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ANABIS

Symphonic Prog • Germany


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Anabis biography
A German band formed in 1978 largely of musicians from the Giessen region, Anabis produced three studio albums before disbanding in 1988. The band's music has proven somewhat difficult to classify, with a psychedelic element that has been compared to fellow countrymen Eloy, and a singer (Holger Sann) who has engendered comparisons to the theatrics of Gabriel-era Genesis.

Like many other largely forgotten progressive bands of their era, the band's discography is somewhat confusing with the album Wer Will listed as their debut and alternately as their second studio release. The album has also been issued under two separate covers, which may explain the confusion about its origin. The band's final release included only drummer Mike Morkel from the original lineup augmented by a variety of studio musicians, and has been issued with the title Theatre as well as Success. All the band's albums have been reissued at one point of another under a variety of labels.

The band distinguished themselves on early albums with the use of flute, as well as heavy and psychedelic keyboards, German vocals, and cynical lyrics. Each of the first two albums is structured with a long, epic work anchoring a number of other, largely thematic tracks. Their final release is a more contemporary rock album with English vocals, as well as an infusion of horns and a heavier guitar sound.

Anabis can be found referred to in almost mythical terms on a variety of progressive, krautrock, neo-progressive, and psychedelic web sites and newsgroups, although they have also shown up on numerous 'all-time worst' band listings, usually in reference to their Theatre release.

This is a rather obscure band with a sound that seems to inspire strong opinions, both positive and negative, from those who have heard them. They deserve consideration for inclusion in the Archives largely because of their appreciable and almost legendary reputation among the progressive rock community.

Bob Moore (ClemofNazareth)

Anabis official website

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ANABIS discography


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

2.50 | 9 ratings
Heaven On Earth
1980
3.01 | 6 ratings
Wer Will
1982
1.59 | 6 ratings
Theatre
1988

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ANABIS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Wer Will by ANABIS album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.01 | 6 ratings

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Wer Will
Anabis Symphonic Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars Some bands produce one album and one would have hoped for more, while others produce many but should have stopped at three or four, but ANABIS is of another ilk. This 80s German symphonic group managed to eke out 3 releases out of which only one ("Wer Will") could be elevated to below average grade at best. At a time when ELOY, ANYONE's DAUGHTER, AMENOPHIS, P'COCK, and NOVALIS were all actually defying gravity, "Anabis" seemed to be going through the motions with beguilingly mundane vocal-oriented synth rock and only sprinklings of inspiration.

"Wer Will" is certainly their best, due in no small measure to the 17 minute "Das Zünglein an der Waage", which combines TANGERINE DREAM and GENESIS sensibilities with a dash of CAMEL-styled guitar. By no means a lost classic, it does demonstrate some natural progressive talent. At the other end of the spectrum is the more concise "Der Kritiker" which also channels Mr Latimer. For the rest, we are cursed with a teutonic SUPERTRAMP and FOREIGNER hybrid, and did I mention the nearly incessantly grating vocalizings of "Holger Sann"? Perhaps the lyrics are interesting but on ANYONE DAUGHTER's "Neu Sterne" the melodies and compositions stood by themselves. Sadly, this is not at all the case on "Wer Will".

It's hard to imagine anyone but a German symphonic completist needing "Wer Will". But actually, that would be me, and I have little use for it. Comparisons to ELOY and GENESIS amount to a disservice to those groups and their fans. Still, if after all that, you feel you must acquire one of ANABIS's ultra tepid efforts, this is arguably the best.

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 Wer Will by ANABIS album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.01 | 6 ratings

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Wer Will
Anabis Symphonic Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Anabis - Wer Will (1982)

Here we have an album that is very hard to rate. To put it simply; I don't like it, but I can't find big flaws in the compositions, recording and professional sound of the band. It's just the band's vision that is totally not original.

Anabis tries to give an eighties approach to the early Genesis sound, and that's about it. The vocalist, although singing in German, tries to have the same voice as Gabriel. The compositions are Genesis like, but one can also hear the modern eighties influences: modern synth sound and a modern clean recording. Some of the lyrics seem to be a bit childish in my opinion, but the copycat style of lead vocalist Holger Sann are the main problem. If they had to copy Genesis so badly, why do is less sophisticated and more poppy? Most of their ideas are quite simple, but they make it sound like it's a bombastic idea of greatness. Having that said; the guitars are still nice, the keys are Ok and the rest of band is up to the task. The vision is just not that good, early Genesis would never have sounded very good in the eigthies...

Conclusion. By no means a bad album, some songs are quite nice, but the non-original approach of the band makes me feel like this is very unimportant for most of our progcollections. Two stars.

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 Theatre by ANABIS album cover Studio Album, 1988
1.59 | 6 ratings

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Theatre
Anabis Symphonic Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars This is not quite as as bad as you might have heard here and elsewhere, but neither is it worthy of recommendation. They have gotten even cheesier than before, with a very 80s sound.

If there is one improvement, it is in their ability to write somewhat catchy melodies, which they too often play to death. For instance, the opener "Still on My Mind" shines brightest during the keyboard breaks and dullest during the umpteenth repetitions of the ok chorus. The title part of the title suite has some atmospheric wind instruments but the arrangement doesn't go anywhere, and the final segment is almost an extension of it except with some good lead guitar links to revv up the proceedings a notch. The contrast with the almost oboe-like sound, perhaps the hautbois (?) makes this one of the better tracks. Another interesting tune dominated by such instrumentation is "The Black Virgin", which is reminiscent of some of Camel's "The Snow Goose".

Unfortunately the vocal material, of which there is far too much, is a mash of lame lazy power ballads like "Struggles of Love" and "No Time", with "Stronger than Ever" only marginally better thanks to a fine chorus. The progressive element is minimal and, where present, is pretty much only in instrumental tracks or segments.

In the stadium of progressive rock bands, Anabis definitely sits in the bleachers. While their final release is not theatre that I would walk out on, I wouldn't expect to have to pay full price or sit in a full house for that matter.

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 Heaven On Earth by ANABIS album cover Studio Album, 1980
2.50 | 9 ratings

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Heaven On Earth
Anabis Symphonic Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars A German symphonic prog band from the 80s in the manner of Eloy and Genesis? Sounds great on paper, but the execution just isn't there. This is a group with some clue how to play, but almost no idea how to compose or write. Apart from the last part of the lengthy title cut, which is more like superb AOR than prog, and "Water-Problem", most of the album is indistinguishable and undistinguished. Not quite as bad as Scaramouche but nowhere near deserving of comparisons to some of prog's greats, teutonic or otherwise.

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 Theatre by ANABIS album cover Studio Album, 1988
1.59 | 6 ratings

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Theatre
Anabis Symphonic Prog

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

1 stars I had heard of Anabis before, and even wrote a short biography of the band after doing a bit of research a while back. So when I came across this CD (and cheap) I thought it to be a great find. Well, life is full of disappointments.

The band’s earlier recordings are reported to be of a symphonic nature, German lyrics and lots of flute and interesting keyboard progressions, but this one is unfortunately the last hurrah for the band, and it shows.

The album was released in the late eighties, and the sound is deeply rooted in that period, with shorter compositions that mix light pop keyboards, plodding and repetitive beats that sound suspiciously like drum tracks, and fluffy light English lyrics that lean closer to the Thompson Twins than to the sounds of Genesis or Eloy their earlier recordings supposedly hint at. A track-by-track review isn’t necessary, as there is very little variety here. The monotonous drums and love-gone-wrong lyrics are a major distraction, although from what it’s hard to say, as the rest of the instrumentation isn’t much better. The sound is a combination of post-disco pop, faux symphonic and mostly synthesized keyboards, and the occasional guitar riff. The vocalist has a bit of difficulty staying in tune at times, and more egregious is his inability to keep in synch with the rhythms. This is in no way progressive, symphonic or otherwise. The closest the sound comes to anything resembling artistic expression are the sporadic, slightly-fusion improvisational guitar solos, but these aren’t enough to save a truly dreadful album. There are ten musicians listed in the liner notes, but I can’t for the life of me detect more than about five instruments actually being played, and a couple of those are more likely programmed as opposed to played.

I’m tempted to give this two stars simply as a nod to a pretty decent album cover, but even this is diluted by the fact the album was issued a couple times and one of those releases featured a cover that looks suspiciously like Hall & Oates ‘Rock and Soul, part 1’ release. So one star it is, and a strong recommendation to not bother with this one.

peace

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 Wer Will by ANABIS album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.01 | 6 ratings

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Wer Will
Anabis Symphonic Prog

Review by fabior

5 stars There are some controversy about if this album is the second, or the first from German band Anabis ! The main reason is because there are two diferent versions of the vinil, with two completly difetent covers .One, the above mentioned by a a reviwer, have a "fold out" with all lirics in internal part, with a ilustration of a magician, and red vinil . The second ( or the first ? ) is single folded, with penssil ilustrstion os all mambers of the group inside some kind of manssion or castle, this one is in black vinil and are dated 1981 ! Wathever it is the first or the second, the quality is amazing ! A powerfull guitar, with extremely skilled keybordist, a precise an realy hard rithm section ( here in Brasil we call the combination of bass/drums "coziinha" , that means the "kitchen" of the band ) and a very good "gennesian" voclas . My favorite song is "Ich Will" ,not the most progressive one, but the most interesting ! The lyrics are sometimes ironic ( der Kritiker ) but always well writen . Undoubtly a masterpeace from German, and I am happy to see the CD relese of this album !

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 Wer Will by ANABIS album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.01 | 6 ratings

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Wer Will
Anabis Symphonic Prog

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Great to notice that Prog Archives is adding more and more smaller and unknown bands. Anabis is German band that made three albums between 1980 and 1988, this one is my favorite and pressed on red vinyl with a 'fold out cover' (those good old days!).

1 - Alles in eines Hauses Leben (6:15)

This catchy and alternating track features a dynamic rhythm-section (inventive drums, powerful bass sound), strong and expressive German vocals (funny lyrics), great guitar soli (from sensitive to fiery and howling). A very convincing starter!

2 - Ich will (5:33)

The intro features spectacular synthesizer runs, then a propulsive rhythm with strong vocals, this man gives every track an extra dimension! Halfway we hear a sensational synthesizer solo and then enthousiastic interplay between the vocals and a fiery electric guitar.

3 - Die Rosa Brille (4:45)

A mellow, bit dreamy atmosphere with soft vocals and twanging guitars. Slowly the climate becomes more bombastic with a sensitive electric guitar solo. This song has pleasant echoes from mid-GENESIS.

4 - Der Kritiker (4:22)

A mid-tempo featuring dynamic and powerful accellarations with great soli on synthesizer and harder-edged guitar.

5 - Genethiker (4:15)

Another dynamic mid-tempo track with strong vocals (cynical philosophical lyrics), a sensational synthesizer solo and a short but exciting guitar-synthesizer duel.

6 - Das Zünglein an der Waage (17:08)

The intro from this final composition features wonderful mellow synthesizers, a bit spacey with fat and spectacular sounds. Then twanging guitars and a cheerful, catchy rhythm with pleasant synthesizer runs, fiery electric guitar licks and again strong, expressive German vocals. The atmosphere sounds dynamic, due to the great rhythm- section and fine shifting moods, from mellow with twanging guitars to bombastic with strong work on guitar and keyboards. This is the most symphonic (mid-GENESIS inspired) track and in my opinion Anabis at their pinnacle.

IF YOU ARE UP TO GERMAN VOCALS, THIS ALBUM IS AN EXCELLENT ADDITION!!



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

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