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Wishbone Ash - Argus CD (album) cover

ARGUS

Wishbone Ash

 

Prog Related

4.24 | 711 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars 4,5 sdtars really!!!!

Unanimously recognized by all WA fans, Argus is also the main reason why the group is in our beloved Archives. One of the reasons for progheads liking this album so much is the absolutely superb gatefold artwork depicting a medieval soldier on a misty morning in a mountainous landscape observing a strange flying saucer. One of the more puzzling things about this album is that almost every single Cd re-issue has had that artwork duplicated without the spaceship, which remains a mystery to this writer about the whys of this fact. Much discussion about this album has occurred on whether it was a concept album (four tracks clearly allude to warrior- related issues, but this reviewer prefers to speak of a thematic album rather than a conceptual one. At most, only the second side of the vinyl is strongly thematic in its heroic-fantasy imagery.

Every little thing that seems not perfect on the first two albums here are completely absent and the album is close to flawless in this gorgeous set of tracks. From the 9 min+ stunning opener Time Was (and its quiet intro, and strong tightness of the group) to the catchy Blowin' Free (again returning more towards the tighter and more macho side of the group) and passing through the awesome Sometime World (with its superb intro and then the superb bass line supporting the now-famous scatting, great succeeding guitar solos), the first side of the album ends all too shortly (but time-wise this vinyl was anything but short). But I have only one regret: though, most of the songs ends in fade-outs - maybe the last little flaw in the songwriting, but that was the common thing to do back then.

The second side of the album manages to top the first one, with their seminal the King Will Come, with Ted turner playing his best solo in the five records (the double live included) he recorded with WA. Just as superb is leaf and stream with its beautiful arpeggios and that superb pastoral ambiance, a quiet and reflective track from beginning to end and a pure joy. Spine chills guaranteed!! Out comes one of the most awesome track ever written, Warrior and its message for force to become a free man. Throw Down The Sword is a fitting exit to an almost perfect album with both Powell and Turner playing so emotionally that one can only want to spin the album again.

Recent re-issues of this album have included as bonus tracks a rare live three track EP or in my case (the Japanese mini-Lp) the B-side to the Blowin' Free single - No Easy Road. In either case, the tracks are not a suitable addition to this great album and actually ruin a bit the feeling of mighty beauty once Throw Down The Sword is over. Most of this album is still played in concert thirty years after it was written and that fact speaks for itself, does it not?

Somehow it is so sad that they never did another album like that one, but maybe the group knew its strengths well enough not to want to try to repeat this album without cheapening it by making a carbon copy. Nevertheless every proghead is still crying at the sudden change of musical direction taken after this album, despite its wide critical acclaim and excellent commercial success.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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