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Wishbone Ash - Argus CD (album) cover


Wishbone Ash


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4.24 | 711 ratings

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5 stars When finally the world comes to an end it will surely be a spear holding Darth Vader, obviously deserted on Earth by his drunken buddies, who will do it. I mean, he must be irked, look at 'em they're leaving him down here all to himself, poor rascal, and no one will ever understand anything about the Death Star even if he sings a beautiful twin guitar song in the hard rock vein about it, even if he sings loud and proud about kings coming and warriors coming too, in fact everything on this record is coming or passing by, or blowing, except Darth Vader who seems to be a little reticent to come, or go, or blow for that matter, anywhere. In fact the main character of the second side, Darth Vader, seems to be a little perturbed about being left here on Earth by his drunken buddies, and he starts trouble, meditates, starts more trouble, finally sees the error of his ways, stops being a baddie and just tosses his sword away, though it would have been better if he threw the sword into a stream after impaling a leaf, for dramatic purposes, you must understand.

All Joshing aside, this is a wonderful album filled with neat hooky songs that flirt with being metal and post Beatles pop goodness at one time, beautiful and thrilling guitar interplay that falls just short of Thin Lizzy's heyday and the first works of bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden.

The production is sort of weird, murky and raw. I personally love it with a humming desire, but I do understand many people might not like that level of rawness (or Doobie in their funk, even) and would consider it "tinny" or "something" but, really, if you are into the rawer side of music, "Argus" has a very nice biting sound that can soothe the little soul inside the teacups we call our bodies.

Track by Track: (Side by Side)

The theme of Side 1 is very loose, in fact non-existent. This is not a concept album, though I one time thought it was, but I was in a very literary mood that month. A collection of upbeat wonders for those who want to jiggity jog and bounce all the way through the wormhole.

1. Time Was : Long and interesting, very mellow opening, nice blast of rock after a couple mintues. Overall a very filling song, makes you shake a tail feather in parts.

2. Sometime World: Full on Prog! Total masterpiece of a song, makes the toes curl and the joy spew like pea soup.

3. Blowin' Free: Really good driving music for when you want that whole "I'm in my car, the road goes on forever, the party never ends and each mile of blacktop eaten is like a buffet in Heaven" feeling.

Side 2 has the "Darth Vader left on Earth by his Drunken Buddies" theme.

All the Bruhaha about this album comes mostly from this side (though the first side is fantastic!) and it's oddly peculiar storyline sort of about Darth Vader (maybe) that might or might not have something to do with the sterling reputation this album carries around like a sock full of silver bars.

4. The King Will Come: My favorite song on the album, by far. Check out that guitar at the beginning, one of the best riffs ever written by simple mortal humans and a good song too, all apocalyptic, guess Vader's PO'd that he's been abandoned and wants to take his subtle, yet flaming, revenge upon all the unbelievers. Magnitude of ten-thousand as proto-metal as a breadfan and twice as pretty.

5. Leaf and Stream: If we consider this side to tell a "story" or be "thematic" this is either an interlude or Vader is sitting by a stream, mask off, crying into the water as he reminisces about space flight.

6. Warrior: Another great. More proto-metal, very Maiden-y, but not as fast. If there is a complaint about this album it is that there are songs that could have used a little more speed, a bit more heaviness, but heck, this was 1972 we aren't all that far removed from "Goin' up the Country." I guess this song is about Vader being a warrior or something. Wonder if Jedi tricks work on Earth?

7. Throw Down The Sword: Where the hero decides to give up the warring ways, great track, meltingly beautiful guitars and a whole hand basket of pretty other things too. The album ends, Vader accepts his plight and sorta makes peace with himself. Great stuff.

Overall, the truth about this album is that it's wonderful, surprising things happen and it seems much shorter than it really is.

Truly an original record that nothing else in the world sounds much like (not even other WA albums) so do yourself a favor, listen, and if it helps you can pretend that the guy on the cover is a Roman Warrior who saw a space ship instead of Darth Vader...

TerryDactyl | 5/5 |


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