ABARAX – The Crying Of The Whales (Cyclops)

Another great new band discovered by Cyclops, this one from Germany. Right from the opening ‘Crying Of The Whales Part 1’ you can hear who they have been listening to – Dave Gilmour’s guitar style is all over the track, but it is nevertheless a great opening to this concept album about the plight of the whales. Sung in English, the album is classic progressive rock, with every track swathed in keyboards, electric and acoustic guitar, and with vocals. Despite the album having a concept behind it, it does not detract from the music, and apart from the interjection of whalesong here and there the preaching is kept to a minimum. ‘Journey’s End’ is a poignant ballad, and contains some soaring guitarwork from Dennis Grasetamp, while ‘Whale Massacre’ is an obviously emotive piece, and gives the guitarist plenty of scope for some more fine Floydian axework. After the brief respite of the gentle ‘Part Of Evolution’, ‘Natures Voice’ rocks out in a distinctly Whitesnake sort of way, and is quite commercial in its own way, with a catchy chorus and an eye to the charts if it were ever released as a single. ‘Point Of No Return’ is another great heavy rocker with a memorable chorus, and definitely shows that the band are not just Floyd copyists. ‘All These Walls’ starts off deceptively as a plaintive ballad before the massed guitars make an appearance for the final three minutes, and the album ends with ‘Crying Of The Whales Part II’, being a reprise of the opening track with a spoken word introduction outlining the plight of these magnificent creatures. The whole feel of the track is like something from Jeff Wayne’s ‘War Of The Worlds’, which can be taken as a compliment now that his work has been re-assessed, and it closes this fine album in epic style. Another outstanding album from the label, and to think that I only got this and The Gift because the GFT catalogue dropped through my door and I thought I would take a chance.