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ALBION

Neo-Prog • Poland


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Albion biography
Neo Prog band from Poland with female vocals. Very beautiful and melodic compositions in a nice atmosphere. "Albion" mixes short and long compositions, and sometimes the influence of bands like MARILLION become very clear. Close to the powerful neo Progressive rock, ALBION reminds of MARILLION, IQ and JADIS, with a Steve HACKETT style of guitar sound and subtle keyboard parts.

ALBION came into existence in 1992 when members of two dissolving bands from Cracow decided to start a new band. At the beginning the band consisted of the following four members: Jerzy Antczak (guitars), Krzysztof Malec (keyboards), Paweł Konieczny (drums) and Tomasz Kaczmarczyk (bass guitar).

After a short period of time joined Anna Batko taking the role of the vocalist.
This lineup started to work on the material which was to appear on ALBION's first release. It was issued in 1994 under the title "Survival Games" by Art-Rock but only on a cassette (it was reissued next year on CD without the permission of the band by an italian label Mellow Records). During the recording process the bass guitarist Tomasz Kaczmarczyk left the band and his part was played by Paweł Konieczny who at this moment took the bassist's role leaving the drums to Grzegorz Olszowski.

After the release of the cassette the band got a new manager Aleksander Król who, along with Sick Records Europe, decided to issue the band's new material on a cassette and CD. The selftitled album was issued in 1995. After this release ALBION took part in many festivals and concerts in Poland.

When composing pieces for the next album another changes in the lineup took place - Grzegorz Olszowski was replaced by Rafał Paszcz behind the drums and the vocalist's role passed to Katarzyna Sobkowicz. The album "Wabiąc cienie" appeared only after 10 years in 2005 issued by Lynx Music...

.:: thanks to Bartłomiej Ślązak (aka Tuzvihar) ::.

Albion official website

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ALBION discography


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ALBION top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.89 | 27 ratings
Survival Games
1994
3.61 | 43 ratings
Albion
1995
3.91 | 53 ratings
Wabiąc Cienie
2005
3.53 | 58 ratings
Broken Hopes
2007
3.51 | 51 ratings
The Indefinite State of Matter
2012

ALBION Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ALBION Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ALBION Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.85 | 20 ratings
Remake
2006
4.50 | 8 ratings
Unsongs
2015

ALBION Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

ALBION Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Broken Hopes by ALBION album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.53 | 58 ratings

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Broken Hopes
Albion Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars After the warm reception of their 2005 album Albion were a regular entry in radio broadcasts, while also getting interviewed numerous times for well-known magazines and stations.A good opportunity for them to republish their first couple of albums with a 2-CD offering, entitled ''Remake'' and released in 2006.By the end of the year they started working on new material, while they announced that the official line-up was now the trio of Katarzyna Sobkowicz-Malec on vocals/classical guitar, Jerzy Antczak on guitars and Krzysztof Malec on keys and the upcoming recordings would take place with guest musicians.These would be ex-member Rafal Paszcz on drums, Krzysztof Wyrwa on bass and Aretha Chmiel on sax.The album, titled ''Broken hopes'', was recorded during the summer of 2007 and shelved later in the year by Lynx.

They picked up from where they left things with ''Wabiac cienie'', at least musically speaking, offering the definition of Polish Prog, atmospheric, melodic and lyrical material, heavy on keyboards and featuring unique, slow guitar moves.But the band was apparently encouraged by the latter fame and decided to leave their native language for texts written exclusively in English for a worldwide exposure.This would take away some of Albion's charm, cause a signgificant part of those group's identity was to sing the lyrics in Polish.Anyway, the dissapointment was rather reduced by the fact that they kept playing and composing with passion and emotion, while we find Katarzyna Sobkowicz pretty comfortable with their new responsibilities on the English texts.Beautiful soundscapes with developing structures, starting from a laid-back PINK FLOYD-ian enviroment and ending up to thrilling CAMEL/MARILLION-esque solos with some nice layered synthesizers, the music follows generally a slow pace, but the album doesn't lack a few more bombastic moments with heavier guitar attempts and even some great organ work next to the modern keyboards.I fail to detect this one piece, that really stand out on this Albion effort, but the musicianship is really strong all the way through with injections of vocal and guitar distortions appearing every now and then in a normal delivery by new Polish bands.

Yet another goodie by an overlooked band.Strong Neo Prog in the vein of Collage, just less symphonic and with a female singer leading the way, characterized by soundscapes of sheer beauty, melancholy and passion.Warmly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Wabiąc Cienie by ALBION album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.91 | 53 ratings

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Wabiąc Cienie
Albion Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars After their debut Albion partcipated in some festivals and concerts, but they had to part ways both with singer Anna Batko and drummer Grzegorz Olszowski.Even so they begun preparing for a second album, but no label showed much interest in the band.Traces of their existence appeared in 1999 through the Lynx compilation ''Polish Art Rock vol.1''.Just when everyone thought Albion had simply dissapeared, the Polish group returned in 2005, having secured a deal with the Lynx label.With new singer Katarzyna Sobkowicz-Malec and new drummer Rafal Paszcz onboard they released their second album ''Wabiac Cienie''.

Ten years were worth waiting, as ''Wabiac Cienie'' appears to be one of the best Polish Neo Prog albums of the decade.With a crystalline production, a superb composing ability and the new members being absolutely great, Albion deliver an excellent wok, full of dreamy melodies, delightful keyboard parts, lovely female vocals and great arrangements.Based on the old-fashioned MARILLION sound, but always surrounded by the typical Polish characteristics, such as the native language, the careful acoustic lines and the light symphonic flourishes, ''Wabiac Cienie'' offers a romantic yet dynamic atmosphere through its listening, where the more sensitive parts are interrupted by strong guitar riffs, grandiose synthesizers and spacey layers.ABRAXAS, COLLAGE, QUIDAM and ANIMATOR are the first bands that spring to mind, thus there seems to be a lack of intense personality in this effort.On the other hand you can't simply skip by this excellent music writing.Changing soundscapes with melancholic and more upbeat tunes, powerful orchestral or spacey textures, moving themes with a deep lyrical content and even some pretty rich instrumental parts will satisfy every listener of challenging, melodic and well-crafted Neo/Symphonic Prog.

A fantastic comeback indeed.Among the highlights of 2005, ''Wabiac Cienie'' seems like a really overlooked album, that finally deserves a higher praise.Highly recommended to all Prog fans.

 Broken Hopes by ALBION album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.53 | 58 ratings

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Broken Hopes
Albion Neo-Prog

Review by sinslice

3 stars Beautiful and captivating female voice leading this group, with good long instrumental passages, especially in the two larger tracks. In addition, some identification with Polish music.

This is a neo-prog rather complacent. The arrangements are acceptable and guitars intelligent and well executed. When the sax enters contributes to make the music more colorful. The keyboards usually do not take a leading role, but also of support.

Nothing spectacular, which does not mean it is bad or not wanting to give back to listen. The shorter songs, especially Once Upon a Time and I Am, are interesting and well done. It is attractive and appropriate for progressive hearing.

3 star well deserved.

 The Indefinite State of Matter by ALBION album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.51 | 51 ratings

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The Indefinite State of Matter
Albion Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

3 stars I was sorting through my music the other day and was surprised to come across a cassette release of this band's debut album, now the best part of 20 years old: I hadn't realized that I had been aware of them for so long. This is their first album for five years, and they are now down to being just a trio with guests, which in many ways is somewhat surprising given that the rhythm section has been outsourced as it were. But, it has to be said that in many ways this feels much more like a solo album than it does a band release. There are times when the guitar wails poignantly, and there are times when Jerzy even dares a riff, but this appears to be very much the album of keyboard player Krzysztof Malec. There are a couple of long instrumental numbers on here, as well as long instrumental passages, which in itself is rather surprising given that Katarzyna Sobkowicz-Malec has such a wonderful voice.

A friend of mine asked to borrow this album but soon returned it with the comment that it was just too boring and single-natured for him, and while I may not necessarily agree with the statement I fully understand where he is coming from. An issue I have with some extreme metal bands is that they forget the importance of contrast, so tend to not have enough lightness to emphasis the heaviness and here the reverse is true. The album is crying out for some crunching guitars and more dynamic solos, as otherwise it is running the risk of falling into the background. That is not to say that this is a bad album, not at all, but where Jerzy throws in the Gary Chandler-style leads it demonstrates just how good this could really be. Solid as opposed to spectacular.

 The Indefinite State of Matter by ALBION album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.51 | 51 ratings

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The Indefinite State of Matter
Albion Neo-Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars, really. Well, after a 5 year break, polish neo progger band Albion release this new album. It was very hard for me to write a review. I´ve been listening to this CD for months already and the initial feeling of disappointment still remains. I guess my expectations were just too high after the level of excellency this band achieved after Wabiac Cienie (2005) and Broken Hopes (2007). The group was always a personal kind of favorite of the new millenium since they were one of the few polish acts that didn´t fell for the alternative/indie rock trap that plagued so many former fine prog outfits from that country. So, after such a long time since their last studio offer, I was waiting for something at least in the same league as Broken Hopes. Did I expect too much?

No, don´t panic, they did not jump into the indie rock bandwagon. At least not just yet. They still make their fine brand of great neo prog that Polland was famous for during the 1990´s: sypmphonic, melodic, highly emotional, with great keys and brilliant guitar parts (echoes of Gilmour, Hackett and Rothery can be heard). They even have one of the most underated, but still fantastic female singer in the person of Katarzyna Sobkowicz-Malec However, the level of the songwriting on this new release did not exactly reach the quality of the two previous CDs. It is still good, but The Indefinite State of Matter seems to be keyboardsman Krzysztof Malec´s baby. He calls all the shots here and, believe it or not, Sobkowicz-Malec´s distinctive vocals, one fo the band´s best features are underused on this album. Let´s see: for such a short disc (only 47 minutes of music), two 10+minutes instrumental moments are a bit too much. Neither are that great either, and the closer, Fear, with its abstract textures and electronic treatment is definitly odd for their style. On the other hand all the other four tracks are excellent exemples of what they can do when they are playing as a whole band. Children Rhyme is definitly the highlight here, featuring one of Jerzy Antczak´s best guitar solos ever, powerful vocal lines and menacing keys. I should also point out that Antczak´s guitar playing is as strong and emotional as ever. He is one of Polland´s greatest, at least at the same level as the legendary Mirek Gill (Collage).

So, all in all, a very good CD. It is only unfortunate that for a band that had released such brilliant works before, a very good album still sounds like a disappontment. None of the new tracks reaches the heights of The Place (from Broken Hopes) for example. Onde again, maybe I was expecting too much. I liked it a lot, but after five long years, The Indefinite State Of Matter, with all its many qualities, should have been better.

 Wabiąc Cienie by ALBION album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.91 | 53 ratings

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Wabiąc Cienie
Albion Neo-Prog

Review by nandprogger

4 stars Albion is a Polish band that leads a woman on vocals, after listening MAGENTA, I like listening to bands such progs; ALBION not disappoint me. Walking through the neo prog vein can do well in this work, what you'll hear in Wabiac Cienie is not surprising in terms of vocals, maybe the very difficult language, that is my feeling, but like all neo prog band is proposed to be more commercial. In the opening track, something like some studies of IQ: hard rock with some modern keyboards and mini solos even with moments of reflection as it unfolds to the climax. "Szary" the exploration of different timbres of the synthesizer creates a sombre mood and rhythmic, nothing heavy, just broken the percussion and the guitar solo of exquisite taste. "Biegi teczy po" to start at this age think back to the typical neoprog, you are deceived, because from there we see who runs the progressive lines are melodic instruments, psychedelia is extremely tasteful where the sounds were perfect complements . "Yuppie" is for all ears, because lines of electric guitar "stick in the head like gum," is one of favorite tracks, bass lines swing as the keyboard safe environment, this is the track where interpretation the singer stands out. "Inny" here we find a neo prog band common to any band, more fins tiring for the singer to secure a sound wave. "Wolna" perhaps resembles the melody on other tracks on the same disk, but getting heard here Sicrono the perfect keyboard and electric guitar. "Cienie" is perhaps the disappointment of the album, YES I feel something here, one gets the feeling melodies sound like loose, as something starts and ends with another. this is a beautiful album, new avenues for the neo prog, something much better than PALL AS, COLLAGE. in my opinion, fans might like Gazpacho.
 Wabiąc Cienie by ALBION album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.91 | 53 ratings

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Wabiąc Cienie
Albion Neo-Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I got my hands on the latest two albums by Albion some time ago and will review them in the correct order. Biggest difference between this one and Broken Hopes is the fact that this Album was sung in their native language and (as the title reveals) the latter in English.

Albion plays enchanting neo prog like mainly the Polish neobands can. Also this one is really romantic like their fellow countrymen Collage (Moonshine !) one day introduced and was also practiced by Quidam, Anamor and Mindfields. And of course like also Collage's follow up Satellite is able to produce.

Another important feature is the melodic content of the music which is extremely high. All musicians are great including the vocals of Katarzyna Sobkowicz. The songs are well constructed and the production is excellent. All ingredients for a great and high quality album just about as you can expect neo prog to sound. So there's only one outcome for the rating: 4 stars.

 Broken Hopes by ALBION album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.53 | 58 ratings

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Broken Hopes
Albion Neo-Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

3 stars Sad thing, this could be better and it also should. But it is not, due to several things. First, its symphonisity isn't as good as it's supposed to be, its neo element lacks wilder synths and other signature parts and only thing that's left is atmospheric music, which also fails, because this record is trying to do more than it can bear. Wants to be many things at once, but is unsuccessful in deriving them to listeners. And easily, this could all be much more interesting. Because what is supposed to be atmosphere here are boring passages for me, full of nothing. And nothing like in krautrock for example (this music is intending to be different, lacks composition structure of these), these parts here are just empty. And that's not good. Guitar spots, solos, riffs are average, but not much more. Vocals are nice, they can really please (if they're on, which isn't truth at half a time).

3(-), you know why. I've heard much better from Poland.

 Broken Hopes by ALBION album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.53 | 58 ratings

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Broken Hopes
Albion Neo-Prog

Review by pollux

4 stars I got my first taste of this band recently with the self titled album from 1995 followed shortly after by Broken Hopes...These discs have been in high rotation since then. I now want more and have been searching high and low for their CDs of course not to be found in the traditional retail environment.

Enough ramblings about my quest let's focus on the music. Lush arrangements great guitar work gorgeous vocals inventive composing and never boring kind of sums it up in my mind. One of the really interesting Neo-prog bands in my humble opinion. I would welcome that kind of album any day and wish more surprises like Albion will turn up for me :) Marillion influences can be heard throughout like in a lot of Neo Progressive bands but Albion manage to maintain their own identity to keep our interest going.

 Broken Hopes by ALBION album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.53 | 58 ratings

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Broken Hopes
Albion Neo-Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4,5 stars, really. Albion seems to have some problem keeping a stable line up through their short career so far. Only original members remaining are guitarrist Jerzy Antczak and keyboards player Krzysztof Malec. Fortunatly they still have singer Katarzyna Sobkowicz-Malec on vocals (who joined them for their second official CD). Former drummer Rafal Paszcz is listed as a guest musician. Unlike their line up thought, the quality of Albion´s music only grew since it inception. If Albion (1995) was good and Wabiac Ciene (2005) was very good, Broken Hopes reaches the excellency leavel.

The group has matured both as players and as songwriters. Their music sounds like an interesting mix of early Quidam and latter day Satellite, with some strong Pink Floyd overtones. But make no mistake, they have their own sound and Katarzyna Sobkowicz-Malec is a gifted and unique singer, in a country that seems to have some of the finest prog female vocalists in the world nowadays. Oddly enough, guest bassist Krzysztof Wyrwa is one fo the best features in this CD, with fine bass runs throught the whole CD.

The arrangements are varied and tasteful, with lush keyboards passages and some great guitar licks and solos. Those guys do understand about writing songs and make their music emotional and creative. The CD is a little short for my liking, but the band did not waste a single note, something really hard to hear lately. The second track is the 11 minute epic The Place, one of the most beautiful prog songs I ever heard. I get chills down my spine every time I hear it. This tune alone is worth the price of the CD.

I´m glad to say Albion more than fulfilled their promising start. Broken Hopes was one of the best new releases in 2007. Fans of early Marillion, Pendragon, Quidam, Satellite, etc. should not miss this terrific work. Highly recommended for any music lover.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Joolz for the last updates

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