About the Songs
A collection of thoughts which basically paraphrases the beliefs of Jules Verne (coming mostly from the first half of his creative phase) in technical and scientific progress that should help provide the better world for men on Earth. He believed that the best individuals and "the most honorable people" will lead humanity in the name of a greater good and progress and that their intelligence, honor and hard work will defeat the obscurantists, reactionaries and evil people in general.
Musically, the beginning of the album is inspired by no one other than Ludwig van Beethoven, especially by the opening tones of his opus „Egmont".
The voiceover in "Intro" was originally supposed to be recorded by Vladimír Hudec, the classmate of Stanislav Balko and Michal Langer, but his health problems stopped him from doing so.
The Czech version was eventually recorded by Vítězslav "Viktor" Kula himself (and I must point out that, looking back, he did it quite well) and the English one was later dubbed by Colum Leckey, a Washington D. C native.
Victoria is not a woman. Victoria is a hot-air balloon from Verne's first novel Five week in a Balloon. The "lighter than air" aircraft is used for an adventurous explorative journey in the 60s of 19th century by three Englishmen: Dr. Ferfusson, his friend Dick Kennedy, and manservant Joe. As they travel, they find the source of the river Nile which was still undiscovered back then.
The song contains, however, another level of meaning: "Ve víru změn pouta praskají/uvolněná z řetězů Victoria vzlétá" (translated: In the course of change, the shackles break/The Victoria rises, set free from chains). These lines reflect the feelings from the period of events in the Czechoslovakia in 1989.
From a musical stand point, it is interesting that the chorus was made first (and was supposed to be just a verse) but was put aside as the author felt helpless about continuing and did not have enough time. Gradually, another author came around, wrote verses for the song and turned the original verse into the chorus. It is believed that some songs by the Beatles were allegedly created by the duo Lennon–McCartney in the same fashion.
The song is about love* and has nothing to do with Jules Verne. Rachel is a biblical character who appears in Jewish texts, specifically in the Old Testament (or Tora).
Rachel was a beautiful woman but she was unable to fulfil her life by giving birth to a child for a long time. Nevertheless, later she realized that her salvation does not lie in material, and passing objects and lusts but in God (or other fundamental matters), and so she achieved what she was aspiring to (she became the foremother of the Jews).
Musically, "Rachel" is a twister of guitar riffs. The members of Tarantula have never kept it secret that their biggest idol was Metallica and you can hear it in this song the most.
The guitar solo (which is played in the second half as a duet) is inspired by one of the most famous Czech composers, Antonín Dvořák, and his Symphony No. 9 in E minor, "From the New World".
*note: about love between a man and a woman
Captain Hatteras was obsessed by his passion to be the first man to stand on the North Pole. This proud Englishman from the second half of the 19th century finally achieves his goal after suffering from great and long hardships. But at what cost? In the end, he loses his mind. He is the protagonist of the Verne's book The Adventures of Captain Hatteras.
The song had a great potential but from the lyrical and arrangement point of view, it certainly lacks and could have used a little more of care from the composers.
In one of the guitar solos you can even overhear of a small portion of the national anthem of USSR. Today, it is hard to say whether it was on purpose, or just an act of current helplessness. Nonetheless, when the song was being recorded, it made others laugh so they decided to roll with it.
This one was inspired by the social changes at the end of the 80s in so called "socialist countries", in song referred to as "holky ošklivý a ztrápený" (the ugly and troubled girls), especially by the Czechoslovak Velvet Revolution of 1989.
You can hear other references, such as to the famous photographs of the policemen in helmets on the Prague avenue Národní třída on 17th November 1989: "Před námi kordón helm" (There is a cordon of helmets ahead of us).
This song also does not include no Verne's theme, at least not directly. Despite mentioning cocaine, the song is definitely not about drugs. The guitar riffs in the verses are also interesting because they were composed by the band's drummer.
This song is mainly inspired by the illustration by the Czech painter Zdeněk Burian in the Czech translation of Verne's Dick Sand, A Captain at Fifteen. The picture shows Arabic slave masters from the second half of the 19th century who are leading their black slaves in chains through the African countryside. The slaves look like animals and are probably to be sold like goods to Americans.
The song went through some changes during the recording. Libor Mrkva sung the non-released demo version which you can listen to here (see "Audio files").
The Chancellor was an astonishing three-master which set off on 27th September 1869 from Charleston, USA to England. However, during the journey, the lower deck of the ship bursts into flames and, gradually, it suffers shipwreck. Some of the crew and passengers save themselves on a wooden raft. At this very moment, the novel becomes almost a horror and a sociological study at the same time. Some of the people on the raft change into complete animals because of the critical situation. The sail turns into madness full of people dying of thirst and hunger, killing and even cannibalism.
The longest suffering finally ends thanks to sea streams that take the raft into the Amazon River (where the water is fresh and drinkable as the last illustration of the Czech translation suggests). The survivors are rescued. The animals turn into humans. That's about it for Verne's The Survivors of the Chancellor.
From the musical perspective, the song has an untraditional structure with its strange number of beats and measures. The guitar riff sounds just incredible, even to this day. This all creates a great tune for real connoisseurs (see pictures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
The title song of the album. The lyrics in verses are inspired by the illustrations in Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Captain Nemo (the captain and creator of the submarine Nautilus) describes to professor Aronnax (Verne's alter-ego) his creation, the technical miracle for its age. Nemo was a genius who was looking for freedom in depth of the sea. He lived completely independently from the dry land. He was previously an Indian prince. His family was killed by an unnamed world power as a revenge for the rebellion against the power's colonial rule. The chorus was inspired mostly by the book's illustration titled „The Underwater Way to the Crespo" with three 19th century divers.
The text contains a strange lyric: "mlno jest hýbel" (Current shall be power).. This is a technical Czech slang from the 19th century and it simply means that "the electricity is the energy" (as for Nautilus).
The opening riff came out of unplugged guitar strumming while sitting on couch at home thinking about Ritchie Blackmore. The whole song, however, went a bit different way...
Nautilus is continuing the theme from the previous song. It is about freedom, sea and its beauties but also its dangers and secrets. It is about love, pride, courage, and finding your own way. It talks about captain Nemo and his travelling through the sea world. He is a friend of the ocean but he has to fight with it as well from time to time. He is followed by sea wolves, wild tempests, whirlpools and the sounds of seagulls, albatrosses and other sea birds. The main thought is that the goods ideals and deeds will always help the world in some way or another.
The acoustic guitar used in the recording was borrowed because the band members did not have one that would be good enough. They also needed the sea sound effects which also turned out to be a problem because their studio did not have them stored and the rival studio in near city of Ostrava was unwilling to help them. Luckily, they were saved by the Czech radio studio Český rozhlas Ostrava.
The video for the song "Nautilus", ", which was made in 2018, is also talked about on the website.