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...CYKL OBRACA SIę, NARODZINY, DZIECIńSTWO PEłNE DUSZY, UśMIECHËW NIEWINNYCH I ZDRADY...

Abraxas

Neo-Prog


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Abraxas ...Cykl Obraca Się, Narodziny, Dzieciństwo Pełne Duszy, Uśmiechˇw Niewinnych I Zdrady... album cover
4.14 | 136 ratings | 13 reviews | 38% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Before (1:49)
2. Tarot (8:30)
3. Dorian Gray (5:55)
4. Kameleon (4:30)
5. Alhambra (8:25)
6. Inferno (5:12)
7. Ajudah (9:07)
8. De Profundis (4:56)
9. Tabula Rasa (11:15)

Total Time: 59:39

Bonus tracks on 2000 remaster:
10. La Strada (3:39)
11. Gdy Wydaje Niemożliwym Się Pamiętać (7:19)

Line-up / Musicians

- Adam Łassa / vocals
- Szymon Brzeziński / guitars
- Marcin Błaszczyk / keyboards, flute
- Rafał Ratajczak / bass
- Marcin Mak / drums

Releases information

CD Ars Mundi ‎- AMS 007R (1996, Poland)
CD Ars Mundi ‎- JK2000CD112 (2000, Europe) Remastered with 2 bonus tracks and new cover art

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ABRAXAS ...Cykl Obraca Się, Narodziny, Dzieciństwo Pełne Duszy, Uśmiechˇw Niewinnych I Zdrady... ratings distribution


4.14
(136 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(38%)
38%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
35%
Good, but non-essential (15%)
15%
Collectors/fans only (10%)
10%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

ABRAXAS ...Cykl Obraca Się, Narodziny, Dzieciństwo Pełne Duszy, Uśmiechˇw Niewinnych I Zdrady... reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As if anyone needed more proof of the booming Prog scene in Poland with such inspired groups like Collage/Satellite, Quidam, Albion, Lizard , Ankh and Turquoise to name a few. This central European country has been dishing out some luscious debut discs in the mid- 90s none more compelling than this stunner! Abraxas obviously grew up on a steady diet of Marillion for lunch and Genesis for dinner, led by a manic lead vocalist with a tinge of melodramatic hysteria and a kick-ass axeman who is unafraid to let his considerable talents shine as often as possible. Secured by a slick sound production, they positively romp through some spellbinding material from the opening epic "Tarot" all the way to the masterful classic "Tabula Rasa" with its fabulous extended synth workout as well as some tasty all around contributions from each and all. An hour of really good neo-prog at its finest. 4 cards
Review by progaardvark
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Abraxas' debut album is the only album I have from this group, so I cannot speak about where their sound went after this album. For me, this is Poland's answer to Fish-era Marillion. Not knowing any Polish myself, I can't tell what the really long title means and what most of the lyrics mean, but the Polish lyrics didn't distract me at all from having a great time listening to this charming disc. It's clearly in the neo prog/symphonic prog vein and the influences chiefly seem to be Marillion and Genesis. The guitar work is wonderful, the keyboard work is exceptional, as is the bass and percussion. Though not being able to understand the Polish vocals of Adam Łassa, I found his voice to be powerful, dramatic, and very fitting for this style of music (not a Fish clone either!). Another viewer thought he sounded like Peter Hammill and I'm inclined to agree, though I still think his voice is quite unique.

Highly recommended to neo prog fans. This is a must have if this is your genre of taste. For those of you not interested in bands inspired by Marillion and Genesis, you might want to avoid. Otherwise, this is a four-star excellent addition to a prog rock collection.

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I discovered this Polish band almost four years ago, and I was quite impressed with their second album. But this one does not stand shy.

Their music is rather complex, hard at times. It was also a surprise for me to find out that Polish lyrics could perfectly fill their role with rock music (even if I can't grab any words). Their songs are melodic, with lots of theme changes and I have to confess that I like very much the voice and personal style of their lead vocalist Adam Łassa.

He is emotional, has power but at the same time reaches very high notes. Really pleasant. When you combine his talent with some vigorous drumming, strong backing keys as well as somptuous guitar work, you'll get a fantastic song as "Tarot". One of my fave from the album. But there are plenty very good ones.

"Dorian Gray" is almost symphonic and so poignant. Of course the character of Dorian Gray is such a great source of inspiration! It is a solid rocking piece. At times, Adam sounds like Lene Lovitch. The dark atmosphere of the novel can be felt in this song which on the edge of metal. But true prog metal (like another great Polish band : "Riverside").

The hard / metal style is also featured during the excellent "Kameleon". The instrumental middle-part features some great and difficult drumming. Bass is very complex as well and it is one of the many strong point of this band who shows a very strong musical foundation.

The musical style of "Abraxas" ranges from symphonic to prog metal. The introduction of "Alhambra" is almost classical and very pleasant. A great introduction to this beautiful and powerful song. Extremely diversified, it even reminds me of "Magazine" some times. Another highlight.

This album has little weaknesses and flows very easily from one track to the following one. Melody is often present in each song even if the handicap of the language prevents me to understand one single line of the lyrics. One can feel the passion from Adam and as far as I am concerned, I can cope with this. In this respect, "Ajudah" is very much convincing.

But even if their lead singer seems to raise the level of their music, "Abraxas" is not a one man band. The music you can discover in this very good album is much more than just a neo-prog album. Lots of genres are mixed as I have already said; and it makes this album even more appealing. When you'll have heard the sumptuous guitar solo during "De Profundis" you'll just be conquered.

Keys will be the main guest for "Tabula Rasa". It starts as a "Marillion" song which turns into an ocean of synthesizers. The instrumental portion is very powerful. It reminds me "Cinema Show" not because it is similar in sound; but just because it is almost as impressive as this wonderful song. So sweet acoustic guitar and flute combined with so theatrical vocals are just great. The guitar solo is again so sweet. This song is another highlight. A great song, my friends.

Two good bonus tracks (La Stradda which is a straight forward Marillion song and a more complex and refined "Gdy Wydaje...") to close this very good album which deserves four stars, and your attention.

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The vocalist is really the focal point of this band with his aggressive and theatrical vocals. He does sing in Polish, in fact the liner notes and lyrics are also all written in Polish.

"Before" is a good uptempo intro track to get us warmed up. "Tarot" opens with almost 3 minutes of sounds that come and go along with spoken words. No real melody until we get an Eastern flavoured soundscape. It changes 3 1/2 minutes in to a guitar/drum melody. Organ after 5 minutes. Spanish sounding guitar 7 minutes in. "Dorian Gray" is pastoral early but becomes surprisingly heavy after a minute. Theatrical vocals come in. A calm 3 minutes in as we get waves of synths. It kicks back in. "Kameleon" opens with synths, theatrical vocals, drums then a full sound. Nice bass 2 1/2 minutes in. Some good prominant guitar after 4 minutes.

"Alhambra" opens with acoustic guitar as synths join in. It kicks in before 1 1/2 minutes with vocals. Pleasant guitar 2 minutes in with pounding drums. Keys after 4 minutes as vocals get serious. Soaring guitar after 6 minutes and the bass stands out. "Inferno" has a good solid sound with crisp drumming. Some excellent guitar and drumming 4 minutes in. "Ajudah" has lots of atmosphere and organ to begin with. Over the top vocals after a minute. Yikes. Vocals do get better. Acoustic guitar after 3 minutes. More theatrical vocals and the guitar 7 1/2 minutes in is great. "De Profundis" opens with acoustic guitar and reserved vocals. Violin comes in as vocals get more passionate and the sound gets fuller. "Tabula Rasa" is the longest track at over 11 minutes, and for me the best one. Drums and flute stand out early as vocals and a fuller sound follows. Synths take the lead. Theatrical vocals after 3 1/2 minutes. A calm 5 minutes in with some beautiful guitar a minute after that. Flute and vocals come back 8 minutes in. Guitar ends it.

Good record, but for me barely 3 stars.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars When listening to the world ''Abraxas'' it is reasonable for your mind to think about Carlos Santanas' eponymous legendary album.But let me tell you that this is the same name of a band from Poland almost as legendary as Carlos Santana IMHO for progressive rock.ABRAXAS were founded at late 80's in a very difficult time for a progressive rock band to survive and after several changes in the line-up and some really bad moments (original guitarist Radek Kaminski was killed in a car accident) ) they managed to stabilize a basic line-up in 1994.Heavily influenced by 70's progressive rock giants such as GENESIS and YES,as well as MARILLION,the band released their debut in 1996 simply called ''Abraxas'' but the cover contained also the enigmatic phrase ''Cykl obraca sie.Narodziny,dziecinstwo pelne duszy, usmiechow niewinnych i zdrady'' which means ''Eveything comes full circle.Birth,childhood full of souls,innocent smiles and treachery.''...

The excellent music of the album is centered around the amazing performance of the talented vocalist and one of ABRAXAS' founders Adam Lassa.The tracks go undoubtfully the neo prog/art rock way but this album defines exactly how neo prog should be played.The music alternates between complex keyboard and guitar themes,melodic solos,an overall dramatic/emotional atmosphere and there is also much space for Lassa to sing in his own style.Lassa can be dramatic,melodic,angry,operatic,emotional at the same time,he is very much influenced by Fish,Peter Hammill or even some french prog rock bands singers like Francis Decamps of ANGE or Dominique LeGuennec of MONA LISA and in general he expresses the lyrics in an awesome way,a really talented frontman and of course the main figure of the band.Bassist Rafal Ratajczak completes his role perfectly sometimes with aggresive heavy bass playing and some others just fullfilling the sound.Marcin Mak is a great drummer with complex and rhythmic drum playing alternating all the time.Szymon Brzezinski is another great musician with great guitar solos,dramatic heavy passages and nice acoustic guitar work.Last but not least comes the keyboardist Marcin Blaszczik who handles also the beautiful flutes we listen throughout the album.He is obviously influenced by Mark Kelly and fills the sound of the band with some excellent solos and atmospheric grandiose passages.

The production of the album is simply fantastic.All the instruments and the voice are mixed in the same range resulting a great effort.There isn't a weak track in the album,we have to deal with rich compositions here,which have to offer dramatic and thrilling emotions to the listener.

This isn't just a very good album,this is a masterpiece of progressive rock from the finest neo prog scene of the world,Poland,which MUST stand next to the greatest albums of YES,GENESIS,KING CRIMSON,VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR and RUSH in your collection.A must for everyone who considres himself a prog rock lover...5 full stars for this polish legend!

Review by progrules
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I just stated in my previous review that Prophecies is in fact not even the best output by Abraxas even though it's a great album. That honour is for this debut by the band from 1996, the one with the unpronounceable (for non-Polish people) title I usually refer to as Cykl. This one is often regarded as one of the standout neo progressive albums and I can only agree with this.

The album kicks off with a nice guitar dominated short track to warm things up apparently. Next is one of the longer songs, Tarot, the first with vocals which are sung in Polish so I don't have the slightest idea what it's about. The vocals are good, sometimes theatrical sometimes drenched with emotions. Tarot is more a vocal than an instrumental track which is a pity for an instrumental devotee like me, still a good song though. Dorian Gray shows the rough side of Abraxas that is a versatile band where style is concerned. This one goes towards heavy prog or even prog metal. Kameleon is one of the more average songs, good but actually drowning in this pool of great music, it simply doesn't stand out. Expressive vocals once again. Alhambra sets in with beautiful flute, after one and a half minute moving in a typical "Shadowland-like" rhythm (I was actually expecting Clive Nolan to start singing but no it was mr. Lassa anyway). Interesting song where the compositional aspect is concerned. Notice the piano part halfway the song for instance. Next song, Inferno, is again a very vocal track though there is also room for the guitar here. Ajudah appeals a bit less to me mainly caused by unpleasant vocals. In De Profundis these get better again albeit that also here vocals are very dominant. Highlight to me is Tabula Rasa, you could say the Pokuszenie of this album. The longest song and also the most interesting of this album. And most of all the moments of sheer beauty, in the end the feature most significant to me of Abraxas.

It strikes me that this album is actually hardly true neo. Neo progressive prog rock is more straightforward with at least 80-90% emphasis on catchy melodies. These melodies are truly present on this album, no doubt, but there are also quite a lot general progressive and even original elements present in the music of Abraxas. I also noticed this on Prophecies but it certainly is also the case on this debut. A marvelous album, highly recommended to all neo minded proggers and worth exploring by any proghead. 4 stars (4,25).

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars "Cycl" - which apparently isn't actually the album's title (this was meant to be a self-titled album but everyone thought an extract of the lyrics printed on an early version of the cover was the album title) - is the debut album by Abraxas, and the opening instrumental "Before" presents a style that isn't too far from the more complex bits of the first Jadis album, or maybe IQ in their more light-hearted and whimsical moods (such as the opening instrumental from their demo, Seven Stories Into Eight). The next track, "Tarot", abruptly slows down the pace and darkens the mood, with brooding synthesisers creating an air of menace before guitar and drums kick in and whispered vocals deliver... something in Polish which I'm afraid I don't understand, but it seems pretty spooky whatever it is. When the track kicks into high gear I hear all sorts of influences - a shot of Middle Eastern folk, a fair slice of Marillion, and again a big slab of IQ, but Abraxas do a good job of carving out their own particular flavour of neo-prog.

Vocalist Adam Lassa helps a lot with his unique delivery, which is somewhere between an even more deranged Peter Hammill and a much less harsh and grating version of Mr Doctor (vocalist with Devil Doll), but everyone in the band contributes to this - just listen to Szymon Brzezinski's use of acoustic guitar in "Tarot", a little touch which isn't quite what you'd expect from any of their influences, and is well beyond most neo-prog Marillionalikes. And Marcin Blaszczyk's use of keyboards and flute in "Dorian Grey" are absolutely key to the atmosphere. And that's what Abraxas understand - the very best neo-prog albums out there might not be the most technically complex products of the prog scene, but what they sometimes lack in complexity they more than make up for in *atmosphere* and establishing a particular mood. It's true of Script for a Jester's Tear, it's true of The Wake, and it's true of Abraxas's debut.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The debut release from a Polish band whose lineup had been through nine years of evolution including several breakups. All of that time, I think, must have steeled their resolve and polished their vision and chops as the songs and production of this album are quite mature and sophisticated.

1. "Before" (1:49) a hard-drivin' rockin' out intro as if Keith Emerson had put together a 80s prog-pop ensemble. (4.25/5)

2. "Tarot" (8:30) bleeds over from the previous song with an ominously sustained low synth note/chord. Incidental guitar, keyboard, bass, flute, cymbal, and even spoken word and "taped" singing line flourishes flit in and out of the soundscape for almost three minutes until bass, drums and guitar(s) break into a pulsing, swinging rock base over which synths, guitar, and vocals take turns. Very dramatic vocal theatrics come from the singer's performance reminding me a lot of Austrian singer Johan H÷lzel's performances as FALCO. It's entertaining but also far too central and dominating to the song relegating the musical accompaniment to restrained simplicity. Drum flourishes, Spanish and electric guitar flourishes pepper the music but really it's Adam Łassa's show. (17.5/20)

3. "Dorian Gray" (5:55) A solid atmospheric heavy prog song with a story and great sound production. Though one might have predicted it (based upon the subject matter as indicated in the title), Adam's vocal performance here is far less theatric than the previous song--which gives the instruments more room to shine. Unfortunately, they don't take full advantage of this opportunity. A bit of a VDGG/BABYLON feel to the mid-section, but then things turn more toward the realm of hair band 1980s metal. (8.25/10)

4. "Kameleon" (4:30) more solid heavy rock-prog with interesting subtleties as value added items. Again, Adam's vocal performance is more hard rock--with background vocal support in the second half. Again, the band's mature restraint is noticeable--especially for a supposed "debut" album. (8.5/10)

5. "Alhambra" (8:25) Spanish guitar with deep organ pedals open this one before flute and synths join in. Then, at 1:25 the full band joins in setting up a nice soundscape for Adam to sing over. There is a little FALCO-ADAM ANT-like delivery of the lyrics during the fair-like music of the fourth minute, then everything turns classical both in terms of instrumentation choices and structure. Even Adam's singing is more classical like, feeling wholly like a AFTER CRYING song and performance. The final two minutes have Adam singing in his insistent voice over a return to a more proggy sound palette--though the fade out is purely classical with piano and flute. Nice musicianship on display, but the song is missing . . . something. One of my three favorite songs on the album. (17.75/20)

6. "Inferno" (5:12) by this point the minimally complex instrumental structures and sound palettes are becoming too uniform and monotonous. Even the pacing seems too homogenous. Though Adam's theatrical performances put him into the same group as Peter Gabriel, Peter Hammill, Nina Hagen, Dorrocus, Fish, and Falco, even these become a little tedious for their repetitiousness due to the language barrier. (8.25/10)

7. "Ajudah" (9:07) opens with some delicately played arpeggiated chords from keyboard and guitar before Adam enters to sing. Again, the music is solid but Adam's performance suffers from my inability to understand what he's singing about. Some very Genesis-like sounds and structures peak through here and there but overall this kind of sound foreshadows the heavier prog of many bands to come. (17.5/20)

8. "De Profundis" (4:56) I love the classical instrumentation and sounds used within the weave of this song. The band members all seem to be on full display and Adam's storytelling fits perfectly into the weave. A top three song for me. (9/10)

9. "Tabula Rasa" (11:15) opens again sounding like every other song on the album despite the prominence of the chunky bass, flute and Spanish guitar soloing in the opening section. Adam enters, singing more forcefully than usual, and the music soon comes to match his aggressiveness. An extended synth solo (the album's first and only!) in the first instrumental section after the first verse might give some indication of why there aren't more of these: he's not very good (as a soloist)! Come to think of it, neither is the electric guitarist (taking the solo after the second verse and chorus). The bass player and drummer might be the best things behind Adam--though, to be fair, all of the instrumentalists do a rock solid job of creating great soundscapes over which Adam is able to perform. Better guitar solo the second time around?more of a STEVE HACKETT approach than heavy metal. The Spanish guitar solo in the seventh minute?later joined by lilting flute?is wonderful--almost "I Talk to the Wind"-ish. The reemergence of the heavy "tabula rasa" chorus to break up the delicate instrumental solo section is brilliant--as is Adam's successive highly Teutonic vocal section. My final top three song. (18/20)

Total Time: 59:39

I don't mind the lyrics to be in Polish--especially when you have as good a singer as Adam Łassa delivering them. The instrumentalists feel so very competent yet I am surprised at how seldom they solo--or, rather, how seldom their solos flash or wow. Again, it seems obvious from this album that Adam is the front piece and everything and everyone else takes a back seat to not step on the singer's toes.

B+/4.5 stars; a solid addition to prog world and a remarkable Neo Prog debut.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Composition / Creativity: 22/25 The language barrier makes this a bit difficult to judge so they get the benefit if the doubt. musically they are very solid. Lots of nice changes of mood and tempo. Musicianship: 21/25 Very solid Neo-style. Nothing to totally WOW me, but nothing that ... (read more)

Report this review (#176917) | Posted by Trademark | Tuesday, July 15, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This one is the best debut from polish prog rock ever. Abraxas lead vocal Adam Lassa is a very characteristic person; his way of singing is unique. It is alittle bit close to Erly Marillion - Fish way of singing or maybe Peter Gabriel but his voice is more dramatic, much more theatrical and ev ... (read more)

Report this review (#126739) | Posted by adamB | Monday, June 25, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars If there is something that I`m proud of living in Poland it is surely our prog scene. Mayby it is not very wide but it has very good quality. We have SBB, Riverside, Collage,Induktu... and Abraxas of course. As a band from 80` and 90` it must be similar to some others. We can hear Marillion, ... (read more)

Report this review (#96565) | Posted by Wobbler | Wednesday, November 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Abraxas is an exception of the rule. I don't know how does it happen, that their rough and quite heavy music has all the advantages of neo-progressive rock, which is thought to be always sweet. Adam ?assa has no voice - but he shows his emotions greatly - and it works! The record has rather l ... (read more)

Report this review (#71585) | Posted by | Friday, March 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I think that Abraxas was (unfortunately they don't exist) the best polish prog rock band. "Cykl obraca się..." is my favourite LP, because every song tells incredible story about pain and love. ... (read more)

Report this review (#475) | Posted by | Saturday, November 29, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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