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The best 1993 had to offer. - 98%

hells_unicorn, August 2nd, 2008

The history of metal is loaded with stories of bands that could have been, but weren’t for some reason. In the case of many, the capricious nature of the mainstream was the principle culprit, as was the case with German power metal outfit Abraxas. Although they had been in existence since the mid-80s, they had not truly gotten a foothold until vocalist Chris Klauke, who had a brief run with another little known power/speed metal outfit “Mania”, joined the fold. Unfortunately for the band, the time of their big debut was right dead in the middle of the grunge takeover, and probably the worst year of that period 1993.

Although this release is available on a less limited basis under a different title with more songs tagged onto the end, the original release “The Liason” is superior because of the pacing not being thrown off from the track order being shuffled around. In my experience it is usually not a good idea to kick off an album with a 7 minute plus epic, as it will diminish the rest of the listen. I also prefer the album art of this release because it better fits the style of the music than the quasi-science fiction concept that was lifted from one of the other songs on here for the "Tomorrow's World" version.

“The Liason” is stylistically a brilliant mix of Helloween, Queensryche, Fates Warning and a host of other outfits from the old guard power and progressive metal scenes. It kicks off with the melodic speed classic “Cry of the Nature”, which is basically a heavier and better produced homage to “Eagle Fly Free”. “Dream Dealer” switches things up with a slower prog oriented rocker, definitely influenced by Queensryche’s “The Warning”. Other tracks like “Crusader’s Prayer” trade back and forth Iron Maiden and Accept influences, as well as some almost folk guitar melodies, while “Tomorrow’s Dream” thrashes it up with a killer galloping feel and a really powerful chorus. The title track has some hints of Fates Warning’s “No Exit” along with a couple of riffs that sound like they directly influenced Pagan’s Mind.

The only thing that is really standard about this album is the fact that the two best tracks on here are the longest ones. “Gates of Eden” and “Euphoria” both exhibit characteristics of the ideal epic in the Iron Maiden sense, but with all the stylistic trappings of the late 80s speed metal bands of Germany and dashes of mid-80s American power/prog. The bass interlude to “Euphoria” is almost gloomier yet dramatic version of the same kind heard on Maiden’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”. Although the solos and technical displays of this band may not impress in the same way that a Dream Theater or a Symphony X might, the songwriting carries a charm that sets it apart from much of the metal that came before it.

Although this band is under the power metal banner, the adventurous nature of the songs makes it a suitable member of the power/prog genre. Many of the newer acts in that genre, namely Pagan’s Mind and Anubis Gate share a common tendency in their sound that I don’t think is coincidental. Perhaps only an indirect influence, but nonetheless, Abraxas was definitely a unique beast for it’s time and was sadly well ahead of it’s time. For 1993, this is pretty much the best that you could get from this genre, even against the somewhat interesting Gamma Ray release “Insanity and Genius”, this takes the prize.

(edit)

Later submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on August 2, 2008.

Retro power metal, with a very unique touch - 85%

Xeogred, April 18th, 2007

Its a shame this is Abraxas's only real full length album, as it contains every track from their previous Japanese only release "The Liason", with a few bonus tracks from their earlier demos. Its pretty much just a more true version of their one and only album. And look, their vocalists was also once in Mania, another great and ambitious early power metal act that really should have went further (and its no surprise this band sounds pretty similar at times). Bands like this should not be the ones biting the dust. Then again, its not like these guys put out their albums during the most popular of times, really odd release dates.

That aside, this album really surprised me. One thing I instantly noticed was the incredible guitar work with the grand opener "Gates to Eden". The guitars are razor sharp, and you'll actually hear some fantastic riffs and leads throughout that a lot of generic European power metal can lack. The solo's are outstanding as well. This first track also sounds like they took Helloween's Keeper albums and melded the style together with King Diamond's "Abigail", no kidding. And then the next track sounds like it has hints of Helstar within it. As the strong influences are laid out throughout this disc, they always put in their own touch and elements to it as well. Their originality and energy put into this almost match up to Scanner's early efforts, like "Hypertrace" and "Terminal Earth". This stuff is just so lively and creative, they never dwell into typical mediocrity. They're not playing around a bit, and you can just tell they're having a blast with this themselves.

The production is top notch. The guitars are again, and amazing force throughout here and both guitarists Stephan Rohner and Oliver Mindner are no amateurs, and may very well be the best thing on this album. The bass does tend to get overpowered or hard to hear at times, but never to a point of annoyance or anything. Its still there, just could maybe be mixed a little better. The drums are as proud as ever, and follow the odd rhythm's perfectly. The vocalist Chris Klauke isn't anything to brag about, he's not mindblowing, but definitely a little beyond your typical, clear, and melodic power metal vocalist. He certainly gives 110% at all times and makes the best of his ability, throwing in a lot of aggression as well. They keyboards are never really overdone at all or "cheesy", for the most part they simply give the songs some thicker atmosphere. No complaints with the lineup and production here at all.

No argueing the progressive elements are riddled throughout their songs, though never was there a part where it felt like they were pointlessly dragging things out. This entire album is really a blast, and there's never really any lowpoints at all. There are a few tracks that don't exactly stand out as much as others, and this might not be as accessible as other stuff out there right off the bat, but given sometime you'll probably be coming back to this one quite a bit for awhile. The final three demo tracks showcases their sophomore efforts, and the Mania influence is as strong as ever. A little darker than the album itself, and the styles are more straightforward, and extremely melodic at some points. It would have been great if they redid these songs with the higher production.

If you've lost hope for original and unique European power metal,, then look no further! This is the album to check out. Fans of Helloween's Keeper albums, Scanner's early works, Mania, and other obscure European bands like them, and quite possibly even fans of the early US power metal scene, should definitely give this album a shot. Its tough, its beyond dynamic, executed perfectly, and the guitars are just downright crazy. Highly recommended! Again, its a shame this is all we really got from them.

Interesting and original - 87%

Big_G, March 31st, 2003

All those tired of hearing about how power metal has exausted itself and lost all originality, listen up! Here comes a combo from Germany that can be called anything but copycat. :)

"Tomorrow's World" is in fact the debut album by the six-piece "Abraxas", although the band has stuck together for a very respectable period of time. This of course goes to prove how saturated the genre really is - it takes a lot of effort for an unknown band to get a CD released. Well, at least these guys had extra time for refining their compositions into true works of art.

What we have here is over 70 minutes of well-produced music (11 regular tracks plus 3 bonuses, which I hope are available worldwide as they kick serious ass) that can be identified as power metal, but with significant presence of progressive elements and even traces of industrial. No sword'n'sorcery stuff to be found here, either, the lyrics being quite socially oriented and clever.

Musically, it is hard to find any shortcomings at all, except... for the unusual songwriting (and that's actually no shortcoming, he-he). They just refuse to dwell on simple harmonies and catchy choruses, a path chosen by many a power metal band. Surely, catchiness is there, but so are the most unpredictable twists and turns of melody, numerous breaks and rhythm changes that, at the first listen, might even seem awkward or unnecessary. But the second you' d think this is too complex for your tastes, the song shall break through to your heart with a couple of grandiose hooks, a majestic chorus, a jaw-dropping solo or heaven knows what else that will leave you begging for more!

The songs get really progressive at times (without getting too long or boring, mind you!) only to go back to happy ol' double bass gallop a minute later. The skills of the group's keyboard player have to be commended, as well as the man behind the drumkit, who, together with the bassist, creates very inventive rhythm patterns. The vocalist is decent - well, not the greatest voice you' ve heard in years, but above average anyway - and the guitars just fu*kin' rule!! I will not be able to describe them, this must be heard. Two guys by the names of Stephan Rohner and Oliver Mindner truly set this band up as a winner. Their solos just rip, I can't get enough!

Thinking back, after numerous spins, I can't find one throwaway track on this disc. Each has its own appeal, so I' ll let you pick your favorites.

No ballads were included (this, too, should make some people happy) but there are just enough nice acoustic parts. Some compositions have a definite Middle-Eastern touch to them ("Crusaders' Prayer", "Place Without Mirrors"), some are mid-paced, heavy on the verses and then changing into a big chorus ("Dream Dealer"), some very melodic, reminiscent of Swedish hard rockers "Europe" ("Signs"), others - of Kiske era "Helloween", mostly due to the vocals plus the general positive feel ("Faded Photographs" and "Tomorrow's World" - not to confuse with legendary "Future World"!). The two long songs - over 7 minutes each - "Euphoria" and "Gates to Eden", feature it all: rhythm and tempo variations, slow, almost spoken parts, cool leads (especially the latter); alas, both end kind of abruptly, which takes away from the overall impression a bit. Several more conventional power numbers can be found here as well ("Dreamers' Island", "Cry of the Nature", "Into the Light"), all of them very enjoyable and bearing hit potential. Then, if you are into prog, get "The Liaison", or the slower "Explorers" - beautiful! I also love "Stolen Memories" with its darker heavy metal feel.

So, all in all, this amounts to such hype as I would not have given after the first listen. But, as noted before, "Tomorrow's World" is a grower of an album. Not the first pick for fans of "straightforward" power metal acts, but a must-check for those who can appreciate good and "deep" music.

Enough said. Hats off to "Abraxas"!