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Solaris - Nostradamus Book Of Prophecies  CD (album) cover

NOSTRADAMUS BOOK OF PROPHECIES

Solaris

 

Symphonic Prog

4.18 | 150 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars 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.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 5/5 |

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