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Karthago - 1983 Requiem

ARTIST: Karthago
ALBUM: Requiem
LABEL: OK/Musica
SERIAL: 7823568
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 1992, OK Musica, 7823568


LINEUP: Attila Gidófalvy - keyboards,vocals * Zoltán 'Zéró' Kiss - bass, vocals * Ferenc Szigeti - guitars, vocals * Miklós Kocsándi - drums, vocals * Tamás Takáts - lead vocals, harmonica, drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Requiem * 02 Girl From Nowhere * 03 It Ain't The Fire * 04 The Thousand Years To Come * 05 Knock On Your Door * 06 Gold * 07 Time Is Not On Your Side * 08 Lay Down


Here's a band which should make our South African writer Lee Bradfield sit up and take notice. it's the Hungarian combo called Karthago. This band is not to be confused with the Berlin based band, who operated a decade before. A few years back, Lee did a series on exotic European bands doing prog, hard rock and AOR, on some occasions fusing all three elements together. Bands such as Omega, FSB, Karat, Ange and Bijelo Dugme all became part of Lee's review schedule. We now add Karthago, a band that continues to be active in the current day. The band came together in 1979, with guitarist Ferenc Zigeti at its core. A number of releases came out during the 80's, mostly sung in their local Hungarian language. However, they did release two English speaking albums; one in 1983 titled 'Requiem', the other in 1985 titled 'Oriental Dream'. In this case, we are looking at the former LP.

The Songs
This is quite a tasty set, for just 8 songs with their progressive side tuning into the likes of Pink Floyd, Eloy, Lucifer's Friend, early Magnum and Kansas. If you know the band, they use the Elephant in all their artwork and imagery, and even in the opening track 'Requiem', the Elephant gets a mention in the lyrics. This one is a slow burner, with the organ as the focal instrument, and you can hear an Elephant cry at the end. 'Girls From Nowhere' featuring some tippy tap keyboards in the opening sequence, sees Karthago adopt an AOR/melodic rock stance, and it surely works for me. 'It Ain't The Fire' continues with synths and organs leading the way, the band rocking out in a commercial vein. Nice. 'The Thousand Years To Come' is Karthago's attempt at an epic styled track. The cheesy wind/storm effects sounds very cheap (maybe it was played on one of those early Casio synthesizers?), but if you can look beyond that little disaster, then this track should appeal, especially for those of you into early 80's Magnum.

Onto side two. 'Knock On Your Door', there's more squelching synths masquerading as brass parts, but the rest sounds rather good. It sounds closer to AOR than prog rock, and at a touch over 7 minutes, is the longest track here. 'Gold' goes in several directions. It has a funky underbelly, and some jazz like structures. The vocal harmonies are quite weird too. 'Time Is Not On Your Side' is probably the proggiest moment on thw album, plus the alto vocal reminds me of the Pink Floyd moment on 'The Great Gig In The Sky', sung by Clare Torry on 'Dark Side Of The Moon'. The album finishes up with the quirky 'Lay Down', a very short two minute piece, that again, goes off the page with vocal histrionics amid a funky 70's Euro rock style, a la Randy Pie, Lake and bands of the nature.

In Summary
I have quite a lot of Karthago's albums, and obviously the two English speaking ones were the first to get a hearing. The band were quite active during the early-mid 80's, but broke up in 1985 only to reform in 1990, but became more active following their 25th anniversary in 2004. Their most recent studio was from 2009 ('Idotores') and a Live Concert album from 2010. Some interesting stuff among their vast discography, but start with this one.

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#1 | gdazegod on February 22 2017 22:47:00
Karthago - 1983 Girls From Nowhere
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