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Abel Ganz


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Abel Ganz The Dangers Of Strangers album cover
3.02 | 79 ratings | 8 reviews | 8% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1988

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Dangers of Strangers (12:08) :
- a) Part1: City Park
- b) Part2: At Times Like These
2. Rain Again (8:11) :
- a) Part1: Beginnings
- b) Part2: Lost And Found
- c) Part3: Hand In Hand
3. Hustler II (5:59)
4. Dreamtime (7:57)
5. Pick A Widow, You're Leaving (4:38)

Total time 38:53

Bonus tracks on 2008 remaster:
6. The Dangers Of Strangers (7:12)
7. Makers Of Strangers (Video)

Line-up / Musicians

- Paul Kelly / lead vocals & guitar (1)
- Alan Reed / lead vocals (2,4)
- Malky McNiven / guitar
- Hew Montgomery / keyboards, vocals
- Clark Sorley / keyboards (4)
- Hugh Carter / bass
- Denis Smith / drums (1-3)
- Al Esis / drums (4,5)
- Alan Quinn / drums (6)

Releases information

Artwork: Pascal Ferry (CD release, the one pictured here)

MC Not On Label ‎- AG 3 (1988, UK)

CD Ugum Production ‎- UGU 00591 (1991, France)
CD Abel Records ‎- ARAG002CD (2008, UK) With a bonus track and video footage from original recording sessions; New cover art

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ABEL GANZ The Dangers Of Strangers ratings distribution

(79 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (47%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

ABEL GANZ The Dangers Of Strangers reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Abel Ganz was one of those British bands that took the symphonic prog trend to a more immediate, straightforward realm, creating catchy melodies with an incorporated pop feel: that is, neo-prog, pretty much similar to what Pendragon was doing back in the 80s - not as emotionally rich as Marillion, nor as powerful as Pallas or Saga, nor as mysteriously somber as IQ -, just effective songs with a prog touch, well rooted in a tightly focused sense of melody. As it's usual in neo-prog, the keyboard layers and harmonies are the main sources that sustain the songs, though they're not as massive as in Pendragon's albums nor as pompous as in Pallas's recordings. Abel Ganz should be mostly regarded for their good taste at writing and their fluid interplaying, but not for bringing out something really new or amazingly special to the neo-prog genre (or prog, in general). The first two tracks are the longest ones, conceived as multi-part suites. The opening namesake song kicks off in a similar vein as the opening cut of Mike Rutherford's "Smallcreep's Day", with a mid-tempo motif: then, after a faster interlude that occasionally gets a bit epic, comes a different mid-tempo motif that features a recurrent ethereal melodic line on synth. 'Rain Again' finds Alan Reed delivering lead voice right before he entered the Pallas ranks: his vocal cadence fits perfectly the melancholy ambience in the slow parts of the song, but not as much the most enthusiastic moments. Some of the most energetic guitar parts of the album are comprised here. The following three numbers are nothing to write home about, but it is worth noting the sharp interplaying that takes place during the instrumental prelude of 'Hustler II', before Christopher Forsyth begins to sing his lines. 'Pick a Window' is the nice instrumental that closes down the album with a touch of simple elegance. Not great, but easily enjoyable, particularly the first two tracks.
Review by b_olariu
3 stars Third release Dangers of strangers from 1988 and their best from first era, maybe because the album got a little more credit then usual because of Alan Reed aparition, invited as guest on vocals. This album is very keyboard orientated, more then previous one, but don't expect to be something a la ELP, is again a typical release for neo prog zone where guitar and keys do a major role. The voice of Palls , Alan Reed did a good job here, nothing really impressive or new in this genre, keeping in mind that we are in 1988, a decade when neo prog was at the peak, Abel Ganz didn;t manage aswell with this releasee like the previous one to catch the train to succes liek their country fellows Iq or Marillion who were light years ahead in popularity. Still avery pleasent albu this Dangers of strangers, as I said with some excellent kys arrangements like on The Dangers Of Strangers , dreamy kyboards combined with some very refined guitar works. An album good to listen if you like neo prog, nothing special, but enjoyble and very sincere band in the end, they play wahat they know best, without being to pretentios , but not easy listning also. Again a good album who desearves 3 star for sure.
Review by stefro
3 stars One of the lesser lights of the 1980's neo-prog scene, Scotland's Abel Ganz nevertheless created one of the enduring anthem's of that era in the shape of 'The Dangers Of Strangers', the first track from the 1988 album of the same name. Now beautifully re-packaged and re- mastered, 'The Dangers Of Strangers' is an enjoyable if rather uneven slice of atypical neo- prog, filled with a glistening keyboard-and-synthesizer heavy sound, darkly-introspective lyrics, emotionally-charged vocals and fluid guitars. The title-track is by far the strongest song on offer, with Montgomery's neon-lit keyboards particularly impressive, whilst the album's final track, the fist-pumping instrumental 'Pick A Window You're Leaving' gives proceedings a satisfyingly rocky ending. The trouble, however, are the three tracks in-between, the album's soft underbelly if you will. Gone are the mysterious, Twelfth Night-style keyboards and driving drums, replaced, disappointingly, by a softer, ersatz prog-lite sound that seems closer in style to the era's synth-pop merchants. After the storming title-track the glutinous ballad 'Rain Again' is a real let-down, with follow-on tracks 'Hustler II' and 'Dreamtime' providing helpings from the same softly-peddled bowl. In truth, two great tracks a great album does not make, and seeing that getting hold of much of Abel Ganz's 1980's material on CD is very difficult(their most recent album, 2009's 'Shooting The Albatross', is readily available but features a much more modern sound) it is therefore extremely hard to compare one album to the next. The remastering would suggest 'The Dangers Of Strangers' is considered their most complete album, and it does feature two great tracks. However, there is the sneaking suspicion that maybe Abel Ganz poured all they had into 'The Dangers Of Stranger', much like the neo-prog equivalent of a one- hit wonder. Fans of Marillion, Twelfth Night and IQ may find much to enjoy, but it's an inconsistent album at best. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars An album with two title tracks

The Dangers Of Strangers can be said to be the first album by the mature Abel Ganz. You might say that it showcased the respective virtues of the previous albums Gratuitous Flash and Gullible's Travels, while avoiding most of the vices of these albums. I also think that this was the first Abel Ganz album to feature really memorable songs. While not quite as exciting as the radically different 2008 album Shooting Albatross, The Dangers Of Strangers is clearly Abel Ganz' second best album.

This album consists of only five titles (divided into eight tracks on my version), but while the Alan Reed-led Rain Again is really a single composition in three parts, the two title tracks are really two distinct songs with the same name (subtitled part 1 and 2 respectively). Reed of Pallas fame appears here as the lead vocalist on several tracks, but not on all of them. The reason why they didn't use Reed's distinctive voice on all the tracks is beyond me. I often feel as if the tracks featuring Reed are by one band, and the other tracks by another band, it makes the album a bit incoherent. I had the same problem with Shooting Albatross which also featured Reed on some, but not all, tracks. Those parts on which Reed sings remind occasionally of Pallas in their mellower moments.

The Dangers Of Strangers deserves a wider audience than the rest of Abel Ganz' 80's and 90's output. Indeed, no fan of Neo-Prog can go wrong with this album. The recent re-released of The Dangers Of Strangers in a 20th anniversary version with some bonus material is a testament to the staying power of this minor Neo-Prog classic. However, having that said, Prog fans in general will probably not consider this an essential listen, and though clearly a good album, it is not an excellent album in its own right.


Review by Warthur
2 stars Abel Ganz's The Dangers of Strangers finds the band sounding rather tired and uninspired. The rather dated keyboard sound and unoriginal guitar solos don't help - Steve Rothery and Mark Kelly phoned and said they wanted their sound back, guys - and the uninspired songwriting doesn't really help either. The title track is fun enough once the soloing starts at about five minutes in, but even at its best the album is a lazy retread of the sort of Genesis-lite territory numerous other neo-prog bands explore all the time, and it doesn't offer any compelling reason why listeners should pay attention to it over classic Genesis, or Fish-era Marillion, or Pendragon, or IQ, or any one of the vast number of bands who have explored this territory before and done it better besides.
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After an 85' tour throughout Scotland Abel Ganz would again face the cruel reality of line-up changes.They hired a new vocalist, Martin Haggerty, who only played two gigs with the band, and in 1986 Weir left to be replaced by Alan Quinn.The track ''The dangers of strangers'' was recorded for the ''Double exposure'' compilation album, but soon the band fell apart.Hew Montgomery made an attempt to revive Abel Ganz in 1987 and former members Hugh Carter and Malky McGiven joined him, however they went on basically as a studio project, lacking the additional crew to perform live.A new cassette-album was released by the trio in 1988, ''The dangers of strangers''.They were joined by ex-bandmates Paul Kelly and Alan Reed in a couple of tracks, while session drummer Denis Smith took over the drum duties.The album was re-released in CD on Ugum, as all of the early Abel Ganz works.

It would be a surprise if all the aforementioned issues had no effect on Abel Ganz'es inspiration.''The dangers of strangers'' is another good album by the Scottish veterans, but it certainly lacks some of the incredible pieces of the past two albums.Even so, this is pretty tight and uncommercial Neo Prog with full respect to the band's early roots and plenty of enjoyable moments.The songwriting appears to be more laid-back and emotional with less angular keyboard acrobatics and a tendency towards more conventional structures with focus on lyrical passages, PINK FLOYD-like atmospheric textures, stll having this mid-70's GENESIS vibe.The two-part, 12-min. title-track is a very strong piece with thematic changes and tempo shifts, built around Kelly's very good vocals, melodic guitars and Montgomery's solid keyboard work, but the three-part, 9-min. ''Rain again'' is some sort of a dissapointment, sounding very accesible, only saved by Reed's excellent vocal parts.Old-days Abel Ganz will return with the fully convincing ''Hustler II'': Emphatic Neo Prog with instant melodies, bombastic keyboards, ppompous instrumental material and sensitive singing lines.The 8-min. ''Dreamtime'' reminds me of early PALLAS, balancing between a lyrical atmosphere and excellent, CAMEL-esque guitar soundscapes, while the closing ''Pick a widow'' is a decent instrumental piece, based on groovy beats, flashy synthesizers and solid guitar work.

''The dangers of strangers'' prooved that Abel Ganz were alive and well back in 1988.Not the best album by the band, but certainly a very good Neo Prog release with a balanced sound and consistent vocal/instrumental executions.Recommended.

Latest members reviews

3 stars The third album from these Glaswegians. Abel Ganz were always bubbling under the surface without really getting the commercial breakthrough the likes of Marillion, Pendragon, Pallas and Arena got. They were on the Neo Prog's B-list at best. This album is a good explanation on their situation ... (read more)

Report this review (#472140) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, June 29, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Composition/Creativity: 18/25 Lyrics are more ambitious and something of an improvement over their debut, but still are a weak link. Musicianship: 20/25 These guys aren't exactly prog virtuosos, but what they play is tasteful and suits the songs well. Synth sounds are better, but it was ... (read more)

Report this review (#176916) | Posted by Trademark | Tuesday, July 15, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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