Exposé Online banner

Quasar Lux Symphoniæ — Abraham - One Act Rock Opera
(Music Is Intelligence WMMS 038/39, 1994, 2CD)

by Peter Thelen, 1994-10-01:

Abraham - One Act Rock Opera Cover art First, let's clear up any confusion: This is in no way related to the British neo-symphonic group Quasar that once featured Tracy Hitchings as vocalist. Instead, QLS is an Italian four-piece core band of Roberto Sgorlon (gtr, voc), Paolo Paroni (keys), Fabrizio Morassutto (drums) and Italo Cigainero (bass). In addition, several more vocalists add the parts of Sarah (Annalisa Malvasio), the voice of God (Giorgio Turcati), Ishmael (Hansi Fuchs), and the Pharaoh (Thommi Muller). Abraham's parts are sung by Sgorlon, in this ambitious attempt to create a rock opera based on the life of Abraham. The music was composed by Sgorlon and Paroni, while lyrics were written by Loris Furlan and Fabio Giacomello with spiritual collaboration from Franco Cautero. Musically, as the band's name implies, the approach is intensely symphonic, lush with orchestral synths and powerful dynamics, the instrumental sections painted with soaring guitars and colorful keyboards. The vocal sections are supported by more anchored stylings, vaguely recalling Procol Harum, Camel, Van der Graaf, and the more gothic sounding neo-prog like Asgard or Tale Cue. The vocals are, for the most part excellent — adequately conveying the story and emotion behind the English lyrics, and although the pronunciation is not always the best, it doesn't detract from the outcome. The loud and rocking passages are balanced well with the more quiet and introspective moments in such a way that the music flows quite well throughout this two disc set. There are many noteworthy tracks: "Sodom," which opens the second disc, builds tension with guitars and keys atop a drum solo, before the spoken words of God and Abraham give way to a powerful rock foundation topped off with Hammond musings, flowing directly into some strange and twisted choral arrangements, making it one of the most interesting. Choirs are used generously throughout, but not to excess — tunes like "The Purifying Fire," "Sacrifice," and "Berit" illustrate this well. 'Tron is used when the need calls, as in the disc one closer "Hospitality." The longest track here is "Ishmael," clocking in at nearly ten minutes, covering quite a bit of territory in the process, from Floydian vocal section to spirited rock jam with intense keyboard soloing. QLS is definitely a winner, and a total surprise to boot. Solidly in the symphonic prog vein, they eschew most of the cheesy and derivative neo-baggage and offer a set that — while quite lengthy — should please most fans of this genre.

by Rob Walker, 1994-10-01:

Quasar Lux Symphoniæ is a new Italian outfit that has made its entrance into the prog world with quite a bang. Abraham is a one act rock opera spanning two CDs, that is almost Wagnerian in its ambitiousness. With recitative-like dialog, grandiose arias, and extensive instrumental breaks which utilize themes and leitmotifs introduced in the "Overture," the work tells the Old Testament story of Abraham. If all this sounds slightly pretensious, well... Musically Abraham is sort of a mixed bag. The instrumental sections tend to be in a somewhat neo-proggish style, with a basic rhythm section supporting either a guitar lead over keyboard pads or a keyboard lead over guitar power chords. Within the confines of this genre, though, there is some very good music here. The guitarist, Roberto Sgorlon, seems to have some prog-metal influences, evident in his digital distortion laced leads as well as his acoustic style. The keyboardist, Paolo Paroni, is the most versatile of the bunch, serving up sampled analog synth leads, huge walls of digital synths, and long Romantic-styled solo piano interludes. Unfortunately, the plodding, repetitive rhythm section, the typical downfall of the neo-prog style, is here as well. The vocal pieces, featuring both male and female vocals, come in a variety of styles. There are driving, aggressive neo-proggish songs, as well as pieces that can best be described as lying somewhere in between a pop ballad and something from an Andrew Lloyd Weber musical, probably closer to the latter. Still other parts of this work feature dramatic dialog over bare synths or a huge baroque choir. Annalisa Malvasio, who sings the part of Sarah, is quite a strong vocalist, and her songs are among the high points of the entire double-CD. The vocals are all in English, though there is a fairly thick accent at times, making it hard to understand the words. Overall, this release is rather impressive in its scope and zeal, but the music is not quite as compelling. In the end, your mileage with Abraham will probably depend on your feelings about neo-prog and somewhat bombastic, double album-length "rock" operas. Regardless, its hard not to admire the ambition of this new group, or deny that progressive music has been without an epic work like this for quite some time.

Filed under: New releases , Issue 5 , 1994 releases

Related artist(s): Quasar Lux Symphoniæ

More info

Latest news

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Five-O-One AM - 21st Century Dream – Somewhere between Marillion (Season's End) and the SI label bands Lies Five-O-One AM. That is, song oriented pop with elements of prog. Combine that with WMMS's reputation and Five-O-One AM...  (1999) » Read more

Yes - Talk – Here's yet another album with the Yes name on it that bears almost no resemblance to the band's classic period, essentially a Trevor Rabin solo album with Jon Anderson singing. First, I've...  (1994) » Read more

Marble Sheep - Stone Marby – This album sees Marble Sheep back together in the studio for the first time since about 1993, and a finer example of heavy Japanese psychedelic music I could not name. There are bits of Hawkwind, Pink...  (2002) » Read more

Flower Kings - Paradox Hotel – The good news is that Paradox Hotel includes a kick-ass prog rock instrumental, “Pioneers of Aviation,” that’s about one of the best things The Flower Kings have ever done. The bad...  (2007) » Read more

Pippo d'Ambrosio - Arte Senza Volto – Sometimes it’s so much more difficult to try and describe a piece of music than it is to just hear it and accept it without analysis and words. Case in point: a disc that is so diverse and all...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues