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Abraxas - Centurie CD (album) cover





3.96 | 107 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Abraxas was the best neo-prog act from Poland, and "Centurie" is their absolute highlight - I have no doubt about it. Even though the musical motifs and arrangements are less complex than in their fantastic debut album's repertoire, I still find this repertoire as an improved endeavor, generally speaking, since the musical colorfulness is more diverse (in particular, regarding the addition of Gothic and exotic nuances), the sense of energy is enhanced, and the dramatic ambiences (both instrumentally an vocally) are better delivered, while the stereotypical progressive complexity is taken to a more subtle level. The ticking of a clock sets the pace for the dense, exotic 'Spiritud Flat Ubi Volt', which serves a proper prelude to the more epic-oriented 'Michel de Nostredame'. The epic stuff is taken to the realms of evocative melancholy in 'Excalibur', one of the most compelling Abraxas compositions ever - keeping a permanent 6/8 meter, it goes throughout its successive varied motifs fluidly, barely hiding the dramatic complexity that lies underneath sustaining the song's cohesiveness. Sandwiched between the two aforementioned tracks is the beautiful, delicate ballad 'Velvet', which kind of makes me think of Marillion's 'Cinderella Search'-meets-King Crimson's 'The Night Watch'. 'Kuznia' gets as metallic as neo-prog can ever be. for only 1 minute, 49 seconds - had it been developed further it would have made a real monster track, but all in all, I have no complaints, since it can be enjoyed as a prelude of fire to the two following epics, which seem to have been made out of air from the ethereal breezes that blow the hairs and gowns of the souls in limbo. The 10- minute 'Czakramy' has a first section that pretty much reminisces of the romantic drive that had been predominant so far, while its second section signals doom and tension, without getting too loud, yet the impending danger can also be touched in the sounds provided by the vocalist's urgent singing, the guitar's unearthly riffs, the wild synth solos, and the oppressive rhythm section. The following track 'Pokuszenie' keeps the same panache for gloom and darkness, actually making it even more intense in the harder passages, which evidently helps to build an effective pronounced contrast with the introspective ones. Last, but not least, after the display of musical gloom continuously displayed in tracks 6 & 7, here comes the pompous 'Nantalomba', which ends up the album with symphonic majesty, evoking images of an ancient palace during a royal celebration, where nobles and villagers at unison enjoy the spur of the moment. These flying colours fill a perfect epilogue for this neo-prog masterpiece of the late 90s. Oh, Abraxas, you are so sorely missed!

[Dedicated to my dear friend Gabriela]

Cesar Inca | 5/5 |


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