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Wishbone Ash - Argus CD (album) cover

ARGUS

Wishbone Ash

 

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4.24 | 711 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
5 stars "In the fire the king will come..." This is the lone masterpiece of Wishbone Ash"

Wishbone Ash's "Argus" is the band's most famous album and in fact is the best thing they ever did though I love all their live material especially the "Time Was Anthology". What makes this album great is it contains no less than four of their all time classic tracks 'The King Will Come', 'Throw Down The Sword' and 'Blowin' Free', not to mention 'Warrior'. The great WA sound consists of duel guitar playing from the excellent musicianship of Andy Powell and Ted Turner; they would always be remembered for this album. The guitar breaks are nothing short of extraordinary, before Iron Maiden and before Judas Priest's twin guitar solos there was Powell and Turner. Martin Turner's vocals are easy to take and he doesn't go for high octave but stays in the mid range, his bass playing is noteworthy too.

'Time Was' is a classic track with very soft folk guitar and melancholy singing. The guitar jamming is a feature and there is a lengthy solo with a driving rhythm, after 9 minutes 40 the track finally comes to a close. A very good opening track to prepare us for better to come.

Steve Upton's drumming is fairly average though he does some lovely things with the cymbals on tracks such as 'Sometime World'. This track is kind of bluesy and speeds up in tempo as the song progresses.

'Blowin' Free' begins with the killer riff that drives the song. The lyrics are great to sing to; "I Thought I had a girl I know because I seen her, her hair was gold and brown, blowin' free like a cornfield..." The twin guitar solo is a feature once again and this is a real favourite with the band and they always include it on their live set, which sound jammier and better than this. There are some delicious passages of soaring guitar and blues scales on this. The time sig remains fairly much the same apart from some slower bits thrown in such as; "In my dreams..." section.

'The King Will Come' is my favourite Wishbone Ash song and I saw this on the Classic Rock Anthology which drew me to the band. The band have so much fun rockin' it out and the lead guitarist wears flowing white flares. Powell moves back and forth playing a flying V guitar staring into the camera just having the time of his life. They sound incredible live, so this studio version is not as loud and aggressive though it's still great. The guitars are not as up in the mix but the harmonies are divine. It is a song about the Biblical end times when the king (Jesus) will return and apocalypse will reign; the Revelation. The lead break is magnificent from both guitarists using wah wah pedal effects and huge scales. Once again this is a staple of the live set and would not be complete without it. It is brilliant prog rock. "See the word of the prophet on a stone in his hand, poison pen Revelation, just a sign in the sand..."

'Leaf and Stream' is the weakest track on the album, very quiet and melancholy, but still listenable and marks a transition point to lead the next huge rocker.

'Warrior' has a rocking riff and lead intro before the gentle lyrics; "I'm leaving to search for something new, leaving everything I ever knew, a hundred years in the sunshine, hasn't taught me all there is to know..." The theme centres around the conquest of the vanquished or fallen and how they triumph over the war to find the sword of destiny. The time sig changes to a faster tempo on "Time will pass away, Time will guard our secrets..." Then there is an anthemic section with the chorus repeated over and over with striking harmonies; "I have to be a warrior, a slave I couldn't be, a soldier and a conqueror, fighting to be free." Another great harmony and melody on this memorable track.

The second best WA track is 'Throw Down the Sword' which is among the live sets I have heard. It features a fade in intro with a very nice guitar riff that sounds medieval in tune. The quest is not over, and this track encompasses the tired traveler who is searching but not finding and throws down the sword in frustration; "Throw down the sword the fight is starting over neither lost neither won, to cast away the fury of the battle, turn my weary eyes for home... leave the glory, a story time could never change, to walk the road the load I have to carry..." It is the journey's end for the warrior, and this reminds me of the cover, a lone soldier watching over the battlefied awaiting death or will he be spared? The uncertainty is reflected in the music which meanders slowly along with very precise guitar lead breaks.

'No Easy Road' is a bonus CD track and not much really, just a solid rocking track that doesn't belong here, but interesting anyway.

There is a kind of concept running through this album though it is not as blatant as a concept album usually is but with the theme of battle and quests, it is there. So this last track is a perfect ending to a perfect album. Wishbone Ash could never live up to the reputation of this album so "Argus" is their most accomplished work and worthy of masterpiece status.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |

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