Exposé Online banner

Abarax — Blue Room
(Cyclops CYCL174, 2010, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2011-06-01

Blue Room Cover art

Abarax were a band whose original purpose was to fill the void left by Pink Floyd’s absence. Their 2006 debut, Crying of the Whales (now out of print), did reveal a taste for languid and bluesy guitar-driven rock, though it was hardly imitative. For the follow up the band has moved into harder, metal-tinged terrain. The focal point of the music is still vocalist André Blaeute and lead guitarist Dennis Grasekamp. Both are formidable musicians, especially Blaeute. The arrangements often feel like little more than platforms for his powerful and dynamic singing, though with a talent like this the band would be fools not to exploit it. Grasekamp’s guitar work — the other dominant force in the songs — often veers into wailing melodic leads that remind me of Slash or Michael Shenker, and with the songs consistently falling into deliberately-paced, heavy rock I’m reminded of 80s metal bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest or Whitesnake. Keyboard player Udo Grasekamp (Michael’s brother, along with bassist André Grasekamp) typically layers on thick synth chords that lend an atmosphere of epic vistas to the material, and songs like “Autumn Storm” and “Sermons and Lies” feel like they’re being delivered from a stormy Olympian summit. I can appreciate the talent and effort behind these songs, many of which are undeniably listenable, but Abarax’s decision to hitch their horse to a brand of metal that’s a bit past its prime is regrettable. They may just need a little time to find their own voice.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 39, 2010 releases

Related artist(s): Abarax

Latest news

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Blacklight Braille - Seachange – Blacklight Braille is a name I've been seeing for years but only recently decided to check their music out. So for any seasoned BB fans out there, please keep in mind this is this writer's first...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues