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Ethos - Ardour  CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.88 | 72 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars I had this album earlier this year and all but ignored it. What a fool! Here is about the one US band you've put up here I'd give the full 5 star masterpiece rating to, and don't let this one pass you by as it can still be found affordably, comes in a beautiful cover, and has the music to match. A progressive band from the American Midwest, Ethos for once give the listener a sound that is unique, atmospheric, and thought provoking with even some fun being had in the lyrics. Wil Sharpe wrote or co wrote every track and provided the band with guitar and vocals. If he's the lead singer his voice is gentle, soothing, and sung in for most of the album a whisper where in the few loud parts he sounds like David Bowie. The only other group I could think of like Ethos would be Yes (early on) and Fantasy, maybe also Jasper Wrath. Things begin fantastic with "Intrepid Traveller-" a bit of a Gentle Giant influence evident on this and much of the album, but better than Gentle Giant! There's thoughtful verses, strong choruses, dynamite playing from the group with lots of mellotron, and some fine guitar work too. "Space Brothers" continues Sharpe's fascination with space and life on other planets, but this won't bore you like if the local philosophy teacher dressed up in his robes and stepped onto a stage keening in an embarrasing imitation of a space alien which so much neo prog does. Technically, Ethos at 1975 in release date were tail end of prog, not neo prog. Punk rock fans must have been horrified by this. In fact, Ethos and Leviathan are the only two bands I can think of who sounded "dangerous" and "threatening" to the American public's lack of taste and interest in progressive rock. Side One closes with two tracks that are linked together by the Atlantis story- "Everyman" is a song I particularly empathize with. An old man who has been an outcast all his life saves a village from a flood every year and the people give him nothing but insults and stupidity. Finally, after writing his own epitaph (!) when the old man dies the town is washed away. Do we feel any sympathy for them? Hell, no! "Atlanteans" continues the theme with gentle flowing melodies and a haunting atmosphere. Side Two's "The Spirit Of Music" has a little fun in its story of music history from The Beatles to the present time (which then was 1975). The rest of the side is even better than that amazing track, and even more impressive than Side One if such a thing is possible. This is an outstanding record. Even the synthesizers are for the most part used tastefully and don't wreck anything. I would strongly reccommend this to anyone who loves progressive music, but for the Kayak/Camel/Fantasy crowd (myself one of those) this album can't be missed! If at first you don't get this, try it again. I found a copy for cheap and boy am I glad I gave this one some serious listenings since fetching it back again. Masterstroke!
| 5/5 |


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