Reviewed by MJBrady on 28 May 2008
This review provides a look at the 2000 re-release of this cd originally recorded in 1996 when it was the bands' debut effort, putting them on the progressive rock map, and started what would be a fairly impressive line of recordings to follow with 4 studio recordings and a live release to fill the bands' discography. Abraxas are unique in their approach to progressive rock, in that they sing in their native Polish language, and they also dabble in some darker moods, even a hint of metal, but never really fully embracing any one known style. Here on this remastered version of Cykl Obraca Sie, which loosely translates into "The Cycle Rotates" The band starts their careers in a fine fashion, musically most traditional fans of progrock should find this music appealling, unless of course the language issues are too difficult to get around. Understandably, it's impossible to grasp any idea of a bands' conceptual ideals without working knowledge of the language, so for that reason alone, this can be a big hurdle to get over in fully enjoying this cd, as there are a lot of vocals.
The music that the band employs emphasizes the "rock" in progressive rock, they also enjoy some odd meters, and some ethnic infusions. I honestly cannot compare them to any band, they are doing something pretty unique to themselves here. It's definitely progressive music, and it has some power, with enough forays into the quirky stuff to at least grab your attention and at the same time keep you off guard. Yet the vocals are at times just a bit to much in front and domineering. This cd does have a few lengthy songs that allow a bit more breathing room for the musicians in the group, where they can expose some of their wares, as they are a fine and talented band of players.
I find that I enjoy more of the bands later work, as this has some distracting aspects that I really cannot pigeonhole, it can seem a bit disjointed, yet there are more than enough highlights to show the potential that was to become more prominent on the bands successive released. Definitely a nice job of remastering, sound is very good, and it does actually make the sonic end result of this cd markedly improved.
Abraxas has been my favorite Polish progressive band, as they are one of the few that veered away from the Neo label, and also remained pretty unique for the duration of their activity as a band, and while this cd has enough interesting parts, better for most to start with latter releases if you are considering getting acquainted with this band.