Reviews of "Nostradamus"

NIKOLO KOTZEVíS NOSTRADAMUS
(Steamhammer/SPV)


Rating: 90

A must have disc for fans of high-end vocals. The singers here are: Glenn Hughes, Goran Edman, Doogie White, JL Turner, and the newcomer Jorn Lande. The music is classy hard rock with back up from a real orchestra. A 2CD set retailing for little more than a single CD, this is a good buy. The story is OK. The whole concept and the way singers are used is somewhat similar to Ayreon. Not the music though. This is more Rainbow than Pink Floyd. Glenn Hughes has 4 songs here. All are great, especially "Chosen man" and "Pieces of a dream". Goran Edman is also great, with about 5 songs, "The End of the World" a highlight. Instrumental parts are also well done. Kotzev is a very good guitarist and also plays a few violin solos. The rhythm section and keys are all ex-Europe. The overall sound is not very heavy and more on the AOR side.

Review by guest reviewer King in Crimson the Shadow Thief:
Nikolo Kotzev - author, guitars, violins, keyboards, percussion

Cast of individual characters/vocalists:
Anne Gemelle - Alannah Myles
Catherine, Queen of France - Sass Jordan
Ghost - Goran Edman
Henry II, King of France - Glenn Hughes
Inquisitor - Jorn Lande
Nostradamus - Joe Lynn Turner
Storyteller - Doogie White

Band:
John Leven - bass
Mic Michaeli - organ
Ian Haugland - drums

Produced by Nikolo Kotzev

Nikolo Kotzev is an unknown to me. He plays guitar for a European group called Brazen Abbott and this is how he got some seriously talented vocalists like Glenn Hughes and Goran Edman to sing for him on this rock opera, as he had worked with them before. Itís an historical rock opera spanning 2 discs that covers the life of Michel de Nostradame - Nostradamus, and also some of his prophecies. This work, which I think has been some years in the making, truly announces Nikolo Kotzev as a superb talent to the music world who has achieved a musical vison on a grand scale. Nostradamus is somewhat like the rock equivalent to Avantasia - The Metal Opera. However, voices and roles are more clearly defined and Nostradamus boasts a 35-piece orchestra (conducted by Nelko Kolarov). The stars of the piece, imo, are Glenn Hughes and Goran Edman who are the most consistent vocalists over their given tracks. Hughes is given pure gems to work with and is awe-inspiring at times. His phrasing on numbers like Pieces of a Dream and Chosen Man is what other vocalists dream of being able to do and few ever achieve. The latter track is a duet with Joe Lynn Turner and it must be said his overly raspy vocal detracts a bit but Iíve gotten used to it now. I Donít Believe is a treat as Jorn Lande pops up for a verse and it immediately brings to mind Mk III/IV Deep Purple with the Coverdale connotations. While JLT, as the title character, isnít up to scratch on Chosen Man he is quite good on others and his opening number, Desecration, with Goran Edman is brilliant. This is high praise from me because I am no big fan of this manís vocals usually but this is great. I donít think there is much point in exhaustively going through all the performances here so Iíll be brief from here on. I donít know what Alannah Myles has been doing since her hit Black Velvet but she shows some good power on her duet with Turner out-singing him (okay, that isnít too hard for good singers ;). Sass Jordan in the other female role is okay but this time Turner has the better vocal. Doogie White shows some very cool Dio-isms(with the odd Dickinson touch) on 2 tracks and a nice bluesy turn on his other numbers. Jorn Lande turns in a evil David Coverdale and is maybe a little raspy on the first disc but kicks arse on the second, a definite metal vocal star. Edman, like Hughes, is lucky in having some superb songs and his voice has a lot of character on such songs as The Eagle and The End of the World. Heís really moving up in my estimation of him, his accent helps him also imo which is not always the case for Swedish vocalists. The band, 2 of which I know from work with Glenn Hughes, the orchestra, and Kotzev are all excellent. Some very nice solos from Kotzev who has a similar sound to Misha Calvin imo. Lovely tone. Some of the ballads are a bit soppy but okay in their way and few, the rock numbers are what matter and they kill for the most part. A great synthesis of vision and combined talent. Anyone that is into the rock opera concept needs to get this. Metal fans, it is recommended you listen first. My favourites: Desecration, all Hughes numbers, World War III, The Eagle, The King Will Die

Rating: 9.7/10


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