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Argent - Ring Of Hands CD (album) cover

RING OF HANDS

Argent

 

Crossover Prog

3.31 | 72 ratings

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GruvanDahlman
4 stars Argent is probably mostly known for Rod Argent being one of the driving forces behind The Zombies and a few choice cuts that became hits in the 70's. I'm obviously thinking of "Hold your head up" and "God gave rock'n'roll to you". The latter didn't exactly fade into obscurity after Kiss picked it up and almost made it their own song. I think it's a shame that these stadium rockers somewhat (and in my opinion) overshadow the true legacy of Argent, which is strong and powerful progressive rock. To me they reached their pinnacle on "Circus", which is all about progressive rock but if you go back throgh their past you'll find a lot to cherish in regards to prog.

While their first album may be somewhat lacking in direction they made it all up on this, their second effort. It opens up with two pop oriented pieces that are nice enough but when you've got those out of the way things get quite serious with the powerful "Cast your spell Uranus" which absolutely reeks of early progressively tinged hard rock. This is so good and gets my blood flowing right away. Great and majestic organ, great guitar riff and wonderful vocals and harmonies that recalls some of Uriah Heeps finest. It's really a powerful staement of intent. And if that isn't enough for you, get yourself into gear for "Lothlorien". Just look at the title. How on earth could you not like that? A song about a country from Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings"-trilogy, that is as prog as it gets to me. And it starts off so well with the organ, the fast paced vocals and complex arrangement. One of my favorites on the album and such a treat. You get a slight classical influence aswell that is tasteful and majestic. At 7.46 minutes it's the longest piece on the album and as such acts as a sort of centre piece or epic. It balances between the outright beautiful to the down right rocking without ever losing sight of the progressive vision.

Side 2 (if you own the thing on vinyl, as I do) opens up with great progressively tinged hard rock in "Chained". The rough guitar riff is wonderful and the organ is to die for. Great lyrics as well. I love this song. "Rejoice" is a quiet piece of the kind that resembles harmony drenched pop/rock of the era. A nice piece that serves as a space for catching your breath after the powerful "Chained". And then it's back to progressive hard rock on "Pleasure", which is great aswell with some complex arrangements. On "Sleep won't help me" Argent visits the jazzy parlour and delivers a great jazz-rock track that is both dreamy and powerful. It all comes to an end with "Where are we going wrong?", which is a hard rock work-out that is good but not the best track on the album.

As a whole "Ring of hands" is typical for many albums of the very early 70's that leans towards progressive rock. It's not at all complex like King Crimson or Gentle Giant but it is certainly very progressive sounding and that comes through so clearly. The keyboards are a treat and shows the massive skills of Rod Argent himself. While I like "Circus" the most I think, at this point in time, I'll place "Ring of hands" as number two in their discography. A wonderful, proto-proggish effort where influences from all walks of like come to life. I mean, that is quite something, isn't it?

GruvanDahlman | 4/5 |

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