minutes. A bass, drum and flute melody is good 5 minutes in. "Wargames" is probably their weakest track on this album as Franmuzak mentions in his review. I felt that there was an eighties feel to it at times. I like the female vocal melodies later on. "The Moment Of Truth" is made up of two songs. Sax opens the proceedings as a nice solid sound follows. The guitar is outstanding. An uplifting passage before 3 minutes. The male choir comes in as the first section ends with some beautiful guitar. The second section is quite pastoral with piano, gentle guitar and strings.
It's difficult not to give this symphonic album anything less than 4 stars. It's a beautiful album.
John Davie

Now this is an album that should definitely have gotten more attention in our community. Though I'm not that interested in modern prog music, this really is an album that got my full attention.
Solaris is a symphonic (on this album eclectic) progressive rock band from Hungary. Their 1984 release 'Martian Chronicles' is seen as one of the best progressive rock albums of the eighties. In the nineties the band released two albums, 'Solaris 1990' and in this '99 Nostradamus album.
Prog, innovation - sometimes we just want to be surprised by how new music can sound to our ears. This album has that power; you may like the music or not - you will be caught by it's total new approach to the genre. Solaris adopted many elements from all over the world: Hungarian opera chants, Indian culture music, tribal sounds and of course some beloved elements of symphonic prog; synths, distorted guitars with reverb, flutes (played in a world- music style) and rockin' drums and bass. All are played tasteful and sound fresh. On some moments the bass-lines are the main element of the music, which is rarely seen. The vocals are in Hungarian and are a mix of 'normal' vocals and Hungarian opera chants (often in non-western keys). The music get's emotional, exciting and bombastic (but never in a bad way).
The main attraction is the three-part epic Book Of Prophecies, that runs for 20 minutes. The way this song is constructed is really unique and the long atmospheric instrumental parts are all strong. The use of chants and tribel sounds gives the music an authentic feel. The epic has a main theme, sung by a choir. All instrumental and other vocal section are build around this main theme, but the strange thing is: you can't get enough of this main theme. It's just so good. The other tracks of the album are less unique, but still very good. Perhaps they could be described best as a step toward more conventional prog, but it's still a distinctive sound Solaris adopted on this Nostradamus album.
Conclusion. This is a must-have album for all fans of progressive rock. Fans of symphonic, eclectic and atmospheric/innovative prog are all likely to get caught by this truly original album. My only complaint is that the second halve of the album isn't as strong as the first halve. Having that said I must admit: the Book of Prophecies epic is one of the best modern prog tracks I've ever listened to. Four and halve stars for this one. Recommended to all people on this site.
Friso

Another obscure gem by Solaris
Fifteen years after the release of their debut album "Marsbeli Kronikak" (Martian Chronicles), the Hungarian Symphonic band SOLARIS presented to their huge fan-base their latest album "Nostradamus Próféciák Könyve" (Nostradamus, Book of Prophecies) , this time without Istvan Cziglan who died in 1998 after an incurable disease, but the show has to go on and in what way, SOLARIS launches what for many is the top album of their discography, and worth to be reviewed.
Unlike their debut, this album has a few vocals but incredibly complex, because they mix some normal singing with male and female Hungarian Operatic Chants that normally can only be reproduced in non-western keys, a fantastic addition to the already excellent music of the band.
The album is opened by "The Book of Prophesies", a 20 minutes epic divided in three parts, but unlike songs like "Close to the Edge", this division makes perfect sense and can be easily perceived by the listener.
Part I is a mysterious prologue that introduces he listener to the mysterious and even haunting atmosphere of the album, with almost Gregorian chants interrupted by acute female choirs, simply breathtaking.
Part II: is the main section of the song, where the band develops the concept of the track and hits the listener with all they have. From almost religious chants to fluid keyboard passages and strong guitar sections softened by the flute of Attila Kollar, the band demonstrates what they are capable of, blending pristine Symphonic with religious music and a good amount of Romanian Ethnic music that flows gently until the complex finale.
Part III works as the epilogue of the song and as a bridge from the complex and breathtaking Part II to the next song, please, play special attention to the interplay between guitar, keys and flute, it's delightful.
"The Duel#" is the dream of a Progressive Rock listener, because SOLARIS shows all their facets and styles blended with class and coherence, we can find fluid Rock passages, Psychedelic organ solos and Folksy sections where "Kollar" really exploits all his skills, a restless duel between Hammond organ and flute only interrupted by a heavy guitar that keeps the listener at the edge of the seat
After a confusing intro "The Lion's Empire" turns into a Heavy Prog song with Casaba Bogdan's guitar at it's best and Robert Erdesz keyboards adding all his repertoire, again a good combination of strength and mystery with a delicate edge.
"Wings of the Phoenix" is another frenetic song which after a soft introduction keeps going "in crescendo" until the dramatic finale. This guys give no rest to the listener blending Symphonic Prog, Hard Rock and Folk with such dexterity that everything sounds perfectly coherent, as if this sometimes contradictory styles were created to be played together as a whole unity.
At the beginning of "Ship of Darkness", the listener may believe that SOLARIS is going to provide a calmed track that would serve as relief after the powerful previous tracks, but this is only a mirage, because as soon as they take speed, nothing can stop SOLARIS. The first warning sign comes with a killer flute section that suddenly changes into a mystic sound and again to some sort of Heavy Prog, this time with Tamas Pocs (bass) and Laszlo Gomor (percussion) giving a lesson of how a rhythm section should work.
"Wargames" is an attack to the senses but at the same time a pleasure to the ears, the dramatic and mystic chants blended with constant drumming, it's almost like non violent violence and at the end a marching band playing a war hymn.
"The Moment of Truth" Parts I and II, shows a new face of the band, now they embrace some sort of Jazzy Symphonic that relieves us from everything we've been listening before, despite some vibrant interruptions, the song is soft and melancholic with excellent vocals in Hungarian, amazingly beautiful and different to everything SOLARIS has played before.
The album ends with "Book of Prophesies (radio Edit) which is only a 3 minutes version of the first epic for radio play, a good finale.
After listening Martian Chronicles, I believed that no SOLARIS album will reach that superb level, but I was wrong "Nostradamus Próféciák Könyve" (Nostradamus, Book of Prophecies) is at least in the same level (if not slightly better), so again I have no other alternative than to rate this release with 5 solid stars.
Iván Melgar

This album by Solaris has been with me for quite a very long time and I keep enjoying it very much and finally I realize that I have not put any writing about this. The band Solaris itself is not something that I am familiar with even though I knew the name sometime ago from prog friend right here in Jakarta. Specific to this album I can comment that it's really an excellent symphonic prog music album that any of you who like early prog would likely love this one even though this is not something like Genesis or Yes but it's something different that you never imagine before. Yes there is some elements of space music as well as fusion but it's more than that. I think, the most critical thing about this album is its novelty in creating unique experience to the listeners where the music flows beautifully from start to the point where you are listening to.
Let's look at the epic first three track that are titled 'Book Of Prophecies' (20:35), I can see myself being brought forward by the music from start until now when I reach third minute of the third track. I do not realize that the band has dragged me into the 17th minute of the epic without notice. Why? Because its segments have been composed wonderfully by the band that finally the listeners are not aware that they have been with the music for more than 15 minutes unnoticed! So, what do they specifically do with the music they produce? Well, it's basically comprising of combined efforts by all instruments used here including flute as well as vocals that play as choirs. It's actually an instrumental track as there is no lyrical verse. For me personally I really enjoy the changes in tempo, mood as well as the use of flute as melody in some segments plus the beautiful rhythm section.
In fact when the track moves into the fourth 'The Duel' (7:20), I am not aware of it. This track offers great flute-work as well as stunning guitar solo combined with vintage organ work. It's so nice! It then flows nicely to the fifth 'The Lion's Empire' (6:40) through a nice combination of flute and guitar fills. The mood then changes to something rocking with flute as filler, followed by nice Rickenbaker bass solo - even though quite short.
'Wings Of The Phoenix' (5:08) starts off with bass guitar followed with flute and then keyboard work. Flute and guitar take the lead in bringing the melody of the music. I love 'Ship Of Darkness' (5:46) as it demonstrates great drum works around the music accompanied with rocking flute-work. Oh man ... I used to play this track loudly as I love the drum work.
Overall, this is a very close to perfect album by Solaris. I really enjoy the music from start to end and I think most of you who love prog music would really enjoy this album. It's really excellent!!!
Gatot Widayanto

I have never heard nothing like this before, they have a unique style. The album is an instrumental one, well, there's one song with lyrics, which I don't like very much, not just because i don't understand them, but because the gothic style they put in the song is not quite the one I prefer. And it is that particular characteristic that makes me put 4.5 stars to the album because this gothic touch is put in all songs (like various medieval choruses), but by any means this is a thing that interferes with the brilliant, outstanding songs (well, now that I think of it, this gothic feature that I say falls wonderfully with the album title and the mood of the songs) played by this top class musicians. All members play very complex music with there insruments,the guitars (which reminds me of John Petrucci's), the keyboards (with so many mazy amazing paths, excellent) and specially the flute playing is the album's presentation card, very different from Ian Anderson's style as someone said previously, it's really amazing how a flute can come so much right in place here where the songs contain so much distorted and heavy parts (hey, not all the album!! and it's not bad, keep in mind this is not metal!!). Well, the first and last songs are very different from the rest of the songs, this 2 songs ("Book of Prophecies" and "The Moment of Truth") are the ones where a gothic atmosphere is very present. The second part of "Book of Prophecies" is one of the best tracks of the album, and a very complex one and is where the guitar really shows off. The other highlights of the album are "The Duel", "Ship of Darkness" and "The Lion's Empire". This album is amazing, it has a little bit of everything and there's no way a prog head won't like it (love it).
Erik Salkeld

A CD to discover ! If you are looking to something very different of what exists, with a mix of retro and modern sounds, this is a sure beauty. One of my friends sent that to me, for a try. He bought it after hearing a few extracts here and there, and counting on the descriptions brought on this actual site ! I listened... and ordered a copy rightaway. One is always tempted to copy, but (no no no) this one is a CD to have in a serious prog collection. I personally like to go for compilations of a lot of things, and this Solaris CD is in my Top-5 CD's, along with some very classic/old/masterpieces ! Solid enough to be among the best. In my view, I refer to those that you see in the present ProgArchives All-time Top-100.
OK. The characteristics. First, there is no weak track ! Everyone is important to be included in the mix. The overall result is perfect, and the main quality is : good from the first track to the last, no exception, which is very rare... The general concept is felt.
There is a strong unity in the music displayed here. The guitar and the keyboard are often linked to answer each other. It is melodic, even if the very few lyrics are in latine !! They have put the music upfront, where the splendid flutist Attila gets a key role. He just plays genious, and (for Jethro Tull fans) he sounds very different. The addition of such an artist's sound is hard to beat. The atmosphere is unique, as the flute fits perfectly in the rhythmic music performed. Since the main theme is around a very old background, you feel the mysteries from the past across the band's music. There is a curious feeling when you sense the sounds go through those historic prophecies. They were able to reflect this in the music ! Marvelous job. There are no tricky odd rhythms, but there are very good tempo variations. Sometimes low-profile, sometimes powerful unity. The only little 'gray' thing I would say is that sometimes, they repeat a musical theme four times, probably because of the time-signature. But easy to forgive, when you are in the ambiance of the entire CD. The next musical section links all that together.
It is easy to listen and I have been like others here : you like it immediately. It is symphonic, well balanced, mostly instrumental, with moments of energy and the important presence of Attila. The musicians are most talented. The CD is a super musical gem, and it is so apart of anything in the symphonic world. It has been surprising for me to hear such a beautiful opus, very sensitive, intensely musical. The 5-star description mentions that it has to be essential, a masterpiece to the prog rock music.... Indeed here ! And so different, refreshing!
Denis Bélanger

Very good musicality I was astounding to hear this album which belong to Hungarian. so unknowen coountry to me. when I hear this kind music I think good music is not made of creating but of discovered.maybe somewhere someage existed music. And after listen SOLARIS's Nostradamus Book Of Prophecies I tried to get Martial Chronicles album but in vain so far. And I think this album is better than Martial Chronicles I think even not hear Martial Chronicles. as a matter of fact I listened one song in Martial Chronicles that is sample song in this site, but did not meet my expectations. I wonder other albums in SOLARIS as good as Nostradamus.
bspark

MYSTICAL AND MAGICAL
This is one of the very few bands that gets you totally trapped in the theme of the album, meaning that the concepts are very well achieved, even though they are mostly instrumental! And also is one of the few groups that makes my heart beats faster with each song.
I found this band a couple of years ago with "Martian Chronicles" and thought it was fantastic, but when i heard "Nostradamus" it really blew my mind. I think this album is even more original than MC, and the use of all instruments is more balanced than the other, wich was more based in the electonics/keyboards and flute.
They start nicely with the "Book Of Prophecies" series, with beatiful combination of choruses and the clssic mixture of flute and guitar. Then "The Duel" starts with strong guitar and lead us to an alternated duel of fute, organ,bass, drums and guitar. "The Lions Empire" brings the Camel feeling back to me, while "Wings of the Phoenix" is their typical comfrontation between flute and keys. "Ship of Darkness" is one of my favourites and reminds me of Alex Lifeson in "La Villa Strangiato" . "Wargames" is maybe the weakest of the album but not a bad track at all. "The moment of Truth" part 1 begins nicely with keys emulating a gentle sax solo and then taking us smoothly to guitar/ flute exchange and continuing with vocal harmonies. Part 2 ends the cd in a very mellow way leaving us with melancoly.
This time they gave all instruments the strenght to achive a balanced masterpiece of symphonic rock that i´m sure has already and will appeal all Symph Prog lovers and everyone that likes elavorated and melodic music.
Viva el Prog!
Fran Muñoz

5/5 Stars! I wish i had more stars...
Wow! And i thought 'Martian Chronicles' is the ultimate masterpiece! Please, people who listen to prog, buy this gem. I loved it instantly so much that i can't stop playing it. It is so well composed that i could expect even more years since the last album. Attila Kollar's flute paying is still incredible and even more in this record and amazes me everytime i listen to it. The bass playing is essential, drumming is just perfect for this and guitar playing is absolute amazing. I just love that sound. Operatic vocals are great but MAYBE i could enjoy it even more without them. I would like to hear some hungarians voices though. An other great thing about this album is the special effects that adds so much to the whole result. Especially in wargames you can hear those machine gun sounds that adds such a wonderfull layer to the song. I found really interesting the fact that this song is almost pop-newage oriented but it is so damn good that i listen it again again nonstop. There are some unbelievable catchy song phrases there and some fantastic complex bass riffs. Every song in this album is so great but especially the songs "wargames"," Wings Of The Phoenix","The Duel" are just perfect! Highly recommended!
Even better than Martial Chronicles (i can't belive i wrote that!)!
Nick Malfarepel

What to classify it as? Instrumental progrock, with loads of symphony, choirs, some electronics (ala Alan Parsons Project?), and various styles implented into it, from heavier prog to prog-folk.
People at a CD stand at a concert actually recommended Solaris to me, and after some searching, this is the first CD of them I found. Now, I'll admit I'm not a great fan of instrumental prog, but this I like quite a bit. I find it to be relaxing to listen to. It's somewhat ambient, even, without the mind-bobbling complex tunes like we find in bands such as SPOCK'S BEARD and THE FLOWER KINGS, or even FINCH.
I don't listen to this a lot, but when I do, I'm immediately back in that ancient world again...a strange, but pleasant feel. I have my sights set on the other albums of Solaris, for sure. Rating? Four stars...it really is a gem.
Tailscent

Vamos! tanta gente no se puede equivocar! definitivamente éste disco es una joya del progresivo sinfónico, y para mí el mejor disco de la banda. Es difícil no dejarse seducir por este disco que nos muestra un Solaris en plena forma, y no es solamente un excelente disco, muy sinfónico y hermoso, sino que es otro de los tantos discazos que damos a conocer en el blog y que recomendamos empecinadamente. Todos tienen que conocer estas obras si es que gustan verdaderamente de la buena música.
No dejen pasar éste plato exquisito que llega de Hungría y que tenemos gracias a que nos lo comparte Alejandro. Repito, un plato exquisito de un verdadero manjar musical.




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