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La Tulipe Noire - Nostimon Hemar CD (album) cover


La Tulipe Noire


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4 stars "Nostimon Hemar" is the latest album from this Greek progressive power rock band who have carefully written an epic 70 minute concept album. Again fronted by the caressing vocal prowess of Ima and the neoprog resonating supporting 4 piece band they set out to tell a musical epic Greek odyssey concept album as seen thru the eyes of Greek poet Konstantinos Kavafis (1863-1933). With a high degree of musical composure and a keen and special sense of magic La TULIPE NOIRE have released another excellent symphonic progressive album. Musically this band draw allusions to the likes if MARILLION, PALLAS and IQ but are still able to carve out their own unique place in my musical collection. Although highly symphonic in nature thanks to Hyde's keyboards this album also features some standout guitar, bass and percussive moments. Perhaps the strongest track on the album is "Polyphemus" which offers both power and symphonic delicacy. For those willing to try to experiment a bit with some less known new prog bands should check this act out and "Nostimon Hemar" would be a fine place to start.
Report this review (#72089)
Posted Thursday, March 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Here is a fine neo-prog album from a Greek band with a french name (strange brew but it work). The music is maybe a bit like ARENA but with a female vocalist who sound like a female BRIAN FERRY (ROXY MUSIC). It's a concept album of about 70 min, base on the Greek odyssey(ULYSSE). Dont worry IMA sing in english and the music is very good (guitar & keyboards are excellent) there are no bad track and Polyphemus is a strong one (maybe worth the price of the cd). It's a excellent addition to any prog collection and I give 4 stars to this cd. If you like bands like=IQ, MAGENTA, ARENA, MARILLION, PALLAS etc... You will have a little gem in your collection with this one. POTS

Report this review (#83310)
Posted Monday, July 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The fourth and latest long play of La Tulipe Noire is their most ambitious by far, making a great difference to their previous early-Marillion-alike music. It's a thematic album telling a story from ancient Greece: Odyssey is an allegory. The basic concept behind the poem is the quest. Odysseus is lost and he is looking fir his home. Or, you could say he is looking for his real self. Odysseus at the beginning of his adventure is a lost man, who knows where to go but doesn't know how. The modern man looks for happiness, for personal fulfillment, like our ancient hero, today's man looks for his Ithaca, but does not know where it is and how he is going to get it. So, Nostimon Hemar is an album with an ancient theme but its message is always present. Our approach is based upon the poem Ithaca of the famous Greek poet Konstantinos Kavafis. [Alix on band's website]

Changes in personnel on guitar playing didn't quite affect to this band that pushes on with a power of train breaking the boundaries of neo-prog. As this record is a concept album, the songs within are connected not only by the tale and words but musically as well as in temporal song structures - they rarely do follow the rules, nor structures of ordinary songs, but might create a theme that then fades away leaving the song without the ending climax... just to represent the theme a while later in another song. It's a rollercoaster of themes, ups and downs without natural gaps, more like with a artificial, forced breaks between non-individual tracks. Just like a concept album should be.

Another thing, while the conceptual albums are really not a curiosity in neo-prog, is the La Tulipe Noire's new drive of sound, created by a heavy, stubborn guitar riffs and strong rhythmic percussion all backed up with a propulsive and sometimes very creative bass lines. It's all just brilliant! Even keyboards mostly join this smashing of head, creating a rhythmic space above other instruments, sometimes joining into a brilliant interplay with guitars and drums in form of piano and organs. Actually, it's especially the keyboards that shine here creating the most imaginary forms and pattern into the air. As well as is Ima in her own ground - she's just amazing with her singing style strongly different from anything conventional, with her dramatic, high voice, vibrations and very inventive vocal lines.

As a conclusion, I'd say Nostimon Hemar is extremely joyful and unusual speciality in neo-prog, a brilliant concept album representing various themes carried throughout the album making it hard to pick any individual songs there. It must be enjoyed as a whole. This is a Must for every neo-progger and an excellent example how neo-prog doesn't necessary have to follow all the traditional rules of the genre, but the rules are made for breaking! Highly Recommended!

Report this review (#165638)
Posted Friday, April 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Nostimon Hemar" is a concept work based on the struggles of Odysseus to return to Ithaca. The band sees this tale as an allegory of current events in the world, as the famous Greek poet Konstantinos Kavafis,described in an excellent way, to his poem "Ithaca".

I think that if the poet,could listen to this record,he was never be happiest.

Everybody could draw his conclusions about that, but the only conclusion for me, is that "Nostimon Hemar" continues to draw me in, even after repeated listenings.

This is a band of very good players for whom frequently changing and complex passages present no problem, yet they never play in a flashy manner simply to draw attention to themselves.

(I've been informed for new changes in the coming soon next release).

This is a story of struggle and this music is definitely filled with that energy.

Lead vocalist Ima is emotive and experienced enough to do a lot with her great voice. Occasional spoken verse in Greek and English emphasizes the theatrical quality of this excellent music.

Keyboardist Alix sounds like she strungles against difficulties to come back home, as Odysseus did. And she did it ! Through "Polyphemus" and the following "Circe" and "Tiresias" Alix utilizes common variations and ties these great tunes together conceptually. "Nissos Sirinon" is an epic at 9:11 and it is also the emotional and musical highlight of this release, with chugging guitar against regal Mellotron sounds. Gaining tempo and intensity as it goes on, it careens up against Kosta Savvides's acoustic guitar again and again in a crashing finale. A stronlgy recommended album!

5 stars

Report this review (#218098)
Posted Sunday, May 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I don't understand why this album is so high rated and why this band changed their old style becoming heavier almost metal. The metal sound is present in too much songs and in my opinion this ruin the catchy melodies you was used to listen in their previus album, although this makes the sound much modern than before. Yes there are some stunning melodies like in "Oenops Pontos", Calypso and the strength "Lotus Eaters", with a beautiful keyboard solos at the end of the track. The other tracks are well structured with strong solos of guitar and keyboards, and mellow moments at centre of the composition. The production here is excellent, with brilliant arrangement and all the instruments are well calibrated, that's a good improvement compared to their previous works. 3 stars
Report this review (#373098)
Posted Wednesday, January 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars This is the most recent release from these Greek Neo Proggers. If your into concept albums this is a very ambitious concept about a Greek odyssey as seen through a Greek poet's eyes. Each track is written about in detail in the liner notes so you can follow along.The band has changed their sound somewhat, becoming heavier but this is still Neo-Prog in case you were wondering.Usually when a band becomes heavier I like them better, but that's not always the case and this is a good example. I still hold their album "Shattered Image" up as my absolute favourite by them.

"Anakrourssis" is the instrhumental intro track that opens with atmosphere before kicking in just before a minute. It's heavier 2 1/2 minutes in. A calm a minute later with atmosphere as it blends into "Oenops Pontos". It starts to build and we get vocals for the first time after a minute.This sounds really good.These first two tracks are my favourites. "Lotus Eaters" kicks in with vocals quickly but the tempo shifts a lot on this one. Catchy stuff. "Polyphemus" opens with keys and synths as reserved vocals join in. It kicks in before 2 minutes fairly heavily. Piano and spoken words after 3 1/2 minutes. It kicks back in heavily 4 1/2 minutes in.Great sound before 6 minutes. "Circe" opens with atmosphere before becoming synth and vocal led.The organ is prominant after 4 minutes and the guitar follows.

"Tiresias" opens with atmosphere then it kicks in. "Nissos Sirinon" has a catchy rhythm but overall i'm not a fan. "Scylla And Charybdis" builds with vocals. It's nice and heavy before 3 minutes before it lightens with piano. "Calypso" has the focus on the vocals and it's fairly laid back. It does get fuller at times and we get some brief guitar late. "Phaeacia" opens with piano then vocals and a fuller sound follows. "Ithaca" is not the best closing track i've heard but it's okay.

A good album no doubt, but for me it's not a 4 star record. If your into concept albums in the heavy Neo-Prog style you'll want to check this out.

Report this review (#428572)
Posted Wednesday, April 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars La Tulipe Noire's preceding albums had been undistinguished pieces which had garnered them a reputation as a Marillion clone band - and not even a particularly interesting Marillion clone at that. So, imagine how surprised I was at the jump in quality evident on Nostimon Hemar; the combination of top-notch production values, tighter performances and composition, and ageless subject matter (Homer's Odyssey) works wonders on the band's sound. Whilst they do still show a powerful Marillion influence, this time around they are at least doing something interesting with that approach and are finally showing a distinct personality of their own. I do hope the band get around to producing more material after this, because I'm sure they'll do better now that they've finally come into their own.
Report this review (#702262)
Posted Sunday, April 1, 2012 | Review Permalink

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