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Dragon - Universal Radio CD (album) cover




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3.78 | 13 ratings

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4 stars So, finally, after some debate (from my part aswell), Dragon have found their way into PA. Their first two albums are undeniably progressive, while the rest of their discography leans more towards rock and pop, as you all probably well know.

This album, their debut, is a charming and very good example of early progressive rock, dominated by organ and a slice of psychedelic pop. Having their base in New Zealand I can fully understand that they might have found trouble hitting it big, despite the fact that Dragon play seriously progressive rock with a bite. While not overly complex they do deliver a blend of hard rock stricken, psychedelically infused progressive rock of some proto-type. There is a real british tone to the music, which may or may not surprise some of you.

The organ is very present, a thing that pleases me immensely. Soundwise Ivan Thompson resembles Jon Lord in his heaviest moments. The organ is treated in a very exciting and heavy fashion, giving space to the clicks and thumps.

The opening title track starts with mellow electric piano, leading into drums and acoustic guitar and a rhythm section in the middle. Great track. "Going slow" is certainly on the poppier side but not without presenting it in a progressive stricken overcoat. "Patina" begins with organ before it all breaks loose. This is one of the best tracks, alongside "Avalanche". Heavy prog, one might say. The short "Weetbix" is sort of an intro to the majestic "Graves". The organ is thumping and led- heavy. It's like being hit, repeatedly with a hammer, before the more gentle vocals brings ease and comfort. This track is most likely my favorite, being so dominated by this thunderous organ. The centre-piece, however, ought to be the multipart epic "Avalanche". Brooding, ominous and quite scary at first it leads into yet another thumping and groovy psych-pop section, where the vocals are laced with some echo effect. Great stuff and it gets my body moving to the rhythm. Then there's the instrumental section, circa halfway into the song. The sound is so dark and menacing. The ending is amazing! I suppose this is the greatest of all the tracks on Universal radio.

While Dragon cannot claim to have climbed heights noone else have climbed or broken barriers never before broken, this is certainly a very progressive effort and a really exciting one at that. Leaning heavily towards hard rock and psych the sound is sort of crude and unsophisticated, yet thrilling and skilled. I love this album and the way it grooves, thumps, kicks and broods along. If you like early prog (say between 1969-1975) this could be right up your alley. To me it is easily four stars.

GruvanDahlman | 4/5 |


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