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ABARAX

Crossover Prog • Germany


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Abarax biography
It was around autumn 2003 when 'Taste Of Timeless' members Howard Hanks (guitar), Dennis Grasekamp (guitar, bass, drums) and Udo Grasekamp (keyboards) decided to start a new project named ABARAX. The idea was to play music oriented at 'Pink Floyd' which came up during a practising session. First two or three tunes were put together and then the decision grew to record a complete concept album which finally was titled 'Crying Of The Whales'.

Due to a happy coincidence they found the right voice in the person of Andre Blaeute, a singer/songwriter from the same area. The band finished the last recordings by the end of 2004, found british progrock label Cyclops interested in the project which released their debut in early 2006. It features relaxed rock songs, stylistically blending psychedelic and symphonic elements, dominated by Dennis Grasekamp's excellent guitar work and Andre Blaeute's unique voice.

Enhanced by other musicians and male/female vocalists ABARAX participated at several prog festivals all around in Europe and played on some more occasions, in May 2009 for example invited as the opening act for 'Saga'. Moreover songs for a new effort were worked out in between and finally in March 2010 Cyclops released the band's second album 'Blue Room'.

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Crying of the WhalesCrying of the Whales
Import
Cyclops Records 2008
Audio CD$33.40
$36.35 (used)

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ABARAX discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.26 | 42 ratings
Crying Of The Whales
2005
3.56 | 27 ratings
Blue Room
2010

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ABARAX Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Crying Of The Whales by ABARAX album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.26 | 42 ratings

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Crying Of The Whales
Abarax Crossover Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

2 stars I have been listening lots of old things that I still have and re-listening my CDs too.

One of the albums that I didn't remember about is this one, Crying Of The Whales (2005) is one of them. This is the first album of the Germanic band Abarax.

I cannot say I liked it, it comes wrapped in all the Pink Floyd's The Division Bell (1994) trademarks that other 10.000 bands already did. And for my own part I never liked the original album anyway.

Far from being anything original and far, far away from being any essential work. Go for the original instead, even not being that good too.

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 Crying Of The Whales by ABARAX album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.26 | 42 ratings

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Crying Of The Whales
Abarax Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars German band,formed in the small town Enger in North-Western Germany in 2003 by members of the group Taste Of Timeless.All being huge fans of the music of Pink Floyd and seeing no further releases by their favorite act,they decided to borrow elements from their style and create a band with a strong Floydian vibe.Coming up with a concept theme, after a couple of years of research around the existence of whales and some time to find an interested record label,they finally debuted in early 2006 with the ''Crying of the Whales'' album on Cyclops.

The PINK FLOYD influence is beyond evidence to say the least,from the crying DAVID GILMOUR-like guitars and the careful bass lines in the vein of ROGER WATERS to the long spacey synth explorations and the quite similar song structure.Even the vocals of singer/guitarist André Blaeute have a strong PINK FLOYD color.The musicianship of the band is good,without being extraordinary and, as said, with a definite Floydian approach.With a concept idea,which really helps the band,Abarax unfold their story through long and hypnotic electric guitar solos,plenty of space for cosmic synth-based soundscapes with also lots of powerful explosions,organ-smashed parts and symphonic passages.All this fine material is widely mixed with the lyrical parts of the album,completing the Floydian image of the band.Still Abarax remain far from anything original,just wanting to fullfill their dream of following their masters' steps.

If you are a dedicated fan of mid-70's PINK FLOYD,who is looking for more of the style,''Crying of the whales'' is the perfect album for you.Not an essential album for the rest of the prog audience,but Abarax play with heart,showcasing some nice talent both on instrumental parts and songwriting to make this album recommended.

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 Crying Of The Whales by ABARAX album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.26 | 42 ratings

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Crying Of The Whales
Abarax Crossover Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

4 stars Debut album and instantly jumping into ecological concept album ? Well, that's strange. Fortunately, I am not annoyed by it, I basically agree with the lyrics (slaughtering of seals is even more terrible), my only problem would be religious lyrics (especially strong ones, wink on Ajalon). Here, it doesn't matter. But as attention seeking they are, they fades & wears out quickly.

Pink Floyd influence is clear here, but as much as I don't like (hate would be too strong word) Division Bell, I like this album. For me, Crying of the Whales is more enjoyable than DB. Strong atmosphere in every track here, plenty of melody hooks scattered around the album, decent musicianship. CotW is not the best album, but as for combination of Prog (even if it sometimes sounds like "you heard that before") and more mainstream music (a lot of "jamming", choruses), its length, message and the whole feeling I get when listening it, this all forces me to break the line and give

5(-), fine example of Crossover Prog.

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 Crying Of The Whales by ABARAX album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.26 | 42 ratings

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Crying Of The Whales
Abarax Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars ABARAX are a band out of Northern Germany who play in the PINK FLOYD style ("Division Bell") in fact in the liner notes they thank "PINK FLOYD for inspirations and a music style we miss so much". The theme of this record is the whale and how man seems bent on destroying it's existance. I have to say that I love the first three tracks on here, the atmosphere and soaring guitar sound so good. The second half of the album has these more straightforward songs that do little for me.

"Crying Of The Whales Part I" has lots of atmosphere with a beat and soaring guitar.Vocals join in after a minute as themes are repeated over this 10 minute track. It ends in a spacey manner. "Journeys End" opens with whale sounds as synths then guitar join in.Vocals before 2 minutes. Drums after 3 minutes then the guitar comes to the fore when the vocals stop before 5 minutes. "Whale Massacre" opens with violin as these solemn vocals join in. Guitar takes over with atmosphere. It kicks in after 6 minutes with vocals and drums.The guitar solos after 9 minutes as the vocals stop.The guitar becomes passionate after 10 1/2 minutes. Nice.

"Part Of Evolution" has a spacey start and vocals join in before 1 1/2 minutes. "Natures Voice" is one I can't get into especially when the vocals and organ lead before a minute. It does get better though. "Point Of No Return" opens with crickets? and water sounds.The music kicks in quickly, vocals too.This reminds me of AYREON. Not a fan. "All These Walls" has spoken words early and whale sounds as strummed guitar and vocals take over. It finally kicks in before 6 minutes. "Crying Of The Whales Part II" starts well with the atmosphere and random drum patterns. Spoken words and music follow 1 1/2 minutes in. Vocals followed by soaring guitar follows.

I did tire of the message here and felt the second half was much weaker than the first, but overall I liked this record.

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 Crying Of The Whales by ABARAX album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.26 | 42 ratings

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Crying Of The Whales
Abarax Crossover Prog

Review by progaeopteryx
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I've tried to give this quite a few spins in the CD player, but each time it comes up too short. The concept is a good one. In this case it's about our slaughter of the whales. So, it's partly an environmental and political message. The other part of this concept has to do with the warning that nature will get even with us because of our slaughtering of the whales. This is where the concept seems like it is on less solid ground, not that I am against nature for doing this. We deserve a lot of slaps on the wrist for many of our wrongdoings on this planet. I was often reminded of the Star Trek IV movie which also dealt with a similar subject.

Probably the biggest problem I have with this album is the music. Abarax is clearly inspired by Pink Floyd (the liner notes even thank them!), but they don't take a Pink Floyd-like foundation and build upon it. Instead, it sounds more like a "poor man's Pink Floyd." The music isn't interesting and it plods along at the same pace almost throughout the whole album. They did catch me with the first six minutes of the first song, but as it reached the last four minutes, they lost me. And lost me they did for the remainder of the album. What this album needs is a good kick in the pants, both musically and lyrically. In the end, it sounds amateurish.

I like the message. I thought it could have been written better, much better. The music just doesn't catch my attention and they need better "whale song" samples (like on ELO's The Whale).

Sorry, only worthy of two stars in my humble opinion.

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 Crying Of The Whales by ABARAX album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.26 | 42 ratings

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Crying Of The Whales
Abarax Crossover Prog

Review by TheOppenheimer

5 stars Excellent. That is all I have to say.

From the first chord, to the last one, magnificence.

Crying Of The Whales, a track that reminds us of Shine On You Crazy Diamond, is linked to the last track (Crying of the whales Pt II), and can also be linked to the 2nd and 3rd tracks of the promo edition: Salty Sting and Tears Of The Whales. How do you call that? Musical flexibility, and conceptuality.

Being able to enjoy music in parts, or as a whole, that is some of the essence of progressive rock.

Then you have the other tracks, that not only add to the storyline of the whales, but also give you more than a sample of the musical variation of Abarax. Psychedelic, symphonic, spacey, technical, moody and so. You'll find extended guitar-solo passages, folky acoustic guitars, sounds of singing whales, lots of sfx, choirs and more.

Besides the pink floydish style, and the ecological themes that may not suit everyone, this is a jewel in symphonic-progressive rock, that takes you through a journey, waiting to be listened to.

My rating: 5/5.

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 Blue Room by ABARAX album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.56 | 27 ratings

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Blue Room
Abarax Crossover Prog

Review by DS

4 stars I must begin with a caveat that I haven't heard ABARAX's previous (debut) album, so I didn't know what I was getting when I ordered this one. Undoubtedly, it was worth it! I am genuinely impressed with the BLUE ROOM, and I can't help but recommend it to all fans of progressive rock. Kicking off (after the brief intro "Cry Out For Me") with a magnificent opener that sports an easily memorable melody ("Autumn Storm), the album continues strong until the very last (and longest) song, "Howard's End."

ABARAX is classified on progarchives.com as a psychedelic/space rock band, and I tend to agree with this grouping. The emphasis should be placed on Psychedelic, not Space, though. Fuzzed roaring guitars, soaring keyboards (predominantly, organ), melodic solos, strong singing mixed at the front, sumptuous backing vocals, mid-tempo throughout ? all the attributes of psychedelic rock that really rocks but never crosses the hard-rock border are present here. While all of these components do originate in the 1970s, however, this is a very modern sounding record: the production is crisp yet warm, very much in your face yet elegant at the same time. The booklet indicates that the band has two guitarists, and it shows, but there is no excessive heaviness in the sound.

Perhaps the only critical thing I have to say about this record is that the seven full-length tracks on the CD sound somewhat similar. As a symphonic prog fan, I occasionally found myself, especially during the first couple of spins, wishing there was a bit more variety, melody- and tempo-wise. Most (or even all) of the songs are in mid-tempo, with clear-cut structures. This is not to say that the BLUE ROOM is repetitive, monotonous, or tedious. God forbid! It is, rather, a classical psychedelic album, and as a result, the genre imposes its limitations.

Although, as I said, the record is very even and it's difficult to single out any songs, the tracks that do stand out immediately are the opener "Autumn Storm" (a real hit ? must be an exceptional concert song!), "Red Roses and Bullets" (a somewhat up-tempo song with a great chorus), and the final "Howard's End," with its pulsating, ominous rhythm, circular, even hypnotic structure, and loads of emotional tension. (The song's title suggests that the track is inspired by E. M. Forster's eponymous novel, and although I didn't spot any textual parallels, the atmosphere of the song does reflect the spirit of this excellent book.) Other songs are just as good, but overall, this is music painted in broad strokes, so to speak: although there are plenty of nuances (a nice acoustic fragment here or an elaborate keyboard solo there), you need quite a lot of time to listen carefully to begin to appreciate them all.

Again, it's a fantastic record that will appeal to fans of heavy prog, symphonic prog, psychedelic and all those who like good melodies, slick arrangements, and a strong sense of what the musicians want to achieve. The record is focused and it strikes home. Keep up the good work!

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 Blue Room by ABARAX album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.56 | 27 ratings

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Blue Room
Abarax Crossover Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions

3 stars Although not provided as a concept album on this occasion, ABARAX are fundamentally linking to their debut here as for the compositional aspect. Which means 'Blue Room' is surely not designed to be very experimental, so much the more you will listen to solid rock songs made of symphonic and psychedelic elements in the majority. All in all less floydy this time and a little more commercially coloured. The rocking component has evolved. So this album holds eight calculated songs offered by experienced musicians where Howard Hanks has a large share when it comes to the lyrics.

Due to the fact that they are situated nearby my hometown I had the chance to see them playing live for several times in the meanwhile. And I was always impressed by As We Spoke because of this special mellow atmosphere and groove, a very emotional song somehow. I'm not that good in interpreting lyrics but releatively sure this is a kind of love song. Luckily the track got a place on the album, an extraordinary methinks. Andre Blaeute's expressive voice perfectly fits here decorated with some echoes - charming, a catchy melody ... oddly ponderous drums, synth and guitar are harmonizing ... and watch out for the bass excursion in between to make it big really.

'Now we've sent you to hell, to where you belong' - Sermons & Lies sounds lovely but is an accusation as well, cryptic though who is meant. Udo Grasekamp offers fine varying synthesizer accents including string arrangements on Life, probably a leftover from early days. ABARAX are getting tough here, are contrasting due to some heavy rocking moments. Red Roses And Bullets on the other hand ventures out into mainstream territories a lot, where Howard's End is provided with a dramatic opening - first of all the vocal arrangements are something special.

This is certainly not the end of Howard ... in any case ... with intent or not, they remind me of Deep Purple's 'Child In Time' during some moments. A melodic finale for this album. Dennis Grasekamp's front guitar work is strong as usual. 'Blue Room' appears not that spectacular as for my summary ... just an effort featuring well made rock songs in order to witness some relaxed moments basically.

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 Crying Of The Whales by ABARAX album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.26 | 42 ratings

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Crying Of The Whales
Abarax Crossover Prog

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

3 stars A few days ago in the Forum we were talking about non original bands and while some members included most of the Symphonic new bands, I insisted that this particularity happened only in a couple of bands that almost cloned bands from the golden era, well ABARAX falls in this behavior on some songs.

The similarity and influence of PINK FLOYD is undeniable, some tracks as the opener are practically cloning, but this doesn't take a bit of merit to The Crying of the Whales all their lack of originality is compensated by their excellent musicianship, intelligent and sensitive lyrics plus undeniable technical skills.

The album starts with The Crying of the Whales, if I didn't knew this album is played by ABARAX, I could swear David Gilmour is in the guitar, but the similarities don't stop there, even when the vocals are absolutely unique and the massive use of Mellotron reminds me more of GENESIS, the spirit of PINK FLOYD is present all around, even the drumming is absolutely reminiscent of Nick Mason.

But the important issue is that the music is excellent and I can't enjoy more this initial eleven minutes of good Progressive Rock.

Tears of the Whales is much more dramatic than the previous track, the sad piano and nostalgic vocals could take tears from the eyes of most listeners, very good song even when extremely nostalgic.

Salty Sting is a very strange song,.with distorted vocals, sound effects weird chorals and fantastic organ that goes in crescendo until it morphs into a soft piano section with bird chirping and sounds of waves, honestly too New Agey for my taste.

The Journey begins with a synth and piano very sad intro, seems that due to the tragedy of the concept they have the desire to depress us, but it's still a nice song, this time with a strong Vangelis (New Age era) influence, and as in his case, don't expect dramatic variations, except for an electronic passage at the end, better than the previous one

Journey's End starts with whales crying and a tense subtle melody provided by a Gilmouresque guitar and organ, after this intro the again sad vocals enter ad begging for help, the chorus work is very nice and the PINK FLOYD oriented drums add the final touch to a beautiful ballad. The track ends with a strong guitar solo that sounds like taken from Wish you Were Here.

The tragic Whale Massacre starts with a very depressive violin intro and a very descriptive narration, the Neo Classical oriented chorus and organ add more dramatics to the already sad atmosphere, atmosphere enhanced by another slow Gilmour oriented guitar solo. Yes, every person with feelings suffers with the massacre of the whales, but we buy an album to enjoy it, not to feel guilty, and this is what ABARAX seem to pretend. The finale with organ and guitar is spectacular.

Part of Evolution begins with a distorted almost metallic guitar solo while an organ adds a baroque mood and sound effects add a special touch. I must be honest, by this point I'm totally depressed, this guys have talent, but require to be more versatile, we are not guilty of anything to be tortured with this extremely sad and repetitive music.

Natures Voice at last presents us a healthy change, even when the general atmosphere doesn't change too much, the music is far more vibrant, even though it's an AORIsh track, at least marks a change.

Point of No Return is a radical improvement, strong and full of energy, a bit of healthy pomp and a nice melody in the background, you can help a cause without taking the listener to suicide or simply take away the CD and never play it again.

All these Walls is a good song that practically summarizes everything we listened through the album , sad passages, vibrant sections,. good guitar and organ solos plus depressive vocals and leads us gently to the end with The Crying of the Whales Pt 2, more or less in the similar vein as the album opener but with less evident PPINK FLOYD references, a good closer.

Now, the album is pretty good despite it's flaws, which are lack of originality in certain passages, tracks that are too repetitive and excessive does of depression, in my case I collaborate with many animal protection groups and I'm part of the anti bullfight group, but music is my relax, not a vehicle to make me feel guilty and depressed, a little bit of energy wouldn't harm the whale's cause, by the contrary, would help it gaining more adepts.

Three stars for a good but repetitive and not so original album, due to the fact that there's no 2.5 stars option, because I believe that would be closer to my impression of the music.

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 Crying Of The Whales by ABARAX album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.26 | 42 ratings

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Crying Of The Whales
Abarax Crossover Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions

3 stars We are here to share - so do beware ...

This ABARAX debut trys to tell the imaginative truth about the whales. The band needed 'two years of research and never ending mind games' to realize an ambitious concept with suitable lyrics and booklet pictures. So it is a flaming appeal for the protection of Mother Earth and especially the whales. The majority of the slowtempo songs is well composed and arranged with excellent vocals and guitar work - sometimes very Gilmour like. They are in a mood as if they had accompanied the whales across the ocean - combined with samples and ambient soundscapes.

The title song is to point out - split in two sections - a nice relaxed song with wonderful guitar playing. Part 1 offers a breathtaking outro introduced by the crying of the whales - excellent! 'We must live together like a man and wife' - Part 2 contains a spoken word message and closes with a reminiscence to 'Echoes'. Whale massacre' - the longest track - has a depressive atmosphere depending on the story. 'Part Of Evolution' is convincing me with the combination of a hard rock/metal guitar at the beginning followed by a simple text refrain and space/psychedelic keyboard and guitar - very good. 'Natures voice' is a nice ballad and 'Point of no return' differs to the other songs because it is a rocking piece.

'Crying of the whales' refers to Pink Floyd but has its own unique style. Recommended to fans of calm space/psychedelic or symphonic rock music - 3.5 stars.

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