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EAST

Neo-Prog • Hungary


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East picture
East biography
Founded in Szeged, Hungary in 1975 - Hiatus between 1994-2012 - Still active as of 2017

EAST is one of the most beloved prog acts from Hungary (if not the most). While the rest of the world was into New Wave, MARILLION carried the prog torch for Great Britain and points west. Guitarist János VARGA, keyboardist Géza PÁLVÖlGYI, singer Miklós ZARECZKY, bassist Péter MÓCZÁN and percussionist István KIRÁLY decided to pick up the prog banner for Eastern Europe.

In 1981, they released their debut album "Játékok." The English translation is games. Oddly, they did release an English version, but it was titled "Blue Paradise." It was a well-received debut, and is still highly regarded. However, it is the sophomore effort, 1982's "Hüség" (Faith), that seems to capture more hearts.

The first two albums were more symphonic inspired, but they felt the need (or perhaps pressure) to pursue a more mainstream approach. This led to replacing lead singer Miklós ZARECZKY, with József TISZA on "Rések a Falon" (Cracks in the Wall). While the third album is not the darling of prog fans, it was a great commercial success. The next outing, 1984's "Az Áldozat (Szodoma)" (The Victim (Sodom)) saw them dumping vocals altogether. It is completely instrumental, and has been described as a rock ballet. This could also be considered the last true EAST studio album. There was a four-year gap until "A Szerelem Sivataga" (The Desert of Love) came to be, and everyone except Péter MÓCZÁN had left the ranks. It is also interesting that this album enlisted the biggest lineup (eight in all) to bear the name EAST.

I wish I could have done a better job with this one, but most of the information about this band is in Hungarian. Being a typical American, English is the only language I speak.

H.T. Riekels (bhikkhu)

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EAST discography


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

3.61 | 58 ratings
Játékok
1981
3.90 | 71 ratings
Hüség
1982
3.13 | 23 ratings
Rések A Falon
1983
3.73 | 28 ratings
Az Áldozat (Szodoma)
1984
2.32 | 10 ratings
1986
1986
2.32 | 15 ratings
A Szerelem Sivataga
1988
1.68 | 10 ratings
Taking The Wheel
1992
3.33 | 9 ratings
Radio Babel
1994

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

3.08 | 15 ratings
Két arc
1995
3.67 | 9 ratings
Csepel felett az ég
2012

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

4.25 | 4 ratings
Messze a felhőkkel
2013
5.00 | 2 ratings
Symphonic
2015

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

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

3.67 | 3 ratings
A valóság hangjai/Szirének
1979

EAST Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Játékok by EAST album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.61 | 58 ratings

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Játékok
East Neo-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The debut album from this Hungarian entry into Prog World, the band displays a style of music that feels quite compatible with some of the film soundtracks being commissioned of other artists of the European prog electronic and jazz-rock fusion scenes.

1. "Nyitány ~ Overture" (3:25) opens with fading in drums (sounding like the intro to "The Court of the Crimson King") before band enters with two separate progressions of synth chords accompanied by a "Run Like Hell" bass line. Synth solos melodically, repeating itself and its melody, over the next few rounds of the two separate chord progressions before being joined by a second synth before sea sounds and seagulls bridge to the next song. Kind of ELOY-ish. (8.5/10)

2. "Messze a felhőkkel ~ Far away with the clouds" (5:43) synth-based song with straight time drums and excellent fretless bass work back a pleasant vocal. I like the use of little instrumental bridges between each verse of the vocals. Nice electric guitar lead in the third and fourth minutes--kind of a cross between David Gilmour and Ray Gomez--ending just before the 4:00 mark when the music takes a radical left turn into Euro-disco electronica--a bit like TANGERINE DREAM at first, then as the two soloists--synth and electric guitar--start duelling it sounds more like JAN HAMMER and DARYL STUERMER. (9/10)

3. "Szállj most fel ~ Fly up now" (5:30) opens like a more recent BLUE ÖYSTER CULT song before backing down for some spacious time keeping from the drummer. Piano chord progressioin establishes a bare bones key for the vocalist to enter and sing over. at the 1:30 mark there is a shift as the rest of the band joins in for the vocal chorus. Interesting reversion to the BÖC motif for the extended space between verses. The chorus sections are definitely the best part of the song--though it is quite an interesting song if only for its unusualness. Cool laid back yet- emotional instrumental section with spacious piano solo, background vocalese, and bird-like synth solo. (9/10)

4. "Kék-fekete látomás ~ Blue-black vision" (2:16) opens with what sounds like a Berlin School sequence with which intermittent bass notes, synth flourishes, and disco-like cymbals play. Like soundtrack filler until a fiery electric guitar riff is thrown in near the end. Weird and yet kind of cool. (4.25/5)

5. "Gyémántmadár ~ Diamond bird" (4:00) opens with flanged electric guitar arpeggi as scaled down weave mixes in from other band members. Singing uses long drawn out notes to fit within the weave before lead synth steps in for the vocals. Sounds like DEMETRIO STRATOS singing--as a matter of fact, this could be an AREA song! (9/10)

6. "Lélegzet ~ Breath" (3:10) TONY BANKS "Fly on a Windshield"-like "vocal" synth over low keyboard bass note opens this song. Guitar arpeggi and fast synth riffs flit in and out of the spacious soundscape as fretless bass solos slowly in an almost EBERHARD WEBER way. This atmospheric song is obviously another cinematic interlude filler as was #4 "Kék-fekete látomás," bleeding directly into the next song. (4.5/5)

7. "Nézz rám ~ Look at me" (4:08) multiple synth washes, driving bass line with atmospheric muted electric guitar chords thrown in as Miklós sings in an ELOY kind of way. Nice flashy guitar solo in the third minute. There is also a bit of a Euro-pop sound and feel to this one--and it still feels cinematic like its prelude. (8.75/10)

8. "Üzenet ~ Message" (4:18) floating synth note with bass piano chords and bass and drum hits open this one before the music settles into a smoother pace as the singing joins in. At the 1:20 mark there is a deeper and more complex bridge before we return to the second verse. Continually rising synth in the sky accompanies singing for this one. Cool effect! The second time through the heavy "bridge" Miklós sings, in a much more powerful, DEMETRIO STRATOS way till the song finishes. (9/10)

9. "Epilóg ~ Epilogue" (2:28) an organ recapitulation of some of the chords and themes of the previous song before Miklós and Richard Wright-like synth sing over the organ. Again, cinematic storytelling is the feeling that I come away with from listening to this--GOBLIN-like. (4.25/5)

10. "Remény ~ Expectation" (4:33) speaking of GOBLIN, this instrumental song really does have that ominuous Euro- cinema feel to it as deep chords are alternated with spacious pauses while bass and drums plug away. Electric guitar begins to solo aggressively in the second minute and only proceeds to light it up as it plays. At the 2:30 mark the guitar stops and the syncopated chord progression from the opening takes over on its own. Then there is an unexpected turn of the corner as the song turns left, moving into a majestic chord sequence before ending with a distant-sounding synth and cymbal outro. Very interesting. (8.75/10)

Total Time: 39:31

While EAST's followup album, Hüség sounds and feels as if the band has integrated a variety of elements from other European prog rock bands, this album, to my ears, sounds more like a KLAUS SCHULZE-, ELOY-, and GOBLIN- influenced Euro-rock album. The second half (Side Two) is especially reminiscent of the cinematic music created by Italian jazz-rock fusion artists GOBLIN. While it's good, and I like it, this album is not as mature or sophisticated as Hüség.

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of cinematic Euro-progressive rock music.

 Hüség by EAST album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.90 | 71 ratings

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Hüség
East Neo-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars In 1982 most people consider Prog to be dead . . . but not in the East. Hungarian Neo Prog; some say that his may be the greatest prog album to come from behind the Iron Curtain.

1. "H's'g ~ Faith" (3:43) opens like a BABYLON song before a fairly regular pattern is established over which guitars and keys duel and duplicate each other with instrumental melodies. It's as if JAN HAMMER were the main soloist in one of JEAN-LUC PONTY's premier album lineups. Great Jazz-Rock Fusion song with fairly good sound engineering. (9.25/10)

2. "Keresd 'nmagad ~ Search yourself" (4:23) sounds like highly predictable, rather basic song from a mediocre 1970s classic rock band which happens to feature a great guitar solo and some excellent synthesizer work and a great finale. The vocal is good but suffers from a poor sound effect choice. (8.5/10)

3. "M'gikus er' ~ Magical power" (2:55) continues from the previous song but shifts from the opening into something more powerful, more engaging before speeding up to become quite an exciting instrumental jam with synth and electric guitar trading leads over the hard-driving rhythm section. (9/10)

4. "'n voltam ~ It was me" (5:56) slow guitar arpeggi in two channels as Mikl's sings. Nice vocal. He sounds like the lead singer to Polish band LIZARD. The rest of the band joins in during the second minute but the pace or structure do not change. Same with the instrumental section in the third minute--which has some awesome organ-supported choir "ahhs." Soft and delicate again for the next verse, though Mikl's does begin to get more forceful with his delivery. Repeat the choir "ahhs" (the chorus?) a couple rounds before a spacious passage is created at the end of the fifth minute to prelude a melodramatic slow instrumental finale. Great song until the finale. (9/10)

5. "A v'gtelen t'r 'r'me ~ The happiness of the endless space" (1:38) a latter-period MAHAVISHNU-like jazz-rock fusion interlude (i.e. melodic). (5/5)

6. "'jj'sz'let's ~ Born again" (3:40) opens with some spacey synths and bird song tweeting around before the song jumps into a nice, simple, slow weave for a brief lyric before a really cool stringed instrument solos. The vocal is okay until the awesome piano-emphasized chorus, which is then followed by a surprisingly simple instrumental section with dull synth solo. (8.75/10)

7. "Ablakok ~ Windows" (5:44) muted guitar arpeggi with panning space synth flourishes gives a cool opening sound. Around 40 seconds in the full band enters with a steady TD-like drum beat and fast-thumping single-note bass line while Mikl's sings in a matter-of-fact way in one of his lower registers. Nice bridge to the wonderful chorus. Love the slushy FIXX-like guitar chords. Back to the driving Berlin School-like rhythm section for the next vocal verse before another nice bridge and awesome chorus. Love the upper register bass work here! A little "Eminence Front"-like feel to this part. (9.75/10)

8. "Vesztesek ~ Losers" (3:44) opens with a little SUPERTRAMP-like keyboard that is quickly blended with other instruments before supporting another LIZARD-like vocal. Great multi-voiced chorus. Mikl's' vocal is quite impassioned. Impressive! Second chorus leads into a slow-to-build but powerful electric guitar solo that plays through a full cycle of the verse-chorus section before the song ends. Awesome! (9.5/10)

9. "Felh'k'n s't'lva ~ Walkin' on the clouds" (4:22) oepns with some really cool smooth jazzy Fender Rhodes play (think HUBERT LAWS or JOE SAMPLE) with rhythm set by percussive muted guitar arpeggi. Synths play little leads over the top for about 90 seconds before the song shifts, jumping into a full rock band 80s jazz-rock fusion style and sound. Even the synth choices and solos shout out, "1980s!" It's nice but so dated! (8.75/10)

10. "V'rni kell ~ You must wait" (5:56) nice electric piano soloing that is eventually joined by electrified classical guitar and vocals before the song switches to a synth strings and bass pedal foundation. It quickly turns instrumental with a VANGELIS-like electronic sound palette for a minute or so until everything slows down and changes palette and texture for another vocal section. (9.25/10)

11. "Mereng's ~ Meditation (2:14) soft chorus electric guitar chords arpeggiated with fretless bass accompanying while Mikl's sings in his most breathy, delicate voice. Very nice. Nice ending to a wonderful album. (4.75/5)

Total Time: 44:17

Okay, I'll accept the Neo Prog assignation but to my ears there is far less imitation of Anglo prog here than of European artists and trends--especially ELOY, the Berlin School, some of the more jazz-oriented French and Rock Progressivo Italiano trends.

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of progressive rock music and a most excellent contribution from behind the Iron Curtain. Because of its vocals and song structures, this one might even surpass the 1970s releases of SBB, FERMATA, MODRY EFEKT, and CZESŁAW NIEMEN.

 Taking The Wheel by EAST album cover Studio Album, 1992
1.68 | 10 ratings

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Taking The Wheel
East Neo-Prog

Review by BORA

1 stars "Parachuting my love to you"...? 'Nuff said?

This is the absolute pits for a once promising Prog band. They fell between two chairs after disowning their Prog roots and then repeatedly producing below Pop "refuse".

Oh, I am counting my words as I am to get up to at least 100 in order to get beyond just rating this band, but to warn unsuspecting Prog fans to avoid this album at any costs.

OK, so far about 73 words. Phew! No, don't get me wrong, I haven't just recently lost my marbles (it was a long time ago, LOL!), it's just I can't think of anything more to say about this disaster of a release. Perhaps one of the worst albums listed on PA.

EAST have done some credible works before on "Huseg" and "Sodom", but here they have let all their friends down. Big time.

 Hüség by EAST album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.90 | 71 ratings

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Hüség
East Neo-Prog

Review by BORA

4 stars This band started out as a very credible, largely improvising, instrumental Symphonic-Prog outfit. By the time they managed to have recording contracts (still behind the Iron Curtain) their music had become severely compromised. Not for commercial advantage, but if only they were seen as an influential underground group that had to be "tamed" by the authorities.

Tamed all-right, their essence was largely relinquished, retaining only elements of their former delivery. This album "Huseg" translates as "Loyalty contains remnants of the earlier years. Reasonably good with vocals that are not "bad", only "excess to requirement", the instrumental bits command due attention.

Special mention is due to Geza PALVOLGYI (keyboards) , who has become a darling of the Hungarian rock scene contributing to a miriad of different projects, some are more noteworthy than others.

EAST had a revolving door to great Hungarian musicians, but their recorded material with the band rarely did justice to the talents involved.

Founding member Janos VARGA (guitar) still helps to lift this album to some more credibility, but if you wanted to hear them at their best, you'd want to check out the first release by the JANOS VARGA PROJECT.

In comparison with most of their other works, I feel compelled to rate this one a 4. Without the forced vocals it would be closer to 4.5.

BTW, this band is sitting here rather erroneously as Neo-Prog, a genre that they don't belong with. Someone please take note.

.

 Két arc by EAST album cover Live, 1995
3.08 | 15 ratings

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Két arc
East Neo-Prog

Review by BORA

2 stars East came into existence in the second half of the 70s as an improvising trio playing in small clubs. Their approach to performing extended instrumental works was clearly influenced by the hugely popular Polish band SBB. Contrary to their popularity and loyal fan base, there is no recorded material of that era as the authorities (the country was still under Soviet occupation then) were wary of any "underground" appeal.

"Bread and butter" issues saw the band undertake a Pop-Rock approach following almost constant line-up changes. Only then were they able to start recording, by which time the music bore no resemblance to the original Eclectic-Prog style.

The following years saw a number of talented musicians come and go, contributing to an increasingly mediocre material on offer and their involvement didn't really lift the game to any convincing extent.

To brand this live album as Neo-Prog is rather generous. Even Crossover would be borderline. This remarkably bland and boring music may have some appeal to the "uninitiated", but in Prog terms it's a non-event. Not strong enough even for commercial appeal and too weak to be considered as quality Rock by any measure. One foot here, one foot there and the end result is falling in between two chairs.

The vocals are somewhat disturbing and indeed rather embarrassing, representing the weakest part in the performance. Frankly, the "voice" is just not there and singing in key alone is not sufficient to provide much satisfaction. Only the female back-up singers offer a degree of relief in places, but that's hardly what Prog is about. Odd instrumental passages, guitar fills are few and far between and whilst can be pleasant, they are not the dominant aspect of the works on offer.

I wouldn't recommend this album to anyone expecting quality music in any genre.

 Hüség by EAST album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.90 | 71 ratings

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Hüség
East Neo-Prog

Review by Joăo Paulo

4 stars A very beautiful album from this Hungarian band. One of the rare good work from 80 decade. A spacey parts but strong music composition made a beautiful effect in one of best albuns of this band. We can listen some keiboards and guitars duets with some very good solos. If they try made a comercial album, precisely the opposite is happened. They made a complex music album composition with a singer with a nothing special voice but really effective. We can listen some sintetiser efects but not interfere with the quality of composition, despite the use of the sounds of the eighties for keyboards. All the tracks don't have much time, 5,56 minutes the two more long but they made a beautiful album that i like very much. To me, a good adiction in East Progressive Music collectors. I give 4 stars
 Hüség by EAST album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.90 | 71 ratings

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Hüség
East Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Despite Progressive Rock's decline East were determined to revive the sound, at least at the early stages of their career, as their label even released an English version of ''Jatekok'' entitled ''Games'' in an attempt to hit the foreign market.Moreover the band spent no time aiming to a sophomore release and the follow up release saw the light just a year later under the title ''Huseg''.

Stylistically the style of the Hungarians did not change a bit.''Huseg'' is again a mix of grandiose, spacey Symphonic Rock with Fusion, nicely balanced between the two styles, although the more Fusion-esque tracks are not that conveincing.Janos Varga's star shines again throughout the release and Istvan Nemeth keyboard work remains distinct but still pretty atmospheric.Most of the tracks have this ELOY/ANYONE'S DAUGHTER/PINK FLOYD/KAIPA combination of Space and Symphonic Rock with quite powerful guitar lines and superb synth/organ passages, often accompanied by haunting choirs, and this is the style East definitely performed very well.The other side of East, as aforementioned, explored a more Fusion style of playing, with keyboards and interplays in the forefront.The music is fast, rich and often adventurous, but it suffers (as most of the 80's Fusion efforts) from a slick and plastic sound, which additionally hurts the album's consistency.However even these tracks have some good keyboard runs and guitar solos to offer.

If you liked ''Jatekok'', ''Huseg'' will not dissapoint you.Divided into low-tempo symphonic soundscapes and more upbeat Fusion explorations, this album has plenty to offer.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 1986 by EAST album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.32 | 10 ratings

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1986
East Neo-Prog

Review by fluiddruid

2 stars After the fine instrumenal album " Áldozat", East changed the directory again. The sound of album is typical eighties: drum computers, ugly digital synthesizers ( Yamaha DX7). Guitarist, János Varga preferred the guitar synthesizer instead of the guitar. If you like for example, IQ's Nomanzo, Wedge from Pallas or Invisible Touch, this album is yours, if you don't, stay away. First track "Kiáltás" very, (solo) Peter Gabrielish with apocalyptic lyrics about the Cold War. Some song are a bit irritating, especially " Aranyöböl kapuja" , "Krizis" and "A történet végtelen". The latter is a bad carbon copy of Hearts from the 90125. Best track is the jazzy instrumental "Ballet", Peter Moczan plays in manner of Pastorius. Other songs would be decent, but the bad drum sound ruins everything.
 Az Áldozat (Szodoma) by EAST album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.73 | 28 ratings

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Az Áldozat (Szodoma)
East Neo-Prog

Review by Joăo Paulo

4 stars Nice album of this Hungarian band. One of the most finest bands of East Europe with a powerfull sound. This album have a great percussion and drums work and is not necessary some drums solos for we see how good is the stuff. Very spacey with a strong keiboards that made a powerfull context in music and some guitar parts that we can remember some Floydian sounds. I like this work that are very balanced, and the instrumental part made all universe of Szodoma. 5 tracks when the first and the last , (Szodoma and Pustulás) the more extensive, made some Psychedelic Space Rock and I think that this work is not Neo Prog in most of this parts. Excelente adiction in East Europe collection and one of the best works of this band. I give 4 stars.
 A Szerelem Sivataga by EAST album cover Studio Album, 1988
2.32 | 15 ratings

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A Szerelem Sivataga
East Neo-Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I'm a bit confused with this band because of the popularity it had with it's most famous album Huseq. I have this album myself and will review it soon but wasn't really thrilled with it. Most of our prog reviewers were however looking at their reviews and ratings so I begin to wonder what I'm missing when I listen to this band.

East is a Hungarian neo progressive band with their heyday in the eighties.The music is actually quite simple but the band has some mollifying aspects that could be the trick here. They sing in their native language, sound pretty timid and the production quality is a bit modest to say the least. And maybe also the fact that in the eighties the usual production quality wasn't exactly high in most cases and let's not forget on top of that Hungary was still communistic when most of their albums were released and didn't have as much contact with western music as nowadays.

Anyway, despite this all, if I have to give my opinion about what I hear it's hard for me to become enthusiastic. I usually don't give extra points for reasons as mentioned above. I give my judgement about what I hear and that's it. And East just doesn't do it for me. Like I said, the music is simple, there are no highlights where songs or instrumental ingenuity are concerned. The most interesting aspect I could discover was some nice percussion in some of the songs. But if that is all I'm afraid the rating will have to be limited here. 2 stars.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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