Reviews of "Nostradamus"

(Steamhammer/ SPV)

Now *here's* an ambitious concept album... This 21-track, 100-minute opus from mastermind Nikolo Kotzev (Baltimoore/Brazen Abbot) tells the tale of the 16th century visionary and his much vaunted predictions. Kotzev wrote, produced, and played guitar, violin, keyboards, and percussion on the album, and he enlisted a diverse lineup of guest vocalists, some of whom he's worked with before in Brazen Abbot: Goran Edman, Glenn Hughes, Joe Lynn Turner, Doogie White, Jorn Lande, Alannah Myles, and Sass Jordan. Each vocalist plays a role in the story (Turner is Nostradamus, Hughes is the King of France, etc.) and the songs feature all manner of duets, solos, trade-off vocals, choirs, and just about everything else you can imagine. Sometimes the lyrics get too cumbersome, making a particular track come off more like a "plot furtherer" than a *song*, but fortunately that's kept to a minimum. The album is divided into three acts consisting of ten, six, and five songs, respectively, and the plot is clearly and expertly laid out in a beautiful booklet containing lyrics, text, photos, and character sketches. Musically, Kotzev proves himself a master of blending Deep Purple/Rainbow-style classic hard rock (played by Kotzev, bassist John Leven, organist Mic Michaeli, and drummer Ian Haugland) with symphonic and orchestral music. And he isn't just giving lip-service to the symphonic elements, either, like a few other recent albums. Kotzev teamed up with a real 35-piece orchestra, conducted by Nelko Kolarov, and the mix is just right. There are straight classical pieces, straight rock songs, and deft combinations of both. Hughes fans will relish his spirited vocals in the gospel choir-tinged "Caught Up In A Rush," and Edman fans will love the hooky, radio-ready "World War II," and balladeers will dig Turner's duets with Myles in both "Try To Live Again" and "I'll Remember You." Other rock song highlights include "Desecration," "The King Will Die," "I Don't Believe," and "World War III." There's almost too much going on here for a short (ahem) review to do justice, so let's just say that if you're into "big" rock albums, and the idea of orchestral crossover sounds intriguing, then you need to pick this up.


Detritus (