Thanks to a meeting at a philosophy campus back in1998 we can now enjoy the debut album made by Tabula Smaragdina. Founding members Ákos Bogát-Bokor (guitars, keyboards, bass & vocals) and Dániel Krivánik (keyboards) realised that they had very much in common music wise and after three years of friendship they decided to get a band together to jam and play progressive rock music. László Zsigó joined on drums and with Tamás Turi on bass the band was complete in 2002. For two years they covered the music of bands such as Yes, The Flower Kings, Genesis and Dream Theater to ‘get the groove’. The next chapter was to write songs of their own and playing on several festivals.
The band was put on hold for three years in which Ákos made music with the bands You And I and Yesterdays. Dániel and Lászlo made music with their band Mortem and Tamás played in several bands and projects. After this period of other projects they finally got some time to record A Szavakon Túl (Beyond Words). This debut album contains mostly music written before the break. Three new songs were written before they went to Cluj Napoca (Romania) to record the album at the Alias Studio. A very tasteful saxophone solo done by István Makkai was recorded for the track Light Of Dreams. Karola Antal was asked to do some female backing vocals and to do the lead vocals on Sundown. Unfortunately Tamás left the band and so Ägos had to do most of the bass guitar parts, except for one track, the instrumental Dream Theater like My Electric Cat, on which we can enjoy the talents of Tamás. In 2008 the album was ready to be released.
One year later, thanks to a record company from France, we are able to hear the fantastic music performed by Tabula Smaragdina. The 10 tracks which they recorded are all of a very high level and certainly show all the influences of the bands they covered several years ago. But also a band like Spock’s Beard could have been an influence for the musicians. The use of instruments such as a Mellotron, Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes piano and a Mini Moog synthesizer gives the album a real retro sound from time to time. The bass guitar parts give the music a very progressive rock sound and remind me of Chris Squire from Yes. The way the electric guitar sounds on a lot of tracks shows that Mr. Bogát-Bokor must have been a big fan of Roine Stolt from The Flower Kings. Listen for instance to This Side Of The World and you know what I mean. On the debut album, which he recorded with the before mentioned Yesterdays, Ägos already proved to be a perfect musician on the acoustic guitar. Also on this release we hear that he can compete easily with musicians such as Steve Howe or Steve Hackett. Good examples are the tracks Amethyst and Sundown.
Ägos sings in his native language and therefore most of the song titles are translated into English. The vocals sound very good, but most of the time he sings too sweet. My advice to him is to be more aggressive with his voice, more powerful would harm nobody. That’s the only criticism I can give about this fine release. We can add another name to the already long list of prog bands coming from Hungary. After Omega, You and I, Yesterdays, After Crying, East and Solaris here is another name that puts Hungary on the prog map once again. Highly recommended to everybody who likes Yes, The Flower Kings, Spock’s Beard or Yesterdays!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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