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Wishbone Ash - Argus CD (album) cover


Wishbone Ash


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4.24 | 711 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The much applauded Argus opens with beautiful acoustic guitar and harmonic vocals, building to upbeat, melodic, and instantly enjoyable rock. Strong guitar work, bass grooves, powerful solos, a '70's feel, with a straight-ahead rock vibe indicative of the era shows how a bit of artistic sensibilities can improve conventional classic rock-- which, ultimately, I feel Argus is.

"Time Was" starts things off well, demonstrating the band's comparatively more ambitious songwriting as the traits described above. Wishbone's Ash sound here will probably leave an impression on folks who have little exposure to the big names in prog (Yes, for example). who do everything Wishbone does here with more energy, panache, and creativity. That being said, there is still a lot to enjoy in this tune, especially if one is looking for melodic guitar jams.

"Sometime World" is a folksy ballad that leaves the flimsy vocals exposed too much for my taste, but luckily the tempo picks up for a rousing second half, with especially strong melodic bass and a killer guitar solo to top things off. First-rate classic rock grooves. "Blowin' Free" is a heavy, riff-driven song with down-home-style blues soloing. Fun, though light-weight. The well-received "The King Will Come" is easily my least favorite song on this album; trite lyrics and directionless wah-wah guitar made it hard for me to even listen through the whole thing. Another folk ballad follows with "Leaf and Stream"-- giving way to heavy, screaming guitar work with "Sword". Righteous man! "Throw Down the Sword" closes the album with pomp and epic guitar solos, but the tune itself is pretty much a throwaway beyond that.

One thing which stood out to me throughout Argus are the vocals. While pleasant enough to listen to casually, they strike me as mediocre after repeated listens. All three vocalists are bland and inflection-less, seeming to emphasize the hitting notes rather then their effect on the listener. Considering that most rock of this vein relies on choruses and catchy lyrics to make an impression, this is actually pretty brave. Luckily, the group's extended instrumental work backs up their bluff. The twin guitar work is generally excellent and entertaining, and the group's melodic and cohesive playing adds a refined touch throughout.

I enjoyed listening to Argus a lot, but it doesn't stand up to a critical ear-- at least in terms of it's "progressive" qualities. Taken by itself it is still an excellent album for classic rock lovers, especially those seeking something more interesting than what most of the bands of the age were producing. Definitely worth exploring, but not to be mistaken as a masterpiece.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Prog Leviathan | 3/5 |


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