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SOLARIS

Symphonic Prog • Hungary


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Solaris picture
Solaris biography
The Hungarian formation SOLARIS was originally founded by some school friends in 1980. The band's name was derived from the title of book by SF writer Stanislaw Lem. After they made impression on a talent contest at The Budai Park for a massive crowd (mainly youth) the band was offered an opportunity to make a record. In '80 SOLARIS released their first single entitled "Rock Hullam" (actually this was a split single, SOLARIS got the B-side). The line-up in the early Eighties was Ferenc Raus (drums), Gábor Kisszabó (bass), Csaba Bogdán (guitars) and the remaining schoolfriends István Cziglán (guitars), Attila Kollár (flute) and Róbert Erdész (keyboards). They released the second single "Eden/Counterpoint" in '81.

In '84 SOLARIS released their first album "The Martian Chronicles", it sold almost 40.000 copies. In those days progrock was popular in Hungary: OMEGA had crowds of 100.000 spectators!
The classical SOLARIS line-up' between '83 and '85 was Attila Kollár, Istvan Cziglan, Róbert Erdész and newcomers László Gömör (drums) and Tamás Pócs (bass). In '90 the controlled Hungarian record company was finally willing to release early SOLARIS recordings entitled 1990 (a 2-LP). Then the members of SOLARIS went their own way and joined or founded new bands.

In 1995 SOLARIS was invited as the headliner of the Progfest Festival in Los Angeles by Greg Walker, mastermind behind the USA progrock label-mailorder service Syn-Phonic. He succeeded in persuading the band for a reunion concert (recorded on a 2-CD and partly on a video with other progrock bands ARS NOVA and WHITE WILLOW). The band got a standing ovation by a bunch of real "symphomaniacs"! A year later SOLARIS performed on the Rio Art Rock Festival, organized by the Brasilian "proghead" Leonardo Nahoum.

On December 27th 1998 guitarplayer Cziglán died of an incurable illness but he can be heard on the surprising new SOLARIS CD entitled "Nostradamus" ('99), perhaps we will hear more from this marvellous progrock band. The Hungarian label Periferic Records released in 2000 "Back to the Roots - Solaris Archive 1" (a great introduction to the band's history but with a bootleg sound) and the solo-albums "Musical Witchcraft" by Kollar Attila (1998) and "Seven Gates of Alhambra" by the late Istvan Cziglán (1999).

On "The Martian Chronicles" SOLARIS creates a very dynamic and compelling progressive mix of classical and rock music. It's build upon sensational interplay between fiery electric guitar, tasteful keyboards and a powerful flute with lots of changing climates, surprising breaks and bombastic outbursts. Although SOLARIS sound rather unique, elements of JETHRO TULL (flute), MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND (Minimoog solos with pitchbend) and Jean Michel JARRE (electronic intro in the first part of the titletrack) can be traced. The 2-LP 1990 contains typical SOLARIS songs: dynamic and propulsive with spectacular synth runs, fiery electric gutiar and beautiful flute-play. Remarkable is the spacy keyboard sound in some songs and the obvious classical influences. The tracks from the mid-period (1986) sound rather accessible: a catchy and often funny combination of classic, pop and rock. But the most impressive composition is their magnus opus "Los Angeles 2026" (almost 24 minutes long): lots of changing climates, bombastic synthesizers, exciting interplay, compelling crescendos and halfway a long and alternating pianosolo. The songs on the live 2-CD "Live in Los Angeles" sound even more powerful and exciting than on the studio-LP's and the bonus material is great: Bonus Game (14 minutes) includes lots of solos on guitar, drums and bass and "Beyond" (12 minutes) is a typical exciting SOLARIS track.

"Nostradamus - Book of Prophecies" is a captivating album in the vein of SOLARIS but with fresh ideas and a modern sound. The titletrack contains outstanding sonic paintings: a howling electric guitar, fat Moog Prodigy runs ("Mark Kelly meets MANFRED MANN"), native North-American indian chants and the Aboriginal didgeridoo. The other songs includes elaborate and dynamic compositions with many changing climates, spectacular breaks, splendid solos and sensational interplay. A "killer-comeback" by SOLARIS!

Erik Neuteboom

UPDATE: Lately some sites like Allmusic and even Prog ones, have been promoting the release of a new album by SOLARIS called "Jelaia", but don't be mistaken, this album was released by a Heavy Metal Bulgarian band.

This sites describe the career of the Hungarian Symphonic band listed in Prog Archives but add the album by the Bulgarian Metal band to the discography, leading to mistakes.

Iván Melgar-Morey

Related artists and bands on PA: ATTILA KOLLÁR,
RÓBERT ERDÉSZ, NOSTRADAMUS, TOMPOX

Solaris official website

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Buy SOLARIS Music


Nostradamus-Book Of PropheciesNostradamus-Book Of Prophecies
Import
Studio Kft 1999
Audio CD$19.12
$23.10 (used)
Marsbéli Krónikák II (Martian Chronicles II)Marsbéli Krónikák II (Martian Chronicles II)
Import
Solaris Produkciós Hás
Audio CD$20.50
Martian ChroniclesMartian Chronicles
Import
Hungaroton 1999
Audio CD$19.93
$30.35 (used)
SolarisSolaris
Import · Soundtrack
Edge J26181 2011
Audio CD$82.86
$24.98 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
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More places to buy SOLARIS music online Buy SOLARIS & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
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SOLARIS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SOLARIS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.25 | 300 ratings
Marsbéli Krónikák (The Martian Chronicles)
1984
3.67 | 91 ratings
Solaris 1990
1990
4.15 | 194 ratings
Nostradamus Book Of Prophecies
1999
4.04 | 239 ratings
Marsbéli Krónikák II (The Martian Chronicles II)
2014

SOLARIS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.24 | 41 ratings
Live in Los Angeles
1996
3.49 | 27 ratings
Back to the Roots (Official bootleg)
2000
4.21 | 24 ratings
NOAB (official bootleg)
2000
3.33 | 6 ratings
Live Chronicles
2014
4.08 | 13 ratings
Martian Chronicles Live
2015

SOLARIS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.15 | 13 ratings
Archive Videos
2006
2.95 | 18 ratings
Nostradamus - Live in Mexico (DVD+CD)
2007
4.33 | 21 ratings
Live In Los Angeles 1995 (Official bootleg)
2010
4.33 | 12 ratings
Martian Chronicles Live
2015

SOLARIS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SOLARIS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.35 | 8 ratings
Rockhullam
1980
3.71 | 7 ratings
Ellenpont / Eden
1981

SOLARIS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Marsbéli Krónikák (The Martian Chronicles) by SOLARIS album cover Studio Album, 1984
4.25 | 300 ratings

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Marsbéli Krónikák (The Martian Chronicles)
Solaris Symphonic Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Symphonic synthetic space rock chronicles

4.5 stars

Contrarily to other countries, progressive rock was still very popular during the 80's in Eastern Europe. In Hungary, after OMEGA during the former decade, its best representative was undoubtedly the cult band SOLARIS. Very first opus by talented multi-instrumentalists, these "Martian Chronicles" - inspired by science-fiction writer Ray Bradbury's well-known novels - are just a genuine sonic adventure.

Almost entirely instrumental, the music is an epic space progressive symphony, with multiple themes, rhythms and instruments, always changing and evolving, unpredictable but fluent and highly melodic. The titles are a colorful mixture of symphonic hard rock of CAMEL, ELOY, SAGA with lyrical progressive electronic such as VANGELIS and NEURONIUM, as well as some neo-prog synthesizers. Although not as complex as YES or GENESIS, the compositions offer different ambiances supported by rich and varied sonorities, the surprise factor being constantly present on each title. That way, the disc succeeds at maintaining the listener's attention as well as a high standard of musicality.

The first side features the 23 minutes "Martian Chronicles" suite, divided in three tracks. Part I opens with a few lines spoken in Hungarian through an alien sound filter, to unveil spacey synthesizers and a fast trippy electronic sequence. The cosmic trip is just beginning, somewhere between NEURONIUM and VANGELIS' "Albedo 0.39". Nice! Parts II-III display numerous genres, such as symphonic, hard rock, and even neo-prog, using a wide range of instruments: keyboards, guitar but also piano, choirs and futuristic sound effects. The music alternates powerful and touching melodies, reminding CAMEL at times. Parts IV-VI are my favorites. This SAGA- esque retro sci-fi musical tale is stellar with its crying guitars, calm passage and celestial final choirs. Simply epic!

The second side gathers short titles, still overall very good. "M'ars poetica" is surprising, playful and energetic. Some heroic moments sounds even possess a distant classical music vibe. On the contrary, "If the Fog Ascends" is the only average track of the record. A bit soapy, but its mysterious interlude is rather enjoyable. The epic space hard rock "Apocalypse" transports us through the universe... until the short "Prelude in E Minor" brings us back to the time of strongholds and chivalry with a medieval flute! Pleasant, however quite out of place. Heaviest composition of the disc, "Undefeatable" is a powerful synth space metal piece! Wow! The album concludes with the band's first single, "Solaris", recorded a few years earlier and already containing multiple sections despite its 5 minutes duration. The nice calm Floyd/Camel-esque melancholic overture abruptly changes and progressively accelerates into a sonic supernova! The Hungarians were already promising back then!

The 1995 and 2010 reissues feature two bonus tracks, enjoyable although less impacting than those of the original release. The synthetic "The Planet of Orchids" is more ambient, interrogative, while "The Yellow Circle" evokes the discovery of a new planet... to then surprisingly turn rock 'n 'roll, with tribal percussions and vocalizations! Fun and refreshing.

Except ELOY, there are not many symphonic space prog albums really worth the listen in the 80's. "Martian Chronicles" is definitely an exception, a meteorite, a refreshing unexpected surprise in this desolated decade. The music uses known recipes to weave its own charm and identity. The band members have a natural ease and high ability to switch between instruments and ambiances while mixing various styles, making the compositions unpredictable. Therefore, the surprise factor of this sonic and lyrical symphony is renewed at each listen.

SOLARIS' first opus is a genuine breathtaking and stellar journey, a real pity this wasn't released outside Hungary in 1984. Simply essential for space rock and symphonic prog lovers!

 Marsbéli Krónikák (The Martian Chronicles) by SOLARIS album cover Studio Album, 1984
4.25 | 300 ratings

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Marsbéli Krónikák (The Martian Chronicles)
Solaris Symphonic Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

4 stars Solaris' Marsbéli krónikák is a breath of fresh air for Prog in the 80's, together with Bacamarte's Depois do fim, Marco Antônio Araújo's whole discography and Abissi Infiniti's Tunnel.

Solaris is pretty much Camel, if Camel didn't change so much in the 80's and decided to record albums like The Single Factor and Stationary Traveller. The only difference really are the heavier guitars.

All in all the whole album is really solid, great flute parts, heavy guitars that Rock, keyboards that are not all that dated (for the 80's that is) and very good drumming. The production is tight, tries to go forward but doesn't bury all the sound in the terrible production of mid 80's.

My only pick with the album is that it is all instrumental. If that's not a problem for you go for it and be happy cause the album gives you that, as for me i's a bit hard to enjoy all instrumental Prog.

Anyway, great first album of this HUngarian band.

 Live In Los Angeles 1995 (Official bootleg) by SOLARIS album cover DVD/Video, 2010
4.33 | 21 ratings

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Live In Los Angeles 1995 (Official bootleg)
Solaris Symphonic Prog

Review by HarmonyDissonan

4 stars A VERY GOOD SYMPHONIC GROUP FROM HUNGARY CAUGHT LIVE!

I Just finished watching this dvd for the first time. I won't lie to you and tell you the video is up to modern standards. As a matter of fact, it can to some extent, be broken down into two parts-the first 40% approx. and the last 60%. Now if I had to describe the video in a poor/acceptable/good/very good range, I would say that the first 40% is acceptable(-) at times very grainy and the last 60% is good(-) somewhat less grainy and the focus is better. I say this first since I'm sure that the average person will be slightly disappointed in the video and I think a fan or not, one should be forewarned. Now that I've got that out of the way, where to begin on the positive? I'll start will the audio. That is much better than the video! The disc I bought is not a region free disc, so I couldn't watch in my surround sound system. I had to watch it on my region free dvd player and my soundbar. It sounded very good consistently though! Another positive thing that I enjoyed very much as well was the Interview of the band in the extra. I watched that first and found it to be very entertaining; quite a bit of fun, especially the drummer and the beginning where they (a member of the band) received a phone call out of the blue from Greg Walker inquiring whether they'd be interested in performing in LA at Progfest '95. It is just too amazing to believe that they hadn't played together at that time for almost a decade! What an f***in' mind trip that must have been for them! I myself, as a fan of Solaris and having only discovered them in 2012 or so, would like to extend my gratitude to Greg Walker for his efforts in resurrecting this band and giving them the opportunity to notice the international fan base and subsequently producing the latter works in their repertoire. Thank you, Greg! Also, if anyone is interested, Greg is the proprietor of the recorded music outlet - Syn-phonic Music. A great symphonic music outlet, not to mention that he's very fair in his pricing and a nice guy. Next time you're looking for something, give S-P M a try. Back to the dvd. I would say that it falls in the category between 3 and 4 stars, if you don't like the band or their symphonic music much, you probably would drop to 3 stars, but because I like their music quite a bit, I will have it just squeak by to the 4 star position -even with the video grain issues. I am so looking forward to hearing Nostradamus Book of Prophecies, Martian Chronicle II and 1990 which I have on order from Greg as I write this critique! I'll end this by saying that if perfect video is a must for you, I would stay away from this dvd! It is grainy throughout, but better in the last 60%. As some of the only stuff by Solaris on dvd and if you might be considering purchasing this sometime, especially if you like their music, I would say pick it up and enjoy an imperfect dvd by a not perfect band-come on we all know what they said at Sunday school-though I got it first hand in perochial school from some of the original antique seeking nuns! Thanks, take care and enjoy God's gift of music!

 Marsbéli Krónikák II (The Martian Chronicles II) by SOLARIS album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.04 | 239 ratings

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Marsbéli Krónikák II (The Martian Chronicles II)
Solaris Symphonic Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

5 stars I did quite many reviews last year trying to find out what modern prog was and see if the music could compete with the seventies' prog. I am not finish with last year yet and one album I have longed to hear for a long time is the Hungarian band "Solaris" fourth studio album "Martian Chronicles II" and this week I have finally heard it sometimes and I can't wait to say: listen to it, it gives us a fantastic musical experience that is very unusual nowadays. "Martian Chronicles II" can absolutely compete with the old prog and does it successfully.

The cover shows us a martian landscape in red. I love the cover and its colour and the musicians on the record are Csaba Bogdan(guitars), Robert Erdesz(keyboard), Attila Kollar(flute), Laszlo Gomor(drums), Attila Seres(bass) and Ferenc Raus(drums). Together they have created such a wonderful musical web that I would like to hear it many times more. Every minute it happens something new and lovely and the album also is a great whole which starts, keep you interested and ends with splendor. I don't exaggerate when I tell you how unusual this record is. The instrumental unity could be compared with Harmonium's flowered record, Camel's The Snow Goose or other gems of melodic and symphonic prog rock. I had'nt heard Solaris before I played this record, but of course I will hear all of their music now. Together with Clearlight and Ian Anderson this is 2014's best record.

It is hard to pick favourite songs but the suite "Martian Chronicles II Suite" is of course one of the hightlights(10/10). The music there is so marvelous. You van hear things that reminds you of Oldfield, perhaps Japan and such many other things. "The world without us" too is a totally beautiful song(10/10) and the closer "Alien" where they try to whistle couldn't become better than it is(10/10). Well every song is much more than mediocre and the album is best if the songs are heard in a row, a 45 minute music experience. This is an obvious five star record in my book(4.7). A must hear record!

 Marsbéli Krónikák II (The Martian Chronicles II) by SOLARIS album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.04 | 239 ratings

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Marsbéli Krónikák II (The Martian Chronicles II)
Solaris Symphonic Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Solaris have created a beautiful album in "Martian Chronicles II" that warrants attention for those who enjoy symphonic music with a majestic atmosphere along the lines of Pink Floyd, Focus, Camel or early Eloy. The music is uplifting and cinematic with layers of keyboards and scintillating instrumentation with sax, flute and glorious strings. The female vocals at times may remind one of the style on 'The Great Gig in the Sky'.

The atmosphere is dark and brooding on the '2nd movement'. 'The Martian Chronicles II Suite' is an epic in itself that moves from light shades of flute to the darkness of dramatic tension. The flute is absolutely captivating, the violins stir the soul and the guitars have that Mike Oldfield sound. At times the instruments are played with aggression but ever present are the lush keyboards and an overall conceptual treatment as one section segues to the next seamlessly.

Acoustics open the '7th Movement' reminding me of Roger Waters style and then the female vocals enhance the Pink Floyd style as they are kind of wailed over soulfully so it's impossible to not sense an influence from "Dark Side of the Moon". It is very moving and emotionally charged augmented by a blazing guitar solo.

'Voices from the Past/ movement 1st' is melancholy synth and guitar quietly building to 'movement 2nd'. This section has a joyous rhythm and powerful lead guitar soloing.

'The World without us' is gorgeous flute lines over 12 string acoustics. The beauty in the music is incredible. It builds with heavier lead guitar and launches into Ian Anderson style flute chirps then back into a sound reminiscent of Snow Goose by Camel. A mesmerising piece of music.

'Pride of Human insects' is a quirky track with guitar and flute over a layer of synths. The violin is played with enchanting flair and later some female vocal intonations sprinkled over enhance the beauty. A scorching lead break lifts the track joined by strings and a heavy rhythm section. This is music of the highest quality.

'Impossible, 'We are Impossibility in an impossible Universe' Ray Bradbury' has tinkling piano at first until an onslaught of organ and blazing guitar dominates. The wall of sound is saturated by layers of keyboards over a frantic cadence.

'Alien Song' closes the album as whimsical as Focus gets with weird whistles and spacey synth sweeps. A Tardis sound is heard and trade offs between flute and guitar until A Klaxon goes off and it's over. A nice way to end the album that had been so serious up to this point. The tension is broken admirably with this last track.

Overall this is a dynamic album with par excellence musicianship and some memorable melodies. Solaris are a band that demand attention. This is one of the great instrumental albums of 2014. I recommend it to those who enjoy adventurous music with a sci fi edge.

 Marsbéli Krónikák II (The Martian Chronicles II) by SOLARIS album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.04 | 239 ratings

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Marsbéli Krónikák II (The Martian Chronicles II)
Solaris Symphonic Prog

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

5 stars After 30 years from their debut this album is an Impossibility in an impossible Universe

It's hard enough for a band to maintain the level after an outstanding first release, but it's almost a suicide to attempt doing a sequel from that album after three decades, despite the difficulties implied SOLARIS dared to release Marsbéli Krónikák II and managed to keep the same level.

Of course is an advantage to maintain almost the same lineup and specially two extraordinaire musicians as Robert Erdesz and Attila Kollar, but to recapture the magic of a masterpiece is a test that SOLARIS passed with the highest grade. So after the praises, let's go to the music.

The album starts with Marsbéli Krónikák - 1. Tetel, a pompous and brilliant opener with Robert Erdesz creating a magical atmosphere, enhanced by Attila's aggressive flute and the beautiful choirs. The Eastern Europe folksy sound is perfect to capture the mystery involved in the concept, and the guitar solos by Csaba Bogdan (Who was also present in the original record as a guest) are strong enough to capture the interest of the listener with heavy rock riffs.

Marsbéli Krónikák II - 2-6. Tetel, is a 12 minutes epic where the band returns to their roots with that marvelous Eastern European atmosphere, but this time with the voice of Zsuzsa Ullmann and a magnificent violin passage, which blended with an amazing rhythm section traps the listener in the wizardry of this band. In part two Erdesz adds his keyboards to make it more mystifying if this is possible, but a heavy guitar solo by Csaba Bogdan makes us remember this is Progressive ROCK.

Marsbéli Krónikák - 7. Tetel caught me by surprise, because after a beautiful acoustic guitar and bass intro they leave their typical Hungarian sound for some sort of Space Rock with clear influence of "A Great Gig in the Sky". Not a copy but obviously inspired by the Floyd.

Hangok A Multbol Tetel - 1-2. (Voices from the Past), is the only track where the two parts are clearly different, the first one is basically a collection of sounds created by Erdesz upon an hypnotic melody, but in part 2, the band moves towards electronic music with an acoustic guitar that creates a delicious clash of styles, and to make it more complex, Attilla Kollar plays a killer flute. The finale is so pompous and excessive that made me remember with nostalgia the early years of Symphonic Prog.

A Vilag Nelkulunk (The World Without Us) represents one of the best team efforts by SOLARIS, even though the musicians have the chance to show their dexterity in several passages, it's a beautiful melody that flows gently from start to end with a couple of strong sections, specially provided by Bogdan's aggressive guitar and Kollar's flute in a style that resembles Thijs Van Leer.

In Az Emberbogarak Buszkesege (Pride of Human insect) the band returns to the mood of the original 1984 album with that mystical Hungarian sound with a nice chorus to enhance the effect, but again Bogdan is in charge of some really heavy moments.

Lehetetlen ("Impossible" but translated as "We are Impossibility in an impossible Universe Ray Bradbury") is one of the strongest tracks of the album because of the radical changes from melodic to frenetic, SOLARIS pushes the pedal to the metal and offers us one of the tracks that we progheads love so dearly.

The album is closed by Alien Song, a catchy melody where Erdesz and Kollar feel free to add all the effects that they want crafting a track that works as a tension reliever after a strong album. Some people find it silly, I believe that humor has a place in Prog Rock (Ask Keith Emerson about "The Sheriff" or "Benny the Bouncer") and this track reveals brilliantly and with class this underrated side of music.

To finish this review will only add that I like Marsbéli Krónikák II even more than the band's debut, so I will rate it with 5 solid stars and propose it as the best 2014 album.

 Marsbéli Krónikák II (The Martian Chronicles II) by SOLARIS album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.04 | 239 ratings

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Marsbéli Krónikák II (The Martian Chronicles II)
Solaris Symphonic Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Solaris - Martian Chronicles II (2014)

Thirty years ago Hungarian eclectic progressive rock band Solaris recorded one of the finest progressive records of the eighties behind the Iron Curtain, Martians Chronicles (1984). The release of the fourth record of the band sees the band combining the 'Nostradamus' and original 'Martian Chronicles' styles in yet another mostly instrumental album - all vocals are without lyrics. The band has a broad pallet of sounds; the standard symphonic progressive rock instrumentation alongside with flute, violins, modern electronic sounds and vocal styles of different origins. One vocal solo even reminds us of Pink Floyd's 'Great Gig in the Sky'. Apparent is also the use of the Hungarian musical influences, which adds to the authenticity of the band its sound. The recording quality is very good, I haven't heard a better production with the major 2014 releases.

The opening tracks of the 'Martian Chronicles' suite are all very well composed and eclectic in nature. The sound is great, the musicianship varied and the integration of the different stylistic elements works fine. After this we get a continuation of style with the two 'Voices of the Past' tracks. Then something strange, yet familiars happens (for frequent listeners of the band that is). The excitement and originality of the opening peaces wears off and a string of increasingly less interesting compositions follows. This has also been the case with the 'Nostradamus' (1999) album and in a lesser way with the debut. The final song 'Alien' is really strange with collections of strange sounds and boring composition. This is a pity, because otherwise this could have been one of the major albums of the year 2014.

Conclusion. Well recorded and well played album by Solaris that will please fans of the symphonic and eclectic genres, but the second half is (yet again) quite weak. Four stars for the first halve, two for the second halve ? which makes up for three.

 Marsbéli Krónikák (The Martian Chronicles) by SOLARIS album cover Studio Album, 1984
4.25 | 300 ratings

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Marsbéli Krónikák (The Martian Chronicles)
Solaris Symphonic Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Solaris - Martian Chronicles (1984)

Released in the age of comminism, with the necessary approval of the Hungarian regime, comes one of the finest progressive rock records of the eighties, Martian Chronicles by Solaris. A combination of spacey electronics, symphonic prog, flute and heavy rock guitar that sounds unique and exciting! Solaris aims for the larger-then-life progsound, bombastic and intense, and succeeds brilliantly! Moreover, all musicians are deeply involved in all the compositions. All tracks are instrumental.The recording sound is great and time doesn't seem to have gotten any grip on it.

On side one the six Martian Chronicles parts form the main attraction of the album, creating an side long epic of melodic space exploration. Sometimes the music reminds me a bit of Camel at its best, but Solaris has a bigger sound and a refreshing lack of Englishness - something one can also find listening to the Polish SBB. Side two is a collection of shorter tracks, some mellow and others spacey and heavy. Overall I must admit I find side one a bit stronger and more connected.

Conclusion. Prog at its best, musicianship at its most intense. Five stars.

PS. Solaris has released 'Martian Chronicles II' in 2014. I'm just listening to it myself and I'm really amazed! It can really use some quality reviews.

 Marsbéli Krónikák (The Martian Chronicles) by SOLARIS album cover Studio Album, 1984
4.25 | 300 ratings

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Marsbéli Krónikák (The Martian Chronicles)
Solaris Symphonic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars SOLARIS is a Hungarian symphonic prog band that just LOOOOVES sci-fi novels. Their name comes from the novel written by Stanisław Lem and the title of their debut album MARSBÉLI KRÓNIKÁK (THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES) comes from the famous book by Ray Bradbury. The music is almost all instrumental save an electronic vocal intro that isn't Martian at all but actually highly weirded out Hungarian. The theme of the album is supposed to highlight the plot of the novel where humans flee a trashed Earth and colonize Mars (OK not as creative as Kobaia but still pretty cool.) The band formed in Budapest in 1980 and went through many lineups before releasing this album. This is a strange album in the world of prog for it virtually has no strange time signatures and its focus is squarely on melodic development that sounds like a strange progressive form of 80s synth pop in a way. Although there are scant Eastern European sounds making their way into the mix I have to say that the sounds of the flute, guitar and keyboards make me think more of an album done by a band of the Andes such as Los Jaivas if they had upped their symphonic sound and made it a bit more aggressive.

Much of this album is highly exciting as track by track the unfolding melodies and dancing rhythms pulsate to simulate the colonizing theme and it works for the most part but for me it's the slow tracks that keep this from being a true masterpiece of all time. Those are the ones that make me think more of Peru or Bolivia than Mars. Mars after all has the connotation of being the alter persona of male aggressiveness and this music can cry out more of a feminine Venus at times. There are also times when this seriously reminds me of new agers like Yanni or Kitaro which also doesn't lend itself to the whole Mars thing. I find myself really enjoying much of this album but the slow parts let me down a bit and I feel a disconnect from the intended theme. On my 1995 CD edition with two bonus tracks it is the second of those "The Yellow Circle" that really feels like it was made for this album. It cranks up the guitar and percussion unlike on any other tracks on this album. Overall I dig this album but I feel it should have a bit more percussive oompf to the whole thing. As i'm writing this review it has been announced that the band is releasing a sequel to THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES which will be released in this here year 2014. I hope it kicks some serious Martian butt!

 Marsbéli Krónikák (The Martian Chronicles) by SOLARIS album cover Studio Album, 1984
4.25 | 300 ratings

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Marsbéli Krónikák (The Martian Chronicles)
Solaris Symphonic Prog

Review by sinslice

5 stars Another priceless gem from the eighties.

1984 was dominated by Metallica with their 'Ride The Lightning', 'Powerslave' by Iron Maiden, Prince, The Smiths, Echo & The Bunnymen, Springsteen and Lloyd Cole, among others. Most importantly, from the progressive side, were two works superlative, the fantastic Marillion 's Scripts, and this intense, mature and fluent 'Martian Chronicles'. Little known at the time, and it was becoming an essential work of the decade.

Almost entirely instrumental, high percentages of keyboards, flute significant contributions, as well as guitars. Drums and bass make great cooperation when required. What enhances above all are the great melodies, intelligently interpreted. The sound is good, but not excellent, and is influenced by the era.

Later, Solaris produced some acceptable jobs, like Attila Kollar. However, it would never reach the magnificence of this.

4,5 stars.

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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