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5 stars I've been following Yesterdays on social media platforms for a while and I've been waiting for a new release very bad. The band went through many changes since their second release, Colours Caffé. For me, this third studio album feels like the band has found its voice (usually 3rd albums are like that). Who loved their debut, Moonlit Garden, this album is on that musical path, but with a much bigger sound.

The style. Symphonic progressive rock at its best.

The sound. Definitely the most dynamic record I've ever heard. The band is proud of their own mastering work and they really should be. Airy sounds, big differences between loud and quiet parts. This music really breathes, all the little nuances are noticeable and enjoyable. So, you'll have a real audiophile experience with this music.

The concept. The band took some ancient Hungarian traditional folk songs from their rich heritage (just like Bartók did in the first half of the 20th century) and they took those melodies and texts for a great ride. This time the band went independent from record companies, they did everything themselves: writing, recording, producing, mixing, mastering, cover editing, video filming. Quite impressive work.

The music. What we've loved in Yesterdays music is all over this record: lush mellotron waves, minimoog virtuoso solos, STEVE HOWE-inspired complex guitar work, flute extravaganza, multiple voices inspired by GENTLE GIANT, YES and the most powerful part: the beautiful female vocals of Stephanie Semeniuc. I must point out the most beautiful/natural drum sound I've heard in the last decade.

The songs.

"Agrol-agra" starts off the album with YES-like prog extravaganza, moog, mellotron and poweful bass playing. CHRIS SQUIRE would be proud of these distorted bass lines.. fretted and fretless bass sounds are changing through this song. The stereo panning of Stephanie's voice is simply amazing!

"Rejtsetek el" Tricky time signature of 5/8. Acoustic guitar and flute, later chello... it reminded me of AFTER CRYING, but only for a minute.. when the chorus kicks in, it's a different world with JON ANDERSON-like la-la-la's in Siberian Khatru.

"Szivarvany havasan" is like YES' AND YOU AND I's short version with female vocals. YES influences all over. Haunting acoustic guitar works by Akos and lovely female vocals. At this point I must admit that I fell in love with Stephanie's vocals.

"Elmehetsz" starts with 12strings guitar and steel guitar... SOON came to my mind. Piano and mellotron parts keep the vocal's company and later the flute solo reminded me of PINK FLOYD's BREATHE... the final chorus has a female choir in it. Breathtakingly beautiful. One of the highlights of this album.

"Ne mondd el" shows the darker side/mood of Hungarian folk music. World music influences with fretless bass and lots of percussion. A string quartet enters in the second verse. And the middle part... KING CRIMSON all over, drum solo with spoken word, taurus bass, fretless bass, mellotrons, atonal passages... and everything clears up for the final verse. Szirtes Edina Mókus takes the lead vocals in this song, she's a well known Hungarian world musician, violin player, vocalist, session musician, known for her work with SOLARIS, MAKÁM, KOLINDA. Lovely choice for this song (and also on the final song of this record).

"Hajnalcsillag" takes back the positive mood with a nice symphonic prog intro and starting with the first verse it builds up nicely. PAT METHENY style guitar solo follows the vocals (they did something similar on their debut album's HOL VAGY). The ending is very powerful, imagine three choirs who sing different songs, but everything gets together in a big CHOIR harmony. Again, tasty mellotron use all over. I love this song. Haunting melodies sung by another guest singer, Tarsoly Csenge. Her voice reminded me of another Hungarian band YOU AND I.

"Szomjú madarak" Well, this song reminded me of EAST, another great Hungarian band, but with flutes and much more acoustic guitars. One of the album's longest songs. Amazing moog melodies, solos, again, some PAT METHENY and jazz influences, with JACO PASTORIUS / JONAS REINGOLD style fretless bass... Again, Stephanie's multiple vocal harmonies take this song to the next level. One of the highlights of the album!

"Eső" is a small prelude-type of song, this time with GENESIS' DUKE sound thanks to the Yamaha CP piano sound. TREVOR RABIN style slide guitar playing and a moog solo which gave me goosebumps... the solo could be part of JON ANDERSON's OLIAS for shure.

"Nap" is the most progressive song, with a proper intro buildup with flutes, gongs and fretless bass. Stephanie really shines in this song. As I understood, this is a child-song, but the instrumentation is unbelievable. Drummer Szűcs József delivers fusion/prog rhythm changes,complexity and a great sound! Tasty moog solo and a QUEEN influenced multiple voiced guitar solo. Just lovely! I could consider the ending of "Nap" as a tribute to CHRIS SQUIRE... ending and album with a long distorted bass guitar solo accompanied by mellotron choirs... just amazing!

"Ugy bocsass el" is a haunting acoustic ballad with flute, acoustic guitar and string quartet. You'll need this song to chill after all the intensive music found on this record. Heavenly vocal performance of Szirtes Edina Mókus.

Conclusion. This album sounds great and the 45 minutes long material reminded me of those vinyl LP days. Not just for audiophiles, but for symphonic prog fans this album is a must. Highly recommended prog! I must say that this is the best material I've heard from this Romanian/Hungarian band. Welcome back to prog, Yesterdays! Five strong stars from me!

Report this review (#2047104)
Posted Monday, October 22, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars It was worth the wait for YESTERDAYS' 3rd studio album! As an audiophile I must say that the band really nailed the sound and the dynamics. Very impressive sound quality that brings back the good old dynamics we all love from the vinyl times of the '70-s.

But of course the sound isn't everything (although it is very important in progressive rock music), the music is good as well. This album for me is like their lovely debut Moonlit Garden (HoldfĂŠnykert) with a more powerful sound. All the trademark Yesterdays things are present, flute, mellotrons, amazing guitar work, beautiful female vocals, multiple vocal harmonies. There is something magical also with the Hungarian language. And their have used ancient Hungarian folk songs and texts for this record and that gives some extra depth, honesty and power to the music.

Symphonic prog is best to describe this music. The first song starts off like a GENESIS or YES tune with minimoog, mellotron and fantastic drumming (of Szűcs JĂłzsef, who was drummer of the band in an earlier line-up). This song grabs you immediately and it gives a perfect start to the album. The second song reminded me of GENTLE GIANT in places where the string quartet was combined with flute. Nice contrapuntal composition. The chorus has strong YES influences, it brings back JON ANDERSON's la-la-la's which I really enjoyed. The third song is the most upbeat composition on the album, a lovely little piece that could be also featured on a YES album from the seventies. AND YOU AND I came to my mind very fast. The fourth song is one of the highlights for me, Elmehetsz features airy steel guitar melodies, it even quotes SOON from THE GATES OF DELIRIUM at one point. Stephanie Semeniuc's voice shines and brings this beautiful tune to the next level. I hope that Yesterdays will stick to her voice for more albums. At the end of the song a choir comes in. Breathtaking! Ne mondd el is the 5th song, it's a haunting folk song with rich percussion arrangement, fretless bass and a KING CRIMSON reminiscent middle part with drum solo and MELLOTRON extravaganza! The next tune, Hajnalcsillag (Morning Star) is more relaxed with a nice intro, beautiful buildups, drum crescendo-s, Akos's jazzy sing-a-long guitarsolo and a choir climax at the end. Just wow! SzomjĂş madarak is one of the most complex songs of the record. Starts with a baritone acoustic and with flute. Stephanie's voice amazes me again... she can sing some really low notes too. I guess this low melody fits the traditional folk song's mood. Flowing moog solos, nice rhythm changes, heavy flutes, tasty arrangements all over. One of the best Yesterdays songs ever. The final big piece (Nap) has a prelude (Eso) which has some strong TONY BANKS sounds, very GENESIS-like. Nap in the other hand is very powerful... starting with acoustics it will surprise you in every minute with aggressive bass guitars and mellotrons again. The outro is a true highlight. I was lost in the mood, the rhythm changes, the sounds of it. Nap (Sun) is like everything between a Sunrise and a Sunset. Begins acoustically and ends with acoustic sounds, setting the "sunset" mood for the last little tune, which is an ancient prayer. Ugy bocsass el is the last song and a beautiful way to end an album with acoustic guitar, airy vocals and string quartet.

I also think that the 3rd album is a very important milestone in a band's life. Yesterdays found an interesting voice with this album and I hope that they will go on writing in this style and hopefully very soon! I'd like to give 4.5 stars for this album. A great addition to every symphonic prog fan's collection. This is another Eastern European masterpiece! Highly recommended!

Report this review (#2047958)
Posted Thursday, October 25, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ancient Hungarian folk songs in symphonic progressive rock. Such a great idea for an album!

Lyrics never sounded more real and with such depth and grace than with these because all the wisdom and beauty of the past centuries' Hungarian traditional heritage. Thanks to BARTÓK and KODÁLY so many beautiful traditional Hungarian songs were saved when they collected them in the first half of the past century.

Yesterdays broke a seven years long silence with Senki madara, with their recipe of Eastern European prog with obvious influences from YES, GENESIS, GRYPHON and GENTLE GIANT. Although they have used Hungarian folk songs, you shouldn't expect a too folk-like sound, it's symphonic prog with ancient melodies and moods.

For me it's more like their MOONLIT GARDEN album's intimacy but with a well thought instrumentation and better playing. Yesterdays took a huge step away from boring neo-prog clichés and were turning back to the golden era of the seventies.

A few things stayed: virtuoso flute parts, beautiful acoustics, fretless bass (sometimes heavily distorted), wonderful female lead vocals (the best we've heard from Yesterdays, thanks to Stephanie Semeniuc), but there is also a new element: the implementation of cello and a string quartet which made me think of AFTER CRYING's beautiful first album (OVERGROUNG MUSIC). Although real strings are present all over "Senki madara", you shouldn't expect less signature Yesterdays MELLOTRONS, and it seems to me that more types of mellotron sounds were used: choirs, different types of strings and of course the flute sound (again, heavy THE BEATLES influences in track 6).

I won't go through all the songs, but I'd like to write about one of the best features of this album: the sound! It's clear to me now that YESTERDAYS tries to step away from the - so called - "loudness war", where the music gets squashed with compressors in order to get a louder result. They tried to make the mixes sound clear and dynamic. To be honest, it's the most dynamic/audiophile release I've heard in years. You'll can notice every little thing in the mix, and you should! This album sounds best in good headphones or in a high quality system. I recommend their high resolution 24/48 studio masters (also available for download).

With this album fans of symphonic prog will be very satisfied. Songs are sung all in Hungarian, which also adds a unique taste and honesty to the love shown for their musical heritage. Highly recommended!

Report this review (#2050380)
Posted Thursday, November 1, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars 2018 has been a very busy year for Romanian/Hungarian band Yesterdays. They are back with a single (It's not the End of the World) and a full length studio album Senki madara (Noone's Bird).

This third album has a special concept by using traditional Hungarian folk melodies and texts and since these are a few hundreds of years old, the music has an extra depth to it, so it's not usual or boring. The length of the record is also ideal, 45 minutes. I think a prog album shouldn't be longer than this.

The music is more powerful and complex than the first two Yesterdays albums, but this time I can clearly hear the Hungarian prog roots, like in "Szomjú madarak" (Thirsty Birds) has obvious EAST influences, "Rejtsetek el" (Hide me) reminded me of AFTER CRYING with the usage of cello and live strings. In "Ne mondd el" (Don't tell) you'll hear the ancient shamanistic Hungarian moods with a Taurus bass, drum solo and distorted fretless bass.

I must say that the drum sound is stellar on this record, it sounds natural, uncompressed, live and dynamic. So does the bass guitar (heavy SQUIRE and REINGOLD influences). I have a weakness for fretless bass, it should be used more often in prog!

What I always loved in Yesterdays is the female vocals and the multiple vocal harmonies. Stephanie Semeniuc, Csenge Tarsoly and Edina Szirtes Mókus did a fantastic job, each song has a unique approach, voice, so it won't get boring. Polyphonic vocals with 4-8 part harmonies are a true delight in almost every song. GENTLE GIANT-like ideas with female voices, YES and JON ANDERSON-like singing and scatting in "Szivárvány havasán". Each song is a different universe, but the album is still coherent.

Gábor Kecskeméti was introduced to the line-up in 2009 with Colours Caffé, since then Yesterdays have powerful and virtuoso flute playing and I am a big fan of flutes.

The production value is remarkable on this album, thanks to the band's motor, guitarist, Akos Bogati-Bokor, who did all the recordings, the mixing and the mastering. I was going to give this album four stars, but thanks to the amazing sound quality I will give them five. This will be one of my favorite albums for a long time for sure. Recommended with love!

Report this review (#2053630)
Posted Tuesday, November 6, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars Just discovered YESTERDAYS a few weeks ago. There's something original about this group with changing lineups, but with constant quality of ideas, concepts and music of course. I often say that Eastern Europe has a lot to offer to symphonic proggers, and YESTERDAYS is here to prove me right.

Senki madara (which means Noone's Bird) is their fresh release and yet probably their best. It might sound as a cliche, but it has strong YES and GENESIS influences, but in the same time they are totally different, not just some neoprog version of these bands. Yes, it's an Eastern European thing.

The album It happens to be based around some 2-3 hundred years old Hungarian folk songs, this already provides more depth to the whole CD, The arrangements in other hand are very complex, filled with SYMPHONIC PROG moments from the quietest ones to the loudest in every level between. The instrumentation shows that they take GENTLE GIANT, GENESIS and YES for breakfast but with an original taste.

If you are a big fan of mellotron sounds, this album is for you too. Choirs, flutes, mixed strings, brass sounds can be found everywhere, mixed with a real string quartet, beautiful flute virtuoso lines (Kecskemeti Gabor is amazing), rich guitars by Bogati-Bokor Akos and with the most natural drum sound I've heard in the last decade!

I need to write about the lead voices on this album, because the female leads and the rich backing vocals seems to be YESTERDAYS' main weapon. On "Senki madara" the main lead singer is Semeniuc Stephanie. Such a unique voice, such power and yet so much beauty in the quiet parts. Stephanie has an alto voice but she is very confident also in the higher parts. Not a shiny voice, but it has a color that is very original and beautiful. She really gives an extra to this release. The more you listen to her, the more you love her. Szirtes Edina Mokus is the second lead singer (present on two tracks: "Ne mondd el" and "Ugy bocsass el". As I found, she's a well known Hungarian session musician, violinist, vocalist from the fields of world music and jazz. She sings the most fragile and yet most breathtaking songs on this album. Tarsoly Csenge takes the lead on "Hajnalcsillag", well, she is like a female JON ANDERSON (can I say something like this?), a perfect choice for a Symphonic Prog delight. She is a soprano with a shiny high voice full of emotion.

The backing vocals are just amazing, polyphonic arrangements in every song!

Last but not least a few words about the sound of this album: wow! Natural mixing and mastering, clear, transparent sound maybe the best I've heard in years. BOB KATZ would be proud that he's got some talented followers fighting and winning the loudness war.

I think I found one of my favorite prog album of 2018 in Senki madara. I can't believe I haven't came across with YESTERDAYS sooner, they deserve more attention. Lovely music, it's a nice addition to any prog collection. It's so tempting to give 5 stars to this album, but since it's only their 3rd record, I am waiting for their true masterpiece.

Report this review (#2054701)
Posted Saturday, November 10, 2018 | Review Permalink
5 stars Hungarian prog combo YESTERDAYS is back with their 3rd album. As it was a recent discovery for me (on Bandcamp) it surprised me in a very positive way.

My first impression was also positive, such a beautiful album cover, a fragile representation of a precious musical heritage of Hungarian traditional folk music, three feathers, light and colorful. The booklet inside is black and white, artistic photos of the band members and also with lyrics and some words about the concept: they've used traditional ancient texts and melodies with good tasting symphonic progressive rock.

The music is something really new for those like me, who has trained ears in neo-prog. Of course there are obvious influences of GENESIS and YES, even GENTLE GIANT and AFTER CRYING if we are looking at the symphonic arrangements of the string quartet and cello. The virtuoso flute of Gabor Kecskemeti takes this music to the next level, his playing of bird-imitations and jazzy lines are very impressive. Lovely playing.

They call this album a humble experience, but let's be clear, they shouldn't be that humble, this music is great. I've seen someone mentioning the sound quality of this record and I agree, this is one of the best sounding records ever with all the clear and transparent dynamics. The band even made the full resolution masters available for digital downloads to give the listener the full audiophile experience.

I'm a fan of female vocals in progressive rock and of course MAGENTA and RENAISSANCE comes to mind, but imagine all this kind of music with a deeper alto voice. And with all these multiple vocal harmonies the vocal parts get richer in each song. Stephanie Semeniuc takes the lead roles in most of the songs, but the record features two guest voices also: the well known Hungarian jazz/world music singer Szirtes Edina Mokus (who plays an important role in SOLARIS' recent live concerts too) and Tarsoly Csenge who brings back positive memories with her shiny soprano voice in Hajnalcsillag (Morning Star).

Impressive compositions all over and I must say that this ancient Hungarian music concept really helped bringing this Eastern European prog jem to the next level. Outstanding!

"Senki madara" is the most pleasant surprise for me this year and I consider this highly recommended to those who are not afraid of the exotic sounding Hungarian lyrics (there's a QR code link inside the booklet that takes you to some artistic English translations). Thank you YESTERDAYS! Can't wait to discover the earlier works too!

Report this review (#2077461)
Posted Wednesday, November 21, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars We had to wait eight years for the 3rd Yesterdays album, now the group is back with their new album "Senki Madara." There were some member changes but the most important is the arrival of the new singer Stephanie Semeniuc. Such a magnificent voice! Her voice reminds me of the first lead singer of Quidam, and I really like that she sings in Hungarian!

Yesterdays' music is heavily inspired from the 70's, expect some Yes, Jethro Tull, Camel and even After Crying & Nexus influences here. Nexus is a good reference especially for the keyboard sounds (synths & Mellotrons). Although you can clearly name all the influences, be sure that this music is very original and fresh.

The music is well crafted symphonic prog that is mixed with ancient traditional Hungarian folk. I have enjoyed every moment because the songs are divine and airy... so nothing heavy here. The album opens with 'Agrol-Agra' intro on drums, Moog & Mellotron flute and a bass to Chris SQUIRE. Such a nice song to open an album with! 'Rejtsetek el' short but effective ... acoustic guitar in 5/8, flute, the Cello and when the chorus kicks in... Yes mixed with After Crying! Amazing! Another highlight is with 'Elmehetsz'. Intro with 12 string guitar and steel (it couldn't been done better by Steve Howe) with piano, Mellotron and a short time there's a musical quote: 'Soon' by Yes. The song 'Ne mondd el' is in a darker atmosphere and at 2'20'' we fall into the universe Lizard period King Crimson. For this song they've invited Szirtes Edina Mokus who does a fantastic job... haunting voice! I've hear Edina's voice on the latter SOLARIS releases. A little jazzy style 'Szomju madarak' starts with flute, Moog, fretless bass, acoustic guitar. Another excellent piece! I could list you all the titles here, but be sure they are all very good. And as you can see the overall ambience revolves around the 70's with the Mellotron, Moog, flute etc... symphonic music and a beautiful complexity while being melodic in the same time.

The voices are all beautiful, and as I said the lyrics are in beautiful Hungarian, it sounds amazing to my Polish ears. I recommend this album to all symphonic prog lovers and especially for those who are fed up with today's neo-prog movement, where almost every band sounds the same. Let's get thrown back to the seventies.

I need to mention the tasty, beautiful CD cover and the artistic black and white inside booklet. Very well thought concept, it fits the concept perfectly. Ila Ildiko's painting symbolizes the fragile Hungarian past, the bird motif represents the Hungarian songs and there are 3 feathers... as it's the third Yesterdays album! Just beautiful!

In summary, 'Senki madara' is a very beautiful return for this Hungarian band. Yesterdays fully deserves to be discovered with this new album! Warmly recommended!

Report this review (#2085504)
Posted Tuesday, December 11, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars 'Senki Madara' - Even the name of the album ('Nobody's Bird') reflects the grim mood coming from the lyrics of these Hungarian traditional songs' (I personally felt a rush of sadness flowing through me). Yesterdays manage to borrow influences from the classics of prog and putting it to good use, with great quality, as if it was a concept album, the songs nicely flow one after the other' downstream. In my favourite song 'Ne mondd el' (Don't Say It), the middle part of CD, very nicely composed, the theme being falling into a state of panic. The album doesn't seem to be finished, when (if not for the anthem over victory), but at least expecting a bit of sunlight, it was over, perhaps even more bitter. Not too complicated of a piece, but attractive art rock, I myself needed to listen to it 5 times to truly endulge in all the details. I truly recommend everyone, to take a break from the mainstream music of the present, and give this album couple hours of listen, remembering our old loved ones (Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, ') and in the same time take in a bit of true Hungarian traditional songs as well.
Report this review (#2114901)
Posted Friday, January 4, 2019 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Romanian band YESTERDAYS are veterans in their native progressive rock scene, with a history going back almost 20 years at this point. The band have released three studio albums so far. Their most recent production is "Senki Madara", and album that was self released by the band in 2018.

There is a lot to like about Yesterday's third album, and those who really enjoy the gentler aspects of 70's era symphonic progressive rock will most likely find this album to be immensely enjoyable. Especially if the inclusion of folk music elements and the occasional tip of the hat in the direction of jazz is regarded as a positive feature. A well made and solid quality album for the aficionados of vintage era 70's symphonic progressive rock.

Report this review (#2184158)
Posted Friday, April 19, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars 'A happy marriage between folk and symphonic rock'

In 2010 I witnessed a Dutch gig from Yesterdays, during an interesting triple prog concert with Belgian Mindgames and Dutch Flamborough Head. The band played a few songs from its promising debut album Holdfenykert (2006) and focussed on the new album Colours Caffe (released in 2011). The crowd was very pleased with Yesterdays varied and melodic sound (folk, symphonic rock, jazz, classical), that evening the band made friends. Then it became silent, very silent, until last year when Yesterdays finally released a third effort, entitled Senki Madara (2018).

Like other Hungarian bands Solaris and After Crying the music from Yesterdays is performed by outstanding, mainly classically trained musicians, really a big plus, including the superb female vocals! And also the writing skills are on a high level: very melodic, harmonic and varied compositions, alternating between dreamy folk and 24-carat symphonic rock bombastic eruptions. The colouring with the wide range of instruments is wonderful, from flute, violin, cello, acoustic guitar to Grand piano, Mellotron, Minimoog, Hammond and electric guitars.

My highlights.

Agrol-agra (6:24) : The opener is a varied composition, alternating between mellow (dreamy flute and acoustic guitar) and bombastic (Kashmir-like Mellotron violins, Wakeman style Minimoog flights and Howe sounding guitar), topped with very pleasant native female vocals. The music sounds as a very happy marriage between folk and symphonic rock.

Elmehetsz (4:11) : It starts with acoustic rhythm guitar, Grand piano and dreamy female vocals, then a spacey slide guitar joins. After beautiful work on the flute, the music turns into a bombastic eruption with majestic Mellotron choirs and excellent electric guitar play, with slide and volume pedal.

Hajnalcsillag (4:47) : Remarkable is the Mellotron flute that obviously sounds like Strawberry Fields Forever from The Beatles, blended with fiery electric guitar. Then acoustic rhythm guitar and female vocals, in combination with sensitive electric guitar runs and a Mellotron flute. Gradually the atmosphere becomes more bombastic with howling electric guitar. This is trademark Yesterdays, the flowing shifting moods between folky and symphonic rock, between dreamy and bombastic.

Eso (2:28) A short piece that contains again beautiful dreamy vocals, tastefully blended with subtle slide guitar and Minimoog runs.

Nap (5:54) : First dreamy with a twanging acoustic guitar and soaring flute, then a bombastic eruption with howling electric guitar and Mellotron choirs, fiery guitar runs, distorted bass and cheerful Minimoog flights (Yes but also Belgian Machiavel come to my mind).

Ugy bocsass el (3:42) : The final track is a beauty, I am carried away by the dreamy folky atmosphere featuring flute, twanging acoustic guitar and melancholical violin, topped with wonderful, pretty emotional female vocals, the native language adds an extra dimension, especially in this song!

So I follow the cascades of euphoric four star reviews, a big hand for Yesterdays, and what a comeback album!

Report this review (#2231521)
Posted Tuesday, June 18, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars After listening to their latest album lots of times, I had to revisit their 3rd album and got inspired to write a review about that album first. Senki madara was the 3rd album of Yesterdays, no thanks to financial and bureaucratic reasons they've released it on CDr. Fortunately the quality of the music, the sound, the production and the beautiful black vinyl record style disc and the matching booklet lets me skip this minor flaw.

I can deeply understand the hype around this release. This idea to turn back in time and "use" traditional/ancient Hungarian folk songs and building symphonic rock around them is simply fantastic. Hungarians had genius composers like Béla Bartók and Kodály Zoltán, who took their time walking from village to village collecting the rich heritage of traditional songs, saving them for the future, and they even took inspiration for their own works from these beautiful songs. Fast forward 100 years came Yesterdays with the Senki madara album.

Senki madara - Nobody's Bird... lots of virtuoso flute melodies are telling the story in the language of birds. This album is not an uplifting, happy one, reflecting to the hard times of Hungarians, the deep levels of these songs are giving this album a dark, serious and more heavy aftertaste, which I like very much.

Everybody is talking about YES influences, but Yesterdays is so much more than a copy-cat band. It's very original... lots of percussion instruments, fretless bass, heavenly flutes and yes, there are mountains of Mellotrons and analog synthesizers.

I'd say Senki madara is a symphonic rock - folk and jazzy fusion record. The opening track is very strong and colorful, probably my favorite track on the album. It has everything you can ask for on a symphonic prog album.

Rejtesetek el starts with acoustic guitar and flute, later bass guitar, cello and moog will set up for the JON ANDERSON-like la-la-la vocal part. Chamber music reminiscent of AFTER CRYING... a string quartet enters and duels with the flute. Such a great build-up, instant goosebumps moments when the hammond organ starts screaming in the background.

Szivárvány havasán is the only happy song on the CD, it's the most YES-like tune with WAKEMAN-esque synth melody, beautiful acoustic guitars and great-great vocal extravaganza. A true ear-worm.

Elmehetsz has all the symphonic prog beauty in it, this was the first single from the album with a very artistic music video. The steel guitar solo quotes Soon from the GATES OF DELIRIUM. And there are other little YES quotes hidden in the other songs showing their true influences. It's so obvious they love YES and also EAST.

Ne mondd el is the darkest song with the darkest lyrics sung by guest lead singer Szirtes Edina (from SOLARIS' latest live line-up). Haunting percussion, a drum solo and distorted fretless bass.

Hajnalcsillag sums up a few songs from the album by using three 4 voiced choirs singing in the same time different songs in a BIG harmony in the end, that's 12 voices on who knows how many choir members.

Szomjú madarak brings back that good old Hungarian flavored symphonic prog we know from EAST's first two albums (Játékok, Hűség). Fretless bass, flowing Minimoog solos all over and there's a powerful guitar solo in the vein of TREVOR RABIN near the end of the song. JETHRO TULL style flute playing. Lovely tune with a dreamy acoustic coda freaturing soprano guitar (octave guitar with e-bow).

Eső (Rain) is the shortest, yet most beautiful symphonic prog tune I've ever heard. It brought back TREVOR RABIN's Jacaranda album to mind with the slide resonator guitar sounds, but the synth solo is out of this world, so is Stéphanie Semeniuc's vocal performance.

Nap (Sun) is based on a children's song that they sing to invite the Sun back to the sky on a rainy day. And this song truly brings the sunlight back. So much energy in this one. So many colliding well thought out musical parts that are leading to a brutal/heavy ending... a distorted bass guitar solo with drums playing crazy time-signatures accompanied by swirling analog synths and choir mellotrons.

Úgy bocsáss el (Let me go like that) had to be on the album. This was a signature Yesterdays move, calming down the listener, saying goodbye with an acoustic tune. Acoustic guitar, beautiful flute and a string quartet... each verse is transposed a half step down. Genius compositional move. Chamber music á la AFTER CRYING from their first albums Overground Music.

Senki madara is an album worth all the hype and it's really an "Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection" with its 4 stars. I have only one suggestion for the band: a properly pressed reissue like their latest album or a vinyl with some bonus tracks. Highly recommended!

Report this review (#2853431)
Posted Sunday, November 20, 2022 | Review Permalink

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