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Solaris - Marsbéli Krónikák (Martian Chronicles) CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.21 | 349 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Solaris' official debut album is one of the most precious prog albums to come out in the 80s, and it certainly deserved a major amount of attention back then. Fate had another plan: it was determined that the worldwide acclaimed had to be postponed until the 90s, during the second phase of this incredible Hungarian band's career. The band's musical proposition is symphonic, full of the splendour and majestic colorfulness that only well-educated musicians like these can bring. But don't expect a modern band that simply emulates their 70s heroes. On the contrary, their repertoire gives room to a variety of refreshing ideas that serve to refurbish the symphonic prog ideology in a peculiar manner. Here you'll find passages of massive synthesizer paraphernalia, hints to Eastern European folklore, and even some hard rocking powerful guitar riffs - although, the rockiest passages feel more like a hardened UK than actual hard rock. The band functions beautifully as an ensemble, where team work usually sets the rules for the performances and arrangements of the musical ideas: nevertheless, it is fair to note Erdész Róbert's relevant labour on his keyboard orchestrations as a harmonic support for the band, and of course, Kollár Attila's impeccable flute playing, which turns out to be the main focus of the band's sound most of the times. The three part namesake suite kicks off the album: it filled the whole A-side of the vinyl edition. Part 1 feels like something out of an early J.-M. Jarre album, which serves as a proper introduction to the sci-fi theme mentioned in the suite's title. The following five sections are more frontally emblematic of Solaris' symphonic prog approach. The band make their transitions from one theme to another and from one mood to another with consistent fluidity, helping the succession of diverse motifs to remain cohesive. 'M'ars Poetica' follows with a focus on the most intense side of Solaris, while 'Ha Felszáll a Köd' brings us to a more serene realm, both with an accurate level of progressive complexity. Later on, 'Apokalipszis' and 'Legyözhetetlen' stick to the rockier side, with a brief, eerie interlude played by Kollár's overdubbed recorders sandwiched in the middle. The title track closes down the album's official repertoire with full epic splendour: this is prototypical Solaris. The two bonus tracks are pretty interesting, but IMHO, they should have been placed somewhere else, in order to keep the effect created by the climax of 'Solaris'. Anyway, let's go on with the review - 'Orchideák Bolygója' is a Vangelis-like synth excursion with some occasional interventions of lead guitar and flute, while 'A Sárga Kör' is a labour of constant reconstruction of a basic gypsy-inspired motif. Overall conclusion: a hidden treasure of the 80s that now can be appreciated as what it is and has always been - an opus that revitalized the legacy of symph prog for the 80s.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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