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Zaragon - No Return CD (album) cover

NO RETURN

Zaragon

 

Symphonic Prog

3.33 | 20 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars .and they never did (return!)

Danish band Zaragon had been around for about 5 years in various forms before releasing this their sole album in 1984. With English language vocals the music is a sort of melting pot of Kansas, IQ and Camel with nuances of Yes and Genesis. Synth and lead guitar dominate the extended breaks between the vocals, the tracks being well developed affairs usually running to 7-12 minutes.

The Kansas influences are the most commercial aspect of the songs, the vocal melodies being strong and well defined. It is though the Wakeman like synth runs, such as that which introduces "Thoughts", which are the most pleasing aspect of the music. In what appears to be an over indulgence in democracy, we usually find that each synth break is followed by a similar length of lead guitar break and vice versa. The resulting sounds are highly pleasing but sometimes a bit predictable. The aforementioned "Thoughts" though is a highlight of the album, and a fine example of symphonic prog.

The longest track is the title song, which runs to almost 13 minutes. This superbly put together number may pre-date band such as Pendragon and IQ by a number of years, but it points the way for the type of music they would develop and adopt as their own. Here, the emphasis is on the lead guitar for most of the first half of the track, then keyboards for the latter part. There are some nice bass lines too, the song displaying a willingness on the part of the band to let the music take its own unhurried course.

There are two shorter tracks on the album. The 5 minute "Lightrace" is a Styx like piece of melodic rock, while the 2+ minute "Exit" formed a suitable coda for the original album. The CD re-release saw the band get back together to record one additional song for inclusion on it. "Fear to fight" is very much in the same vein as the rest of the album, featuring a fine instrumental introduction to a melodic and highly accessible vocal.

Quite why Zaragon did not enjoy the success their album warranted, or indeed why they only ever recorded one album, seems to be something of a mystery. Perhaps their timing, during nadir of prog, was to say the least unfortunate. Whatever the reasons, all the indications here are that the band could have gone on to become a major force in prog had they recorded a few more albums.

The entire album can currently be heard in steaming form (courtesy of the band) on our website.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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