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ABEL GANZ

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Abel Ganz biography
UK act ABEL GANZ was formed in 1980, with keyboardist Hew Montgomery and multi-instrumentalist Hugh Carter as the founding members. Malky McNiven (guitars) and Ken Weir (drums) fleshed out the initial line-up of the band.

Abel Ganz soon became a regular feature in the Glasgow live scene, and after some time they decided that it was time to add a vocalist to their line-up. Cue Alan Reed, formerly of Trance Macabre. He came aboard in time to partake in the recording of their first album "Gratuitous Flash" which was released in 1983. Regular live shows, airplay and an appearance at the Radio Clyde Kelvingrove festival increased their stature. This didn't always have a positive side to it though. Reed's performances had been noticed by UK act Pallas, who were in need of a new vocalist. He was asked to join them and accepted, and stayed on as the vocalist of Pallas until early 2010.

This was just one of many line-up changes to befall Abel Ganz at that point in time though. McNiven left, to be replaced by Paul Kelly (guitars). He also took over the vacant job as lead vocalist. Carter decided to step down as a band member as well, replaced by Gordon Mackie (bass). The band changed, and so did their level of activity. By the mid 80's Abel ganz was busier than ever before in the live circuit, and a new album saw the light of day in 1985 as well - "Gullibles Travels". They were signed to French label M.S.I. soon after, and with Denis Smith (drums) in as a regular member and guest appearances from former members Reed and Kelly a new album saw the light of day in 1988: "The Dangers of Strangers".

The 90's proved to be a troublesome decade for Abel Ganz. Montgomery left the band, and was replaced by Stuart Clyde (keyboards). This latest line-up started venturing towards more AOR tinged musical waters on the band's fourth effort "The Deafening Silence", and with some less than stellar management at the time as well it was eventually decided that the band was best left in the annals of history.

Cue 2001, and a chance encounter between the founding members Montgomery and Carter. This lead to the resurrection of Abel Ganz, with Denis Smith (drums), Davie Mitchell (guitars) and Steven Donnelly (bass) fleshing out this new version of the band. A vocalist was still missing though, but eventually Mick MacFarlane hooked up with Abel Ganz. This revitalized version of Abel Ganz came up with a new album in 2008, "Shooting Albatross", and are still activ...
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Abel GanzAbel Ganz
Import
Abel Records
Audio CD$21.77
Dangers of StrangersDangers of Strangers
Ugum Production 2009
Audio CD$24.99
$29.29 (used)
Shooting AlbatrossShooting Albatross
Import
Abel Ganz 2008
Audio CD$21.98
$18.98 (used)
Back From The ZoneBack From The Zone
Import
F2 Music
Audio CD$14.99
Dangers of StrangersDangers of Strangers
Pg Witness 2008
Audio CD$14.13
$16.74 (used)
Gullibles TravelsGullibles Travels
Import
UGUM Productions/MSI
Audio CD$49.99 (used)
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ABEL GANZ shows & tickets


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ABEL GANZ discography


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

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

3.37 | 45 ratings
Gratuitous Flash
1984
3.19 | 34 ratings
Gullibles Travels
1985
2.98 | 50 ratings
The Dangers Of Strangers
1988
2.38 | 26 ratings
The Deafening Silence
1994
4.10 | 120 ratings
Shooting Albatross
2008
3.83 | 63 ratings
Abel Ganz
2014

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Live in Scotland 6.2.84
1984

ABEL GANZ Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

3.72 | 20 ratings
Back From The Zone
2002

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

4.00 | 2 ratings
Gratuitous Flash*
1984
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Dangers Of Strangers*
1988

ABEL GANZ Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Abel Ganz by ABEL GANZ album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.83 | 63 ratings

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Abel Ganz
Abel Ganz Neo-Prog

Review by pharcanal

4 stars I kind of drift around prog finding, listening to, loving and enjoying a lot of great stuff, but now and again an album catches my ears and this is one of them. I'm getting old in my brain cells, but from time to time an album just seems to "fit", I know I like it, it's just ..............good. This is my latest one, I'm still listening, still hearing, still wondering, but totally enjoying every moment of it, almost lie a rebirth of Abel Ganz? Sorry if that's way out of order, it could be my limited listening / knowledge.

Examples - Lightbulb Sun, Seasons End, Foxtrot, Fragile, ......

What I'm saying is, I really like this, but i'm still listening, nice one guys.

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 Abel Ganz by ABEL GANZ album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.83 | 63 ratings

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Abel Ganz
Abel Ganz Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Abel Ganz previously unleashed one of the finest prog albums in recent memory with the divine 2008 "Shooting the Albatross", a release that caught more than one pundit with its prog pants near their ankles. Critically acclaimed and considered by many as a one-shot surprise never to be repeated, the Scottish band went through another round of musical chairs, losing original co-founders Hew Montgomery and Hugh Carter, and looked sadly like they were done. The bass and drums have remained intact as both Stevie Donnelly and Denis Smith are back, always good to have such a solid spine in place. Guitarist Davie Mitchell is back as well. New recruit Steve Lightbody on keys does a fabulous job while long-time vocalist Stuart "Mick" MacFarlane is now standing in the front spotlight. I was overjoyed about the prospect of another exciting Abel Ganz ride. It will nevertheless be a different kettle of fish. The sound has changed into a another subtle variation of neo-prog, this time with a more wholesome attitude, perhaps nearer to what I would call "hard neo- folk", like Big Big Train, Red Jasper The Gift or even Guy Manning.

A bristling symphonic overture sets the stage for the 5 part "Obsolescence" suite, a 23 minute revelation that hits you upon first earful, chock full of twists and turns with silky flute, colossal church organ, country-style guitar pickin', slippery synths and of course, a fascinating story delivered by the more than credible "Mick". Bassist Donnelly does wonders on the low-end while his partner Smith propels with subtle delicacy. The suite has a distinct "I want to hear this again and again" feel, a trait that certainly bodes well for future returns. It certainly fits very nicely with previous accomplishments like "Sheepish", "So Far" and "Ventura".

What really caught me off guard was the delightful acoustic guitar performance on "Spring", a breathless moment where I was expecting vocals that never came, a lovely piece that has an Anthony Phillips pastoral sheen. Drop dead gorgeous. Memories in Spanish are "Recuerdos", a vivid cut of nostalgia, fervently expressed by a stunning trumpet-like theme, escorted by an elusive guitar and a fully emotional voice that will tug at the heartstrings, crickets providing the slick backing vocals. Fragile and beautiful, once again.

Finally, we reach epiphany with the deliriously stunning "Heartland", a modern, electronic symphony of intense pleasure that has children playing, screaming and innocence at rest. A female voice that winks at Hungarian folk sensation Marta Sebestyen, a world music interpretation that only proves the level of wanton progression expressed by the musicians. The Gaelic vocals are supplied by Joy Dunlop. It segues nicely into "End of Rain", a sleek, acoustic guitar-fueled track that seeks out incredible images in the listener's mind, as if trekking through the rolling hills and dense forests, fresh and brisk air massaging the skin. Donnelly caresses his bass frets in bewilderment, a sonic utopia that exudes endless reverie. The final moments are exuberant, the bass and drums doing a tight waltz. This is beyond bliss, simple atmospheric music can be so perfect.

Malcolm Jones of Scottish legends Runrig makes an appearance on "Thank You", a typical Scot country tune, closer to Runrig with blessed accordion and a Mark Knopfler-styled guitar solo that twangs and slides with pedal steel-feel. A vibrant tune that will certainly stay the course, though totally devoid of any prog references, just a nice song!

"A Portion of Noodles" is another brief folk ditty, MacFarlane once again shining on the acoustic guitar, displaying sterling technique and a mesmerizing sense of feeling. This again serves as an appropriate introduction to the upcoming massive epic, the 14 minute "Unconditional", a harrowing pot-pourri of various styles, an American Indian beat that winks at the Eagles, a tortured guitar that veers into a jazz mode and then later into hard metal territory, Mick crooning with total conviction. Trumpets indicate New Orleans rather than Glasgow but the mood is delightful, electric piano gleaming brightly, shifting drums and very cool bass undertow. Lightbody does a masterful piano solo that is straight out of the jazz universe. The arrangement acquires more raw power as the surly organ decides to rage brightly, Mick starting to howl in earnest, Gentle Giant-like dissonance taking a brief bow as the guitars start to ratchet up their rage, Mitchell unleashing a mother guitar solo, very electric, very Vai/Satriani , highly intense. Toss in some choir harmony voices, stop on a dime movements, dazzle and shine. Totally unexpected and totally brilliant!

"The Drowning" sets this one to the cradle, pulling a comfortable duvet over the tired and weary soul, a goodnight kiss that will help dream sweet dreams. MacFarlane croons, flugelhorn in tow, brassy knobs on a wooden bed. Drenched in deep melancholia, the ebb and flow of the album comes to a serene conclusion. A gloriously tired trumpet eases onto the pillow.

This album is quite different, not as linear as the thrilling "Shooting the Albatross", content to explore new sounds and new dimensions, searching out distant horizons but making them fit into a catalog of sounds that unendingly excite and enthrall. Is that not the ultimate purpose of a progressive album?

I beg to differ on the cover artwork, it is one of the most poignant ones in recent memory and perhaps I can relate better living in Alberta, where such bleak winter vistas are commonplace. The lilac sheen is inspiring. Love this precious album.

5 Clever Artilleries

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 Abel Ganz by ABEL GANZ album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.83 | 63 ratings

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Abel Ganz
Abel Ganz Neo-Prog

Review by mbzr48

3 stars I don't write negative reviews or for that matter many reviews but I had to write one here! It took "Abel Ganz" 6 years to come-up with an album that has a boring uninvented name and a cover that looks like a 5 year old kid painted that is boring too and uninvented! I was hoping the music would be the opposite but unfortunately I was wrong, I know that when people listen to an album when it just realest they look for the positive immediately, this is why you can see on many albums at the beginning the rates are high and then after few month from being around 4-5 stars they sink to less then 4 stars or maybe less then 3 stars on PA, I believe this will be the case here too, unless you are an "Abel Ganz" fanatic! I don't think it's a disaster but for me only 3 stars is more then fair! when I'm listening to an album I rate each song from 1 to 5 and here all the songs are 3 stars other then "Heartland" that is amazing 5 stars and "Unconditional" that is a 4 stars, I was hoping for more but this is Good but not essential! 3 stars

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 Abel Ganz by ABEL GANZ album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.83 | 63 ratings

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Abel Ganz
Abel Ganz Neo-Prog

Review by lagos

5 stars last opus after too much time is here ; and really fantastic album delivered ( for me the best ). very different of first albums with a new sound in the vein of big big train , genesis , the creativity is evident ( fabulous guitars ) & instrumentals fusion at the top , some tracks are more longer ( the last ) & what can i say : a divine pleasure for my ears . it's amazing to see that abel ganz must asking help to fans to finish this album ( pure nonsense for real musicians !!! );when you can hear so much bull[&*!#]s who have success with the crowd , i'm say to myself :oh god thanks to make me enjoy this real music created by great & real artists !! for all fans of prog & simply great feelings with music , this album is a MUST !! so enjoy listenning it !!! 5 stars of course ( may be the best release this year with roy strattman album ),,,,,like say steel pulse : life without music i cant live !!!!!

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 The Dangers Of Strangers by ABEL GANZ album cover Studio Album, 1988
2.98 | 50 ratings

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The Dangers Of Strangers
Abel Ganz Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

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.

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 Shooting Albatross by ABEL GANZ album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.10 | 120 ratings

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Shooting Albatross
Abel Ganz Neo-Prog

Review by sinslice

4 stars Rock neo symphonic progressive with a good dose of acoustic guitar and flute.

Neo progressive has been one of the most controversial movements within the genre. It was originated in the eighties fateful, fateful for symphonic rock. However, looking into the distance the early works of Marillion, IQ, Twelfth Night, Pendragon, among others, can not understand the resistance to it. Justified only musical prejudice, without giving attention to the product. Of course, a matter of taste. In addition, there were several projects that progressive ear disappointed by the low quality, but would not it also happened in the seventies?

Abel Ganz was one of those groups that did not get round good albums at the time. Too commercial, surrendering to the demands of the time, hard to dodge. Considering this, I was very pleasantly surprised this musical artistic jewel.

The four tracks are very good, well polished, with color and variety, So Far being a pure delight. Pastoral moments and more powerful. Electric guitars are tight and lively, the production is perfect. It conveys anguish, excitement, joy, hope, anxiety. The band sounds fully and well oiled. 4+ stars

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 Shooting Albatross by ABEL GANZ album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.10 | 120 ratings

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Shooting Albatross
Abel Ganz Neo-Prog

Review by pfdfcc

4 stars OK, having been a fan of epic length, symphonic recordings in my formative prog years (the 70's), and having fallen in love with such iconic bands as Genesis and Yes, I can appreciate the work it must have taken to create these 4 tracks. Although expansive, they manage to hold the listeners attention with beautiful synthesizer breaks and some nice acoustic guitar and keys. The mammoth centerpiece, So Far, tends to get a little meandering at times, and probably could have been pared down just a bit, but the real gems here more than make up for that. The final two tracks, Sheepish & Ventura, are truly masterpieces of progressive songwriting. They definitely bear that European prog footprint and that's a good thing! When these guys take it down into the softer symphonic passages, the music just washes over you and kinda takes you to those times back in the day when listening to a track let you float off to a more peaceful place. Old school prog that pays tribute to its influences in the most complimentary way.

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 Shooting Albatross by ABEL GANZ album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.10 | 120 ratings

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Shooting Albatross
Abel Ganz Neo-Prog

Review by rickdeckard

5 stars This is a far, FAR departure from their 80's output and while it retains a lot of melody and hook characteristic of the neo-prog stable, it's way more symphonic now. I'm definitely not saying their early output is bad, in fact I think Gullibles Travels is a fantastic album and well represents the era, this is just far close to what say, Phideaux is doing now rather than a rehash of the classic 80's bombastic sound. These 4 lengthy compositions are just filled with wonderful auditory snacks that beg for repeated munching and for me this is the key to ANY prog rock, otherwise what's the point, just listen to the radio for the forgettable stuff. This is food for the pure prog lovers as it's all here, tasty moog, varied tempos, smooth guitar leads and just overall incredibly competent musicianship from a group of people who have clearly matured musically over the years like a fine wine.

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 Gratuitous Flash by ABEL GANZ album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.37 | 45 ratings

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Gratuitous Flash
Abel Ganz Neo-Prog

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Though the mid-eighties' may not be a particularly notable period in progressive rock's history, the UK-fronted neo prog movement at the time spawned plenty of excellent acts to keep the spirit of the genre alive while many of its veterans descended into mediocrity. Abel Ganz is one of the lesser-known bands from this movement, but their debut album Gratuitous Flash was released right at the height of early neo-progressive rock. Like many neo-prog bands from this time period, their style borrows heavily from the likes of Genesis and Marillion, often sounding like an updated version of Trick of the Tail-era Genesis with dashes of Mark Kelly influenced keyboards and commercial songwriting. Although Gratuitous Flash won't win any points for originality, it has a sort of charm that is inevitably enjoyable for fans of the genre. By and large this is a fairly mediocre eighties' prog rock effort, but it has enough positive aspects to be worth a listen for neo-prog enthusiasts.

Gratuitous Flash is indeed a debut album, but Abel Ganz were fairly impressive musicians and composers at this point in their careers. All of the musicians deliver solid performances throughout the course of the album, and the songwriting is generally interesting and memorable. Although "Kean on the Job" is entirely disposable as far as I'm concerned, the rest of this observation is solid neo-prog from start to finish. The opening and closing tracks are actually the two biggest highlights in my opinion - both of these extended pieces really show what talented composers and players Abel Ganz truly are. Though the band makes little effort to stand out from your average neo-prog act, they deliver the goods enough to make this a fun listen from time to time.

As is typical for a production from this time period, Gratuitous Flash's sound quality is a bit thin and muddy; while I wouldn't call it a crippling deformity, it is a flaw worth pointing out. Abel Ganz doesn't leave a tremendous impact on the listener with their debut effort, but they do deliver a solid observation that should satisfy most fans of eighties' neo-prog. Though I'm left craving more originality and standout material when Gratuitous Flash finishes, this is still a good album to pull out every now and again. 3 stars are warranted for this decent debut from Abel Ganz.

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 The Dangers Of Strangers by ABEL GANZ album cover Studio Album, 1988
2.98 | 50 ratings

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The Dangers Of Strangers
Abel Ganz Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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.

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