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Abel Ganz


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Abel Ganz Gratuitous Flash album cover
3.25 | 84 ratings | 8 reviews | 8% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1984

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Little By Little (7:49)
2. Kean On The Job (6:54)
3. You And Yours (6:02)
4. The Scorpion (4:47)
5. Gratuitous Flash (6:23)
6. The Dead Zone (16:40)

Total time 48:35

Line-up / Musicians

- Alan Reed / lead vocals
- Malcolm McNiven / guitars
- Hew Montgomery / keyboards
- Hugh Carter / bass, keyboards
- Kenny Weir / drums

Releases information

Artwork: The cover represented is from the CD reissue

MC Not On Label ‎- AG 1 (1984, UK)

CD Ugum Production ‎- UGU 00891 (1991, France)

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and to Quinino for the last updates
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ABEL GANZ Gratuitous Flash ratings distribution

(84 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (39%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

ABEL GANZ Gratuitous Flash reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars From the huge amount of bands participating in the rebirth of UK prog rock in early-80's,ABEL GANZ can place themselves among the best ones.Formed in 1980 in Glascow,Scotland under the forces of bassist Hugh Carter and keyboardist Hew Montgomery,they started playing live around Glascow,having Malky McNiven on guitars and Kenny Weir on drums.The growing fame brought singer Alan Reed on the band,a bit later to be found on PALLAS' line-up.The quintet recorded their debut ''Gratuitous flash'' in 1983,originally released on cassette in 1984.

The 70's feeling of GENESIS blended with the new digital technology is the main characteristic of this album.Most of the compositions have an evident symphonic approach,not far from what IQ were creating around the same time.McNiven's style includes lots of STEVE HACKETT-inspired guitar hooks mixed with some intricate melodies in the typical British prog style of the 80's.Montgomery is fabulous on keys,delivering beatiful soundscapes both on piano and synthesizers,a definite heaven for a symph fan's ear.Of course,a couple of short tracks follow the familiar way of accesible,easy-listening prog rock based on nice grooves and pleasant melodies,but that's only the exception.The symphonicism haunts most of this album' running time,strengthened by Alan Reed superb vocal work,close to the color of PETER GABRIEL's voice.Excellent album with a plenty of challenging/well-crafted moments,which deserves to be added in your collection.Highly recommended!

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Dead flash

My first acquaintance with Abel Ganz was with their most recent studio album at the time of writing, Shooting Albatross. After now having heard the band's previous four studio albums from the years 1984 to 1994, I must say that all of these are radically different from the 2008 outing. While in Shooting Albatross I could hear a lot of Caravan as well as some Jazz and Folk influences, in this debut album I hear only lukewarm keyboard-driven Pop Prog. The compositions are rather average throughout and the worst of the lot has to be the tedious Keen On The Job. There is indeed some keyboard "flash" to be found here, but it only sounds inspired on a few short passages, the intro to the opening track being a good case in point.

Prog fans are bound to take an interest in the 16 minute plus composition, The Dead Zone, that closes the album. While not "dead" as such, this is hardly excellent Prog. I can imagine this impressing someone who had never heard any other progressive Rock before, but for experienced listeners this will most likely appear as average material. Not bad as such, but I find it hard to be excited about this music.

The lead vocalist here is none other than Alan Reed, better known for his long time contribution to Pallas. Reed's voice is distinctive and I always find him great to listen to - indeed, he's one of my preferred vocalists - but his presence is not enough to help these tame compositions up. I think it is fair to say that Abel Ganz was, at least at this point in time, a second rate Neo-Prog band.

For fans and collectors only

Review by Warthur
3 stars Whilst the idea that the early neo-prog bands were all Genesis clones is a gross generalisation - most of the bands showed a more varied range of influences than their detractors give them credit for - Abel Ganz' debut album is another matter. The album is from start to finish focused on replicating Genesis' mid-1970s style, though to their credit the band at least manage to imitate their musical heroes in a sufficiently loyal and intelligent way as to provide plenty of interest to Genesis fans.

Malcolm McNiven does a passable Hackett on the guitars, Hew Montgomery's keyboard work updates Tony Banks' 1970s approach to modern equipment very successfully, whilst Alan Reed sets himself apart from many Genesis-clone vocalists in proving equally willing to borrow elements of Phil Collins' delivery as he is to borrow from Peter Gabriel.

The whole package isn't going to astonish you with its originality, but it's got this odd sort of charm to it - and that's more than could be said of Genesis themselves in 1983. Nonetheless, the material here is basically rather simplistic, and the band has a bad habit of trying to pad out five minutes of ideas into ten minutes of music, so I wouldn't put a high priority on it unless you're very keen on neo-prog history.

Review by J-Man
3 stars Though the mid-eighties' may not be a particularly notable period in progressive rock's history, the UK-fronted neo prog movement at the time spawned plenty of excellent acts to keep the spirit of the genre alive while many of its veterans descended into mediocrity. Abel Ganz is one of the lesser-known bands from this movement, but their debut album Gratuitous Flash was released right at the height of early neo-progressive rock. Like many neo-prog bands from this time period, their style borrows heavily from the likes of Genesis and Marillion, often sounding like an updated version of Trick of the Tail-era Genesis with dashes of Mark Kelly influenced keyboards and commercial songwriting. Although Gratuitous Flash won't win any points for originality, it has a sort of charm that is inevitably enjoyable for fans of the genre. By and large this is a fairly mediocre eighties' prog rock effort, but it has enough positive aspects to be worth a listen for neo-prog enthusiasts.

Gratuitous Flash is indeed a debut album, but Abel Ganz were fairly impressive musicians and composers at this point in their careers. All of the musicians deliver solid performances throughout the course of the album, and the songwriting is generally interesting and memorable. Although "Kean on the Job" is entirely disposable as far as I'm concerned, the rest of this observation is solid neo-prog from start to finish. The opening and closing tracks are actually the two biggest highlights in my opinion - both of these extended pieces really show what talented composers and players Abel Ganz truly are. Though the band makes little effort to stand out from your average neo-prog act, they deliver the goods enough to make this a fun listen from time to time.

As is typical for a production from this time period, Gratuitous Flash's sound quality is a bit thin and muddy; while I wouldn't call it a crippling deformity, it is a flaw worth pointing out. Abel Ganz doesn't leave a tremendous impact on the listener with their debut effort, but they do deliver a solid observation that should satisfy most fans of eighties' neo-prog. Though I'm left craving more originality and standout material when Gratuitous Flash finishes, this is still a good album to pull out every now and again. 3 stars are warranted for this decent debut from Abel Ganz.

Latest members reviews

3 stars One of the closest (but not best) clones of the Genesis era between 76-81. This is the only album that I heard in its entirety from the band as other songs didn't catch my attention that much. I must say that I love the Genesis period between 75-80 with Collins as the lead singer. I like any othe ... (read more)

Report this review (#1999046) | Posted by sgtpepper | Wednesday, August 22, 2018 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The debut album from these Glaswegian/Scottish neo-progsters follows the usual prog path from the 1980s. The songs are pretty light melodic and not overly complicated. The sound is surprisingly good. Most of all; they sounds like a melodic version of Marillion. The musicans and the vocalist is ... (read more)

Report this review (#501615) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Thursday, August 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Composition/Creativity: 17/25 When they do instrumentals I really like them. Lyrics are a sore spot here though, almost to the point of embarrassment (Kean On The Job). Maybe its only Fish who can really pull this off successfully. Musicianship: 20/25 These guys aren't exactly prog virtu ... (read more)

Report this review (#176915) | Posted by Trademark | Tuesday, July 15, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I discovered this band via a bargain bucket where i bought the excellent "the dangers of strangers" and was shocked to hear alan reed from pallas. A few months later the band were playing a gig in glasgow and i went along and bought the entire back catolouge, in my defence there was a very goo ... (read more)

Report this review (#465) | Posted by | Friday, December 17, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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