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Asgard - In the Realm of Asgærd CD (album) cover

IN THE REALM OF ASGÆRD

Asgard

 

Crossover Prog

3.44 | 34 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5stars really!!!

Not to be confused with the French prog folk group of the later 70's or the Italian neo- prog group of the early 90's, this English band (spelling the name differently) released just one album in 72 that is sometimes considered a hidden gem of the UK's early 70's proto-prog. And indeed this impressive heroic-fantasy gatefold artworks hides some pretty good hard prog that is strongly guitar-driven heavy progressive rock (all tracks bar one are guitarist Harrison-penned) often oogling in the direction of Uriah Heep with Hensley's organ replaced with Orgil's violin. Another particularity of the group is that it had two full-time singers in Smith and Bartlett. Made of short songs (only two just barely over 5 minutes), the album is not a very long one either, but sweet enough that even after a few years, a second consecutive listen is not out of the question for this writer.

Right from the first seconds of the opening title track, you just know this album will be aimed at those that like dramatic organ-driven prog, even if in this case the group is organ-less. But this doesn't stop them from sounding like the best Uriah Heep moments between Salisbury and Look at Yourself and in particular July Morning. Also coming to mind at times is Vanilla Fudge's Renaissance album without the psych influences: mid- tempo with strong throat-grabbing multi vocals that appeal to most young males in their late-teens or just after. Town Crier is a bit more of a Beatles-inspired track, partly because of Orgil's double-tracked violin, sounding Rigby-ish (all things considered of course) but this is due to the descending violin line. All of the tracks are fairly even in quality and are contagious in terms of enthusiasm. In some tracks, Kansas is not too far away either, but this mostly due to the violin again. Among the better tracks is the Children Of A New Born Age and its follow-up Time.

On the downside of things, the fact that there is only one person involved in the songwriting fails to renew enough the succession of tracks that rely a bit too much on the guitar riffs, the keyboards are very absent, even if there seems to be odd bit here and there. While this album is indeed a small gem, there is nothing really all that unforgettable, groundbreaking or unforgivably over-looked by the public either. Not essential by its nature, but still quite worth the occasional spin or two.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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