A szavakon tül
Tabula Smaradigna

Label: Musea
Duration: 50:15
Genre: Progressive-Rock

Label Description
We all do know, that the eastern and central european Progressive rock scene, especially the Hungarian one, regularly raises some spectacular acts. The golden Seventies gave us LOCOMOTIV GT and OMEGA, the Eighties brought us SOLARIS and EAST, the Nineties delivered AFTER CRYING and YOU AND I, and the New Millennium rewarded us with YESTERDAYS and TABULA SMARAGDINA. The latter is animated by the well-known alchemist Akos BOGÁTI-BOKOR (YESTERDAYS), acting here as lead singer-guitarist, bass player and composer-producer. Although the band's music has some YESTERDAYS' aftertaste, "A Szavakon Túl" ("Beyond Words") explores other worlds in an other way, leading us much more into the rocky side. Just imagine PLATYPUS, THE FLOWER KINGS and even YES mixed together with a fine Hungarian poetry, vintageness (Mellotron, Hammond organ, Steve HOWE-like guitar playing, Chris SQUIRE' bass-playing...), intricate time-signatures, a sophisticated pop attitude, and some definitely original sounds. This refined debut-album is definitely a modern Progressive rock piece of work. Thus, Musea Parallele brings you another brightly talented young band from Hungary. Highly recommended for classic Progressive rock connoisseurs, and open-minded experimenters, too !

Background Magazine
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)

Progressor Review
Prolusion. TABULA SMARAGDINA (Latin for “Emerald Tablet”, a cryptic text regarded by European alchemists as the foundation of their art) had its beginnings in 1998, when Krivanik Daniel and Bogati-Bokor Akos met at university. After a few years they decided to form a band, whose lineup was completed in 2002 with the addition of Zsigo Laszlo and Turi Tamas. Though they started their concert activity mainly as a cover band, playing songs by classic prog bands, they soon began to write their own material. After several years’ hiatus, in which the band members devoted themselves to other projects (Bogati-Bokor is also a member of Yesterdays and You And I, and Krivanik and Zsigo of Mortem), Bogati-Bokor and Krivanik decided to record the first Tabula Smaragdina album, “A Szavakon Tul” (Beyond Words), which was completed in 2008 and released in 2009.

Analysis. The intriguingly-named Tabula Smaragdina follow in the footsteps of Hungarian progressive rock bands like Solaris, After Crying and East, presenting the prog community with an album that may appeal to both fans of vintage symphonic prog and the more accessible stylings of Neo. Now a trio, in which founder members Bogati-Bokor Akos and Krivanik Daniel handle most of the instrumentation, they have put together an album where melody reigns almost without constraints, rife with lush keyboard excursions, gentle harmony vocals and soaring guitar solos. Many listeners will have encountered both Tabula Smaragdina and Bogati-Bokor’s other main band, Yesterdays, in the Musea/Colossus project based on Dante’s “Divine Comedy”. However, Tabula Smaragdina lack the distinct folk component of Yesterdays’ music, and lean more towards a vintage symphonic sound – at least in the two longer numbers that bookend the album, A Szavakon Innen (introduced by the low-key acoustic piece Amethyst) and the title-track. Most of the songs in between are definitely more straightforward affairs, with plenty of catchy choruses and beautiful harmonies, though not always particularly memorable. Bogati-Bokor’s vocals, while largely adequate, sometimes show a few signs of wear and tear, and the presence of a female backing vocalist, Antal Karola, is a definite bonus. The other instrumental track (besides Amethyst) on the album, the quirky My Electric Cat – a humorous two-minute piece with a choppy, bass-led pace that is intentionally cartoonish (cue the recordings at beginning and end) – shows the band’s potential for exploring different territories than the rather safe ones displayed on this album. Sundown, while not strictly speaking an instrumental, is a gentle, haunting number featuring barely perceptible, whispered vocals by Antal Karola. On the other hand, the almost prog-metal orientation of Lehetnel is, in my view, a bit of a misfire, and sounds more like the band sacrificing to a momentary fad than something really heartfelt. Az Azutazo, spiced by much the same hard-edged riffs, even references Dream Theater’s Take the Time, though I am not sure whether this is an intentional homage or just a coincidence. The two longer songs are instead what every self-respecting symphonic prog devotee might expect: though not overlong (the album itself is quite restrained in this sense), they offer plenty of variation, the obligatory time signature shifts, keyboard and guitar solos, and melodic vocal parts. A Szavakon Innen is strongly influenced by Genesis, while in the title-track some more prog-metal touches emerge, especially in the shreddy nature of the central guitar solo. Though certainly not innovative in any sense of the word, “A Szavakon Tul” will certainly please a fair contingent of fans of the genre – those who maintain that ‘prog’ and ‘progressive’ are two separate concepts, and anything not attempting to revive the glories of the Seventies is just not deserving of the label. While undeniably a well-executed album by a group of talented musicians, this may not make a long-lasting impression on a market already flooded with records sharing much the same characteristics.

Conclusion. Lovers of melodic, symphonic/neo prog rich with harmonies, keyboards and subtle tempo changes are sure to enjoy “A Szavakon Tul” – and hopefully will not be put off by the Hungarian vocals, which, in my view, are infinitely better than the heavily accented English sported by many bands from outside the English-speaking area. Not particularly inventive, though certainly a pleasing listen, this is a worthy debut from a talented new band.

RB=Raffaella Berry

A szavakon innen / This Side of Words8:29
Tél / Winter4:30
Ejyszerü jatek / A Simple Game5:00
Naplemente / Sundown5:16
My Electric Cat2:14
Az atutazo / The Passenger5:21
Almok fenye / Light of Dreams3:35
Lehetnel / You Could Be6:20
A szavakon tül.../Beyond Words7:58
Original Release: 2009-07-21
Composer: Tabula Smaradigna
Arranged By: Tabula Smaradigna
Producer: Tabula Smaragdigna
UPC: 742630030919