Tulipe Noire, La - Nostimon Hemar

Year of Release: 2006
Label: Musea Records
Catalog Number: FGBG 4635
Format: CD
Total Time: 69:00:00

If all the comparisons of this band to Marillion are indeed true then I can only say how happy I am to have waited until their newest and fourth release Nostimon Hemar on Musea. I sure don't hear anything like the aforementioned band. I hear a cohesive and musically inspired concept work that hearkens back to days when Fish wore short pants.

This is a thematically and, more importantly, musically unified 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. Draw whatever conclusions you will about that, but draw this conclusion on this new release, it's very, very good and will continue to draw you in even after repeated listenings.

Lead vocalist Ima has a rather restrained range for a female vocalist but she is emotive and experienced enough to do a lot with what she does have. Occasional spoken verse in Greek and English augment the theatrical quality of this engaging music. This band sound very Italian to me, but what do I know, right? I haven't heard any of their previous releases, but this is more like Alphataurus, and Museo Rosenbach, maybe even a bit of Magenta and IQ. What I am saying here is that this is a great, keyboard heavy neo/new prog metal disc.

Keyboardist Alix sounds like she used vintage keys for this. There are endless passages of Hammond organ, non-polyphonic synths and not overtly digital sounding Mellotron. Just when it begins to get just a bit samey sounding, the story takes a sinister turn, which allows a lot of instrumental interplay by the band that results in a few almost fugue-like passages (well ... kinda). Through "Polyphemus" and the following "Circe" and "Tiresias" Alix utilizes common variations and ties these great tunes together conceptually. "Nissos Sirinon" is the closest thing here to 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 nuanced acoustic guitar again and again in a crashing finale.

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. The band's rhythm section is locked into the heavier parts of this epic work and there is never a wimpy or cheesy moment. Guitarist Savvides grinds away at the appropriate moments which should keep fans of progressive metal and nu-metal happy enough.

After the first track "Anakroussis," the last three, "Calypso," "Phaeacia," and the final, triumphant "Ithica" do the best job of meshing the essence of the poetry that inspired this great album and the music that this band is capable of producing.

This is a story of struggle and this music is definitely filled with that energy and drive. This is an excellent and refined disc. I hope La Tulipe Noire will continue to keep Greece and the rest of us supplied with music of this quality from time to time.

Anakroussis (4:07) / Oenops Pontos (6:08) / Lotus Eaters (6:26) / Polyphemus (6:58) / Circe (7:08) / Tiresias (5:01) / Nissos Sirinon (9:11) / Scylla And Charybdis (7:26) / Calypso (7:16) / Phaeacia (3:54) / Ithaca (5:26)

Ima - vocals
Kostas Savvides - electric and acoustic guitars
Hyde - bass
Nick Kassavetis - drums
Alix - keyboards

In The Gates Of Dream (1997)
Shattered Image (2000)
Faded Leaves (2002)
Nostimon Hemar (2006)

Genre: Neo Prog

Origin GR

Added: April 23rd 2006
Reviewer: Tom Karr
Artist website: www.latulipenoire.gr
Hits: 2373
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]