Exposé Online banner

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

by Rob Walker, 1994-10-01:

Abraham - One Act Rock Opera Cover art 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.

by Peter Thelen, 1994-10-01:

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.

Filed under: New releases , Issue 5 , 1994 releases

Related artist(s): Quasar Lux Symphoniæ

More info

Latest news

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Robin Taylor / Taylor's Free Universe - Two Pack – A brilliant marketing strategy here - two 3-inch mini-CDs in cardboard sleeves are shrink-wrapped back-to-back. The first features three new songs recorded in 2010, featuring Taylor on guitars, bass,...  (2011) » Read more

Arkus - 1914 – I'm not sure how many times I've had to listen to this to review. It seems like I forget about it after every time I listen to it. Arkus is a Dutch symphonic group and this album is from the early...  (1994) » Read more

Triakel - Sånger från 63°N (Songs from 63°N) – This is a collection of songs that originate in the Jämtland province of Sweden, most of them traditional, some more recent but in a traditional style. The trio of singer Emma Härdelin,...  (2005) » Read more

Psicotropia - Grog – A few years back this young Spanish trio left its mark on the audience in Mexicali, proving themselves to be competent purveyors of free-wheeling high-energy jamming and tightly composed math-rock....  (2008) » Read more

Tinyfish - The Big Red Spark – It seems like everything British prog rockers Tinyfish have done up to now has been a prelude to The Big Red Spark. It helps that there’s a solid continuity between this and the previous two...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues