[Neo Era Prog #14] Abel Ganz

Abel Ganz is a Scottish Neo Prog band, formed in 1980 from an idea by keyboardist Hew Montgomery and multi-instrumentalist Hugh Carter. The common interest of the two musicians Progressive and the need to express it through their own compositions, led to the birth of the band. The lineup was completed by guitarist Malky McNiven and drummer Ken Weir. They established themselves as a live band in the Glasgow area, deciding therefore to include a singer and start writing a studio album. Added to the Alan Reed lineup, from the Trance Macabre, and began recording the first album “Free Flash” in 1983. Reed’s performance at the Kelvingrove Festival in Glasgow attracted attention to him from the Pallas, after Euan Laurson’s departure. Malky abandons, to follow other projects, replaced by Paul Kelly on guitar and vocal, Gordon Mackie instead takes over the bass, while Hugh Carter moves into a managerial role in the band. With this Lineup they record the second album “Gullibless Travels,” and immediately after Gordon leaves, in the future he will return. Weir also leaves, replaced by Alan Quinn, but later Kelly and Reed finally leave the band. Montgomery and Carter returned to the lineup to record the third album “The danger of strangers” with McNiven also collaborating, while at Drum, only in the studio, figure Denis Smith. The lineup of this band is a building site that is always open, constantly evolving, with Montgomery a founding member and keyboardist who leaves, replaced by Stuart Clyde. Unfortunately, although they were gaining notoriety, their sound was turning into AOR Rock, deviating from the Neo Prog sounds that had characterized its rise. Hugh Carter, the only one left of the founding duo, decided to dissolve the band, only a year later a brief reunion there saw protagonists in the concert The Classic Rock Society. The Abel Ganz story seemed to have ended like this. In 2001, following a meeting between Carter and Montgomery, the conditions for a meeting were created. They so signed a new recording contract with F2 Records and released the compilation “Back from the zone.”

This resurrection sees among the performers involved Dennis Smith on drum, Davie Mitchell on guitar and Steven Donnelly on bass, as well as Carter and Montgomery. A singer was so missing, and if necessary Mick McFarlane joined the lineup. “Shooting albatross” recorded in 2008 with many guests, both of the Prog tour and of the old band members. Six years pass and in 2014 another album is released, with a long suite of over 20 minutes, a sign that the band is healthy and has progressive ideas. At present the Abel Ganz are still active, engaged in tours and according to updates from the web, engaged in writing new material. A band that contributed to the re-birth of Progressive music, among the first to propose the Neo Prog genre. But, unlike other artists like IQ and Marillion, they remained a bit in the niche, despite their excellent technique. The fruits harvested do not correspond to the real value of the band, which unfortunately has never received the right acknowledgments in proportion to the quality expressed. Especially in the initial period, and in the rebirth, we find absolute value albums, to be included among the masterpieces of Neo Prog. Without envying anything more famous bands, with a little more luck, this band would have had better luck, coming out of the niche of fans of the genre, as it would have deserved.


(1984) Gratuitous Flash [Not On Label]
(1985) Gullibles Travels [Not On Label]
(1988) The Dangers Of Strangers [Not On Label]
(1994) The Deafening Silence [MSI]
(2008) Shooting Albatross [Abel Records]
(2014) Abel Ganz [Abel Records]

Past Members

Robert Wilson / Guitar, Back Vocals
Paul Kelly / Vocals, Guitar
Colin Johnson / Drums, Back Vocals
Malcolm McNiven / Guitar
Gordon Mackie / Bass
Alan Reed / Vocals
Kenny Weir / Drums
Stuart Clyde / Vocals, Keyboard
Christopher Forsyth / Vocals

Current Lineup

Dennis Smith / Drums, Back Vocals
Hew Montgomery / Keyboard
Hugh Carter / Vocals, Guitar, Back Vocals, Keyboard, Flute, Percussions, Didgeridoo
Davie Mitchell / Guitar
Stevie Donnelly / Bass
Stuart “Mick” McFarlane / Vocals, Guitar

Abel Ganz |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Twitter|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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