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Kayak - Nostradamus - The Fate Of Man  CD (album) cover

NOSTRADAMUS - THE FATE OF MAN

Kayak

 

Crossover Prog

3.78 | 51 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Fishy
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Another concept album from the dutch band Kayak but slightly different from Merlin, their previous album. This is more kind of a musical. This double album has a whole range of vocalists who sing like actors in a play with former singer Edward Reekers in the role of narrator. Before the lyrics were written for this album, there was a study on the life of Nostradamus to find out what part of the myth was real. That's why the lyrics hold some alternative views on his life. Although it's interesting, the lyrics sometimes lose their natural form in order to keep the story complete. Just listen to "The secret study" and you know what I mean. A lot of vocal harmonies are used to emphasis some of the main idea's and are delightful to listen to though the atmophere tends to be quite swinging every now and then. So it's obvious the vocals are the dominant element which is new for the band especially when compared to early Kayak albums. But nevertheless the vocals are great no matter who does the singing.

In many ways this project goes on where "Merlin" stopped. It's bigger, longer, more ambitious and there're more people involved but the songs are more accessible and conventional. This is progressive rock like one could call the music of Alan Parsons Project progressive on which it is reminding quite a lot. There is a fair amount of progressive rock in the traditional vein with wonderful orchestral sections, massive keyboard sounds or church organs. But "Nostradamus" includes also lots of other musical styles like classical, folk, Gregorian, pop or mediaeval music. There's even some seventies disco on "a man with remarkable talents, remarkable indeed. It's hard to believe this album has just been released, it sounds as it came out somewhere in the late seventies. Still I like it.

It's hard to make a selection of the strongest moments on this album as each track has it's own unique flavour. Let's take a look at the most progressive moments on the album starting with the instrumental tracks : "Dance of the death" has a dark sinister atmosphere and the folky keys on "Dance of mirror's" are uplifting. The Parsons/Powell influence is most noticeable on "The tournament" and "The centuries" is an enjoyable bolero.

And now for the vocal songs : "The inquisition" is one of the symphonic pop highlights and illustrates Ton Scherpenzeel's commitment to some Camel albums. "Fresh air, running water, rose pills" is a great progressive rock hymn and "A cruel death" could have ended up on "Merlin". This album has a huge amount of pathos and this may be too much at some point like on "you won't find me alive at sunrise" or the title track. This is a trademark of concept albums and especially musicals. Some melodies that return every once in a while, are another trademark. A name which comes to mind when hearing this is Andrew Loyd Webber but his music fails in keeping my attention "Nostradamus" doen not. It maybe pastoral at some points and there definitely is a lot of emotion involved but only a minor part is cheesy.

Compared with Merlin, it surely is less progressive but the level of quality is high on the whole album, I can't discover any flaws. The quality of the song writing is top notch, the melodies are awesome ! It makes you forget this album lasts over 100 minutes. But I do think that many readers of this site will find this album too poppy and the idea of a musical will probably be found repulsive. Some people will regret the instrumental side of the band is driven to the background on most of the vocal tracks. The instrumental excerpts are most exciting on the interludes between the real songs. Songs are short and most of them only make sense when playing the whole thing from start to finish When listening to the album I find it hard to press the stop button.

Fishy | 4/5 |

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