Symphonic Prog • Hungary

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Tompox biography
Tamás Pócs joined the legendary Hungarian Prog band SOLARIS in 1982, and has been part of their history playing the bass in the three albums they released ("Marsbéli Krónikák", "Solaris 1990" and "Nostradamus Book of Prophecies"), but after the successful Jubilee Concert of 2006, it was obvious that the band wouldn't continue their career, and Tamás wanted more, so he joined with a group of competent musicians and formed TOMPOX to keep the legacy alive covering the music of SOLARIS in festivals and small Rock clubs.

But the project got out of hand, being that TOMPOX started writing their own material and around 2011 they had enough musical pieces to release an original album, so mixing 7 original instrumental tracks, a tribute to SOLARIS (with material of this band) and a beautiful but unusual cover of "Epitaph" with Zoltan Kiss in the vocals and recorded "Hungarian Eclectic" in 2012.

The album blends the sound inherited from SOLARIS with hits of CAMEL and a wonderful Hungarian folkloric touch enhanced by the beautiful flute. So if SOLARIS doesn't join again, at least we have TOMPOX, the next best alternative to keep the saga alive.

Iván Melgar-Morey :::: Perú

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Hungarian EclecticHungarian Eclectic
Periferic Records
Audio CD$21.39
The Dark Side Of The SunThe Dark Side Of The Sun
Periferic Records
Audio CD$23.39

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TOMPOX discography

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

3.34 | 14 ratings
Hungarian Eclectic
4.00 | 10 ratings
The Dark Side of the Sun

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

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TOMPOX Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hungarian Eclectic by TOMPOX album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.34 | 14 ratings

Hungarian Eclectic
Tompox Symphonic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Tompox is the focus of former Solaris member Tamás Pócs , a stalwart bass virtuoso who felt the need to "keep on proggin'" and pursue the progressive rock medium in Hungary, a land that still has a wide audience available to fans worldwide. After the official dissolution of Solaris in 2010, Tamás (Tom in Hungarian) Pócs (pronounced Pox by English speakers) gathered around some fine younger musicians and played at various festivals , jazz-clubs and theaters, first playing all the old Solaris classics and then inserting their own material in the process. The line-up features all the usual suspects including the flute, up front and forward. The man's bass work is stunning throughout the proceedings, not afraid to occasionally hog the spotlight, something many talented bassmen somehow are shy to do.

The courage of their convictions is exemplified by the ultra-bold challenge of blasting off with an epic 17 minute + instrumental extravaganza " Monumentum Valley pt. 1-2" that holds back nothing, led by a wobbly bass, clanging guitars, sizzling synthesizers and rock solid drumming. The hypnotic groove is set down nicely for the surreal flute, courtesy of Adám Tasi to weave its magic, enticing axeman Gábor Berdár to rip a few little solos into the night air. Keyboardist Endre Balla keeps it all highly symphonic, using a variety of synths to color the sonic sky while drummer Péter Szula keeps it all so very tight. The arrangement takes many subtle redirections, always within the spirit of the piece's main theme, evolving naturally like a blooming flower, always captivating. The bass solo half way in is spectacular, displaying some solid technique and brilliant digital dexterity, a clear highlight that should not be missed. The playing can go from soft to harsh rather rapidly, keeping the dynamic meter always on edge, with chunky guitar passages, spirited synth runs and flute delicacies. This is utterly delightful, especially after repeated listens.

A quartet of shorter tracks gives this package some pace, displaying the typical Solaris rumble ("Protuberance") where the electric guitar trades barbs with the fleet flute. Berdár unleashes a monstrous solo that has a very original sound and technique. "Overture" is the third track (having fun, guys?) and has a heavier feel that is most welcome, leaden axe riffs blasting nicely until the flute enters seductively calming things down, very slick indeed. Another flirty solo from Berdár kills this one off lovingly. "Duet" has only the magical flute and Balla's piano to engage the listener, a playful, jazzy etude that has imagination and essence within its short life span. Finally, "Surf Menten" proposes another highlight, brisk synths announcing the cascading torrent of riffs meeting beats and thus creating a raucous feel that keeps the blood pumping. Another very Solaris-like comp.

Their version of the classic King Crimson masterpiece "Epitaph" is close to respecting the original but with slightly more operatic vocals from guest lung Zoltán Kiss and only proves once and for all, the 1969's song infinite universality. This is a rather brilliant homage and a definite show stopper.

"Tower Bridge" has, of course a very British feel, not unlike a piece from Nick Magnus' latest albums (a rather fair comparison throughout, BTW), a rolling, loopy bass anchors a dizzyingly repetitive keyboard theme, the flute flaunting its merits and some more guitar raunch to boot. Things are ratcheted up quite a bit as we go deeper into the track with some wild playing by all concerned, while still respecting the main theme. Slick indeed.

The all-too brief "Hommage to Solaris band" is jazzy piano insanity with excellent technique from Balla , who obviously knows his craft , hopefully more piano from him in the future. This is a keeper, big time.

The disc closes off on a brief revisit of the amazing opener, a 3 minute radio edit that speaks volumes about the entire listening experience and consolidates this ebut as an absolute winner.

Obviously fans of Solaris, Nick Magnus, Steve Hackett and Camel will be interested in this recording and should hunt it down, as it contains some enjoyable music that spans various influences and yet still provides a beacon of hope for the future of prog in general. I really enjoyed this the second time around and will revisit Tompox many more times.

4.5 Magyar diversities


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 Hungarian Eclectic by TOMPOX album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.34 | 14 ratings

Hungarian Eclectic
Tompox Symphonic Prog

Review by Argonaught

2 stars A while ago, I embarked on a little quest for finding sentient life beyond the limits of the 'known to me universe' of progressive rock.

Following hints from Progarchives and other reputable sources, I thought I'd take a closer look at the music from Eastern Europe, along with other exciting up-and-coming places. That's how Tompox caught my eye.

Hungarian Eclectic is by no means a terrible album, but I don't know if there exists any reason for listening to it more than once (never mind buying it). I haven't been able to detect any unique signature, any notable hallmark that would set Tompox folks apart from the great multitude of reasonably competent bands, working the club scene in thousands of modern cities.

Whereas Hungarian Eclectic is free from crude errors, there is one flaw I should mention. The reviewer before me lamented that a great tune, Hom(m)age to Solaris Band was too short. How about the first track that is as long as Close to the Edge or Anesthetize, but sounds more like a protracted improvisation on a less-than-remarkable sequence of chords.

I anticipate rotten tomatoes may be thrown at me, but on occasion or two the music almost slipped into what I would pigeon-hole as Eurotechno electronic stuff.

Yes, there are some pretty solid solos, but for me this album wasn't in any way an experience, comparable to listening to the 'classic' prog as in KC, Yes, The Tree, Tull, Rush or ELP.


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 Hungarian Eclectic by TOMPOX album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.34 | 14 ratings

Hungarian Eclectic
Tompox Symphonic Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Tompox is a Solaris tribute band that decided to make their own music which was a good move on the part of ex-Solaris member Tam's P'cs. Bassist P'cs contributed to much of Solaris' albums and then when the band split he continued on to keep the music of Solaris alive, performing their songs to a plethora of packed venues over the years. P'cs is a visionary and wanted to create his own music and was able to do so admirably, so it was enough to create an album of very competent instrumentals. He was able to rope in Zoltan Kiss to perform the vocals on the King Crimson cover of 'Epitath', one of the highlights of the album.

Another highlight is the very lengthy 'Monumentum Valley pts. 1-2', a 17:43 instrumental with lots of atmospheric synth beauty, a rhythmic feel, nice flute, and some heavy guitar. The prog time sig changes with odd meters, and the track features lengthy guitar solos, spacey synths, and dynamic chord changes with shifting rhythms. The lead break 4 minutes in is joined by melodic keyboards. At 5 minutes a chiming choral voice synth sound is heard and a wonderful flute solo joins over a jangly guitar and then even more flute. After 10 minutes a new time sig locks in with a faster tempo as flute and swirling synths decorate the soundscape. There is a massive flute presence with mesmirising quality playing. The bass solo at 12 minutes in is very well executed, then synths join with spacey textures. Towards the end there is a dynamic killer lead break as heavy and fast as the guitar can get for the band. The crunching riff brings in a new time sig, then synths and flute join in. It finishes with a majestic synth and flute trade off and one final melodic keyboard run to complete this excellent instrumental.

Another highlight is 'Surf Menten' which is instrumental exuberance employing fast rhythms and a truckload of flute soloing throughout. There are great guitar rhythmic riffs, and a rock driving beat. The whole album is like this and has some amazing symphonic passages.

There is also a Solaris cover tune called 'Hommage to Solaris Band' but it is only about 2 minutes long, which is a shame as it sounds terrific. 'Tower Bridge' is more like it at 7:12, with chiming synths and a repetitive figure over rhythmic guitars and drumming. The track is definitely concentric on keyboards, and flute. There are passages of beauty in this very relaxing instrumental, based on symphonic textures. The lead guitar comes in eventually reminding me of the music of Camel.

It closes with a reprise of 'Monumentum Valley pt. 1', which is actually a radio edit clocking 3:14. Overall this is a decent reverent attempt to rekindle the musical style of Solaris. It is relatively symphonic and features some very good music led by the legend of Solaris. Not as good as Solaris unsurprisingly but still a satisfactory album with some beautiful flute and guitar musicianship.


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Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition.

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