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Tabula Smaragdina biography
In the last years I acquired some sort of obsession for the delicate Symphonic Prog from Eastern Europe, mainly due to the collection of albums that my friend Szolt Enyedi from YESTERDAYS sent me. So when I listened TABULA SMARAGDINA from Hungary, decided in agreement with the Symphonic team, to add them immediately to our database.

Their music embraces the influences of the 70's with lush keyboards and complex passages, with a unique sound that combines the spirit of their country and a fascination for beautiful acoustic melodies, in other words, a new sound that respects the legacy of the Symphonic pioneers.

The story of TABULA SMARAGDINA goes back to 1998, when the Krivánsk Daniel (keyboards) and the guitar player Bogati-Bokor Akos met in the University campus, they soon became friends and started to share ideas about music, but it's not until 2002 when with the drummer Zsigo Lázlo and the bassist Turi Tamás they complete the rhythm section and the line-up of AMETHYST is completed.

2004 was an important year for the band, they win the Félsziget Fesztivál 2004 and start to write their own material. But something happened, Bogati-Bokor Akos takes a sabbatical from AMETHYST to work almost exclusively with the excellent band YESTERDAYS (Already in Prog Archives).while Zsigo Lázlo and Krivánsk Daniel form a band called MORTEM and TURI TAMAS works on several projects.

After a while they decide to give the next step but suffer the departure of TAMAS, who due to health reasons couldn't stay as an active member of the band even when still a great friend of the group with whom he started. So as a trio (with Akos playing the bass and their good friend Tamás playing one track) they sign a contract with Musea Records and record their debut album A Szavakon Túl (Beyond Words), but being that there was already a band named AMETHYST, the musicians decide to re-baptize the band as TABULA SMARAGDINA (The Emerald Tablet).

So, with a new album and many plans for the future, we are proud to present a band that we consider has a lot to offer, and will be waiting for their second release.

Iván Melgar - Morey - Perú

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3.92 | 19 ratings
A Szavakon Túl

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Three Tracks (From the Archives)


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 A Szavakon Túl by TABULA SMARAGDINA album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.92 | 19 ratings

A Szavakon Túl
Tabula Smaragdina Symphonic Prog

Review by Parallels77

4 stars Another great Bandcamp find for me. Hungarian project Tabula Smaragdina's debut record. There is not much info about this band, although they've contributed to Musea's VA Projects Purgatorio, Paradiso and of course there's an excellent song on A Flower Full of Stars (The Flower Kings tribute). Guitarist, vocalist 'kos Bog'ti-Bokor is also the main guy in Hungarian prog band Yesterdays.

The album starts with an acoustic guitar crescendo called Amethyst, and after this the real progrock extravaganza begins. "A szavakon innen" is a dynamic symphonic prog tune with many parts, a well crafted prog hit in the style of The Flower Kings, Yes and even Genesis. Great moog solos, vintage sounds and electric guitar solos (strong Roine Stolt references!). Such a powerful way to start an album! T'l/Winter has distorted bass, psychedelic multiple vocal parts and a lush chorus. One of my favorite tunes on the record.

All the lyrics are in Hungarian, but that's not a problem with me, it makes this record more obscure and more mystical, just like in the case of Bog'ti's other band Yesterdays. Eastern Europe has so much prog to offer. There is serious potential.

Tabula Smaragdina was a very original project with many influences. There's some Dream Theater in T'l, Gentle Giant in My Electric Cat, King's X in Lehetn'l and Yes in A szavakon t'l.

I think this is a lovely addition to any prog collection. I only had one negative feeling about this: that this project stopped working. Four strong shiny stars from me! Highly recommended!

 A Szavakon Túl by TABULA SMARAGDINA album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.92 | 19 ratings

A Szavakon Túl
Tabula Smaragdina Symphonic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Hidden away in the mythical depths of Transylvania, the prog flame burns bright! This province of Romania has a large Hungarian minority which continues to contribute positively to the cultural heritage of both countries. From Cluj-Napoca (Kolozsvár) , the undeniable talents of Akos Bogáti-Bokor, who is also the talented leader of the off-shoot band Yesterdays , presents this unique debut album that is perhaps a bit more progressive than the main band, moulding all kinds of classic influences from Gentle Giant (the high pitched vocals and the complex polyrhythms ) , Yes (the ethereal guitar and growling bass) and some lovely tinges that recall bands such as Genesis, Dream Theater and The Flower Kings. Akos handles vocals, guitars, bass and assorted keys with great bravado. Ably supported by talented keyboardist Dániel Krivánik and drumster László Zsigó, Tabula Smaragdina are definitely a fine addition to those fans looking for something both off the beaten path and yet with familiar overtones.

The pastoral "Amethyst" is pure acoustic delight, a very brief and gentle introduction into their musical craft, simplicity and beauty abound. There is a strong Anthony Phillips feel that is most appreciated.

"This Side of Words" is something the Swedish Roine Stolt-led band would cough up, a thoroughly stellar romp, where birds sing and a radio dial is twirled until the heady progressive sound shimmers through the mist. Immense trebly bass runs ram the piece forward, ornate piano in tow, mellotron waves and Akos' lovely falsetto vocals. Throw in some "tick-tock" drumming and off we are to the races, with tortuous careening, deft sounds and unexpected twists and turns. A wah-wah lead guitar foray does wonders for the ears. There is this wonderful contrast between brooding and delicate that is most appealing. This is a fantastic piece of music!

"Winter" is closer to DT with its steamroller rhythms, bashing drums and bruising bass clashing with wistful vocals and a sense of freezing calm. What stuns completely is the Howe-like slide guitar explosion that seemingly comes out of nowhere. A four minute + panzer of fire and fury, balanced by some intricate a cappella vocal work a la GG.

The lighter-weight "A Simple Game" is, like the title implies, a rather straightforward ballad that has a sultry vocal line, with choir-like backing vocals, mellotron strings and an extended synth solo that really exudes positive vibes.

"Sundown" is a different kettle of fish altogether, breathy acoustic guitar weaves a glorious tapestry of sounds with the heady mellotron in the background, giving guest female vocalist Karola Antal the platform to swoon and croon. The mood is mystical, atmospheric and highly evocative of the tired sun laying down for a rest.

After such a lovely fade-out, what better than a short nocturnal romp, the humorous and playful "My Electric Cat" complete with Bugs Bunny sample, rollicking instruments and waltzing solos conspiring together in giggling freedom. This silliness segues nicely into the manic and menacing "The Passenger", which contains some rumbling melodies, strange tonal variances in the vocals and a sense of travel and distance. Mellotron again shows its symphonic colours with the bass nice and forward, a tremendous acoustic guitar solo that comes unexpected. This blends into the airy "Light of Dreams" where the sultry saxophone makes a timely appearance, such a brilliant instrument when used properly.

"You Could Be" is back to the heavier side , actually more rock than roll , a distinctively vocal oriented piece that is ably supported by the bold bass and the hefty drums. Akos unleashes a series of searing guitar solos, fuzzy and woozy and then just plain crazy. Surprisingly, the piece is finished off with some lovely gentleness.

The threatening title track "Beyond Words" puts this one to bed quite succinctly, all the ingredients all packed in one with sublime vocals, stunning synth and guitar work, slithering bass and bouncy drums all combining to make this album a pleasant experience.

4 Erdélyi csillagok (Transylvanian stars)

 A Szavakon Túl by TABULA SMARAGDINA album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.92 | 19 ratings

A Szavakon Túl
Tabula Smaragdina Symphonic Prog

Review by Stargirl79

4 stars Last week I had a listen to Tabula Smaragdina's first album in my car. I can't believe that only one review has been posted to this. Since we all are familiar with quality progressive rock coming from Hungary, I think this album deserves attention too.

With a nice, acoustic intro, the album starts with a powerful prog epic called A szavakon innen, I'd say, this has lots of Flower Kings influences, distorted bass all over and tasty keyboard work of Daniel Krivánik. This piece contains all the major themes of the album. The next track is called Winter and it has driving bass lines, mellotrons and poliphonical vocals, nive groove and surprising parts in the chorus. One of my favourites on this CD. Simple Game shows the band's affinity of writing songs, not endless themes with no connection. The chorus has some clever rythm changes and still, it's very melodical and catchy! A classical guitar solo follows with interesting technique, and later the moog and the mellotron joins the instrumentation just before the angelic female vocal appears. Thumbs up for this composition! My Electric Cat is somehow very funny and also very hard to count - the rythm changes are very clever here... too bad that the song is very short, but it reminded me of Gentle Giant and since it's a musical joke, it's nice that their kept it this way. The Passenger is the best song described as symphonic prog. I felt a small Dream Theater quotation (Take The Time) here, I think it was intentional. And the next song has also DT influences, only Another Day gets in my mind, with the soprano sax solo and the catchy melodies, but this time with tons of mellotrons. You Could Be is a rock tune with powerful guitars, minimoog in the chorus and an extensive guitar solo at the end, a good composition indeed! The last tune is Beyond Words, a laid back intro and verse and the most melodical chorus I've heard in the last few years. Multiple vocals and some quotations of the main themes from the album, which makes the listener want more to replay the album from the beginning.

I really hope that we'll hear from this band from the future, although it started as a project. After some internet browsing I found that they released some songs on different Colossus projects such as Purgatorio and Paradiso, and also they payed their tribute to the Flower Kings, by recording a song to Musea's 4CD box tribute collection.

Four solid stars from me. Recommended!

 A Szavakon Túl by TABULA SMARAGDINA album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.92 | 19 ratings

A Szavakon Túl
Tabula Smaragdina Symphonic Prog

Review by Katusnya

4 stars Tabula Smaragdina is a hungarian band, mainly a project, Krivánik Dániel (keyboards), Zsigó László (drums and percussion), Popomájer Tibor (bass guitar) are living in Hungary and their lead vocalist, guitar player Bogáti-Bokor Ákos lives in Romania, in Cluj-Napoca.

Ákos is known by his other progressive rock band Yesterdays, but here, in my oppinion he shows the other side of his writing and since the band's bass guitar player had to leave while the album was recorded he played all the bass guitars on this album. Although Ákos is the main writer of the band, the sound and the mood is not very Yesterdays-ish at all. Dániel, the keyboard player is a very good writer too, but László, the drummer he also writes songs on guitar (he played guitar in his other band called Mortem, in Nyírbátor, Hungary)

The songs are more colourful than I uset to know them in live versions.

The CD has a PC enhancement bonus with multimedia, videos, photos and all the lyrics' English translation. Very good idea and nice design. It just starts when you put the audio CD into your PC.

Amethyst is an acoustic intro played on 3 acoustic guitars, a nice and slow opening to the first piece (the longest song on the album): A szavakon innen (This Side Of The Words).

This Side Of The Words. Starts with a powerful symphonic prog intro which leads into a Neal Morse-like piano playing and singing. The guitar solo reminds me of the Flower Kings, lots of Roine Stolt infuences here. Ákos's bass sound is very close to Jonas Reingold's, it's not a surprise, Jonas played with Yesterdays on their Inferno track. Although this song is very complex, it is full of harmonies and pop-like catchy melodies. The end part is something between Supertramp and Beatles. The song closes with an acoustic guitar improvisation in the spirit of Trevor Rabin.

Tél / Winter starts with a bass guitar riff and the band takes over. Gentle Giant infuences here with the vocals, nice stereo arrangements, true symphonic prog, especially the chorus, poliphonical vocals and fantastic lyrics. Pinkfloydian slide guitar solo in the end.

Egyszerű játék / Simple Game - is a love song, Lenny Kravitz-like vocal effects, nice pop-prog song, with sophisticated rythms in the chorus.

Naplemente is the silent point of the album, an acoustic solo helepd by mellotron and a nice moog sound. It reminds me of Ákos's acoustic solo on Yesterdays' Moonlit Garden album called Ha majd egyszer. Antal Karola, the backing vocal singer of the album here shines through as a lead vocalist.. beautiful melancholy.... I would like to hear her more in the future. We could hear her as lead singer of Tabula Smaragdina on their contribution to Dante's Purgatorio (Musea/Colossus)

My Electric Cat is a musical joke. A good one! Starting with Porky Pig's voice from an old cartoon it is filled with wah-wah bass, vintage electrc guitar sounds. Lots of Gentle Giant stuff here!!!

Az Átutazó - it is probably my favourite song on this album. Powerful starting, killer jazz-bass sound with distorsion, where Jonas Reingold meets Chris Squier... The hammond organ is very harsh. The verse surprises me with it's mellow and slow rythm... but the chorus is angelic and beautiful. Antal Karola's voice is a real treat on this song! The solo is also a surpirse with an acoustic guitar... so much beauty and melody in this one... In the end the bass guitar takes the lead again.

Álmok fénye / Lights Of Dreams is the "Another Day" (Dream Theater) of this album... nice pop song with mellotrons, beautiful chorus vocals, soprano saxophone solo (by Makkai István)... a real treat if you like melodies. The soprano saxophone solo is followed by a very interesting guitar solo...

Lehetnél / You Could be... it one of the best song on this album, written by Zsigó László, the drummer of the band. This song reminds me of King's X, Platypus but not as a simple copy it is original and powerful, a true rock tune. In the end, Ákos takes the lead with the guitar and the song ends in a Yes like guitar solo extravaganza, but not the Steve Howe era, he sound more like Trevor Rabin here.... Zsigó László's drumming is very virtuoso!

A szavakon túl / Beyond Words is the final chapter of this album. Starts with mellow piano and a breathetaking moog gliding ascension. Perfect! Krivánik Dániel's song is filled with wonderful piano passages and a fantastic moog solo reminiscent of Wakeman, but quite original and vitruoso too. Sophisticated rythm passages and a nice and almost gospel-like chorus in the end, this reminded me of Spock's Beard's Wind At My Back... Before the song ends, Ákos played the main riff of Lehetnél with bass but in different time signature, and after several listening I found out that several themes from the album are retourned here, in a hidden and elegant way... a perfect idea to close a progressive rock album with!

After all it is a high quality progrock album again from Hungary. In my oppinion it is a must for every symphonic prog fan. After hearing their Colossus/Musea contributions, I am very optimistic that we have a very talented young band to deal with in the future.

A szavakon túl /Boeyond Words is colourful and nice debut album. They are one or two albums away from their masterpiece, but I will give this album 4 stars!

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition.

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