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Solaris - Martian Chronicles II CD (album) cover

MARTIAN CHRONICLES II

Solaris

 

Symphonic Prog

4.05 | 293 ratings

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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.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 5/5 |

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