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Wishbone Ash - Argus CD (album) cover

ARGUS

Wishbone Ash

 

Prog Related

4.24 | 798 ratings

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Axel Dyberg
5 stars Lots of people say that this album is good only for rock, and that there's little to no prog value in it. Well, compared to lots of other bands we deem ''Prog related'' this is bloody rocket science, and Wishbone Ash at this point were at least as, if not more proggy than Supertramp were. So while we can argue about the proggyness of the album, one thing remains. It's very, very good.

Argus is a grand conceptual album about war and it's relatives. It does imply this througout, lyrically and at times musically. 'Time Was' is a nine minute song, opening with very beautiful acoustic guitars. Vocal harmonies remind me of early Crosby, Stills and Nash. Two minutes in, it changes to a stunning rocker with great guitar solos. 'Sometime World' is a very good song. Lyrically, it's great. But musically, we begin to see what made Wishbone Ash so renowned. The guitar solos. Absolutely fantastic and bluesy playing ends the nearly 7 minute song.

'Blowin' Free' is a fun rocker, with great lyrics (The first ones about love). In the middle is a great guitar solo, again quite bluesy. The other musicians, which I've seemingly forgot to mention, are superb and have been so throughout the other tracks, but the bass here has a very present energy. Steve Upton's drumming is very underrated, and this album shows him as the timekeeper yet great drummer he was. Never missing a fill, Upton keeps a pace throughout the songs that shoot the twin-lead attack evern further up.

'The King Will Come' opens up side 2 (If you have this on vinyl, of course) and here we really begin to get the good stuff. A 7 minute powerhouse rocker, it's a showcase for the lead guitar work of Ted Turner. Opening with a march-esque passage, it kicks into a superb rocker. Very trebly bass and a superb guitar riff. The singing on this album has been said as being ''nothing spectacular'', but I'll be damned if it doesn't fit the music perfectly. The vocals remind me slightly of John Wetton, which can be good and bad. Very interesting lyrics in this song, but the real treat is the extended guitar solo. After this comes a very epic section, with the guitars layering over a present, ringing bass. It then reverts into the original melody. Superb!

'Leaf and Stream' is a slower, folky song. Included is even a tambourine! Very good vocals and great guitar harmonies. It works as a bridge between the three epic songs that occupy this side. A lovely guitar solo (Unexpected, huh?) is featured in here as well. 'Warrior' is a fantastic, heavy song. A great riff opens up the song, followed by great guitar work. The verses prove to be different than what originally concieved, though, being quite soft and delicate. Inventive cymbal playing by Upton here as well. After the verses it begins to gather it's energy again, and after that comes a great and powerful chorus. I'd have to be a warrior, a slave I couldn't be. A soldier and a conqueror, fighting to be free... is repeated, while being intertwined with superb guitar soli, and heavy drumming. Again, the bass is also very present. It's ends with a prolonged ambient note, cascading into Throw Down The Sword.

'Throw Down The Sword' is the climactic closing track, opening with a repeated, melancholy guitar harmony part and tight snare drumming by Upton. It kicks into gear with the verses. This song is arguably the best on the album in my opinion. A great guitar riff leads into the verses which feature the best lyrics on the album. But the true centerpiece on the song is the twin-lead guitar solo, which puts on display such emotion and power under the melancholy riff that I really feel moved, at times even getting misty-eyed. One of the best guitar solos ever in my opinion, end a truly great album.

Argus deserves to be in the prog-realm as well as many other albums that we seem to regard much higher in the progressive hierarchy, and one listen will tell you just why. Five stars, and they deserve it!

Axel Dyberg | 5/5 |

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