A Hungarian band formed in the early 80s, Solaris then consisted of guitar, flute, keyboards, drums and bass (With the names being Hungarian, therefore difficult for me to remember). Marsbeli Kronikak (or The Martian Chronicles) was their debut effort, and what an effort it was! While the album is slightly marred by the age (cheesy synth tones, lots and lots of palm muting), it still stands through as a great prog album.
Marsbeli Kronikak opens with the side-long title track. While Part I is littered with horrible synth patches, the rest of the song is easily the best I've heard from the 80s. No instrument really stands above the rest, and the song has a very strong compositional feel throughout. It seems to be heavily based on ideas from the Romantic period (although the song itself is not classical music). Lots of interplay between flute, guitar and keys, with bass and drums holding up a solid rhythm section.
Side two opens with “M`ars Poetica”, a much more upbeat track then the largely depressing first side. A decent track, if nothing exceptional.
“Ha Felszall A Kod” is possibly the closest prog rock will ever get to a song for slowdancing. While the flute melody is beautiful, I can't help but be reminded of a showtune. The synthstrings on this track are, by the way, absolutely awful; so cheesy that they're actually laugh-out-loud funny. Very cool guitar solo, though, and then the flute melody repeats the intro theme to close the song.
“Apokalipszis” is very much in the same vein as “M`ars Poetica”, and is a great song in its own right.
“E-Moll Elojatek” is a quick flute duet. A rather strange (or pointless) transition, considering how the last track is very similar to “Apokalipszis”.
“Legyozhetetlen” closes off what is possibly my favourite prog album of the 80s. Another upbeat rocker, it features a lot of ideas for a 3 minute song.
Marsbeli Kronikak is definitely worth the time of any fan of Symphonic prog, even if only for the first side (The second side, while good, is largely inferiour). Though Hungarian, the album has much less influence from Eastern Europe then one would expect (Which could be either a boon or a bane, depending on your point of view). In short, it is well worth a listen for all who enjoy instrumental prog.