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ABYDOS

Progressive Metal • Germany


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Abydos biography
ABYDOS is a prog-metal project put together by VANDEN PLAS's frontman and vocalist Andy Kuntz, who enlisted the same band's drummer Andreas Lill as well as Michael Krauss (guitar and keyboards) and Stefan Glass (guitar, bass and keyboards) for the occasion. They take their name from the burial site of Abydos from the legendary "Valley of the Kings". Kuntz's experience with musicals ("Jesus Chris Superstar", "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", "Evita") really comes to the surface with this band's eponymous album.

The music has a lot in common with AYREON in that it is a concept album (for which Kuntz wrote a full-fledged story) that mixes 70's prog with metal, symphonic and melodic passages, with tinges of PINK FLOYD and QUEEN along the way. It has a very contemporary feel and could best be described as a blend of VANDEN PLAS, JOURNEY, YES and DREAM THEATER. Like AYREON's projects, "Abydos" isn't totally devoid of clichés but the flaws are easily forgiven, considering the impeccable production and the excellent musicianship. Indeed the whole album oozes class.

Hardcore metal fans will likely dismiss this as too moody. If you like AYREON, however, or would like to hear some VANDEN PLAS with a more symphonic and experimental edge, then do lend an ear to ABYDOS.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

See also:

- Vanden Plas

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4.09 | 94 ratings
Abydos
2004

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ABYDOS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Abydos by ABYDOS album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.09 | 94 ratings

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Abydos
Abydos Progressive Metal

Review by Avtokrat

3 stars I must confess I'm no fan of van Der Plas but after listening to the first 3 tracks of Abydos I was convinced of being in front of a true masterpiece, a veritable revelation ("You Broke the Sun and "Silence" are just great!). So you can imagine how disappointed I was after listening to the rest of the album. All the other songs (included the long and insipid title track) are quite below the average, not comparable with the level of the first three and overall quite forgettable. For that reason I've mixed feelings about this work: it's not that bad but it certainly is no masterpiece and in my opinion it doesn't even reach the level of excellence. My final rating: 3 stars and not one more.

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 Abydos by ABYDOS album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.09 | 94 ratings

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Abydos
Abydos Progressive Metal

Review by CCVP
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I can understand why people think this album a masterpiece, but it is not

To start my review, I would like to point out that I know nothing about about Vanden Plas or its members. I do not know anything at all: I have never listened to any of their albums and don't even know who else is in the band besides the vocalist, with a rather suggestive name about some specific body part, named Andy Kuntz. So, this is my first experience ever with anything related to this German progressive metal band. Beside that I was very pleased with the Abydos, specially because I was able to buy it for brand new for a reasonable price.

The concept is still somewhat blurry for me. I was not able to really put my finger on it and discover everything about it completely. I DO know what the album is about because of the subtitle (after all, the subtitle of the album is The Little Boy's Heavy Mental Shadow Opera About The Inhabitants of His Diary, so it should help in sheding some light onto what it is about, right?), but as for the rest (the role of every character, how exactly the story develops, etc) I am completely clueless, what holds me from enjoying the album even more.

One interesting thing about this album is that I took quite a wile to really like it. I mean, if I did not like it when I listened it for the first time, I would not have bought it, but Abydos is one of those growers, the ones you learned to like.

For me that happened because I am not a big fan of melodic rock / metal, the kind of genre mostly used here. Frankly, some songs that I like now, like Far Away from Heaven for example, I thought were boring and stupid, as most of the first part of the album because it is mostly melodic rock / metal driven, although it having some clear prog influences.

Abydos can be clearly divided in two very different parts and, although most of the first part of the album is not exactly mind blowing, the second part is able to deliver some impressive progressive metal. There, Kuntz drops (most) of the melodic stuff and change gears straight to first-class progressive metal, what definitely is a good change. Such change can be felt starting from the song Hyperion Sunset and, although untill the song Abydos that transition is still happening, it all culminates in the last song, A Boy Named Fly, which is absolutely incredible, passing through the melodic power ballad Radio Earth.

About the songs, musicianship and other features, there are somethings i would like to state:

Abydos is definitely the album for the oneswho complain about how progressive metal is a lifeless diplay of playing abilities. The music of this album is quite simpler compared to other acts, such as Dream Theater and Pain of Salvation, and is really emotional, moody and melodic. Their music as a whole have a very nice feeling.

A good thing that I noticed here is that no one stood out too much, creating the feeling that the whole band worked as hard as they could, instead of only one guy doing everything or outshining everybody. This is maybe the result of the feeling the music has.

As i said before, the best part of this album is, in my opinion, the second. The best songs of the album all on this second half. Abydos,Wildflowersky and A Boy named Fly are absolutely amazing and are probably the reason why some people actually think this album is a masterpiece. The highlights, go exactly to those three songs.

Grade and Final Thoughts

Abydos is, without any doubt, a very good album. However, in my point of view, there are too many songs that are just average and, because of that, they pull this album's grade down. If it was a smaller album, without some of the initial songs, it would definitely be worth a better grade. However since this album is still this big, with all twelve songs, I think it deserves the 4 star grade.

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 Abydos by ABYDOS album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.09 | 94 ratings

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Abydos
Abydos Progressive Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars. Andy Kuntz singer for VANDEN PLAS put this "one-off" project together after the death of his father, uncle and two friends all in one year(2002). Andy has been the lead singer in famous musicals like Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Nostradamus and Rocky Horror Picture Show. So in this huge undertaking he has combined his love for threater with the subject of death. ABYDOS was the burial place in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt where people would go to pay homage to Osiris god of reincarnation.They would pay homage by performing plays at this site. So you get the connection.The concept of this album is both complicated and indepth.There is a whole booklet explaining it with the cd. Obviously Andy used this project as therapy and to channel his mind and energy somewhere else. This was recorded the following year(2003). More importantly the music itself reminds me more of DREAM THEATER than any other band. He actually thanks them in the liner notes along with ANGRA. It really took quite a while for this album to win me over. The ballad-like singing he does reminded me too much of LaBrie who I like, but it's that part of DREAM THEATER that I don't like. Maybe that's why "Train Of Thought" is my favourite record from them. Anyway there are some amazing tunes on this album with lots of heavy parts. Some orchestration as well, and Andy gets help from his band's(VANDEN PLAS) drummer Andy Lill.

"The Inhabitants Of His Diary" is a short instrumental intro with some nice drumming and piano. "You Broke The Sun" features strummed guitar, reserved vocals and piano. Drums after a minute and a full sound before 2 minutes. A tasteful guitar solo a minute later followed by some orchestration. "Silence" is the first standout track for me. Heavy riffs to open that come and go. The tempo picks up on the chorus.The drums and synths go crazy before 4 minutes. A heavy guitar solo after 5 minutes. "Far Away From Heaven" features piano and fragile vocals before drums and a fuller sound after 2 minutes. Some orchestration too. "Coppermoon(The other side)" is a good uptempo tune with some heaviness. I like it. "Hyperion Sunset" has the heaviest sound so far, it comes and goes. Great track. "God's Driftwood" opens with lots of atmosphere that disappears when the reserved vocals arrive. Full sound 1 1/2 minutes in. Check out the bass as the drums pound away. Some aggressive guitar in this one as well.

"Radio Earth" is different as processed vocals and synths lead the way until Howe-like guitar melodies come in. Vocals join in.This is one of the more brighter and uplifting songs. I can tell you it changed my bad mood coming home from work today. Beautiful guitar after 4 minutes. "Abydos" opens with almost spoken vocals and it's dark. Some orchestration and heaviness 2 minutes in. After 3 minutes it calms right down to piano notes only before it starts to build back up. I love it when he sings "And the sun is shining". Great ending as well. The next song is a short processed vocal track. "Wildflowersky" opens heavily before vocals come in. Some nice organ runs throughout this one. A good uptempo melody 5 minutes in with some fantastic drumming. It gets heavy 6 minutes in with some scorching guitar followed by a ripping solo a minute later. "A Boy Named Fly" is the longest and best song on here. Piano to open as it turns solemn fast including the vocals. Crunchy guitar and heaviness 2 1/2 minutes in. It calms right down 4 minutes later with piano. Heaviness returns after 9 minutes. Female vocals a minute later before Andy ends it with reserved vocals.

I think DREAM THEATER fans will really like this, and of course VANDEN PLAS fans.

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 Abydos by ABYDOS album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.09 | 94 ratings

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Abydos
Abydos Progressive Metal

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Reviewing this "band" and album is actually the same thing as reviewing an album by Vandenplas. Well, not quite fair and true because half of Abydos is also in Vandenplas (Andy Kuntz and Andreas Lill) but remarkably enough the sound is very much the same and that will have everything to do with the fact that Andy Kuntz writes all the songs for both Vandenplas and for this project Abydos.

The album starts with a short interlude that sounds pretty heavy, nice opener. 3,25*.

Second track, You broke the Sun, starts as a ballad for the first two minutes and gets a little more energetic after this. Nice orchestral contribution in the second part. 3,75*.

Silence is one of the better songs of the album and sounds indeed very much like Vandenplas. Nice heavy melodic song like Andy usually writes them. 4,25*.

Far away from Heaven starts the same way as second song and also here there is a switch to a heavier style in the second half of the song. Same score also. 3,75*.

Coppermoon (The other side) is another example and proof of my statement that this sounds like Vandenplas. It especially goes for this track. Excellent is another way to discribe a Vandenplas like song. This track also has a very nice keyboard section but in Abydos both Stefan Glass and Michael Krauss play guitar as well as keyboards so I have no Idea which of the two is responsable for this great play. 4*.

Hyperion Sunset goes on in the impressive classy style and is another very nice, heavy song with good instrumental contributions. 4*.

God's Driftwood gives the impression that this album is deliberately well balanced because though this song has its rougher edges it's much more diverse in moods within the song contrary to the previous tracks. Another very good one. 3,75*.

Radio Earth is suddenly out of the ordinary compared to all the others starting like a nice sounding pop song (maybe not strange regarding the title of the song) but this lasts just about over a minute, then getting a little heavier but the very nice acoustic guitar gives a special feel to it. Original track this. 3,75*.

Abydos is the title track, a quiet song with a melancholic intonation. I get the feeling the lyrics are significant on this one. I haven't lost myself in the lyrics yet I have to admit. Somehow not really my favourite song on the album but that's personal. Not bad though. 3,5*.

Green's Guidance for a Strategy Adventure Game is a short interlude with synth tricked vocals. 2*.

Wildflowersky is the second highlight to me and one of those with a real Vandenplas feel to it. Another fantastic cracker, always loved this one. 4,25*.

A Boy named Fly and together with previous track, the sting is in the tail you might say because this epical closer is the third truly superb track on the album securing the 4 star rating definitively. 4,5*.

Needless to state this is a succesful project by Andy Kuntz, he did a fine job here. 4 stars is the reward.

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 Abydos by ABYDOS album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.09 | 94 ratings

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Abydos
Abydos Progressive Metal

Review by Moonshield

3 stars After reading many raving comments about this album i decided to listen to this, im no big fan of vanden plas as i consider them as one of the 43534058 Dream Theater clones but i was expectant because people told me this was quite different and mutch more ambient/prog ... well i'm afraid this album didnt do mutch for me, ive listened to it probably some 10-15 times and i still cant remember one piece of music in it, its all very generic and predictable prog metal/rock to my ears, its not that its badly done, music and production wise it all seemed very well composed indeed, its just that there isnt a glimpse of originality in here nor is it exciting in any way.

Go Listen to Human Equation by Ayreon instead.

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 Abydos by ABYDOS album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.09 | 94 ratings

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Abydos
Abydos Progressive Metal

Review by rushfan4
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Abydos is the side project of Vanden Plas lead singer Andy Kuntz. The album consists of 12 tracks covering various degrees of progressive metal, symphonic metal, and progressive rock. The album is a concept album based on "a little boy's heavy mental shadow opera about the inhabitant's of his diary" (this is the subtitle of the album). Andy had experienced the death of his father and three other loved ones at the time this album was created. According to additional reading, the concept revolves around a little boy who experiences visions of other people's lives inside of his head following the death of his father. In addition, the concept is about the mythological Egyptian location of Abydos and an evil alchemist, Green the Scarecrow Man, who betrayed Osiris, the Egyptian God of death and rebirth by stealing the gift of permanent reincarnation so that he could live forever. The first track, The Inhabitants of His Diary, is a minute long instrumental dominated by some heavy metal drumming by his Vanden Plas band mate drummer, Andreas Lill. It is an introduction to tell you that this isn't your father's concept album. This is going to have some heavy metal bite to it. The second track, You Broke the Sun, is a very nice progressive rock track which includes some beautiful piano and guitar playing, some orchestral strings, and a choir singing the chorus. At times, Andy's singing voice sounds uncannily like James LaBrie from Dream Theater. The third track, Silence, is a seven minute long track consisting of multiple time signature changes. It is partly a melodic rock song and partly a progressive metal song. Andy varies his vocals on this song so that he does not sound as much like James LaBrie. The fourth track, Far Away From Heaven, is a piano based ballad which includes some swirling string sections. The next three tracks, Coppermoon (the other side), Hyperion Sunset, and God's Driftwood are three straight progressive metal songs in the Dream Theater vein. On Hyperion Sunset, Andy uses some harsher vocals, possibly using a bull horn to distort his voice. The seventh track, God's Driftwood, is the third progressive metal song of the trio. It starts out with acoustic guitar playing and strumming before the metal kicks in. The eighth track, Radio Earth, starts out with a Buggles' type computer voice, followed by a Steve Howe type acoustic guitar riff. The song has some nice piano and guitar work throughout and is mostly a progressive rock song. The ninth track is the title song, Abydos. It is a symphonic rock song with a liberal use of piano and an orchestral string section. This is probably my favorite song on this album. The tenth track, Green's Guidance for a Strategy Adventure Game, is a minute long section that introduces the concept surrounding Abydos and its mythological significance of reincarnation; as well as the betrayal by the alchemist of the Egyptian god Osiris, and according to Andy, this was the birthplace of mystery theater. The vocals are done via a computer voice similar to what can be heard on Ayreon's space concept albums. For the eleventh track, Wildflowersky, Andy again pulls out the James LaBrie sounding vocals and produces another Dream Theater type progressive metal song. There is some superb drumming on this track and at about the 7 minute mark there is a really nice tempo change and then a lively 30 second section before returning to the main theme of the song. The last track, A Boy Named Fly, is an epic track, 12 minutes in length. This song consists of rock, metal, and symphonic sections with multiple time signature changes. This is definitely the track that most progressive rock/metal fans will probably enjoy the most. All in all this was an excellent album which I highly recommend to prog fans; however, it doesn't reach masterpiece status for me for two reasons. The first reason is that this is a concept album, but quite frankly, the only reason that I think that I know what the concept is, was that I read an interview with Andy Kuntz. I prefer that when listening to a concept album that the concept and story are out there for all to hear and understand and enjoy. The second reason that it doesn't reach masterpiece status is because of the numerous pronunciation errors that occur throughout the album. I realize and respect that English is not his first language but somebody should have told him that he was singing "wision", "wirus", and "can o' pie", instead of vision, virus, and canopy. I should note that he is releasing/or has released a stage theatrical production of Abydos which includes theatrical productions to the story line of Abydos. The acting and costumes might provide a lot more detail to what the actual concept of the story was. I am hoping that someday I might see this video to see if it shines a light on the concept for me.

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 Abydos by ABYDOS album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.09 | 94 ratings

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Abydos
Abydos Progressive Metal

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Hat off Mr. Kuntz, stunning album

Andy Kuntz proves here that is among the best composers in prog metal scene. Just awesome work, theatrical music in many places but remain in metal category. Simply one of the best albums i heared in years. Maybe the name Abydos doesn't tell you a lot, but knowing this is the solo project from Andy Kuntz, lead singer of the German progmetal band Vanden Plas, should raise the expectations. Abydos - it refers to an Egyptian tomb site in the Valley of the Kings, where Osiris, God of ethernal reincarnation, was worshipped. Quite diffrent from his mother band Vanden Plas here are the best ideas Kuntz gathered. Very symhonyc sometimes, but also very heavy in places, just the right combination to become a masterpice of prog metal these years. Absolute every tune is from great to the best, so i give 5 stars without hesitation. The best tracks are:You broke the sun, just super,Silence (reminds of DT or Shadow Gallery, but not a copy) and the last tune and the longest A boy named fly. So in conclusion this isn't another project from a frustrated musician, but a genuine masterpiece from a man who has used all his experience to make something unique, bravo Mr.Kuntz.

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 Abydos by ABYDOS album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.09 | 94 ratings

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Abydos
Abydos Progressive Metal

Review by Whacky

5 stars I cant understand why this fantastic album has such little popularity. It is, in every sense of the word, a masterpiece. Andy Kuntz really proves himself here. I like Vanden Plas, but i've found theres always something lacking with them - emotion. I feel that decent music must have emotion, must have feel, must have soul. Abydos has all of those and more.

You can tell that Kuntz has worked in musical theater from the word go. Its all very melodic, parts of it are catchy (not cheesy), and there are some musical type chorus'. Having said that, its not all happy, ear-freindly musical stuff. Theres a healthy dose of prog and prog metal there aswell. A Boy Named Fly could not be anything else than a prog masterpiece. Theres also a feel-good, groovy number (Radio Earth) which is pure class.

The orchestration in this album deserves special mention aswell. Its masterful. Just listen, for example, to the rumbling menace of the track Abydos and tell me that the orchestration isnt superb.

Kuntz can write a ballad as good as enyone else, proved aptly on the track Far Away From Heaven, which is of course...great.

As one reviewer mentioned earlier, purists will pick at this album and tell us it is cliched and un-origional. I would say back that while there are some "been done before" ideas, if they are done with pure class and elegance, how can there be a fault? I mean, the heavy riff in God's Driftwood, has been done countless times - but ive never heard it done to such skill, woven beautifully into the song (which is probably the most prog-meatal song on the album).

Every song is a winner. While You Broke the Sun, Far Away From Heaven and Radio Earth will jump out at you immediately, the others may take time to grow. Theres a prog-metal trio in the middle "Coppermoon, Hyperion Sunset and God's Driftwood" which will all probably take time to grow on you. The same goes for Abydos and Wildflowersky. A Boy Named Fly however, will probably get you right away - with its epic chorus, heavy riff and a wonderful "Far Away From Heaven reprise" on acoustic in the middle.

Lastly, I must mention Kuntz' vocals. His range is superb. His vocals are clean and unique, powerful and emotionally driven.

Abydos. A masterpiece.

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 Abydos by ABYDOS album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.09 | 94 ratings

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Abydos
Abydos Progressive Metal

Review by Clayreon
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Maybe the name ABYDOS doesn't tell you a lot, but knowing this is the newest solo project from Andy Kuntz, lead singer of the German progmetal band VANDEN PLAS, should raise the expectations. It hasn't become a very heavy album, and although it has its heavy moments, I'd rather classify it as real progressive rock. And to bring you the good news immediately, this is pure class. It's as if Kuntz has had some brilliant ideas for years, but couldn't let them escape with VANDEN PLAS. And yet, I'm a real VANDEN PLAS fan, but the music which their lead singer has put on this record, is even better, if possible, and certainly contains more variation.

Maybe some of you don't know that Andy Kuntz has been playing an active part for years in musicals and rock operas like "Jesus Christ Superstar', "Rocky Horror Show", "Evita" and "Nostradamus". And these influences have continued in his new project. Everything is a bit more melodic.

The name ABYDOS was chosen for a very special reason. It refers to an Egyptian tomb site in the Valley of the Kings, where Osiris, God of ethernal reincarnation, was worshipped. On the one side, ABYDOS is seen as the origin of the theatre, but the choice of name for this project was also inspired by the loss of some dearly beloved by Andy in 2003. That explains why the album is dark and melancholic from time to time, but that shouldn't lower the fun. In fact, it's telling a (autobiographic?) story by analogy with certain rock operas, inspired by the progressive rock of the seventies, but larded with a progmetal sauce. For this, Kuntz called upon 2 brilliant musicians, Stephan Glass and Michael Krauss and his drummer pal from VANDEN PLAS. And the latter pulls out all the stops during the opening track, a heavy instrumental piece. The sequel "You Broke The Sun" certainly is surprisingly quiet with a PINK FLOYD intro, but after a few minutes the tempo is accelerating and we get a real progressive, symphonic, yes, even bombastic, passage in a style that reminds me of DREAM THEATER in their better days. It's no coinsidence that his voice ressembles a bit Labrie's best vocals. The choirs in the background have a 'musical' feeling.

'Silence' starts of as some progressive metal in VANDEN PLAS style, but it turns out to contain a very melodic and catchy chorus. The electronic passage in the vain of Jean Michel JARRE is very interesting and comes just after a heavy guitar-keyboards duel, to be followed afterwards by a splashing guitar solo.

The beautiful ballad 'Far away from heaven' refers to AOR-bands of the seventies, but further along the track there's some brilliant symphonic music, the real prog fan will certainly like this track. And we are miles away from the heavy progmetal.

"Coppermoon" is a perfect hybrid between VANDEN PLAS, PAIN OF SALVATION and DREAM THEATER, references which are found more than once. Because of the symphonic character and the variation in guitar and keyboard solos, AYREON fans will certainly appreciate this disc. "Hyperion Sunset" proceeds under the same canvas.

"God's Driftwood" starts rather threatening and ominous and bulges with changes in tempo in good old seventies style, a typical LED ZEPPELIN riff with accompanying orchestral arrangements and a guitar solo that reminds me of URIAH HEEP. Hair- splitters will maybe tell you that this CD contains a lot of clichés, but when they are brought in a professional way, who's complaining? For that matter, I would even compare this album with "The Human Equation" from AYREON.

"Radio Earth" also contains a lot of influences, from electronic music from the eighties, to The WHO, QUEEN,..., beautifully woven into a musical tour de force. And not to forget, the superb pieces on the acoustic guitar. The originality of the tracks is mainly due to the strength of the compositions.

The title track "Abydos" sounds exceptionally dark and melancholic, but is again magnificent because of the orchestral arrangements in combination with the heavy proggy intermezzos and the excellent vocals. Breathtakingly beautiful. Andy's experience with musicals is coming to the surface. And just listen to the outro, it could be taken directly from a classical piece.

After a short piece with a computer voice and keyboards, there's "Wildflowersky", melodic progmetal à la VANDEN PLAS with again some musical and vocal highlights. And even if I was already convinced of the top quality of this album, the best song had yet to come. A beautiful classical introduction (I'm thinking of a certain composer, but I can't remember his name) opens "A Boy Named Fly" as a ballad, but the heavy guitars take the helm. Surprisingly how the voice reminds me here of KEN'S NOVEL but that's the only similarity. Once more, everything is present in this track and that's what makes this album so special.

Or, in a nutshell, this isn't another project from a frustrated musician, but a genuine masterpiece from a man who has used all his experience to make something unique. It's gonna be a difficult choice to pick a CD of the year 2004, this is from the same quality as KARMAKANIC and AYREON. And it should be obvious by now, you MUST buy this one!

My rating: 9,5/10

Review by Claude 'Clayreon' Bosschem

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 Abydos by ABYDOS album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.09 | 94 ratings

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Abydos
Abydos Progressive Metal

Review by JockeH

5 stars Without a doubt on of the best albums of 2004. Great melodies with a touch of musical and drama. Since Andy Kuntz voice is hard to copy it sometimes sound like VANDEN PLAS but that's no problem for me. The compositions are mostly more complex than an average Vanden Plas song. The title track is marvelous in its beauty with a superb melody building up the tension for the three final tracks that completes this story with excellence. "A Boy Named Fly" closes the epos with a feeling of wanting more of this. Andy, when will part 2 be released?

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