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Kayak - Nostradamus - The Fate Of Man CD (album) cover



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4 stars Rock Opera with much variation. Well played, folky, symfonic and theatrical. Some elements of Pink Floyd and Camel. Excellent album. Some songs remember me to Merlin, Bard of the unseen. Looking forward for one on the concerts in the Netherlands. Cindy Oudshoorn again in the team: a very good voice opposing the mail singer
Report this review (#35008)
Posted Monday, May 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Having only listened to it twice perhaps I should have waited before a posting a review.There is certainly a great deal to absorb and not all of it is great.However what we have is a wonderfully ambitious effort from our erstwhile Dutch progsters with this almost cheesey seventies 'rock opera' double CD.They don't make em like this anymore and many I'm sure are grateful for that.But if you are fed up to death with prog metal and hate 'neo prog' then where do you go? Most modern prog is heartless and relies on technicality.Kayak on the other hand rely on melody and the abilty to craft a good song.You don't get too many fast keyboard runs from Ton Sherpenzeel but intead a Tony Banks style approach.His playing is subtle although unlike TB he can rock when it suits him.The drummer Pim Koopman keeps it rock solid,no Carl Palmer style hi jinks here, but instead a disciplined aderhence to the rythym.You get some nice female vocals from Cindy Oldshoorn as well.There is a reasonable amount of variety.I particularly like the narrative which actually contadicts the songs in a sarcastic way at times.Its ok to be prog band and have a sense of humour!! Overall this will be a 'no brainer' for Kayak fans but for everyone else I would recommend checking out their previous release 'Merlin Bard Of The Unseen' which should be slighly cheaper as it is a single CD.If you like that you were certainly like this.
Report this review (#35009)
Posted Sunday, May 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Another concept album from the dutch band Kayak but slightly different from Merlin, their previous album. This is more kind of a musical. This double album has a whole range of vocalists who sing like actors in a play with former singer Edward Reekers in the role of narrator. Before the lyrics were written for this album, there was a study on the life of Nostradamus to find out what part of the myth was real. That's why the lyrics hold some alternative views on his life. Although it's interesting, the lyrics sometimes lose their natural form in order to keep the story complete. Just listen to "The secret study" and you know what I mean. A lot of vocal harmonies are used to emphasis some of the main idea's and are delightful to listen to though the atmophere tends to be quite swinging every now and then. So it's obvious the vocals are the dominant element which is new for the band especially when compared to early Kayak albums. But nevertheless the vocals are great no matter who does the singing.

In many ways this project goes on where "Merlin" stopped. It's bigger, longer, more ambitious and there're more people involved but the songs are more accessible and conventional. This is progressive rock like one could call the music of Alan Parsons Project progressive on which it is reminding quite a lot. There is a fair amount of progressive rock in the traditional vein with wonderful orchestral sections, massive keyboard sounds or church organs. But "Nostradamus" includes also lots of other musical styles like classical, folk, Gregorian, pop or mediaeval music. There's even some seventies disco on "a man with remarkable talents, remarkable indeed. It's hard to believe this album has just been released, it sounds as it came out somewhere in the late seventies. Still I like it.

It's hard to make a selection of the strongest moments on this album as each track has it's own unique flavour. Let's take a look at the most progressive moments on the album starting with the instrumental tracks : "Dance of the death" has a dark sinister atmosphere and the folky keys on "Dance of mirror's" are uplifting. The Parsons/Powell influence is most noticeable on "The tournament" and "The centuries" is an enjoyable bolero.

And now for the vocal songs : "The inquisition" is one of the symphonic pop highlights and illustrates Ton Scherpenzeel's commitment to some Camel albums. "Fresh air, running water, rose pills" is a great progressive rock hymn and "A cruel death" could have ended up on "Merlin". This album has a huge amount of pathos and this may be too much at some point like on "you won't find me alive at sunrise" or the title track. This is a trademark of concept albums and especially musicals. Some melodies that return every once in a while, are another trademark. A name which comes to mind when hearing this is Andrew Loyd Webber but his music fails in keeping my attention "Nostradamus" doen not. It maybe pastoral at some points and there definitely is a lot of emotion involved but only a minor part is cheesy.

Compared with Merlin, it surely is less progressive but the level of quality is high on the whole album, I can't discover any flaws. The quality of the song writing is top notch, the melodies are awesome ! It makes you forget this album lasts over 100 minutes. But I do think that many readers of this site will find this album too poppy and the idea of a musical will probably be found repulsive. Some people will regret the instrumental side of the band is driven to the background on most of the vocal tracks. The instrumental excerpts are most exciting on the interludes between the real songs. Songs are short and most of them only make sense when playing the whole thing from start to finish When listening to the album I find it hard to press the stop button.

Report this review (#35167)
Posted Friday, June 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Actually 3,5 stars but I rounded it till upper unit inorder to encourage people to listen to it. This is typical Rock Opera, and this is beautiful Rock Opera. Music is very much in vein of Merlin - Bard of the Unseen - very good and variable. Lyrics are interesting and of very high standards - same level as in Jesus Christ by Tim Rice. Kayak are not by any means my favorite band, and I consider them as good but absolutely non essential second league band, however I have thouroughly enjoyed listening to this Opera, and decided to give them 4 stars here. Enjoy!
Report this review (#37143)
Posted Tuesday, June 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars kayak is great!!! very great!!! after of a materpiece who was "melin bard of the unseen" kayak comeback this time,with a double-materpiece,the best moments for me are the tracks"friend of the stars","the seekers of truth" but all the rest is good,maybe the great cd of this year,and coming soon the dvd version , i am waiting for it.
Report this review (#39173)
Posted Monday, July 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I do not often rate an album with the maximum-score, but this is one of those exceptions. An album you can listen endlessly to. What a masterpiece, oh my god!! I was blown away the first time I heard it. I won't discuss every track, you just need to hear this anyway. Singer Edward Reekers is the highlight of this project. He plays the monk Yves De Lessines, who wrote The Centuries as a book with 4000 verses, that leads to an old treasure. Nostradamus copied these verses and made them his "predictions".

The live-show of this album is a MUST! Go see them in the late-summer in The Netherlands. It's a wonderful experience of music, culture and theatre. Ahh, this truly is one of the most beautiful albums I ever heard.

Report this review (#39862)
Posted Wednesday, July 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars At its time of release 'Nostradamus' was a bit of disappointment to me. Its predecessor 'Merlin - Bard of the Unseen' was one of my favorite albums and with this album Kayak just didn't continue in the vain of that magical medieval vibe. Coming back to 'Nostradamus' in later years helped me see the album has its own strengths and little weaknesses. On this record Kayak presents a double cd telling the life-story of the famous prophet, bordering on the vibe of a musical and a concept album. There's a strong cast of vocalists. Bert Heerink (Vandenberg), Edward Reekers (of the 'Phantom of the Night' era), Cindy Oudshoorn (who impressed so much on the 'Merlin' album), Rob Vunderink (guitar player and vocal secret Weapon), Monique van der Ster (Dutch theater vocalist) and Syb vd Ploeg (De Kast). Together the cast also forms a choir that adds to the orchestration of the album's best compositions.

Within the world of progressive rock Kayak has it unique tone of lighthearted melodic rock songwriting that can actually get quite dark (notably the song 'Dance of Death') and sophisticated - but never too abstract and technical. Ton Scherpenzeel is a wizard of chord progressions, whereas Pim Koopman's compositions often lead to melodic hardrock vibes. On this 2CD album the highlights are spread out over the material and the quality of the songs is quite consistent. There are songs that are clearly more progressive like 'Friends of the Stars', 'Dance of Death', 'If History was Mine Alone' and the 'Cruel Death/Tell me All/The Tournament/The Golden Cage' succession of songs. That doesn't take away from the fact that songs like 'Pagan's Paradise', 'The Inquisition' and 'The Flying Squadron' are fine memorable progressive poprock songs. Even the slightly weaker song 'Man with Remarkable Talents' and some of the cheesier ballads have their lyrical content to keep them interesting.

Liking this album well come down to your acceptance of the slightly 'musical' type feel of the album. It's quite an enjoyable and exciting ride and way more engaging then most story-telling albums I've heard. I suggest giving it some time to sink in when you find yourself out of new albums to explore.

Report this review (#172929)
Posted Tuesday, June 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
2 stars Like their previous album "Merlin-Bard Of The Unseen" this comes off as a musical for the ears, sort of a Prog opera I suppose. I must admit I haven't heard KAYAK's earlier works which i've seen described as Prog-pop, but this one and the previous one I mentioned are quite proggy.

This is a double album with 36 short tracks ! I can't bear to go song by song with this one. Like the previous album i'm having great difficulty appreciating the music. It's epic at times with choirs and it often has a classical flavour.There's narration and even folky passages, but this is all over the place to be honest. It's all about the concept and the lyrics though so if concept albums are your bag i'm sure you would rate this highly.There's even guests here to be the vocals of certain characters. Just not a fan of this style. I'm having difficulty listening to this for the third time.

For fans of KAYAK and concept album junkies.

Report this review (#299631)
Posted Saturday, September 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ok, well, yes ,it is not exactly a masterpiece of PROG Rock, and yes, there are two or three weak songs, but I LOVE IT. Cannot give it less than 5 stars!

I admit I have a weakness for musicals, an thats what this basically is. There are prog Elements, but to call it a Prog Musical would be an exaggeration. There are also Folk and medieval elements but otherwise it is" just" a musical, but by far the best Musical I ever heard!

There are so many wonderful pieces of music with great melodies, a trademark of Kayak. Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, this would have been a major success. Sadly, it wasn't.

Songs like "Save my wife", "Settle down", Friend of the stars" and many others are jsut incredible ..

So if you like me do like symphonic prog and like the occasional musical (like Jesus Christ Superstar), jsut get it !!!

Report this review (#618545)
Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Amazing concept symhonic rock opera by Kayak. I think it`s remarkable album by truely talanted band leaded by Ton Scherpenzeel. Please do not compare to Alan Parsons or Camel - it`s differet - it`s quite unique. What a great mixt of a story and musical ideas - you can hear Ton`s modulation and his playing is fabulous. Also i do like lead singers. It has powerful anthems , superbly gentle ballads , fairy instrumentals - Friend of the Star - wow! please dig into it, to me it`s even cooler than Merlin - but it`up to you to decide. Give it a try! 5 stars for sure!!
Report this review (#2136762)
Posted Saturday, February 16, 2019 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars In a Rock Opera about a character who really existed, it's also important that the novelization is coherent with the real history as much as possible. Another important required characteristic is that the story flows from one song to the other without having to interrupt it too often by a narrator. Last but obviously not least, the music must be good. KAYAK surely succeeds in creating good music to support the story. Both the songs and the instrumental symphonic parts are good and the passages are melodic but never trivial as usual with this Dutch band. I don't know if a real musical has ever been performed. Probably not. KAYAK is a band that usually doesn't perform out of its Country, mainly beacause its mastermind Ton Scherpenzeel doesn't want to put a feet on an airplane and this is quite a big limit.

Back to the story: the character of Michel de Notre Dame, aka Nostradamus is famous for his hermetic profecies, and there's a huge amount of books about him and his writings. In a "compact version" of this opera, released as a single CD, there's a narration, in English and in Dutch about what the true story might have been, with an interesting, realistic, hypothesis.

An exhaustive review of all the songs would take long and wouldn't be of any use if one is interested in this double CD. Some of the songs are really excellent and who is practical with the musical style of KAYAK will find here them at their best.

Being it an Opera, some themes are recurring several times. "Celestial Science" and "A Man with Remarkable Talents" are two of themost important themes, but my personal favorite is "Save My Wife" which is dramatic, sad and has a melodic structure tytpical of the best KAYAK songs.

A great concept album from the same land of "The Human Equation". It's a pity that while Arjen Lucassen has been able to bring his one to a theather and to a DVD, KAYAK failed to do the same. A complete Rock Opera that probably will never be peroformed on stage, if not just by the band playing the songs.

Report this review (#2219134)
Posted Thursday, June 6, 2019 | Review Permalink

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