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ARGUS

Wishbone Ash

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chopper
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I've always thought of this album as a classic of prog rock so I'm glad to see it on this site at last. Whilst Wishbone Ash became more of a guitar-based rock band later in their career, their first three albums are classics of prog rock and this is the best of the three. Most songs feature the excellent twin guitars of Andy Powell and Ted Turner and usually have two or three part vocal harmonies.

"Time Was" kicks the album off with an acoustic flavour and some nice harmony vocals, before changing to the rockier part of the song. Some nice guitar work here.

"Sometime World" again starts off slow, before breaking down before a chunky guitar riff appears from the mix and takes the song onto a different plane with some great bass playing from Martin Turner. Nice harmony vocals again.

"Blowin' Free" has an Allman Brothers kind of feel to it, with a country-ish guitar riff.

"The King Will Come" and "Throw Down The Sword" are similar to each other, in between we have the gentle "Leaf and Stream" and the awesome "Warrior". This song kicks off with a great guitar riff and ends with the fantastic "I'd love to be a warrior, a slave I couldn't be" chorus.

The bonus track on the 1991 release ("No Easy Road") is a pleasant enough rock song, but out of place here.

A prog rock classic - if you like the rockier, guitar-based side of prog then you'll love this.

Report this review (#73641)
Posted Friday, March 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tony Fisher
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This album is sensational and is Wishbone's masterpiece. Over 30 years after its release, it sounds as fresh and exciting as ever and, along with The Snow Goose, is my most played album. The guitar play throughout is breathtaking and melodic, Andy Powell and Ted Turner complementing each other and swapping solos and riffs effortlessly whilst Martin Turner contributes some sensational bass lines and Steve Upton's drums are sensitive and inventive. For the first time, they include keyboards, with Jon Tout of Renaissance guesting on organ in Throw Down The Sword. This adds an extra dimension and, subsequently, Graham Maitland (ex Glencoe) would tour with them. Are they prog? Probably, at least on this album; they have some definite prog characteristics but who cares when they're as good as this?

All seven tracks are an aural delight (ignore the CD's bonus track which has no place in such exalted company). Their previous albums were brilliant for the most part, but were somewhat flawed by rough edges and some undeveloped ideas. This is expertly constructed and produced. The tracks change between gentle acoustic passages to full blooded rock seamlessly. All seven tracks are highlights and still feature in their live repertoire to this day; it's amazing to see 17 year olds singing along to songs recorded long before they were born. I will refrain from describing each track; the best way to discover this album is to buy it and hear for yourself.

This album was voted best album of 1972 - ahead of Close to the Edge, Thick as a Brick and Foxtrot. Did it deserve this accolade? Without any doubt at all; excellent though those albums are, this is on a higher plane altogether. Very few albums deserve the title perfect: this is one. Essential to any collection.

Report this review (#73763)
Posted Saturday, April 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars While I'm not sure whether WISHBONE ASH should be more considered "art-rock" than "prog-related", "Argus" is their definite piece of music that stands the test of time. Of almost cult-like proportions, "Argus" is full of twin guitar interplays, acoustic passages, melodic bass hooks, long multi-part jams and slightly "romantic" or "sword and sorcery" lyrical images that should satisfy the average prog rocker's hunger for elaborative music concepts!

Although I have not heard much of their later work (what I heard is pretty thin!) I can freely assume that this album is their highest point. In digression, I was at WISHBONE ASH tour of 1982 when they also visited Sarajevo, ex-Yugoslavia. It was an excellent concert in spite of the fact that they largely promoted the then released and terribly bad album "Twin Barrels Burning". The concert set contained mostly the material from "Argus" and the audience was thrilled because evryone new the songs ("Argus" being licensed and released domestically and enjoyed a sort of "cult" status among the Hippies and Proggers).

All in all, this album is a masterpiece of classic rock of the early 1970s, even though WISHBONE ASH are not usually considered a prog band. I can but recommend this fine work to all prog lovers. You will not be dissapointed!

Report this review (#73859)
Posted Sunday, April 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#74022)
Posted Tuesday, April 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is seriously good. I was 14 when it was released and to this day it is an essential work. Quite influential too, suddenly everyones guitar sound was said to be like Wishbone Ash. I was fortunate to see the original lineup reformed and playing small venues in the 1990's and boy they were just as good live.

This album is the epitome of prog rock just as much as anything by Genesis , Tull and the others. Different yes but very much of its time, truly inspired and inevitably impossible to replicate.

Report this review (#74070)
Posted Tuesday, April 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Firstly, "Argus" is really a great work of WA, no doubt. The best hard rock album from 1972 and, maybe, one of the best albums of this genre in this decade. Highly reccomended for fans of good hard rock and for those who likes twin guitars. "Blowin´ Free" was a classical of my teenage. Do not forget the fantastic cover too. Is true that my comments are very suspictious because I love this album. However, I must add that, in my opinion, if you are searching for a typical prog rock musicality, sorry you will not find it.
Report this review (#75086)
Posted Saturday, April 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars The kings have come

While Wishbone Ash may fall into the "Prog related" category, there is little doubt that "Argus" stands as one of the finest prog albums ever. The band may not have had a full time keyboard player (arguably a pre-requisite for any prog band), but they more than compensated for this with the sounds and textures the twin lead guitars of Andy Powell and Ted Turner offered. Indeed, the guest appearance of keyboard player John Tout (Renaissance) on "Throw down the sword" perhaps seals the prog credibility of this masterpiece.

It is in fact difficult to categorise this album in terms of a sub-genre. The many acoustic parts convey a prog-folk feel, frequently accentuated by the mediaeval lyrics, while the strong guitars and vocal harmonies can perhaps be compared to bands such as Camel. While never overtly metallic, when the band work their way through a few strong bluesy riffs they offer comparisons with the work of Uriah Heep or Deep Purple.

The album opens with the 10 minute "Time was", which moves from the gentle acoustic introduction into a wonderful up-tempo number featuring some great licks by Powell. "Sometime world" has a similar structure, while "Blowin' free" is more of a fun number.

If side one of the album is classic rock music at its finest, it is arguably surpassed by side two. The feature tracks are set around the acoustic "Leaf and stream", a "Dusk" (Genesis "Trespass") like piece which like "Dusk" offers a peaceful haven amid the glorious epics. The side opens with "The king will come". Here, the twin guitars harmonise to wonderful effect while the lyrics portray a quasi Arthurian tale. This theme is perpetuated in the closing two part epic "Warrior/throw down the sword". While the guitar work throughout the album is exemplary, the track closes with a truly awesome solo, full of atmosphere and emotion.

There really is not a weak track on "Argus", it represents one of the finest albums of its era, a truly essential masterpiece.

In 2002, Martin Turner remixed and remastered the album. The remixing is the cause of some controversy, with some feeling it has not been done well while others take the view that it brings out the dual guitar sound well. The re-release comes complete with three bonus live tracks, of which the 17 minute "Phoenix" is particularly special.

Report this review (#76403)
Posted Thursday, April 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Forget the classification as prog-related, this album is pure prog, especially when put in historical context as an album from 1972. 'Sometime World' is one of my favourite tracks of all time. The main feature is the excellent double guitar work. There are exciting solos on 'Sometime World' and 'Time Was' and wonderfully liquid and mellifluous playing on the beautiful 'Leaf and Stream'. The album cover is one of the best ever, with ita atmosphere of mystery and menace. All in all, a classic prog album
Report this review (#76426)
Posted Thursday, April 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
Peter Pan
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars What's progressive with "Argus"? It was on the threshold between rock and prog-rock in 1972 when it was released. Playing with two lead guitars (or "twin guitars") as Wishbone Ash did was uncommon and invented a new sound. Unusual and thrilling vocals like in the second part of "Sometime world" or in "Vas Dis" (from "Pilgrimage" 1971) were never heard before in this way and sure were no mainstream. Though the band doesn't go so far in their own appraisal to construct a relation with prog-rock. In the nice and informative booklet of the remastered Argus-CD they describe themselves as "thoughtful innovators of classic rock".

This is an early concept album which combines high variety in melodies and themes with consistency throughout the album. The topics of the seven songs linger around war, voyage, and time. Still one of the most entertaining albums of rock history with beautiful melodies and harmonies and one of the few I can listen to from the beginning to the end without a break.

However "Argus" marked the transition of Wishbone Ash to mainstream rock. The follow-ups like "Four" and "There's the Rub" were well-done but missed the brilliance of this album throughout. Later on the group suffered from ongoing personal changes and never could achieve former heights.

The remastering of "Argus" by founding member and bass player Martin Turner in 2002 made the sound crystal clear and makes one forget former editions. On their web site the band claims that there has been a remix but thank God I can hear no change at all of the original balance between instruments or voices and no emphasizing.

Report this review (#76745)
Posted Sunday, April 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Absolutely grand-dazzlingly magnificent from beginning to end.

I do agree with the ‘prog-related’ label, as I think of it as only having progressive tendencies, namely the twin guitars with which Wishbone are true masters. The album is very consistent with a variety of beautiful melodies and harmonies. It is certainly an album you can easily listen to all the way through, possibly even twice, with no skips or breaks.

“Sometime World” and “Throw Down the Sword” are my favourites. “Sometime World” starts out fairly slowly, revolving around vocals. Two and half minutes it changes direction, with focus on a wonderful bass melody, which continues through to the end of the track, often behind a guitar solo or vocals. “Throw Down the Sword” is more of a classic rock power ballad, with emotive twin guitar throughout.

The bonus tracks of the album; “Jail Bait”, “The Pilgrim” and “Phoenix” do not strike me as remarkable, but the standard tracks are essential. As a whole, the album has aged very well, sounding fresh and new. With this, Wishbone Ash have created a classic in rock history.

Report this review (#79867)
Posted Wednesday, May 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars No need to add any word as almost everything has already been said about this album. Clearly a masterpiece of rock. The mark of what 1970s must've been like (I wish I remembered that time...).

This album is a guideline about how a prog album should be recorded, but also a flawless manifestation of WA's harmony guitars - the thing that helped them make their way into history of music. Argus is in my mind one of the best albums ever recorded.

Report this review (#80583)
Posted Wednesday, June 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Up until a few months ago the name Wishbone Ash had never even crossed my ears. I was drawn to the band over the incredible hype over its adding to the prog-related category, and its subsequent string of five star ratings giving it a perfect score for a solid amount of time. So naturally I promptly ordered the album and awaited to be swept up by the sonic euphoria that was sure to come. Then to my puzzled surprise, the album seemed like generic classic rock; sounded like something that i had heard before, so natural to my ears. I was incredibly disappointed. But then...

Persistence paid off. I listened to this album time and time again and then it hit me, and I fell hard and fast. The melodic complexity of the album unfolded itself, and the variety of textures formed by the Ash's patented twin axe attack more than made up for the absence of a keyboard player in adding variety to the songs. The songs sounding familiar had nothing to do with them not being adventurous; instead the melodies were just so perfect like each note was destined to fall into the place Wishbone Ash put it. The dreamy, calming atmosphere this album produces is remarkable. Even when the album takes a break to be aggressive with its closing two tracks, the melody remains so strong and lush.

The musicianship here is top notch. The focus is obviously on the guitars but the bass still makes itself heard and plays an important part in the music often a hard thing to do in bands with two guitarist. The drumming is surprisingly powerful yet retains the album's dreamlike quality perfectly. The singing is nothing special, but fits the album much like Gilmour's singing on Meddle.

This album as well as any shows that an album can be a complete work without any filler or standouts dwarfing the other compositions. Those who lean toward the more adventorous side of prog will probably find little here, but the general prog fanbase should be pleased enough. The album lacks a certain something with its first few tracks for me to consider it a five star album even outside the prog spectrum, but it comes close.

Report this review (#82065)
Posted Tuesday, June 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Time Was, when there were things around to be afraid of!

I actually had never heard of Wishbone Ash before PA. I just saw a list of five star reviews coming... (prog related? wtf?)

Well I of course ordered this one quite soon. And did not disappoint me. There are some of the finest songs I've ever heard. Time Was is the highlight of the album, starting with a nice slow acoustic guitar driven - intro and then just exploding to a wonderful rocker. The twin guitars just go right to your soul.

Sometime World also starts slowly with nice vocals (damn the british accent is nice :)) and then bursting to wonderful rocker and masterful guitarsolos.

Blowin' Free is the most poppiest song here. Nice vocals and beautiful melodies. Nothing bad to say.

The King Will Come is the proggiest song of the album, starting with a snareroll and guitarriff. Then it gets quite pure art rock. Damn good song.

Leaf And Stream is a slower one, wonderful guitarwork.

Warrior will remain as a classic forever, the introsolo is just fantastic, and then slow vocal part with amazing leadguitar in the back. A wonderful song, only the chorus vocals are quite weak.

Throw down the song starts just like The King Will Come, only with some organs in it. The snarefill is quite a killer. The guitarsolos in the end just drive you mad, a joy of music.

Another album to fill the black holes in my world of music. Something new for long time, a masterpiece.

Report this review (#86288)
Posted Wednesday, August 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Having lucked upon Wishbone Ash some 7 years after they released their first album it took me almost 3 months after this to discover "Argus". I bought their 2nd album 1st (I know it doesn't make sense!) "Pilgrimage" ...yes not bad, then their 8th album "New England" 2nd (!), yes it was good but all the written hype in old press cuttings was for their 3rd album from 1972, "Argus".

So I finally relented and bought "Argus" in late 1977 expecting to be underwhelmed. I was not. A classic progressive rock album in the truest sense...you can almost imagine being one of Tolkien's characters from "Lord of The Rings"...and especially on Side 2.

All songs are exceptional and music is monumental......a great ethereal experience. Twin harmony lead guitar passages at their finest throughout plus ground breaking solos from Andy Powell on "Sometime World" and Ted Turner on "The King Will Come".

I was 5 years too late in discovering it, if you haven't got it yet, hopefully you'll be 34 years too late when you buy it straight away! You will not be dissappointed.

Report this review (#88483)
Posted Wednesday, August 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is as an essential offering to the progressive music genre as you will ever get. Argus is a classic 1972 composition from Wishbone Ash. Along with thier debut and perhaps Pilgrimage the trio of albums stands out as superb quality music. What is the formula which makes a mix of sound so successful and at the same time so damn progressive? A good blend of rock and roll, progressive rock and languid mournful lyrics that carry an air of mystery and grandeur. I reckon that is a pretty darn good cocktail to start with.The album kicks off with the epic ' Time Was' which builds nice and steadily to a raucous chorus, followed by ' Sometime world'. The slower numbers really are the most haunting ' The King will Come' and the beautiful ' Leaf and Stream'. ' Throw Down the Sword makes for a climatic end to the album also. Make no mistake there is tons of rock and roll on Argus too, but quality stuff which only compliments the overall message. The remastered version comes with three live tracks ' Jail Bait', 'The Pilgrim' and last but not least ' The Phoenix'. Ordinarily I would not mention bonus tracks and remastered editions but this package is so well delivered it is impossible to ignore the memphis gigs of 1972. Essential progressive music every step of the way.
Report this review (#89467)
Posted Tuesday, September 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
Australian
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The band of Andy Powell, Martin Turner and Steve Upton creates Argus, the crown masterpiece of Wishbone ash which, for me goes down as one of the best albums. The title, "Argus" comes from the Greek myth of "Argus" who is a giant with 100 eyes, it also can be used to describe a vigilant or observant person. With this name comes a conceptual album of war, time and history all of which are mentioned in "Argus." Even without listening to the album it is clear that "Argus" is based around warriors and war, the cover and song titles emulate this idea. "Argus" is an undoubtedly progressive album, changes in dynamics and tempo complement this claim as well as the epic concept surrounding the album.

Wishbone Ash developed their ideas to the point of perfection for the first and arguably only time and were rewarded with a number 3 charting in England, from which the band attained a moderate following, which remains to this day. "Argus" is a musical journey, taking the listener into a land of old, while still retaining an element of modern times, if you understand me. "Time Was" is a progressive song with time changes and extended song length as well as ingenious guitar work and lyricism. The song begins with a short acoustic section before moving into a fully blown rock/prog song with various guitar solos and lyrics. There is absolutely nothing dark about "Time Was" and it is actually an uplifting song and enjoyable to listen to. "Sometime World" follows "Time Was" and opens as a slow-ish song of a man waiting and lamenting basically. The song gradually gains momentum and eventually changes tempo and for the last four minutes of the song there is upbeat guitar work and supporting lyrics.

"Blowin' Free" is perhaps the most off-topic song, about the usual stuff. The songs takes on more of a conventional rock feel, but still retains progressive elements and tempo changes. Coming up next is "King Will Come" which opens with a instrumental jam consisting of a mainly a snare drum with guitar and bass overlay. The song follows on with the concept of history and talks of what will happen when the "King will Come" and various related propaganda. Next up is "Leaf and Stream" which reminds me greatly of 'The Church.' Anyway the song has a splendid atmosphere and a mellower feels than feel than the rest of "Argus", while still retaining great effect. Next is "Warrior" one of the best songs on the album, very infectious and just a great listen with stunning lyricism and guitar work. It really follows on with the concept of warriors and war. Last off is the legendary "Throw Down You Sword" whose guitar solo was named number 14 in Planet Rock's top 40 guitar solos. Once you listen to it you'll surely agree it is a entwined guitar solo from both Andy Powell and Ted Turner, amazing stuff which ends and amazing album and song.

1. Time Was (5/5) 2. Sometime World (5/5) 3. Blowin' Free (4/5) 4. King Will Come (4/5) 5. Leaf and Stream (5/5) 6. Warrior (5/5) 7. Throw Down the Sword (5/5) Total = 33 divided by 7 (number of songs) = 4.714 = 5 stars Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music

I posted my "Argus" review because at the moment the album is at around 4.80 (makes this review timeless, wink, wink<">) stars which is insanely good, the fact is it is a fair rating.The UK remaster of the album comes with three live bonus tracks, two of which run for over 10 minutes and are recorded live with great sound quality. I'd recommend "Argus" to all Art Rock fans and to all of you who love a good concept album. Also, a time less album.

Report this review (#89670)
Posted Thursday, September 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars "...I'd have to be a warrior, a slave I couldn't be. A soldier and a conqueror, fighting to be free..." Warrior - Wishbone Ash (Argus)

The year is 1972, and Ted Turner, Andy Powell, Martin Turner and Steve Upton do a lot more than just talk about freedom in a piece of music, even though a stellar one at that. With their third studio release "Argus", the Turner brothers, Powell and Upton set the music world - and the fans therein - free, on a tour de force through time and tone. As the listener is cast back to some implied medieval world, we hear of kings, battles, soldiers, and even what sounds like a peasant uprising, all blasting through the double attack guitar lines of Ted Turner and Andy Powell's Flying-V, which could just as easily be the axe or the "audio-metaphorical" (so maybe I made that term up a little) spear tips of some middle age warrior(s).

On "Wishbone Ash" and "Pilgrimage" (released in 1970 and 1971 respectively) we are delivered a band on shaky footing, looking for an absolute direction. Their combination of blues/jazz-rock had earned them a distinctive sound, but the group still lacked an absolutely focused tunnel to travel, and concentrate their energy. "Blind Eye" and "Jailbait" ("Wishbone Ash", "Pilgrimage") are perfect illustrations of the double attack guitar sound of Ash, Lady Whiskey ("Wishbone Ash") shows their roots in blues rock, and the show-stopper Phoenix and the drawn- out Pilgrim ("Wishbone Ash", "Pilgrimage") are tributes to just how progressive the group were in pushing the envelope of rock music. But besides a few well hit marks, Wishbone Ash were still giving off a sometimes scrappy and even slightly empty feeling.

Enter "Argus" in 1972, and the musical world is given possibly the most unappreciated gem ever. This album should be up there with the likes of "Thriller", "Led Zeppelin IV", "OK Computer" and "Dark Side of the Moon" as one of THE top albums of all time, or at least one of the greatest classic rock records ever produced. The line-up in 1972 strikes every nail square on the head with this masterpiece: - Ted Turner: guitar - Andy Powell: guitar - Martin Turner: bass - Steve Upton: drums

Open with "Time Was" and "Sometime World", both perfectly melodic, calm and downbeat starts, dealing with all those sorts of things that bother us: life it's clutter and the risk of letting it pass by, time (or lack thereof), love (and missing those we do), and getting over all this. Cue the tempo change in and we shoot through "Time Was", a song of what seems to be about recovery, getting better, and getting over whatever. "Sometime World" offers us another shift to the upbeat drive, and the bass line of Martin Turner - like climbing up and down a set of stairs far too quickly - will have you too moving in your seat or on your feet. At over nine- and-a-half and six -and-a-half minutes respectively, both are works of epic proportions, but neither are over until the guitars tear through some of the most blistering solos one can hear. Rollercoaster rides, all the way to the fade-out.

There was a time when "Blowing Free" would have received a skip from me, I failed to appreciate it for a long time, and I think the want to get on to "The King Will Come" might have had something to do with it as well. But "Blowing Free" is really a track to get into, a bouncing, joyous and lively display of Wishbone Ash at what could possibly be described as their most comical. But every time I hear "The King Will Come", that riff of perfect rhythm shooting through the edgy opening, I remember why this record is so amazing, containing one of the most memorable guitar licks from any band, ever. This is to me the classic Wishbone Ash track, and introduces us to the album's concept of a medieval world.

While "Leaf and Stream" probably is the weakest track on the record, it gives one of the sweetest melodies found in any of the tracks. So mellow and dreamy, I hesitate to say how many times I have fallen asleep while listening to it. But what follows certainly does not disappoint.

A song for Communist revolutionaries? A black American slave tune from the fields? Whichever or whatever, "Warrior" is an absolute anthem to freedom, fighting against oppression, and rising above challenge. To me this carries the theme of the medieval world, an uprising of peasants. Almost deeply philosophical at times it speaks of knowledge and wisdom, the lyrics flowing out like smooth honey from the racing guitar opening, all the way to the epic finish. Peasants fighting, defiant to the last stand, you can really hear it. At this stage of the review I am now tired, so flag the metaphorical stuff now, about meaning and symbolism. For "Throw Down the Sword" you hardly need it from me, the lyrics are so obvious. Evolving out of a technical exercise Ted Turner had for guitar fingering, the start presents one of the most haunting openings in all of rock music. The rumbling of the snare drum reminiscent of a prisoner heading through the gallows for execution, and how brilliantly this track is executed, with the development and progression of such a simple theme into a truly enjoying section. Follow my instructions carefully now: Listen to this song, with headphones on, in the dark, or with your eyes closed, preferably lying down and relaxing. Concentrate, and enjoy the AWESOME stereo sound of this closing guitar solo from Powell and Turner. A double tracked guitar solo both mixed at the same level, "Throw Down the Sword" finishes with the two lead guitars fighting for control of the melody, in a hectic yet totally beautiful and elegant way.

I'm aware that this is getting a little lengthy now, but there is just so much to say about this album, it really is one of the most enjoyable productions in my entire collection. With five of six tracks featuring at over five minutes, it makes "Argus" a worthwhile record to sit down and listen to, without taking epically huge lengths of time like some Yes or Emerson, Lake & Palmer albums (plenty to mention there).

I am a sucker for anything which has a concept, a theme, or a story; you just have to browse my records to see it. "Argus" ranks among one of the best concept records, on record. You can get lost in it, I'm discovering new bits all the time, little things I haven't noticed before. It's wonderful!! It stuns me that Wishbone Ash, this record in particular fall under Prog-Related. This is as progressive as it gets! Wishbone Ash have transcended any one genre, carving out their very own style of sound from blues-rock origins, at the very least deserving of Art Rock classification.

Possibly one of the most unappreciated prog albums, or just one of the most unappreciated records EVER produced of any genre. This is truly a gem. Hopefully, one day, Wishbone Ash will get the world-wide recognition they deserve for this stellar album. Maybe come the musical revolution.

"...In the fire, the king will come..." The King Will Come - Wishbone Ash (Argus)

Regards,

Chris Holdaway October 2006

Report this review (#96403)
Posted Wednesday, November 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars As many, I discovered Wishbone Ash through this website. After downloading a track or two from this album, I was amazed I had never heard of them. I ordered this album off amazon, and it arrived soon after. It's really, really great to discover a new band that blows your socks off. It's not altogether 'prog rock', as much of the album is traditional 70s rock n' roll good-time music, but with a meaningful, complex undertone that is sometimes less implied, and very explicit. The album is altogether epic - but sometimes simple, and uninteresting. Lyrically inspiring and touching, musically solid and highly talented. The music is very layered, and one will find it easy to become lost in the music. It paints images in the mind as well as any other inspired piece of music. I was quick to become attached to this music, but often find myself skipping songs when they come up. It's very good for rock, but as for prog, it's very stale and lacks anything fresh or original.
Report this review (#99845)
Posted Tuesday, November 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
5 stars Argus is without question Wishbone Ash’s magnum opus. That much is hard to argue. What’s less clear is whether this is a progressive rock band; a hard-rocking yet innovative group of skilled musicians; just four guys who got lucky; or something else. ‘Something else’ is probably the closest answer.

I have several other Wishbone Ash albums, and while a few of them are quite good, none exudes the kind of calm sense of confidence and self-assurance that this one does. The boys in the band must have felt pretty cocky when they laid down the last tracks on what they must have known would be considered a masterpiece.

There’s nothing particularly innovative about the style or arrangements of the seven songs which make up this album; heck, the Allman Brothers were doing the exact same kind of stuff but with a bit more flair, percussion, and soul far to the west of Devon about the same time. Country Joe & the Fish and Spirit were among many bands that predated Wishbone Ash in the realm of folksy, blues-tinted and guitar-driven mood music. There are easily dozens of similar bands that put out similarly inspiring sounds in the early seventies (Ramatam, Thee Image, Cactus, etc.), but none of these have left the kind of lasting impression that Wishbone Ash did with this album.

Every track is a self-contained expression of peace, nostalgia, longing, sadness, and beauty, all rolled into one and lain out like a bare soul for the reflection and enjoyment of all who have partaken of them. The twin guitars and poignant harmonizing vocals have stood the test of nearly thirty-five years time flawlessly. Brilliant stuff in every respect.

The opening track “Time Was” would have been enough to make this album worth picking up all on its own. The gentle guitar and mellow singing that lead off the song give the impression this is a folkish melody, but eventually the tempo picks up and this turns into a touching lament-turned-love song. The soaring guitar licks and driving beat work themselves into a full-blown jam for what seems like an eternity before finally bringing it home with a flourish. Every time I hear this song (really, every time I hear this whole album) I wish I was sitting behind the wheel of an old muscle car just cruising down a coastal highway taking in a cool summer breeze, free of all the world’s crap and with a busty blonde in a billowy dress at my side. Daydreams were made for this kind of music, and vice versa.

“Sometime World” evokes many of the same emotions, but I think this is the track that first got people calling this progressive music. It isn’t, maybe, but the tempo shifts from ballad-like crooning into driving twin-guitar intensity is an absolute rush if you hear it with the car stereo’s volume turned to eleven. Try it some time: if your dial doesn’t have an 11, paint one on. Feel free to sing along too, especially if you’re in that muscle car and screaming down the highway. No one will care. I really shouldn’t drive while listening to music, I think.

The timing of “Sometime World” seems designed to get one’s blood rushing to jut a little beyond the safety point just so “Blowin’ Free” can bring it back down to earth. Now that’s a great production technique! Still the twin guitars carry the rhythm, but this is closer to that folksy side of the band that makes them so endearing. I can think of a whole pile of ‘girl I can’t quite reach’ songs like this one from the seventies, but this one not only wears the scars of experience, it does it while seeming to celebrate the gut- wrenching experience of longing that so many of us have forgotten over the years. This one will bring those feelings rushing back, and will probably get you thinking about some old girlfriend as well. Enjoy.

“The King Will Come” is the rockingest song of the apocalypse ever made. At times it almost seems like a celebration. It just occurred to me that one of the great things about this album is that it makes the journey through the lands of a hundred human emotions, and it showcases each one with a knowing resignation that each of these emotions and experiences is essential to what makes us human. I wonder if these guys were into Zen or something? Maybe.

That wizened gristle can be heard in “Leaf and Stream” as well as anywhere else on the album. This acoustic and poetic folk ballad forms a peaceful interlude before the boys kick things up again with “Warrior”, a war-cry for any of a thousand races who have pledged their souls to secure the freedom of their own destiny. This one brings me back to the real point of the album, the loosely-coupled theme of struggle and conquest and finally peace.

The peace comes with the aptly-titled “Throw Down the Sword”, a reflective anthem of searching. The guitar work here is rather subdued and the vocals a bit discordant, full of the raw emotion of a weary soul. The sense of the uncompleted journey is completely intentional I suspect, and mirrors the unfilled search for meaning and conclusion that we all seem to live every day. A poignant ending to a brilliant album.

It’s kind of frustrating that Wishbone Ash never again was able to capture the combination of seamlessly precise musicianship and honest emotion that this album evokes. But I suppose if they had it would only have served to cast a shadow on this classic, which would have been unfortunate in some ways. This is a classic, and one that belongs in every music lover’s collection. Five stars, easily.

peace

Report this review (#103438)
Posted Sunday, December 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Wow... this is daunting. It's not the idea that I'm reviewing this album, it's more that I'm the first person to give this album under four stars AND write a review to defend it. Well, let me say first that this three star rating really means three point five. Argus was voted album of the year in 1972 over my two favorite albums, Thick as a Brick and Foxtrot, but I have no animosity towards the album, as it has some truly amazing music. Unfortunately, it also has some music that seems bland and does little for me. I love keyboards, but there are none here. While this did not automatically affect my rating of the album, I'm sure their presence could have helped.

What this album does feature are twin guitars, and they are my first exposure to that. Needless to say, when they're on form, the double lead guitars create excellent effect. As you can probably figure out from the prog-related label on this album, it's more straight rock than prog, but don't discount it just for that. Clearly, given the reviews so far, it has something magical, and, while I don't see this in all of the tracks, this album has some incredibly high high points (in other words, Argus has some high points you'd expect to find on five star albums). Also, the cover art is excellent (you can see it at the top of this page).

The album itself is very progressive, despite the fact that the music isn't always particularly so. The album starts of not so great, getting steadily better until finally it reaches a pulse-pounding climax. Time Was is probably the most progressive track on the album, but it does surprisingly little for me. The music just doesn't grab me, and the lyrics don't strike me as particularly intriguing or well-written. It opens softly, then builds up for three minutes until it becomes more upbeat straight rock, though it has progressed. Well, I'm generally not a fan of just straight rock, and this doesn't do it for me. There are a few more changes in the song, but all I would say about them is more of the same. It really doesn't grab me.

Sometime World is a softer song, and relatively progressive, much like Time Was. Around three minutes in, it really starts getting interesting, with some nice vocals and guitar and a great overall feel, but it takes too long to get there, and I find myself bored until the song changes. It's a great improvement over Time Was, but it has a few too many problems for me to really consider it "great" or "classic."

Blowin' Free gets me skeptical before it even starts. What's the need for the apostrophe in the title? But the music disappoints, which is rather more important. It's more straight rock, and this time, it's not very progressive at all. No changes, and I don't really like the main theme of the song, so I have no choice but to dislike the song. The opening minute, where it builds and has a nice guitar solo, is very good, but the ending guitar solo is equally bad. It simply sounds like noise pelting my ears. But do not despair, the best is coming.

From here on out, the tracks get progressively better (well, Warrior and Throw Down the Sword are tied in goodness). The King Will Come opens very nicely, building up to a great bit of guitar. This goes away to some nice vocal harmonies, but lurking behind this are unimaginative drums. This is the first song on here that has really grabbed me and said, "hey, look here, inpraiseoffolly, I'M GOOD!!!! NOW LISTEN!!!" And it is good. It's less straight rock than the earlier songs, which is good. It is liberally sprinkled with excellent guitar solos, which is also good, but best are the vocals and lyrics, and the melody of the vocals, which is what really sucked me in. The album still has better to offer though, so get ready.

Before we hit the apex of the album, we have the lovely, softer Leaf and Stream. The very beginning gets you interested, and then the beautiful vocals come in, carrying very good lyrics. The song isn't particularly progressive (neither is The King Will Come), but neither is it just straight rock, blasting along without regard to how it might be sounding. Leaf and Stream combines rock with a progressive feel if not actual progressiveness, and the effect is very nice. But now, what you've all been waiting for, and the very best of Argus.

Warrior has an amazing guitar intro, then everything else comes in, with one guitar carrying the song, and one soloing, which is a very nice effect. It goes on in this manner for a short while, then mellows out a bit for the vocals. Lyrically and vocally, these last two tracks are the best on the album, and musically, they're miles above everything else found on Argus. Over the course of the song, the music builds up steadily, eventually leading to the stellar ending, the repetition of the chorus, "I've got to be a warrior, a slave I couldn't be, A soldier and a conqueror, fighting to be free." Before this, though, the "time will pass away" section is also particularly excellent. I guess I prefer this track to Throw Down the Sword, but honestly, they're both too good to be picky about which I like more.

Throw Down the Sword features excellent vocals and lyrics, but never builds up to the sheer energy of Warrior. Rather it brings the album out in excellence. The intro gets you interested, especially the drums, slowly building up, but the realization of this building is uneventful. Now, the music it builds up to is good, but the music it built up to and the actual building up music don't quite seem to fit, and the transition is a bit awkward. But once we're past that, we can sit and revel in its amazingness. There's a bit of a mellow feel here, but it doesn't lack energy, and it keeps you engaged throughout. Again, it is less straight rock than the opening three (and even Warrior, but Warrior is still quite progressive) and more, well, I won't say progressive, but more complex and intelligent is I believe what I'm looking for.

For the first three songs of this album, I give two stars. For the next two, I give three and a half stars. For the last two, I give four and a half to five stars. This album has some great moments, though there are a few too many guitar solos (so if you love guitar solos, you definitely want this album) and a bit much straight rock than appeals to me. So, while I'm in the minority, and a small one at that, I don't think this album is all that it's cracked up to be. No, I take that back. It IS all that it's cracked up to be, just not in my style, just not completely within my range of taste (though, as you can see, parts of it do overlap). It is the same with this album as with Mahavishnu Orchestra's Birds of Fire. Both are great music that simply don't completely fit within my general taste. I greatly enjoy both albums, but not to the extent that I ought to based solely on how *good* the music is. I won't debate the brilliance of the albums, just the extent to which the brilliance manifests itself to me. This album is not simply good, but non-essential. This is one of the best prog related albums around, and I urge you to try it, no matter how I felt about it.

3.5 STARS: ESSENTIAL, BUT NOT QUITE MY PREFERRED STYLE OF MUSIC.

Report this review (#104558)
Posted Tuesday, December 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is melodic rock at it's finest, with a twin lead guitar attack and vocal harmonies that make this extremely accessible.

The record opens with "Time Was" that for 3 minutes is delicate and pastoral with beautiful guitar and gentle vocals until the tempo speeds up and we have a guitar driven rocker.Nice. "Sometime World" is a slower paced song with the focus on the vocals until like the first song things accelerate 3 minutes in. The vocal melody is pretty cool with nice bass lines, but check out the last couple of minutes where there is this fantastic guitar solo that just goes on and on. "Blowin' Free" is a fan favourite that features some slide guitar and three of the guys singing on this one. Again the guitar is so good !

"The King Will Come" builds in the beginning with some great interplay between the drums and guitar. The lyrics are taken from the Bible and are great. "Leaf And Stream" is a beautiful folk song with some tasteful, intricate guitar melodies. "Warrior" opens with a nice 1 minute guitar solo. The vocals are reserved and sad as the soldier in our story contemplates leaving home and family behind to go to war. The soundscape speeds up as he gathers strength knowing he must fight to be free. This song blends into the next one "Throw Down The Sword" opening with some beautiful guitar melodies.This song becomes powerful and emotional as the war is over ! And the guitar is soaring ! A great way to end this amazing record.

This is just a great listen with no weak tracks. Just don't expect anything too challenging or adventerous. A pleasant listen.

Report this review (#107303)
Posted Friday, January 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Here is one fine example of music that perhaps is not too daring or complex but it's excellent, enjoyable and still of interest for progressive rock fans.

"Argus" is considered as band's masterpiece by many, and while that fact is arguable (there are other WISHBONE ASH albums good enough to compete), it's definitely the finest example of band's sound picture.

This IS a great album. If we do individual vivisection of each track, the conclusion is that all the tracks are more or less straightforward rock tunes, with lots of solos and occasional escapes into the progressive territories.

The best tracks here are "Warrior" and "Thrown Down Your Sword", leaning perfectly one onto another, with epic feel, excellent guitar craftsmanship and occasional impressions of proto-metal. By listening to these, one could easily conclude where METALLICA picked their influences, among others respectable artists of the era.

My favourite track is "Sometime World", simply because of gorgeous vocals that remind me of CAMEL somehow.

The rest of the album is not to be underestimated, because they are all high quality guitar-oriented rock tunes, with many rewarding moments for the listener scattered all over the place - for example, the opening track is clocking at almost 10 minutes (it's not the most progressive one, though) and there is not a one boring moment at all.

One might blame the band because of their style, neither here not there: they weren't true prog band, but they were not a mainstream rock neither. However, it seems that band's formula worked perfectly (at least in the seventies), and this album is the finest example of it.

Report this review (#107693)
Posted Wednesday, January 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Undoubtedly the best Wishbone Ash release, ever. The previous albums were pleasing enough, here every note is in the right place. Not one too many, not one too few.

From beginning to end "Argus" pleases as few complete albums by anyone ever have. Be that ELP, KC, Genesis, or Yes. There is strenght in every note, the vocals and in the complete delivery.

The bonus tracks on the CD release tend to take some of the shine away and should have never been associated with this album, so my comments here refer to the original LP release.

After this WA weren't able to maintain this high standard and apart from the odd, fortunate composition here and there, they've never come anywhere near this masterpiece. Highly recommended to anyone with Prog leanings.

Report this review (#108229)
Posted Sunday, January 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I don't understand.

Well, first, I don't understand why this band is here, as this seems to be just a typical rock album. I do not see any traces of prog here. This is just rock, and rock&roll.

Secondly, I just find the music mostly dull, repetitive, and uninspired. Melodically poor, harmonically simple, and the musicianship and vocals are just not very strong. The songs are long because they drag, not because they are multi-segmented mini-epics.

Third, this is a style of music that I really enjoy listening to, so It's not like I'm reviewing a neo-prog (sorry) album or an 80s pop album. So, I just find it very mediocre compared to similar artists like Led Zeppelin.

I'll discuss track by track why I consider the first half of this album very weak.

This Was: The album begins with a pleasant acoustic intro and decent (but not very good) vocals, but it keeps being like that with no variation for almost three minutes. The rest is extremely repetitive Rock&roll with an obvious Led Zeppelin influence throughout. There are a few moments where musicianship is great (the guitars), but that mediocre Led Zeppelin-style riff played forever ruins everything. Bad start. 2/10

Sometime World follows the same format: It begins as a decent yet not very interesting acoustic ballad is played for a long time with little variation yet turns into another pointless, repetitive, straight rocker for over four minutes. Sure, the soloing is pretty good, but the songwriting here is just terrible. It's just the same riffing for a long long time. 3/10

Blowin' Free: A more boogie-style number with a very uninteresting guitar riff played for a long time. It has a decent mellow section around the middle with nice guitar. Unfortunately, s ending is a disaster: it sounds like Led Zeppelin, but much worse than that band at its worst with an irritating riff and a kind of awful guitar solo. 2/10

Fortunately, none of the following 4 songs are bad.

The King Will Come: The riff-oriented repetitive nature of the album continues but this song is slightly more varied and at least the main riff is decent. The music is mid-tempo, rocking, and quite celebratory I could say (it just sounds positive). The guitar performance is pretty good and while the song is repetitive, at least it does not sound bad. Unfortunately, the vocals are not very good, like always. 5/10

Leaf and Stream: Once the ok vocals shut up for a bit, there is a very good clean guitar solo in the middle of the song. This song is more harmonic and much prettier than the mellow moments in the first tracks. It is however, playing the same acoustic pattern for 4 minutes. 5.5/10

Warrior: good song! Of course, it's repetitive and is based only on a couple of riffs, but hey, these riffs are pretty good and the soloing in the background is good too. At minute 1, there is a beautiful mellow riff. Of course, the not so good vocals come, but they don't really ruin that part. The ending would be so good if the vocalists had good voice. 5.5/10

Throw Down the Sword is my favourite song and despite the same intro riff being played alone for over a minute, this is possibly the least repetitive track here. After that riff, it is just a normal conventional song but what makes this song stand out is the last two minutes. What a brilliant climax! Two guitar solos playing simultaneously over a good instrumental backdrop. It is not something I hear everyday, and sounds very hard to do, but they pulled off the twin guitar solo perfectly. 7.5/10

Well, the second half of the album is pretty decent, if repetitive music and finishes with a glorious guitar performance in its last two minutes, but the first half is beyond poor. I just find it very hard to focus on that music as it seems to rock and rock and rock mindlessly for eternity with very little variation and few excellent solos.

I recommend to look for other 70s classic rock rather than here.

Report this review (#113320)
Posted Friday, February 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars A absolute classic rock album! Some absolutely jaw dropping guitar on this one. Wishbone Ash's twin guitar was heavily influential to a lot of bands most notably Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden. The 7 songs on here are all of exceptionally high quality with the epic closers of Warrior and Throw Down The Sword being this albums masterpiece's. Whether this album is progressive or not is debatable however the album itself is wonderful and as such deserves a place in any rock fans collection. Also this album is a big step up from 'Pilgrimage' which sounded often like Wishbone Ash attempts King Crimson with some strange consequences. So you really should own this.
Report this review (#126922)
Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
Hercules
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Let me say this loud and clear - I don't think this is really prog. No keyboards (except on one track), no epics and no real innovation unless you count dual/harmony lead guitars. But whatever, this is simply one of the finest albums ever recorded. Not a note is out of place, every song is a beautifully crafted piece of art and the band play out of their skins. The dual lead guitars produce solos that other bands would die for on every track, the vocals are superb and the lyrics are sheer poetry. By far their finest work and possibly one of the the best albums of all time. Whereas once great albums like In the Court of the Crimson King have become terribly dated, this still raises the hairs on the back of my neck every time I hear it, undiminished by the passage of 35 years. Outstanding and completely essential to any collection, prog or otherwise!
Report this review (#130106)
Posted Tuesday, July 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Harmonized guitars sure is one of the wonders in the world, and here you have all the dual-guitar interplay you could ever ask for.

And, well... that is really it. The beauty of Argus lies not in the lyrics, vocals or progressiveness compared to it's contemporaries but in the delightful guitar harmonies created in songs such as "Throw down the sword", "Time was" and "Sometime world". It might seem odd to give such a high rating to an album whose only virtue is it's guitar solos, but that is simply how good they are.

Now, that wasn't entirely true. It's not like it doesn't have anything else at all going for it, all of the songs are very melodious and pleasant to listen to, and while the lyrics aren't exactly deep or meaningful, it's not like they don't serve their purpose in this kind of heavy rock music that is played here, but the wailing guitars of Andy Powell and Ted Turner are what keeps me coming back time after time, and that i can't deny.

I can't give it five stars, because it is a little too tame and unoriginal for that, and it doesn't really move me more than making me tap my feet and playing a little air-guitar, but it is far too enjoyable for a lower rating than 3, plus it is an absolute classic, and that is fact.

All in all, a good piece of rock music. Recommended, but don't expect your world to be turned upside down.

Report this review (#130608)
Posted Saturday, July 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars

Wow. I just can't understand why this is rated 4.40 on a progressive rock website (with current stats, meaning better than Fragile (Yes), The Snow Goose (Camel), Trick Of The Tail (Genesis) and Acquiring The Taste (Gentle Giant)). I find this album barely progressive and sounding like generic radio-friendly guitar-oriented 70's rock. Upon first listen, nothing caught my ear, the album seems to lack in contrast, with the same instrumentation from track to track and nothing innovative. Maybe it can grow on you after a couple of playbacks, but I won't get there.

I'm not saying this album is absolute crap, just that I feel that people expecting top-100 progrock album will find this a bit thin.

Report this review (#134631)
Posted Thursday, August 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 4,5 stars. Without doubt, Wishbone Ash´s best release ever. the album was very influential to a number of bands and artists, including a very young Steve Harris, who became obssessed to have the twin lead guitars sound for his new band, Iron Maiden. Argus stood very well the test of time and shows the prowness of tis english foursome to make some really advanced music.

Ok, it is not symphonic prog like Yes or Genesis, but then progressive music means much more than that. Prog rock meant expand rock´s horizons and bring up new levels to the music. And that Wishbone Ash did very well, Argos being the group´s best exemple. Songs like The King Will Come, Time Was, Sometime World, Warrior and Thrown Down The Sword are some of the songs that sounded like never done before. The guitar works of Ted Turner and Andy Powell is amazing and it is no wonder they have so many imitators and followers. Martin Turner´s bass playing is also very interesting and diferent. Steve Upton is a fine drummer. Their vocals, often usign two lead vocals in harmony is another highlight.

Make no mistake, this is prog rock music: alive, powerful, groundbreaking and very, very good. It proves that you can make a fine prog album without keyboards and with a lot of guts. Highly recommended!

Report this review (#134644)
Posted Thursday, August 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one the greatest progressive metal albums of the early 1970's. From the beginning with "Time Was" to the ending with "Throw Down the Sword'. Argus was Wishbone Ash's masterpiece and it's a shame that not enough people know about them. They were to me a happy middle ground with Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin on the metal side and Gentle Giant and King Crimson on the progressive side. Every great band has at least one maybe two masterpieces and ARGUS was definitely true for Wishbone Ash.

Report this review (#134670)
Posted Thursday, August 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
mystic fred
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A Timeless Masterpiece!

One of the most popular Prog rock albums of all time, "Argus" remains as profound and influential today as it did on its release. This is what Progressive rock is all about - its wonderful imagery, dramatic mythical themes of history and time, wonderful vocal harmonies and superb musicianship confirm its place as an archetypal Prog classic, the various musical styles on their previous albums came together to form the very cohesive material on "Argus".

This could indeed be described as a "crossover" album as it was and remains very popular with all rock and pop fans, many of the songs are still part of the Wishbone Ash live set, most latterly "Leaf and Stream". Recorded at Wembley's De Lane Lea studios in January 1972 and released on April 28th of that year, the album reached No.3 in the UK album chart. The first track "Time Was", about putting the past behind and moving on, is in two parts; introduced with an atmospheric acoustic section leading into a Who influenced (a band WA had toured with on many occasions) rock workout, sometimes played live as two separate songs. "Sometime World" contains some fine scat style vocals and a brilliantly fluid guitar solo from Andy Powell, the song also features some very catchy bass lines from Martin Turner, overall some great album highlights. "Blowin' Free", a whimsical love song reputedly about a beautiful Swedish girl Annalena Nordstrom, a former girlfriend of Martin Turner... the phrase "you can only try" was one of hers!

Side 2 begins with "The King Will Come", reputedly written about the Christian Biblical idea that when the world ends believers will be saved - I promise to be good...honest! A military-style beat with wah-wah guitar solo snaking around it introduces the song, breaking into a classic Ash guitar riff. "Leaf and Stream" is a beautifully atmospheric English folk song written by Steve Upton, his first lyrical contribution to the band. "Warrior", a rousing song about having to fight one's own personal battles, not being pushed around or country fighting country and "Throw Down the Sword", the battle won, healing wounds and a return to peace, are two songs but are often regarded as a two part mini-epic. These classic Prog songs are still part of the band's live set.

An essentially uplifting addition to any Prog collection!

Report this review (#137726)
Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars An absolutely brilliant addition to Wishbone Ash's esteemed career. From start to finish it delivers with great technicality some of the best guitar playing of the 70's and leaves great opportunity for more improvisation live.

As with all WA great albums it grows as it's listened to more, when you know each not and can appreciate how well arranged it is, that's when you can truly appreciate the genius that is Wishbone Ash. Although the album does not have much in the way of vocal work, what is present is brilliant, sung in a calm majestic style for most of the album and managing to excite when needed.

Highlights from the album are Blowin' Free, The King Will Come and Throw Down the Sword, which seem to be the most requested and appreciated songs from the album that are currently played live. While never known for being catchy you'll find Warrior stuck in your head for days after a first listen.

A brilliant five star album, hands down.

Report this review (#149401)
Posted Wednesday, November 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
jammun
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars As others have noted, labeling Wishbone Ash's Argus a prog album is stretching things a bit. These guys have as much in common with Foghat as they do with Yes. However, this is about as good as mainstream rock ever got, and there is a level of sophistication to these tracks that do nudge the album a bit into the prog realm. Then there's also the barely discernable UFO that was visible on the LP album cover: definitely progressive.

Argus starts off with chiming acoustic guitars on Time Was, after which the song takes on a decidedly louder character. The second track, Sometime World, follows somewhat the same approach: begin quietly and gently, then explode in a whirlwind of bass and dual lead guitars. The bass playing on this track particularly shows a Yes/Squire influence. However, the album probably gets its prog- related reputation from The King Will Come, Warrior, and Throw Down the Sword, all originally on Side 2 of the LP. These are all excellent rock songs imbued with a smattering of prog influences.

This album, unlike many of the era, still sounds fresh today. This is not your mindless boogie that was growing in popularity at the time; these guys are top-notch rock musicians. It's too bad that WA were never able to produce anything else that came close to it; this was the one classic they had in them. Much as I'd like to, I can't quite bring myself to give this album a 5, but it's certainly worthy of a 4. It should be of interest to anyone who wants to hear the influence that prog had on hard rock in general.

Report this review (#157678)
Posted Friday, January 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album by Wishbone Ash is truly a masterpiece simply because it falls in to no genre or overall definition. It's so unique that even the band itself realized it when they recorded the follower and after that they've gone more and more lost trying to find new directions or trying to find their way back.

Progressive is the way they use the basic combination of two guitars, bass and drums. There are several types of music to be recognized in their play and the combination forms a whole which is beautiful, exciting and uplifting. Each song forms a dramatic whole as a part of the long line of drama through the whole album. I heard this first in 1973 and in the following 35 years I've come by nothing like it. But I keep looking and meanwhile listen to this fine record as it does not seem to grow old.

Report this review (#159555)
Posted Wednesday, January 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Lots of people say that this album is good only for rock, and that there's little to no prog value in it. Well, compared to lots of other bands we deem ''Prog related'' this is bloody rocket science, and Wishbone Ash at this point were at least as, if not more proggy than Supertramp were. So while we can argue about the proggyness of the album, one thing remains. It's very, very good.

Argus is a grand conceptual album about war and it's relatives. It does imply this througout, lyrically and at times musically. 'Time Was' is a nine minute song, opening with very beautiful acoustic guitars. Vocal harmonies remind me of early Crosby, Stills and Nash. Two minutes in, it changes to a stunning rocker with great guitar solos. 'Sometime World' is a very good song. Lyrically, it's great. But musically, we begin to see what made Wishbone Ash so renowned. The guitar solos. Absolutely fantastic and bluesy playing ends the nearly 7 minute song.

'Blowin' Free' is a fun rocker, with great lyrics (The first ones about love). In the middle is a great guitar solo, again quite bluesy. The other musicians, which I've seemingly forgot to mention, are superb and have been so throughout the other tracks, but the bass here has a very present energy. Steve Upton's drumming is very underrated, and this album shows him as the timekeeper yet great drummer he was. Never missing a fill, Upton keeps a pace throughout the songs that shoot the twin-lead attack evern further up.

'The King Will Come' opens up side 2 (If you have this on vinyl, of course) and here we really begin to get the good stuff. A 7 minute powerhouse rocker, it's a showcase for the lead guitar work of Ted Turner. Opening with a march-esque passage, it kicks into a superb rocker. Very trebly bass and a superb guitar riff. The singing on this album has been said as being ''nothing spectacular'', but I'll be damned if it doesn't fit the music perfectly. The vocals remind me slightly of John Wetton, which can be good and bad. Very interesting lyrics in this song, but the real treat is the extended guitar solo. After this comes a very epic section, with the guitars layering over a present, ringing bass. It then reverts into the original melody. Superb!

'Leaf and Stream' is a slower, folky song. Included is even a tambourine! Very good vocals and great guitar harmonies. It works as a bridge between the three epic songs that occupy this side. A lovely guitar solo (Unexpected, huh?) is featured in here as well. 'Warrior' is a fantastic, heavy song. A great riff opens up the song, followed by great guitar work. The verses prove to be different than what originally concieved, though, being quite soft and delicate. Inventive cymbal playing by Upton here as well. After the verses it begins to gather it's energy again, and after that comes a great and powerful chorus. I'd have to be a warrior, a slave I couldn't be. A soldier and a conqueror, fighting to be free... is repeated, while being intertwined with superb guitar soli, and heavy drumming. Again, the bass is also very present. It's ends with a prolonged ambient note, cascading into Throw Down The Sword.

'Throw Down The Sword' is the climactic closing track, opening with a repeated, melancholy guitar harmony part and tight snare drumming by Upton. It kicks into gear with the verses. This song is arguably the best on the album in my opinion. A great guitar riff leads into the verses which feature the best lyrics on the album. But the true centerpiece on the song is the twin-lead guitar solo, which puts on display such emotion and power under the melancholy riff that I really feel moved, at times even getting misty-eyed. One of the best guitar solos ever in my opinion, end a truly great album.

Argus deserves to be in the prog-realm as well as many other albums that we seem to regard much higher in the progressive hierarchy, and one listen will tell you just why. Five stars, and they deserve it!

Report this review (#162441)
Posted Saturday, February 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Similar to most bands, one album tends to stick out from the others for Wishbone Ash. The only remarkable thing is just by how much. Argus simply blows the doors off of at least 95% of classic and prog rock albums. I can't believe that I've never heard of these guys before frequenting ProgArchives. I think I'll blame it again on pathetic radio playlists, but I digress.

Time Was, Sometime World, Blowin' Free. The first side contains one boogie track (Blowin' Free), which is just fine, and two feature tracks that start slow, but it's only a matter of time before they set to rocking. Of course, the guitars lead the way (and they are an absolute treat to behold), but one thing that many reviewers fail to mention is the excellent bass by Martin Turner--most of the time, his contribution is basically a countermelody, which adds a richness to the music that is easy to overlook. This is just great rock.

The King Will Come, Leaf and Stream, Warrior/Throw Down the Sword. Let the prog begin--and make no mistake, the second side is indeed progressive. The playfulness is for the most part gone, and the music takes on a much more serious, pernsive quality. The King Will Come is a stately rocker, and catchy as can be, followed by the slower, absolutely gorgeous Leaf and Stream. As with most great albums, the best is saved for last, and the Warrior/Throw Down the Sword Suite does not disappoint! Majestic, powerful and captivating, these closing tunes are the perfect way to conclude the album.

Great stuff from Wishbone Ash--too bad there was nowhere to go but down from here. I actually hear some resemblence to a stripped-down early Kansas--plenty of boogie and rock, but also enough prog to keep you listening (though without the keys and synths). I put this up with some of the great classic rock and progressive rock albums.

Report this review (#162825)
Posted Wednesday, February 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Maybe too oldy for me, and Time Was, even pretty, is too long. But there are still great moments here (the last two tracks, Warrior/Throw Down The Sword). To be listened to sometimes, but not too often (I speak for myself). I listened to this too much times years ago, so I feel a little bored with it now. Anyway, I still love Throw Down The Sword and the sleeve !
Report this review (#162966)
Posted Saturday, March 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
obiter
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Having just listened to some Steve Wilson I was feeling down and then I remembered this great album and thought: time to cheer up with superb uplifting harmony vocals and clean honest guitar.

Thank prog for music like this (especially when you've ahd a close encounter of the Steve Wilson kind). This isn't just great music it's positive therapy.

Let's tune in to Wishbone, see the important things in life, enjoy ourselves and move to Taos and live in an Earthship. OK there's a more than a hint of southern rock in here but every house needs a confederate corner. What else do you expect from an English band?

Who said prog can't be fun? I dare you to listen to this album and not smile.

A prog rock classic essential.

Report this review (#165506)
Posted Tuesday, April 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Many facts attached me to this album , but the main fact is that it's my all time favourite , I only have Argus on vinyl album , and still up till now , in very good shape Also i've got it as a CD in 1993 as expanded version with 3 more beautiful tracks ( jail bait , the pilgrim & phoenix live ) . But the main issue for my review wasn't to discuss only the album , in fact i couldn't find any trace on progarchieves , for their 30th anniversary DVD , the dvd that introduce the best of Argus in visual basis . and gives a perfect idea about this legendary Wishbone Ash at peak levels . Still ...... about Argus , it's imo , the best releases of blues - folk rock in the early 70's . The power of this album still effecting my taste up till now . So , with pilgrimage !!! the best of Wishbone Ash in 35 years indeed . I do have all their works since the first one , but nothing is really impressing like Argus . Just Legendary , deseves 4.5 stars . taste it by yourselves and highly recommended for the lovers of this genre . Tracks Toni ..
Report this review (#168191)
Posted Sunday, April 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
russellk
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Though considered a classic rock album, I always saw WISHBONE ASH's 'Argus' as a generic rock album with one special trick: the twin-lead guitar.

The trick isn't actually very convincing. Plenty of bands double-tracked or multi-tracked their guitars and by 1972 had equalled or surpassed the twin-lead concept. Maybe the band was impressive live, but this is a studio album. The southern rock here is third-hand and very tame, with none of the fire of the ALLMAN BROTHERS, for example. There's a little folk to give the listener a break from the relentless, repetitive, limited-range guitar work, the plodding drums and the frankly dreadful vocals. Oh, and perhaps a light dusting of progressiveness.

The compositions offer little to compel repeated listens. The vocalist sings about the 'fury of the battle', for example, to a mundane beat and a gently strumming guitar. We're wandering dangerously close to amateur folk territory here: the conceit of the fantasy lyrics is undermined by the twee sweetness of the compositions. Not a moment of drama to be seen. I respect the views of other reviewers, but I imagine a significant minority of listeners to this album will wonder, as do I: what is the fuss all about?

Precisely the sort of music I listen to prog rock in order to escape from.

Report this review (#170211)
Posted Thursday, May 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Quite simply one of the best albums to come out of the 70s in any music genre let alone Progressive rock and it wasn't created by any of the prog heavyweights Yes or Genesis it was created by Wishbone Ash. I was prompted to write a review after reading another review which gave the album only 2 stars.

Music is a very personal thing and subjective by its very nature so you can't really give an objective review - you either like something or you don't. Argus has been a top 5 favourite album of all time for me since I heard it in 1976, I still listen to it regularly and to my ears it's as timeless now as it was back then. This fact alone testifies to the quality of the material.

I won't go into track by track analysis you can read that in some of the other reviews. Particular favourites of mine are Sometime World, The King Will Come and Throw Down the Sword.

Sometime World starts in pastoral fashion with harmonising guitars, but half way through changes to an uptempo section with some superb driving bass work by a grossly under recognised Martin Turner and a superbly uplifting 2 minute guitar solo to end the track. The King will Come is styled as an epic and has one of the greatest guitar riffs ever, rivalling even Smoke on the Water. Throw down the Sword is another epic with a truly majestic coda, twin lead guitar parts intertwining masterfully backed by stately organ played by John Tout - simply stunning.

Not mentioned often in reviews but the vocal harmonies throughout the album are quite stunning also. No question in my mind a 5 star album. A masterpiece of progressive rock.

Report this review (#170306)
Posted Friday, May 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Argus is without doubt the peak of their career, reaching a status maybe never achived again by them, a classic of the '70's. Considered by many WA and not only them the best aalbum they ever reales, Argus stands today very well after almost 40 years of the first isseue - 1972. While the music is not very complex they manage to make the listner to stay focused on entire 49 minutes, leaving in the end the feeling that this album worth buying and investigate. This is maybe the most progressive album they ever done, more hard rovk twin guitar orientad music but with a good doze of prog elements here and there. In early '70's this kinda music was considerated prog rock- quite agree with that but at some point. Sometimes they remind me of Master's Apprentices or Blue Oyster Cult and other bands from that period who plays aswell this kinda of prog rock. Not a bad thig of course and they even creat with this album something that stands very well today, apart from other bands who or they disbanded and gone into oblivion or never reaches the same fame as their compatriots. Wishbone Ash is today a respected band with a lot of good to great albums from the impressive career of 40 years. Argus release in 1972 taken the name from a greek god who has no more no less than 100 eyes. The best pieces to me are:Sometime world, Warrior and Leaf and stream come, the rest are ok, nothing really chalenging but not a weak track here overall. I don't think Argus is a masterpiece, but a good album no doubt, there are much more intristing albums from thet period than this Argus, but as i said this is a strong release in their career and not only, this is their classic of classics album. 3.5 rounded up to 4, but for sure not a masterpiece, at least from my side.
Report this review (#201204)
Posted Saturday, January 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars 1972 was perhaps the most gratifying year for progressive rock.Among dozens of less known works,there's at least Trilogy,Foxtrot,Thick as a Brick and Close to the Edge.This list could go on forever with honorary mentions to Renaissance,Khan,Gentle Giant,Captain Beyond,Gnidrolog and many ohters,all of which presented us with great albums(many of them the very best of their creator's career).And there's Wishbone Ashe's third effort,released in that incredible year and chosen by Melody Maker's readers as the best album of 72.Quite honestly,I don't agree with them,but still,Argus is nothing short stupendous.

Probably because it reaches a very delicate balance of heavyness and complexity,this a very pleasant album to be heard,unlike other great albums from that year such as Thick as a Brick(brilliant as it is,it requires total dedication in order to be aprecciated).And that's exactly the album's magic:it breaks the most fundamental rule of prog,the demanding sound that many times intimidates.One might question how much prog there is here,given the album's strong appealing towards hard rock in the line of Sabbath or Zeppelin.Still,the genre's essence is present here in every track.

There's not a weak song in Argus.All the seven compositions are amazing,and coming to think of it,I can't remember a single album from that period that was as well recorded(and produced)as this one.Instruments are in perfect harmony,giving the song's an ultra-dramatic and highly melodic appeal.The whole thing sounds marvelously spontaneous,with well thought-off arrangements and timing.Albums such as this don't really need this,but if I had to pont out highlights from these magic 40 minutes,they would be the opener Time Was,Sometime World and Throw Down the Sword,one of the best album closers ever made.

My personal favourite tracks however are found halfway through:The King Will Come,a growing soundscape in the shape of guitar riffs and highly effectable melody,and Leaf & Stream,the album's silent climax.This song is consisted of intelligent yet poetic lyrics and a driving bass line in a very sad ballad.

Argus contains some of the best electric guitar soloing I ever heard.This instrument is the album's soul,it's impossible to imagine it without such a strong emphasis on guitars.Along with Captain Beyond's debut(also released in that year),this recording represents to me the perfect sum-up of what was being developed in rock msuic by that time,with a genious mixture of prog and hard rock.If you haven't heard this masterpiece yet,make it a priority.

Report this review (#203909)
Posted Saturday, February 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Io, Check This Out!

Er... I was considering Dont Get Shot by the Messenger, Hera Wishbone Ash, and Argus It as alternative headlines, but settled for the one above - you'll be thankful that I didn't think up any plays on the name Hermes, I expect. Enough of Greek myths already - I'll assume you know them or how to use Google to find out :o)

Argus was Album of the year, 1972 (According to Sounds magazine). Hmm. Makes me think they hadn't heard Nursery Cryme... but it's a cracking listen, nonetheless, and a more-than-worthy follow up to Pilgrimage. As an album, it's far more consistent, and the overarching lyrical theme is of picking yourself up, leaving old ways behind and starting afresh - alluding to the new world order theme of the Argus legend.

Musically, we've got a more crystallised sound than on previous offerings, nostalgic flavours, genre blending and somewhat long songs - particularly the instrumentals - that are typical of Progressive Rock wrapped up in fairly standard song formats. The formula is in place; The songs are familar verse chorus constructs with easy melodies, and the extended instrumental sections (bridge and coda) are refined improvisations erring on the side of strong melody, harmony and dramatic colouration taking place at an unhurried pace whatever the actual tempo of the piece.

But take a listen to the style with which Wishbone Ash put these simple elements together - this album is all about style, which it has in spades. And there's a LOT less twin-guitar duelling than many reviews of this album I've read would have you believe.

Time Was Immediately the message is put across; I've got to rearrange my life, I've got to rearrange my world. A clean folk-styled section introduces the piece, and the twin-barrelled vocals weave around the intertwining lines, spreading like ivy on the forest floor. For somehow, there are the flavours of wooded English countryside infusing the whole piece. John Tout (Renaissance keyboardman) supplies great organ atmopsherics.

Almost 3 minutes in, there is a sudden change in tempo and key, like a new piece has been unskillfully appended to what was, in fact an extended intro - and we're soon into guitar solo territory. As ever with Wishbone Ash, this is not a case of two chords being noodled over for hours... OK, so there ARE two chords, and it is quite long, but there is pathos and dynamic, returns to the vocal sections and added blues guitar interjections. Then there's the big change around 5:40 which leads to many more changes into minor keys, breakdowns and all manner of dramatic bits and pieces which keep the piece interesting for the whole of the 9:40 odd - even though no new ideas are presented for the last 3 minutes or so, which may turn a few off.

Sometime World is vaguely reminiscent of Pink Floyd - a common influence on Ash's early material - except for the attention-grabbing opening chords, which set the listener up for something altogether more dramatic than the gently-shifting soft chord progressions that follow. The instrumental sections are things of real beauty, surpassed only by the Floyd themselves and Camel - a couple of slightly kludgy chord changes being the only let-down.

All is forgiven by the change to the second instrumental around 2:30 though, with its round bass sound and CSNY/Yes styled vocal passages - altogether like a bluesier Yes in many ways. Or maybe Yes sounded like a less bluesy WA - who knows? The lead guitar (presumably Powell) certainly heats up in this one, with some passages bearing a passing resemblance to Lynyrd Skynrd's Freebird, of the following year, but the bass driving, almost Squire-like until the fade-out.

We might expect a gear-shift downwards at this point, but instead, the music picks up some more for the bouncy Blowin' Free, which features guitar solos between and even during the verses. An unexpected tempo change gives way to another CSNY styled section, so that this piece feels like an extension of Sometime World, and this in turn gives way to an almost complete breakdown before we return to the bouncy music, and more Skynyrd-style soloing.

One of my favourite moments in this album has always been flipping the vinyl over at this point, to be treated by the warm yet slightly aggressive sound of The King Will Come. After the wah- drenched fade-up, and the intensifying introduction, the bass features even more of that Squier - or possibly Entwhistle - growl, emphasising the regal strides, with tempo and dynamic changes a-plenty... just listen, OK!

Leaf and Stream is a great acoustic flavoured interlude, in which the English countryside is painted vividly in the lyrics, and the scene is set for the Warrior, seraching for something new. There are unmistakable flavours of early Genesis in here, and maybe the odd nod and wink to Floyd and Fleetwood Mac.

The Warrior is the high point of the album for me - all the music previously having set us up for this song, which is a powerful, clean-lined rocker, strident and mighty - the peak of Wishbone Ash's musical prowess and everything that is great about them. No new musical devices or styles here - but listen to how the ingredients are mixed together to form exactly the something new that the lyrics speak of searching for. Around 3 minutes into the song, the halfway point, begins the ultimate journey into Ash's music. Simply stunning stuff - the sort of music that raises neck hairs from half a mile away.

And then Throw Down The Sword does it again - and you have to listen to the album again. Here we finally get the twin guitar soloing that everyone goes on about - but Thin Lizzy or Iron Maiden it is not.

Marvellous album - truly classic rock at its best, that flirts mischeviously with Prog Rock, but never really attempts to enter into the hallowed portals, instead, preferring to set up hallowed portals all of its own. They didn't make many bands like Wishbone Ash, and there have been very few since. If you only own one of their albums, this is the one to own (buy!). And I'm sure it will tempt you further into their back catalogue (and check out what they're currently doing!).

Excellent addition to any ROCK collection, progressive or otherwise.

Don't miss out.

Report this review (#212568)
Posted Monday, April 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This great album was one of the first I got my hands on probably some time in 1975. As a lover of music that was not always the flavour of the month on local radio I was always attracted to bands that had that special ability to connect with my spirit.

This is Wishbone Ash's best album, it contains very strong song writing, great lyrics that create a sense of mystery and wonderful muscianship. The twin guitars, throbbing bass of Martin Turner and capable drumming of Steve Upton make this album special from beginning to end.

This band who are still touring with Andy Powell as the main stay would never quite reach the heights of this remarkable album which was rated Album of the Year in 1972 by Melody Maker and we all know the strength of the prog music that was released that year.

A classic 5 Stars.

Report this review (#235000)
Posted Tuesday, August 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Wishbone Ash album offers are key, but if the ride is beautiful, is what the album has the right to label progressive? I have doubts ... I think this is an album of Rock no less. Guitar Wishbone Ash, treats us nice, low still in place. Lalbum includes 2 discs, 1 very rock, but I prefer dissected the 2nd disc which is frankly very successful. "The King Will Come" probably the best title of the group is now very pleasant melody, a guitar very sweet, raised a chant, it's beautiful, a very big title. "Leaf and Stream" a song very cool, very sweet. "Warrior" Probably the title that force the appellant Related Prog, as the title approaches the Progressive Rock, although Wishbone Ash remains in the Hard Rock Melodic, Soft, speed change, the song is very nice. "Throw Down the Sword" still a great title, the 2nd disc is really higher.
Report this review (#235046)
Posted Tuesday, August 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars One of my earliest LP memories occurred in 1974 when my brother brought home a WISHBONE ASH album with an odd cover, called "There's the Rub". With the exception of an olde Englishe styled folk song, it didn't do much for me. Over the years I occasionally would discover another WA album in a delete bin and, when in a more extravagant mood, might actually pick it up for a song, literally. For a long time I thought they were an American group with a passing interest in their Anglo heritage, because most of each album was given over to midwestern cum southern rock of little distinction beyond dueling guitars, which is only "special" if you think in terms of WA as a progressive band.

My relationship with the band might have ended thus, although I admit to wondering now and then if all their songs of the "Lady Jay" or "Valediction" ilk might be collected on some nerdy "best of" just for folkies like me. Finally, with "Argus" being praised to the skies here, in stark contrast to all other WA productions, and available at a low sticker price, I decided to invest and give the group yet another chance. My conclusion: overall it's better and somewhat more progressive but with a persistent tendency to faceless 1970s phrasings, redeemed from some decidedly stronger tunes.

"Time Was" contains two rather lifeless segments, one mellow acoustic and the other raucous, but the effect of both is simply to mercilessly extend the drudgery. "Blowin Free" is even worse, sort of like STEELY DAN colliding with the DOOBIES and the ALLMANS, and sounding even worse. "Sometime World" starts off like more of the same, but the bass and vocal work after the halfway point showcase a vital aspect to the group missing in even their more melodic tracks. Among the latter, "The Leaf and the Stream" is a fine acoustic number, while "Warrior" utilizes one guitar for the most magical soloing and the other for rhythm. It changes pace here and there until the powerful chorus rumbles in. Although it is oft repeated, each incantation is separated by more lead histrionics. "Throw Down the Sword" end the album in fine fashion, and integrates the faux traditional and hard rocking styles well.

In the end, it is not so much the presence of two guitars that salvages this effort, but the absence of keyboards that, in the many high points, are not missed at all. So rarely can this be done outside a metal context that it is worth wishing for, and is happily attained often enough on Argus to warrant guarded praise.

Report this review (#240215)
Posted Friday, September 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
TheGazzardian
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Every once in a while, you just have to rock out to some great guitar work. Sometimes, saxes, moogs, flutes, etc. are not necessary. For those times, I turn to Wishbone Ash.

Does having two guitars, a song greater than 9 minutes, and what could be considered a mini-epic (Warrior / Throw Down the Sword) make this album prog? Not really, yet it gives it something akin to the magic that progressive rock has, making this a great piece of classic rock for someone who enjoys progressive rock.

To be honest, I had never heard of Wishbone Ash until I started buying music on Amazon. It was recommended to me (because I had bought an ELP album, no less), and the album art looked really cool. The price wasn't too high, so out of curiosity, I ordered it.

I will openly admit to being swayed by nice packaging, and could not wait to get into the music behind the soldier on the cover. The opening track, Time Was, lead me in with it's sweet acoustic guitars, before it started rocking out. Perhaps not as anthemic as some classic rock can be, but definitely a nice listen.

Sometime World was similar in song structure to Time Was (quiet start that leads into a rocker), but I feel that it was somehow more successful. The final pass through the chorus truly feels epic, and the build up to it was quite excellent. Unfortunately, this was followed by what I consider the weakest track on the album, Blowin' Free, which still has not lodged itself in my memory.

Luckily, this is followed by some more excellent music. The King Will Come furthers the feel of this being a somewhat medieval themed album, although it was apparently not a concept album. Leaf and Stream is a nice piece that gives off the feel of being about among nature quite nicely.

The album ends with what I consider to be a mini-epic, even though it is really just two songs that flow nicely into each other. The first of these, A Warrior, is an excellent rocking piece, with a strong chorus that really builds up energy. It leads into 'Throw Down the Sword', where I often imagine a warrior after years of battle retiring to a life more peaceful. All in all, a most excellent way to close an already excellent album.

This album would make an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection, despite not being strictly prog. It is definitely a near-masterpiece, and was apparently considered the best album of '72 by some. Considering what other music came out in '72, it had a lot of competition, so even if I don't agree with that particular notion, it still speaks volumes about the quality of music contained herein.

Report this review (#241013)
Posted Wednesday, September 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars There's an overt progressiveness to ARGUS, but it's hard to tell exactly how so. If you just listen to the album, you might question where the prog is here; there are no keyboards, no unusual instruments or time signatures, and certainly it sounds more like a plain, ordinary hard rock band. So how is this even related to prog rock?

It's how the songs are crafted. Bands such as Uriah Heep have the Hammond organ and fantasy part of prog rock down, but Wishbone Ash has the compositional cleverness to them. Take the opener ''Time Was'' for example; it starts as a three minute acoustic ballad that evolves into a violent rocker with well-placed, meticulously crafted riffs and solos that take you on an adventure. I can't help but headbang or fist pump to this section even if they're not required.

Like I said before, Wishbone Ash seems to utilize the guitar riff properly, as sort of a means to propel a song. The prog aspect comes from essence, not necessarily what's physically there. In particular, ''The King Will Come'' and ''Leaf and Stream'' have such a prog feel to them that I honestly don't miss keyboards and technical complexity. They do have simpler stuff like the boogie in ''Blowin Free'' and the macho ''The Warrior'', but they pack enough energy to keep me interested.

Only ''Throw Down the Sword'' does little for me, even if there's an organ in there somewhere. Maybe all of the power from the first six songs wore me out by the time ''Throw Down the Sword'' comes along. But this is a hard rock album that teeters very close to prog rock even if it's not quite there. If you enjoy mid 70's proggy Black Sabbath, I feel this is in the same arena.

Report this review (#245170)
Posted Sunday, October 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars The sweet sounds of Wishbone Ash...

I remember listening to this on a flight to London, as I was going to see them live, and I was totally unfamiliar with the music. I pressed the middle button of my iPod and the sweet acoustic picking of Ted Turner began. At the beginning I thought this would be a cheesy pop album and decided I'd listen all the way through. I went past the blasting guitars of Time Was, to the Wah-Wah solos in The King Will Come, to the trebled Stratocaster in Warrior, to the tearjerking twin guitar solo of Throw Down the Sword. As I laid down my iPod upon listening to this album, I didn't do, or say anything, I just sat, and thought of how magnificent an album like this can be.

Argus is considered by many as the first album to actually feature twin lead guitars that inspired many bands to come, like Thin Lizzy and Judas Priest, and boy are they correct. This album sounds like a cross between Thin Lizzy, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, and the Strawbs, but the Ash maintain a sound of their own.

Theres all you need for a progressive rock album in here, drums, twin guitars, hammond organ (though in the background), pumping bass, and vocal harmonies, all performed amazingly by the team of Ted Turner, Martin Turner, Andy Powell, and Steve Upton. People may compare Martin Turner's vocals to those of John Wetton, but eventually, it was Wetton who covered Throw Down the Sword with Martin, and not Martin covering One More Red Nightmare with John Wetton...

There is a long-running discussion on Progarchives whether or not Wishbone Ash is prog, only because of later albums like There's the Rub, and everything that followed, but the first four and Live Dates are legendary progressive rock tracks.

The composition is fantastic, the writing is bombastic, and everything in between is just indescribable!

This is not only a "desert island" album, but it is also an album in which every track is perfect and beautiful in its own way, a way you cannot describe in words. If songs like Throw Down the Sword, Warrior, and Sometime World don't give you chills, you will have to give another listen to this album.

Time Was begins as what may seem the acoustic track of the song, and even a bit poppy, but then it breaks out and blasts into chords, and riffs, and solos, and licks, and whatever you'd want from a progressive rock song. Time was when there were things around to be afraid of, aren't they right? One of the most lovable tracks on this album. A bit similar to Jethro Tull and Camel in some cases.

Sometime World also starts as a mellow song, but again, like Time Was, it blasts into heartbreaking lyrics and a solo that will leave you shivering on the floor. The team of Ted and Andy are guitar geniuses, each to their own style.

Blowin Free, the song upon which I am named, is the more mellow, happy, chill song. It does feature electric guitars, drums, and that cranky Firebird-bass sound, it stil features love lyrics and a sweet melody written on the scale of D. Probably the poppiest track on the album, even though it's not poppy.

The King Will Come has a fade-in intro with a memorable chord sequence. It's a song that if you listen to it in the right time, it wil strike you well and will remain as a signature song in your heart for years, and years, and years. This song is riff-a-palooza, and also features an astonishing Wah guitar solo that is very significant in the history of rock, as one of the earlier uses of the Wah-wah pedal.

Leaf and Stream is the disappointing track of the album, although it's fairly good. It features electric guitars, although playing finger picked for the entire track, not going into a solo, or switching to chords anywhere. The song always sounds like it's going somewhere although it's stuck on that same chord sequence and finger picking technique. This is recommended for fans of the Prog Folk sub-genre, but more folk-rock than prog folk.

Warrior, oh, the memories I have with Warrior. Multi-part awesomeness featuring one of the awesomest solos in the history of man-kind that will keep you awake for hours trying to learn it note to note, even if it is far above your ability (I say this from experience). That chilling sound of a Stratocaster with a whammy bar in the beginning of the song gives you the basis of the awesomeness that is to follow. You can call it Wishbone Ash's epic, but their best song would probably be:

Throw Down the Sword, one of the only 2 songs I have ever cried because of. It also features a twin lead fade-in, similar to that of The King Will Come, and a long snare drum- roll by Steve Upton. The drums finally do their fill and the whole band comes in and the song just rocks! It gives you the chills and after a few minutes, you just want the chills to go away, and when the finally go away, you hear the lyrics, There were times when I stood at death's own door, only searching for an answer and the twin guitar solo begins, and the chills come back, and it will take you time, but you will soon realise that you are listening to one of the greatest songs ever. Recommended for fans of every sub-genre on the archives, minus Neo-Prog, all the metal ones, and also for fans of Folk-rock artists, like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Leonard Cohen.

To be honest, not this many words were needed, everything you need is in these 5 words: GET THIS ALBUM RIGHT NOW. 5 stars, and even 500 if I could. Seriously though, it is a shame, if you are a Camel, Jethro Tull, and Spirogyra fan and do not quickly get this album!

Report this review (#247576)
Posted Sunday, November 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Argus by Wishbone Ash is a very good prog like album. The overall album is not completely progressive but the last half or so of the album is. the first half is a bit softer while the latter is more heavy. Even though the album is not very progressive it is still a very good rock album. the album does not really have an overall concept, however, the last few songs are about a soldier which are connected. Even though the songs are not really connected they do happen to be very good songs. The Warrior is the best song in my opinion. It is a bit faster and it just kinda clicks with me

Argus would make a be a good album for any prof collection or rock collection alike.

Report this review (#258669)
Posted Thursday, December 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Good classic rock

"Argus" is one of those warm '70s albums that made my old friend Pete close his eyes as he recalled listening over beers. It most certainly qualifies with its classic layered electric guitar leads that extend into expanded instrumental passages. Inviting, organic, and relaxing rock with occasionally fiery lead passages. It's a very enjoyable spin for me on occasion although I find it completely ridiculous to sell this album as some kind of progressive masterpiece as is done quite often. I believe our site properly locates WA in prog-related. Musically it reminds me of another prog-related band yet to make our site, the Dead, and in particular their early 70s era when great tracks like "Weather Report Suite" and "Black-throated Wind" were commonplace. Melodic and often beautiful music such as "Sometime World" and "Throw Down the Sword" cannot be denied. Still, while very pretty in places the extended guitar solos are far less interesting and dynamic to me than the Dead or the Allmans, I just don't see them having the instrumental prowess of the best lead players. That's a problem when one of your big selling points is the supposed amazing dual leads---simply extending the length and building to harmonized hammer-ons comes off as little more than a fancied-up Molly Hatchet. I can't be the only one glazing over with boredom during parts of this album. The structural playing and vocals are pretty good though, nice harmonies. The songs are average and occasionally border on parody (Warrior) rather than being convincing "prog-rock" fantasy. With apologies to this band's many fans I think our RussellK nails this album with his assessment. I'll give an extra star for the big vision and the beauty of some passages but find little actual evidence to support the legendary status this album has received.

Report this review (#266424)
Posted Monday, February 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars I remember that only a few years back Argus had almost a 4.5/5 rating on this site and since I'm always on a lookout for new exciting music it was almost given that this album would make it into my collection at one point or another.

Before buying the CD in 2008 I asked several of my friends about their experience with Wishbone Ash. Most of them described the band as a relatively faceless rock band of its time which also was presumably reflective in the nature of their compositions. Having already been burned once by Blue Öyster Cult I had some reservations at first, but the overwhelming amount of praising reviews that this album received convinced me to play with fire for one more round!

I can't say that I was too happy when I heard Time Was for the first time, surely the music would get better towards the end of this album? After all, most of the reviewers here recognized that the album's last two compositions, Warrior and Down The Sword, were the definite highlights. Therefore I marched on only to experience one disappointment after the other. The music on Argus is classic '70s rock with a strong acoustic flavor which I generally enjoy, especially when it's fused with strong melodies and memorable delivery, but it all felt very generic here.

It's not that these compositions are bad or flawed in any way. I just don't find them all that enjoyable and since there isn't any real progressive complexity in neither the instrumental nor the lyrical themes there's just nothing left here for me to cheer about. Maybe it's one of those albums that had to be experienced in the '70s to truly comprehend? Still, this wouldn't really justify anything considering that classic albums by Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin still manage to find new audiences even today.

Wishbone Ash's highest rated release is nothing more than a good, but non-essential album. If you haven't heard it in the '70s then you should probably stay away all together.

**** star songs: Time Was (9:42) The King Will Come (7:06) Warrior (5:53) Down The Sword (5:55)

*** star songs: Sometime World (6:55) Blowin' Free (5:18) Leaf And Stream (3:55)

Report this review (#275821)
Posted Thursday, April 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars How could this be prog? Tell me. After much time looking for this specific CD I found It and played 4 times in a row. No doubt in my mind that this is a good record of soft heavy metal from the seventies. The songs are good, specially the B-side (on the original LP), the guitars are spot and the singing could be America or Crosby, Still, Nash and Young on but for much I tried to be a prog one I couldn't get It that way. So if you are looking for an excellent record of seventies soft hard rock this is It, but if You are looking for some prog try Genesis for a change. Three stars because I kept on playing It the rest of the week.
Report this review (#279683)
Posted Wednesday, April 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#280781)
Posted Friday, May 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Argus fits perfectly into the Prog Related class. The songs are not without a certain verse-chorus structure, but they are so much well extended and strewed of little details that it approach of prog in a certain way. The songs are excellent, the guitar duo is in perfect harmony with himself, the bass is not just there to fill an empty space, it's an essential part of the songs. The drums are well tought and played, keeping classic structures at an higher level of inspiration and creativity, with surprising fills that doesn't always end or begin at the moment you expected. The voices are soft, perfect for this kind of music. To me, starting with Wishbone Ash' Argus would be an excellent idea if you're new to Prog or to extended rock songs in general, it has a easy sound to appreciate, with immense power, the kind of songs that gives you an unexplainable feeling while you listen to them.

Time Was, Sometime World and The King Will Come should be looked at before you buy the album, those are the perfect samples to take a look at, to peel and analyse deeply.

A 5 star album, considering the fact that it's in Prog Related category.

Report this review (#295612)
Posted Saturday, August 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a spectacular album by an exremely underated band. Argus is considered to be the greatest release by fans. The folk influence is quite evident on most tracks with a stong blend of hard rock and prog rock because the songs are extended and have a lot of changes in rhythm. While on the note of progression, this band should be remembered for their highly influential twin-lead guitar harmonization which was later adopted by the likes of Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden.

There are lots of nice melodies and vocal harmonies throughout. Bassist Martin Turner was behind most of the songs and lyrics. The folky sound lets out more of a medieval feel than the band's other releases, as do the track titles here and content of the lyrics. Favourites are "The King Will Come" "Warrior" and "Throw Down the Sword" which has a cool folky guitar riff at the beginning. "Leaf and Steam" is a softer, quaint floating track placed perfectly in the middle of the album.

I can't find a single thing wrong with this, the great "Argus". It's a real prog-rock classic with a unique style of it's own. A must hear by all lovers of prog music.

Report this review (#332800)
Posted Wednesday, November 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars "Argus" is the most praised album from "Wishbone Ash".

Lots of reviewers do believe that the inclusion of the band was granted by this work. I don't agree with this at all. As far as I am concerned, this is an excellent rock album. But to depict this as a progressive masterpiece, that's maybe a step too far?

The opening number is one of the highlight of this album; fair enough. The song builds crescendo and from an acoustic intro it leads to a frenzy and gorgeous piece of guitar maestria. But that is what the band has been used to play so far. So, there is little surprise as far as I am concerned.

The romantic and soft rock "Sometime World" is another pleasant song which features delicate acoustic guitar work in its initial phase and then develops towards a more rocking angle. It is needless to say that this is how I like the band the most.

An excellent bass play and sustained drumming are also demonstrating, if needed, that the band is not only a twin guitar one. The four gangsters are building the whole. The closing section (which is unfortunately faded out awkwardly) is just a wonderful guitar moment.

After a transparent "Blowing Free", the band swaps his usual song construction: "King Will Come" starts with a marvelous intro and becomes more conventional afterwards (average vocals and basic rock music). A deep CSN&Y is felt during this song: but it is not the first time that I made the comparison.

The remaining songs from this album are just mainstream rock. But tons of bands can fall under this category and most of them are not featured on PA, right?

What I mean is that there are a lot of great bands out here (like WA) who played excellent rock music. But not prog (related) music.

The original work closed on "Throw Down The Sword" and I would rate this work with three stars. It is a good rock album indeed. Several versions were released afterwards: one of which features some live tracks recorded in Memphis.

A giant version of "Phoenix" is one of them and thanks to this brilliant interpretation I will upgrade this album to four stars (but only if you can get the CD version with these live tracks). I have never listened to the 35 years anniversary version but it looks pretty attractive.

Report this review (#338470)
Posted Monday, November 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
baz91
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Before diving into describing this album, let me tell how I came across this opus. Last year I attended the High Voltage festival in London, to see acts like ELP and Transatlantic. Also on the bill were Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash (a variant of the original group) and the poster revealed that they would be playing Argus in its entirity. Seeing as I only needed to purchase one album to be able to enjoy this band live, I bought the special edition of Argus a few months before going to the festival.

I'd also seen that it had very positive reviews from this website, so I was rather surprised when I found very little that could be described as progressive within this album. The first song, Time Was is just short of 10 minutes in length, and is a tour de force of guitars, but the endless guitar solos don't spell progressive for me. This just seems like a very arty form of classic rock. Sometimes the music is fantastic, my favourite track being Sometime World. After 3 minutes the song erupts into very fast paced guitars, and whilst being quite repetitive, it definitely holds up by sounding fantastic.

Blowin' Free just annoys me. This band is not American, and should not have pretended to be. The King Will Come has a great main riff that is very easy to get into. A lot of people may say Leaf and Stream is an extremely beautiful track, but it's just a bit dull really, and by this point in the album you're probably fed up of hearing guitars all the time.

Warrior is one to wake you up though. This one sounds the most progressive as the song evolves throughout it's 6 minute length, eventually reaching the chorus right at the end of the song. Throw Down The Sword is the final track, and is no more than a really good classic rock tune.

I do enjoy moments of this album, but calling this music progressive rock is not right. I do agree that progressive rock is a very broad genre, but people who like Yes and Genesis and King Crimson will surely agree that this music is too far removed from the natural sound of prog, ie has too much of a commercial sound. Although it's unfair to say this about a group who had TWO lead guitarists, the band really relies too heavily on guitar solos in their music. Though by themselves they sound fantastic, Wishbone Ash truly prove that you can have too much of a good thing, as there is another guitar solo every 60 seconds. Compare this example to the guitar solo on Genesis' 'The Knife'. This classic solo is the only one in the song (if not the only one in Trespass itself) and has a more structured feel. As a result it stands out far more, and is a real 'air guitar' moment for fans of Genesis.

I give this album 3 stars out of 5 because I have enjoyed the songs, but there is nothing special about them. As this is Wishbone Ash's most praised album, I don't think I'll be listening to any more from them.

Report this review (#416034)
Posted Tuesday, March 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
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

Report this review (#447931)
Posted Saturday, May 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Just adding my 100 words to the many reviews of this album.

Wishbone Ash is, together with Thin Lizzy, credited for the twin-guitar attack sound. A sound later adopted and perfected by the likes of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Slayer. In other words; the significance of this band cannot be underestimated.

...... besides of that, this is the first time I have ever heard Wishbone Ash and an album from them. I have put this band on my must-hear-more-from list. The music on this album has this strange X-Factor I cannot really describe in words and cannot put my finger on. The music here just sounds great. Full stop.

Sound wise, they reminds me a lot about early Rush (first two albums), Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and a bit of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. I am a fan of the latter one so that is a plus in my books.

Quality wise, all songs are great here. But the true suberb song here is The King Will Come. A truly superb riff which the song is built around.

Yes, I fully understand why this album is so revered and I join in with the admirers of this album. A purchase order of more Wishbone Ash albums has been placed.

4 stars

Report this review (#451565)
Posted Tuesday, May 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Wishbone Ash's most celebrated album is essentially a folk-rock disc with an innovative twin lead guitar sound - later embraced by many New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands. (Warrior, in particular, sounds like a number which - if the guitars were just a touch heavier - could be a lost Saxon or Iron Maiden song.) Musically speaking, the band seem to be out to explore territory similar to the likes of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, with more extended and complex guitar solos - this approach is especially apparent on Blowin' Free, on which the vocal harmonies in particular are clearly inspired by CSNY's best. Still, the guitar heroics are impressive enough to make the album of interest to prog fans, and as far as classic rock albums in general go it's well worth your time. Wishbone Ash never quite made another album which captured my interest to the extent that this one did - whenever I hear another Wishbone Ash song, I think to myself "this is alright... but I could be listening to Argus instead". It's that good.
Report this review (#491062)
Posted Wednesday, July 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
Matti
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 4 ˝ stars really. As can be seen from the number of reviews here, this is undisputedly the most important WISHBONE ASH album. It is a timeless Classic Rock Album but maybe not a Prog Classic because it really sounds more like rock - with some prog elements such as extended compositions - than prog per se. Does it bother you? Not me and many others who praise Argus even more than I do. The album has a feeling of very balanced unity, especially in the sound, even if the songs approach various genres from acoustic folk rock (delicate melancholic ballad 'Leaf And Stream') to American-style rock'n'roll ('Blowin' Free', my least favourite track) or riff-heavy hard rock ('Warrior'). There's no weak track among the seven.

This band is known for its meaty twin guitar sound and here's plenty of that, as well as great vocal harmonies. Indeed, sometimes keyboards or any other extra instruments are not missed at all. Standout tracks are the longest ones: 'Time Was', 'Sometime World', 'The King Will Come' and 'Throw Down The Sword', but I'm very fond of the mentioned 'Leaf And Stream' too. Some albums just have the special aura that usually is never again captured by the band in question. Argus is among them.

The great cover art is somehow exactly right for the music: the mystic figure with a helmet, a cloak and a spear is looking over a vast misty landscape, seeing an UFO in the distance (which is rather unvisible to the person looking at the cover). The sense of medieval fantasy is just behind the corner of pure classic rock here.

Report this review (#598354)
Posted Thursday, December 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Argus of Wishbone Ash is an archetypical classic rock album. Some bluesrock influences still, but much less then in Wishbone's debut. This record is a compilation of boogierock and (hard)rock songs with a lot of guitarsolo's played by both guitarists. The heaviness ranges from rock to hardrock, but never get's really heavy. The sound is optimistic and harmonious, but never get's near symphonic rock/prog.

My favourite songs are the up-tempo "Sometime World", because of the swingin' bass play and catchy guitarsolo's and "The King will Come" with its marsrhythm opening and wah-wah pedal guitar.

Wishbone Ash is a bit tame in comparison with hardrockbuddy's Deep Purple. Sometimes I miss the "controlled chaos" like in 'In Rock". This certainly is Wishbone Ash's best effort, but some more agressiveness in vocals or guitar could have done it some good. This record is some must-have for hardrock fanatics, but for prog-listeners this is just a nice addition: not progressive, but it offers some nice and subtle instrumental parts.

Report this review (#636963)
Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars A fine, fine album from Wishbone Ash, released in 1972, and still as fresh as it ever was. Unfortunately, I havenever considered any other of their releases to be nearly as good. This is hard-prog mixed with great lyrics, guitar wonderfulness, and a nice concept. My CD release has a couple of live numbers added on the end but they bore me and I usually skip them.For those who like the rocking/guitar side of prog music, this album is essential. It is not 5 stars but it comes about as close as you can get. Should be in the collection of all prog and rock buffs.
Report this review (#749380)
Posted Saturday, May 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
5 stars I don't care if this album sounds like Southern Rock or classic rock. Wishbone Ash are "Prog Related" so it doesn't need to be fully prog to be considered a masterpiece as I think it is. First of all it's a concept album and the average track length is over 5 minutes. There are a lot of instrumental parts and quite frequent changes in theme and signature...classic rock? maybe.

"Time Was" starts with one of the classic WA choirs on an acoustic guitar harping. The second guitar acts as a keyboard and when the guitars fade out there come the drums to start a light rock piece based on major chords. I have read somebody saying that there's a bit of Pink Floyd in this album. Well, slowing down the rhythm of this song could make it fit into Obscured By Clouds. In any case the guitars are more similar to Van Zandt than to Gilmour but let me underline that Ted Turner doesn't need to be compared to anybody else as he's probably one of the best rock guitarists ever.

"Sometimes World" is absolutely my favorite Wishbone Ash's song. The melodic first part of the song has a sound that will later become another band's trademark, specially in an album like Front Page News. After the first refrain "Sometimes World Pass me by Again, carrying you carrying me away...." there's a return to the jazzy choir of the kind present on the first two albums. I think that the bass line is fantastic. Well, it's the first thing that I've tried to play when I bought my first bass. You can imagine how much I love this track. The only negative thing is the fade out that I think shouldn't be used in a concept album.

The guitar intro on "Blowin' Free" is another thing that takes time to leave one's mind. The song is just good rock, but let's underline the word "good". There's again the classic WA choir and the twin guitars. The song is probably of less interest for proggers apart for the slow interlude.

Side B opens quite proggy, instead. "The King Will Come" starts with a crescendo on a minor chord with the drums playing a sort of march. Then the song which comes is another WA classic. I can't describe it. there are all the elements for which I consider WA a great band.

"Leaf And Stream" is based on a finger picking guitar that gives it a country-rock flavor, but the melody is quite distant from that genre. The second guitar is almost Floydian. In terms of guitar sound it can be compared to the B side of Meddle. Of course it's a totally different thing. A 4 minutes song, the shorter of the album, but a great song. Again, why don't add 10 seconds more to avoid fading out?

"Warrior" is the album's anthem. If we think to this concept album as to a soundtrack, this is the final and "Throw Down The Sword" the end titles. A song like "Warrior" can justify the presence of this band on PA. Not very original in terms of chords, it's logically split in two different parts, the first more dreamy and intense, the second a little heavier with a fantastic choir.

Finally "Throw Down The Sword" which starts in crescendo from where the previous track ends. The intro takes two minutes. The song is intense. It's the final act of a concept about soldiers and wars, it has to be dramatic. The guitar riff is excellent, if not technically, for the feelings that it gives. Listen to it and tell me if it doesn't give the same sensations of the best Latimer's solos? It's a pity that it ends in that sudden way. At least it's not a fade out.

This is a transition album, different from the first two and from what will follow, with elements which belong to the "before" and others belonging to the "after". This may be the reason why it's so good. The best of the band, in terms of composition and arrangements, concentrated in one album, absolutely their best, unrepeatable, album

Report this review (#753082)
Posted Monday, May 14, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars 8/10

Argus is everything a fan could ask for hard rock - and add a few touches of prog and have at hand an album worthy of being on this site. I have a soft spot for these hard rock bands of the '70s and '80s, but I must confess it took for me to hear this album. Oh, what a mistake.

I never hear about Wishbone Ash were it not for ProgArchives, so for once I'm grateful this site exists in my life - if not for him I would not know 10% of the bands I know and love today. WA is no exception. While I do not share the opinion of those who claim to stand before a masterpiece I think is an injustice to give a low rating. The twin guitars of Andy Powell and Ted Turner are the highlights here of course, creating the best passages, but Martin Turner is a good singer and runs down a very present (see Something World, where he takes the lead in the second half of the song) and Steve Upton really shines with its drums.

As for music, I can say without fear that the first two really fascinate me more - I can clearly remember them for the rest of my life, while the same can not be said of the other songs (which does not diminish their value, shoulder). Time Was is really an epic nearing the 10 minutes who starts acoustically simple acoustic guitar and vocals, before evolving into a heavy guitar riff that dominates most of the rest of the music - and I have to say that his last two minutes are amazing! Sometime World follows the same modulation, with an introduction somewhat melancholy but from 2:24 it changes completely into something more lively and energetic. But do not be fooled by my words, anyone can prefer other songs, as they have the same style hard-rock classic that I know that many will enjoy.

4 stars!

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Posted Saturday, July 7, 2012 | Review Permalink
FragileKings
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars From the days that I first started buying Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin cassettes I can recall seeing Wishbone Ash albums at the record stores. However, their name never came up in the metal magazines I was reading and I never heard any of their songs on the rock radio station in Vancouver, so I never knew if I was missing out on something earth shaking or just standard 70s guitar rock.

It took my roamings on this site to bring that name to the forefront of my curiosity and at last I decided to get what seemed to be the seminal album by this band. During the first play I was surprised at the sound of the more rocking part of the track Time Was. It sounded very much like the sound of the power pop band Sloan circa 1992 and also like some other bands of the 90s. There's always someone who's done it previously it seems. The acoustic guitar on this album is very pretty and the dual electric guitar stands out as original for its time (I grew up with the dual guitars of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden so something a little more aggressive and progressive had already set the standard for me). I also enjoyed right of the bat the track The King Will Come particularly for the wah-wah guitar riff.

Good though the album was, I couldn't get as hotly excited about it as some other reviewers. Perhaps it was a case of place and time and personal experience, but for me it was just a good album. I picked out some titles that hadn't pricked up my ears yet and threw them on a playlist of other such songs and hit shuffle. Leaf and Stream came on and I was attentive throughout. I also tried to play the much praised Throw Down the Sword but after a few listens I can't recall the riff or melody without playing the track. So far there is little from this album that plays spontaneously in my head (a sign that the music has not yet ingrained itself) unlike some other albums I bought at the same time that do pop up in the random jukebox in my mind's ear.

I will keep listening. It's a good album. But I haven't found that much in the music that really strikes me as the prog flavour of the era. It's a mellower, more laid back approach to progressive music, and I can't help but think that the length of a couple of the songs are the most progressive parts of the album.

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Posted Monday, July 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars It always seemed to have that concept or theme feel to it.

I guess I feel the need to review some of my old favorites being a newbie...

The progression and placing of most of the songs is what gives it a theme type quality and should help explain a little bit why this is in a prog review site as well as its use of the second lead guitar and some lengthy tracks, prog related is a perfect category for the Wishbone.

The opening track, Time Was brings us in quiet and builds to a good jam. Followed by Sometime World, which has nice harmonies and it also builds to a jamming end. The next song, Blowing Free, was somewhat of a hit in the UK, but is my least favorite of the album.

The remaining tracks for me is where the rubber meets the road towards concept. The King Will Come leads us marching in with some inter-weaving lead guitar work and some of the best bass work that you will hear (has chordish qualities) which continues throughout. The song changes pace a few times with distinct lead doubling. This is followed by a very good acoustic/electric harmonic driven piece which has very clean, beautiful picking.

The previous two tracks leads us into battle form with Warrior, which is strong lyrically as well as musically and leads perfectly into Throw Down the Sword. It is filled with appropiately fitting lyrics and the end soloing is Powell at his best with emotionally filled leads.

PS-I do hear some organ blending in at the end of Throw Down the Sword...

4 and a half stars to me, rounded down to 4.

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Posted Saturday, August 25, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Argus is 44 years old at the time of writing this review - and yet it doesn't sound at all dated and is still my favourite album of all time.

Wishbone Ash really peaked with this, their third album, and unfortunately never reached quite the same heights again. All seven songs have something special. Time Was, the wonderful solos and especially Martin Turner's running up and down the frets of the bass guitar as the lead solo plays. Sometime World - an inspired closing solo from Andy Powell plus that brilliant bassline. The infectious enthusiasm of Blowin' Free, the powerful riff and apocalyptic lyrics of The King Will Come, followed by the pastoral beauty of Leaf and Stream. And then to close, the war/anti-war duo of Warrior and Throw Down The Sword, culminating in my favourite part of the album, the interweaving lead guitar solo which still sends a shiver down my spine. Messrs Turner, Turner, Powell and Upton were on top of their game here, all excellent musicians and topping it up with lovely harmony vocals too.

Argus never seems to appear in those "1001 albums you must hear before you die" lists, and to me it is a glaring omission. Every classic rock fan needs to hear this one.

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Posted Saturday, January 19, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Maybe not the prog masterpiece it's made out to be, Argus is undoubtedly a rock classic with surprising depth. However, other than the finale of "Warrior/Throw Down The Sword," I don't hear much innovation or risk-taking from Wishbone Ash; Argus is universally recognized as their best album, and admittedly I am not familiar with any of their other work, but I only hear a marginally good prog album here. That being said, Argus is an exceptional Classic Rock album, far superior to most of the stuff you hear on classic rock radio, and gets heavy rotation when I am not in the mood for more cerebral material. Argus actually has a Southern Rock feel, and should appeal to fans of The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynrd. Though four stars is probably appropriate, I can't get there given the strength of competition in the Prog-Related genre.

Despite its nearly ten-minute length, "Time Was" is mostly repetitive and even somewhat boring. The dreamy acoustic introduction features the strongest vocal harmonies on the album and deserves a longer exposition instead of the forced, jammy treatment it offers for the remaining bulk of the song. The dual-guitar attack of Andy Powell and Ted Turner makes its first appearance and despite my appreciation for the technique, it becomes stale fairly quickly. I did not grow up with Argus and have heard this device repeatedly throughout the course of my musical life so its groundbreaking nature is all but lost on me. I can imagine what it must have been like to hear something this intense in 1972, but time has not been so kind to "Time Was." "Sometime World" offers the same formula, beginning with a slow ballad that awkwardly transitions to a brisk rock exercise. Though I do enjoy Martin Turner's melodic and commanding bass line, it is really the only highlight of the song for me personally.

The lightweight "Blowin' Free" actually got some radio play back in the day but its staying power is nil. The vocal harmonies seem forced and out-of-place, or maybe just don't suit the song, but don't last too terribly long thankfully. Finally with "The King Will Come" Wishbone Ash begin to incorporate some of the lyrically thematic elements and sense of urgency that has helped it earn their place in the Prog Rock epoch. The song is simply awesome and marks a turning point within the album that never lets up until it's over. "Leaf and Stream" is a lush symphony of glistening guitars and a confident solo vocal courtesy of Mart Turner. The medley of "Warrior" and "Throw Down The Sword" is easily the highlight of Argus, the latter of which contains that now-famous twin guitar polyphony between Powell and Turner. The second side of Argus is much stronger than the first and is an essential listen for all rock music fans. As Prog-related albums go, Argus is good but ultimately not that important in the scheme of things.

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Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Some say they are pioneers of the twin lead guitar hard rock/heavy metal. The first track I've heard of this was The King Will Come, and this track is a great classic rock one, and the mind blowing intro can drive anyone to madness in a great way, but the fantastic expectations made this album not so special when I finally got it to listen to it as a whole album. Argus is like if you were looking for a horse ride in a distant road. You want a long road to feel the fresh air and look at the beautiful environment. The road is long but sometimes repetitive. The ride was funny, the horse is very unusual too, but you had better expectations, so you kill the horse with a shot in mouth. This is a great album, and the first track is amazing. The blues guitar solos are fine. The songs are lenghty but not really progressive at all, and the blues solos are too long. Some boring, non-relevant, and unmemorable tracks and parts, but not so bad, I could listen to the whole thing without skipping any track, so it's OK. Well, it's a good addition to any collection, good songs performed by a good band, and a cool album cover. But I really prefer Neil Young folk & country rock songwriting with his lenghty guitar improvisations without any "prog" tag to fool my personal expectations.
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Posted Monday, August 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars When finally the world comes to an end it will surely be a spear holding Darth Vader, obviously deserted on Earth by his drunken buddies, who will do it. I mean, he must be irked, look at 'em they're leaving him down here all to himself, poor rascal, and no one will ever understand anything about the Death Star even if he sings a beautiful twin guitar song in the hard rock vein about it, even if he sings loud and proud about kings coming and warriors coming too, in fact everything on this record is coming or passing by, or blowing, except Darth Vader who seems to be a little reticent to come, or go, or blow for that matter, anywhere. In fact the main character of the second side, Darth Vader, seems to be a little perturbed about being left here on Earth by his drunken buddies, and he starts trouble, meditates, starts more trouble, finally sees the error of his ways, stops being a baddie and just tosses his sword away, though it would have been better if he threw the sword into a stream after impaling a leaf, for dramatic purposes, you must understand.

All Joshing aside, this is a wonderful album filled with neat hooky songs that flirt with being metal and post Beatles pop goodness at one time, beautiful and thrilling guitar interplay that falls just short of Thin Lizzy's heyday and the first works of bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden.

The production is sort of weird, murky and raw. I personally love it with a humming desire, but I do understand many people might not like that level of rawness (or Doobie in their funk, even) and would consider it "tinny" or "something" but, really, if you are into the rawer side of music, "Argus" has a very nice biting sound that can soothe the little soul inside the teacups we call our bodies.

Track by Track: (Side by Side)

The theme of Side 1 is very loose, in fact non-existent. This is not a concept album, though I one time thought it was, but I was in a very literary mood that month. A collection of upbeat wonders for those who want to jiggity jog and bounce all the way through the wormhole.

1. Time Was : Long and interesting, very mellow opening, nice blast of rock after a couple mintues. Overall a very filling song, makes you shake a tail feather in parts.

2. Sometime World: Full on Prog! Total masterpiece of a song, makes the toes curl and the joy spew like pea soup.

3. Blowin' Free: Really good driving music for when you want that whole "I'm in my car, the road goes on forever, the party never ends and each mile of blacktop eaten is like a buffet in Heaven" feeling.

Side 2 has the "Darth Vader left on Earth by his Drunken Buddies" theme.

All the Bruhaha about this album comes mostly from this side (though the first side is fantastic!) and it's oddly peculiar storyline sort of about Darth Vader (maybe) that might or might not have something to do with the sterling reputation this album carries around like a sock full of silver bars.

4. The King Will Come: My favorite song on the album, by far. Check out that guitar at the beginning, one of the best riffs ever written by simple mortal humans and a good song too, all apocalyptic, guess Vader's PO'd that he's been abandoned and wants to take his subtle, yet flaming, revenge upon all the unbelievers. Magnitude of ten-thousand as proto-metal as a breadfan and twice as pretty.

5. Leaf and Stream: If we consider this side to tell a "story" or be "thematic" this is either an interlude or Vader is sitting by a stream, mask off, crying into the water as he reminisces about space flight.

6. Warrior: Another great. More proto-metal, very Maiden-y, but not as fast. If there is a complaint about this album it is that there are songs that could have used a little more speed, a bit more heaviness, but heck, this was 1972 we aren't all that far removed from "Goin' up the Country." I guess this song is about Vader being a warrior or something. Wonder if Jedi tricks work on Earth?

7. Throw Down The Sword: Where the hero decides to give up the warring ways, great track, meltingly beautiful guitars and a whole hand basket of pretty other things too. The album ends, Vader accepts his plight and sorta makes peace with himself. Great stuff.

Overall, the truth about this album is that it's wonderful, surprising things happen and it seems much shorter than it really is.

Truly an original record that nothing else in the world sounds much like (not even other WA albums) so do yourself a favor, listen, and if it helps you can pretend that the guy on the cover is a Roman Warrior who saw a space ship instead of Darth Vader...

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Posted Thursday, May 22, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars This bluesy hard prog rock masterpiece is certainly one of the very best of the genre and has a lot of merit for the twin guitar attack, which is its most definite characteristic, and which would later influence bands like Iron Maiden. The virtuosity of the two guitarist is impressive to say at least, but what always strikes me is the fact that they both play with the exact same tone, attack and approach, making them virtually impossible to distinguish, and all that without sounding like the average blues lead guitar. It sometimes sounds like two tracks of the same guitarist duelling himself passionately, and the result is nothing short of amazing.

"Time Was" starts out slowly, like a folk-rock ballad, before bursting into a groovy, southern rock-like second part which contains superb guitar leads and a simple but effective bass work.

The same pattern is kind of repeated on the second track "Sometime World", but in an even more effective way this time. The track starts out slowly and progresses into a more upbeat part with a great bass riff. Awesome guitar guitar work also, as always. This might be the most heartfelt track on the whole album.

"Blowin' Free" is the bluesiest track on the album, quite forgettable, but nevertheless very pleasant. I definitely never grow tired of that one.

"The King Will Come" starts the second side of the LP brilliantly, with that epic intro building up to two great riffs (one on guitar and one on bass) playing simultaneously and perfectly complementing each other. Both instruments are on their very best on this track, and I'm thinking especially about these twin guitar solos around 3:15, which represent more the classic Wishbone Ash sound than anything on this album. Around 4:30 comes the most proggy moment of the album, a true highlight, and it leads to a return to the main riff to close the track brilliantly.

"Leaf and Stream" is probably the less impressive track out here, though it's quite beautiful. There's not a lot to remark here, except great guitar playing, just as usual.

"Warrior" is another stunning track, featuring one of my all time favorite hard rock intros and many of my favorite guitar exchanges between Powell and Turner. The lyrics are wonderful- and wonderfully delivered, and this could have been a perfect album closer. I know I said earlier in this review that "The King Will Come" was the best track here but it really was no easy choice, as these two tracks are to me the two greatest Wishbone Ash classics.

While the previous one could have been the perfect album closer, "Throw Down the Sword" is not so bad either, even if there are at least 5 better tracks on the rest of this record (1,2,3,4,6). Overall it's a great track, but it might lacks the epic feel an album finale should have (especially one with a concept). Fortunately, it is saved by a heart wrenching guitar exchange between the two virtuosos.

Finally, the bonus track "No Easy Road" is also very pleasant, but happily hasn't been included on the final record final record, cause it would have been totally out of place.

9/10

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Posted Wednesday, January 28, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars Masterpiece. I've done track-by track reviews for the previous two albums, but I won't do one for this, for two reasons:

a) This one is THE most prog album they've done, it flows continually, so a formal track-by-track judgment is way more difficult.

b) It's such a beloved and reviewed album that is even more famous than the group itself. So there is nothing new to say!

All I'll say is that Martin Turner still tours playing this one in it's entirety, and the fans still sing along, cry and smile to it's unmatched musicality. I've seen his band 3 times in Athens, Greece, and I would go 333 more.

5 stars for one of the Top-5 albums of 1972.

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Posted Friday, March 6, 2015 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'Argus' - Wishbone Ash (68/100)

Around 1970-71, the British musical zeitgeist was all about this kind of hard rock; a little bit psychedelic, a little bit progressive, and a lot of blues. I've made it a side-quest of mine to listen to as many of the golden-era bands as I can, and while I haven't heard many that were laughably bad, I wouldn't say there were more than a couple in every hundred of these heavy-blues-psych outfits that deserved to stand the test of time. Although the stream of incessantly mediocre records Wishbone Ash have churned out in the decades since their heyday has pegged them as a generally less-than-fantastic band in my mind, there's always Argus. While the band's best collection of songwriting still feels something brittle in my eyes, the band could play. The evocative album cover doesn't hurt either.

In my experience with Wishbone Ash, I've noticed two major opinions arise. The first (and arguably most relevant to Argus) is that Wishbone Ash had one of the most full-bodied sounds in hard rock. The vocal harmonies were crisp. The bass guitar was as heavy and thunderous as anything I might expect to hear from Chris Squire on a Yes album. The acoustic elements were effective and far from overwhelming, the solos were great, and the ever-so-praised twin harmonized guitar assault still gives the impression that, in one way at least, Wishbone Ash were several years ahead of their time. At least one foot was planted in the familiar blues rock canon, but Wishbone Ash were doing some pretty cool things on their other end. It's nigh-impossible not to think of the NWOBHM that took Britannia by storm a decade following some of the slick twin harmonies Powell and Turner pull off here. If anything, Argus is a home to some great rock guitar. The heavy instrumental jam that takes up the latter half of "Sometime World" is one of the coolest things I've heard in classic hard rock; whenever there's a guitar solo, the rest of the band escapes the excuse to be lazy and actually kicks it up another notch. Considering I'm usually given to thinking of rock guitar solos as ego-driven filler in all but the brightest cases, it's a major credit to Wishbone Ash that their jams are so exciting.

The second, possibly more controversial opinion rests on the band's composition; namely the impression that Wishbone Ash aren't particularly inclined towards writing compelling tunes. I'm sure even the staunchest fan would have a hard time arguing that Powell and company were as good at writing music as they were at playing it. While it's doubtful Wishbone Ash wrote five superb songs following their heyday, the lack of truly great songwriting is apparent even on Argus. Just look at "Time Was" for an example of this; I had high hopes for the nine minute track, but the lacklustre transition from the folkish acoustic overture to a predictable hard rock formula does little to stir me. Some of the album's most memorable numbers (see: "Warrior") cross my jaded ears as something Fly By Night-era Rush might have done on a less inspired day. The band's range from hard rock to blues, country and Medieval-tinged folk keeps the album from sounding samey, but for all of Wishbone Ash's relative ambition here, the songwriting never feels more than average. This wouldn't usually threaten a hard rock album so much, but considering Argus has earned itself the status of would-be classic in the decades since its release, I'll admit I was expecting something more from it.

I actually had the chance to see Wishbone Ash play live last night. If this review is any slight indicator, I was not particularly enamoured with any of the material I'd heard from the band, but I was nonetheless fairly excited to see how they might approach a concert performance. While the night benefited from a confident stage show and a lot of vivid guitar soloing, there is one thing about the show that's been stuck in my mind the most. Whenever a song from Pilgrimage or Argus was announced, cheers erupted from the small crowd. However, whenever there was a song from any of the two dozen albums thereafter, the crowd was virtually silent. I mean, Andy Powell introduced a song from their latest album Blue Horizon and for a few seconds, there wasn't a single cheer. It's as people had clamped up and insisted on hibernating until the next song from Argus played.

I felt a little bad about it; while this is definitely more a reflection on the poor crowd than the band themselves, it should go to prove a point. If Wishbone Ash were particularly good songwriters, there's a solid chance lightning would have struck more than once or twice. Even as far as Argus is concerned, the songwriting is a far step short of some of the band's better-loved contemporaries. If there's anything to make Wishbone Ash's magnum opus worth revisiting in my eyes, it's not the music itself, but the way it's performed. Even last night, the band stand as a great performing unit; it's all the more lamentable they've never had the great songs to back it up.

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Posted Thursday, April 9, 2015 | Review Permalink
1 stars I have stumbled many times on the high rating of Wisbone Ash on Progarchives and never understood why. Once again, I have seen this record here highly rated as a prog related album here. This one, I didn't hear before. Of course, I just had to try again. After all, it sits there, as a top record, next to Led Zeppelin, Queen, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, etc. Alas, again a disappointment. An ordinary rock record, like thousands others that have been made during last 50 years. I could not find any outstanding song on it, or even something memorable. Yes, sure, it is played well and there are even a few nice guitar hooks here and there, but that is it. I wouldn't advice any prog lover to go and buy this one :-(
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Posted Tuesday, December 1, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Argus" is arguably the proggiest album Wishbone Ash ever released, a dreamy hodgepodge of prog, blues and hard rock. This album is so good that it even ranked first on a Melody Maker readers poll as the top album of 1972, and one listen is all that you need to discern its superb quality. Starting with the fantastic "Time Was" and rolling through to the stunning anti-war protest "Throw Down the Sword", "Argus" is definitely a recommended listen to any prog fan.

Side One opens with "Time Was", which starts out with an extended acoustic intro which seamlessly transitions into a delicious guitar showcase for Andy Powell. "Sometime World" is much the same, but with better harmonizing between Martin Turner and Andy Powell and the best guitar solo of the album from Powell, which fades out the song. In my opinion, "Sometime World" is the best song on the album, one that is guaranteed to be stuck in your head for a long time. Side One closes out with "Blowin' Free", probably the most folk-tinged song on the album, not nearly as classic as the first two tracks, but it still holds its own as a solid track.

Side Two opens with "The King Will Come", which starts "Argus"'s medieval-themed suite on Side Two. In my opinion, "The King Will Come" is the weakest track on "Argus". Not that it's a bad song, but it just never goes anywhere, and it seems more repetitive than the previous tracks. Next is "Leaf and Stream", the album's best ballad, though probably the least proggy song on the entire album. "Warrior" is a fantastic song with the catchiest chorus on the album, which segues into "Throw Down the Sword". On this track, you can definitely hear the Iron Maiden influence, as Steve Harris basically plagiarized the opening two minutes of "Throw Down the Sword" in at least a half-dozen Iron Maiden songs.

Overall, "Argus" is definitely the finest album Wishbone Ash ever recorded, and sadly, they'd never come close to replicating it again. "Argus" is the perfect blend of the bluesy sound of their first album, the progressive folk sound of their second album, and the hard rock they'd later be known for on subsequent releases. "Argus" was also a landmark album in terms of the twin-lead guitar sound, a style that would later be adopted by such bands as Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, all of whom credit Wishbone Ash as an influence on their music. If there is one Wishbone Ash album that I'd recommend to the prog listeners on this site, "Argus" would be that album. A true classic of the genre.

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Posted Sunday, March 6, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm not sure was it "Argus" or was it "Wishbone Four" the first Ash's album that I have listened to, in 1976-1977, thanks to good friend of mine who came back from UK, from English Language Summer School, with a couple of great LPs, but never mind, from that time till now, "Argus" has remained one of my favorite albums. Like in the cookbook, add to it Thorens turntable, huge Marantz cassiver (receiver with incorporated cassette tape module), and Acoustic Research loudspeakers, and love at first listen is born. So, at very first listen, it grabbed me and that grip is still firm. Twin-lead guitar sound, very nice melodies and harmonies, three "warriors" tracks that make some kind of concept, songs that have original structure, different from usual radio hits (most songs structure are not usual, without classic verse-verse-refrain-verse-refrain-solo form, and that also contributed to the progressive feel of album).

Every song is memorable, unique and fresh, nothing like something that is heard before or after. Later I have listened to other albums of MK I, and albums of Mk II, had opportunity to see Mk II live on "Just Testing" tour, and Mk IV on "Twin Barrels Burning" tour, but "Argus" stayed most loved and listened to. Other albums of Mk I are also great, so are "There's the Rub" and "No smoke without fire" of Mk II, each of it containing great songs, epics and concert favorites, but "Argus" was successful in making the album with most progressive parts, some of them thematically connected, which other albums lacked of, as a collection of unrelated songs.

First side is generally of life and love themes, while most of second side is of war oriented songs. The best A side song is "Time was" with beautiful acoustic intro, moving into hard rocking body where guitarists showed their pyrotechnic capabilities.

B side starts softly with one guitar playing rhythm, the other playing theme, accompanied with melodic bass line, all three building atmosphere of waiting for something to happened, raising a sound level slowly, and it really does, turning into most memorable guitar riff of all Wishbone Ash songs. And when lyrics comes, with "in the fire, the king will come", you are conquered and you surrender unconditionally. Song also has nice quite gentle intermission, that once again leads into famous guitar riff, moving to effective end. After "King will come", there comes beautiful ballad "Leaf and stream", some kind of contemplative thoughts of dreams and world beyond reality. And then again, return to warriors thematic, with two connected songs, first telling about the urge to fight for freedom, and second about a need to laying down the arms, cause in war no one wins and everybody lose. "Warrior" has interesting structure, starting with calm two verses melody, changing into strong, several times in a row repeated refrain, each time with differently played in-between connection, while "Throw down the sword", the only song with keyboard support, has beautiful twin guitars intro, leading into strong ballad, finishing with great guitars soloing, each guitar simultaneously leading its own solo, merging into one at the end. Excellent!

The album is produced by Derek Lawrence, who did a great job (he also produced their previous two albums, and later "No smoke without fire"), and engineered by Martin Birch (who later worked with Deep Purple, and especially with Iron Maiden where that recognizable twin-lead guitar sound can be heard). The cover art is on the same lane with music, with famous Argus guardian watching over.

The songs are positioned on sides A and B in a way that first is more rockier, while the second is more progressive. The only complaint that I have is that maybe songs on B side should have been slightly different ordered. I think that "King will come" must be placed right before the "Warrior", to make great three songs story of war and peace. "Leaf and stream" somehow calms down the continuity of most progressive part of album, and my opinion is that this song should have been first on side B. Luckily, on CD player is easy to enter wished song order, so everyone can make his own (mine is 1-2-3-5-4-6-7).

I got two versions of LP (one gate-folded, one just sleeve), and 1991 MCA CD reissue with B-side bonus track "No easy road", but that song is somehow out of context here, it just doesn't fit. Maybe the best choice is to find 2002 MCA remaster with whole three tracks rare live 1972 EP "Live in Memphis" as a bonus, with excellent 17 minutes performance of "Phoenix" epic from first album. There is also 2007 2CD Universal remaster, with aforementioned B-side track and unfortunately only partial live EP (without "Jail bait") on first disc, but with various live performances from "Argus" time on second disc.

In recent times, the second fraction of group, Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash made excellent studio re-recording of complete "Argus" named "Argus through the looking glass" (2008) placing song "Blowin' free" as the last on disc (eventually it was supposed to be so in 1972, but LP format was a limited factor), followed by complete live version "Argus 'then again' live" (2008) by Andy Powell's fraction of band, and again by complete live performance by Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash on "The Life Begins tour" 2CD (2011). So we have four versions of "Argus" so far, two studio, two live, as a sign how much that album means to its creators (and to 'Ashers').

Regarding the first rockier album side, a kind of inappropriate place of "Leaf and stream" song on excellent more progressive B side, a fact that this is primarily a progressive rock archive, and that I am very fond of Wishbone Ash's music, bright shining four stars is something that I stand for.

Report this review (#1732596)
Posted Tuesday, June 13, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars Review # 84. I don't know about other countries, but Argus is a legendary album in Greece.

It was released on January 1972, it was the 3rd studio album of Wishbone Ash, and it is considered their best work by far. Needless to say, that is also their most famous work. Many music magazines named it as 'album of the year' on 1972.

The album has a Medieval theme, and the music style includes elements of Progressive Rock, Hard Rock and Folk Rock.

The major characteristic of Argus was the two leading guitars (instead of the usual one lead and one rhythm guitar), that gave to their sound a very different feeling. Actually, this album is considered as a landmark for its special guitar sound. This two-lead-guitar style was adopted later on from bands like Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden, among others.

The sound engineer was Martin Birch, who had also worked with Deep Purple and later on with Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden. In the years that followed, Argus became a big live attraction, which still continues on many occasions in our days.

The album includes 7 songs, and with the exception of Leaf and Stream (3.55), all the other songs are over 5 minutes long. Songs like Warrior, The King will Come, and Throw down the Sword are examples of how good and well-structured Rock music should sound like.

I remember buying the vinyl edition at some point during the 80's and the CD re-issue almost ten years later, which was including one extra song.

In my opinion, Argus is a brilliant album and a 'must-have' for every Rock fan. In case you don't have it yet, buy it without a second thought! 5.0 Stars from me

Report this review (#1917917)
Posted Friday, April 27, 2018 | Review Permalink
TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars "Argus" is the third album in a long string of albums by Wishbone Ash. It was also their most popular, and their most progressive album, though it is not a strict progressive album as much as one that contains several prog elements interspersed within it's hard rock tracks.

Wishbone Ash was one of the first bands to ever use twin lead guitars and this would inspire bands like Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy, albeit their music would be much heavier. The twin guitars are very relevant on this album, and guitars pretty much drive most of the music. There are no keyboards, at least not much, except for an organ on the last track. While there are elements of prog here, there are also elements of folk rock within the tracks.

Most of the tracks are long, mostly exceeding 5 minutes, with the first one approaching 10 minutes. "Time Was" starts out with a beautiful acoustic beginning with some nice harmonies, but it soon rocks out after a few minutes. The melodies change often as it does in a lot of prog epics, however, the meters are pretty standard throughout. Thus you get the feeling of prog rock in the complex melodies, but on the light side of prog. "Sometime World" also starts out soft and gets faster as it continues. This one carries a distinct folk song throughout most of it, then as the vocals come in, you can hear an early Yes influence. The track ends with a great guitar solo. The track however, does feel a little dated, but that's all because of the mixing. It makes it even more early "Yes-like".

"Blowin' Free" is a heavier song, but the music is definitely standard rock. This doesn't make it a bad song, but it doesn't make a real prog song either. The harmonies on this one are very similar to Crosby, Stills and Nash. As the tempo slows in the middle of the song, there is that return to the folkish sound, and then a nice slow guitar solo. The tempo picks up again and another solo follows. This is great hard rock, but again, other than the tempo changes, there isn't much progressive rock here.

"The King Will Come" exceeds 7 minutes. It starts off with a reggae vibe for about a minute, then the beat tapers off to another standard rock beat. Again, you have harmonies similar to early Yes. As the first track, this one has many changing melodies and it makes for another complex track. But the complexity doesn't reach any real heavy progressiveness again. The changing melodies stay in a standard meter throughout. You get another great guitar solo here too.

"Leaf and Stream" returns to the folk-ish sound. It matches the horned helmet shadowed figure on the cover in feel and style. Again, we have another beautiful guitar solo. The melody pretty remains the same throughout this track however. "Warrior" is a heavy rocker with a great opening riff, but it quickly mellows out and slows down as vocals begin. When the chorus finally arrives, things get more interesting as vocals and guitar solos take turns. I can hear some early Styx in the harmonies and the structure of the last half of the song, so it's obvious here where Styx was inspired early on. But the song, as epic as it sounds, doesn't rise above the standard hard rock tune.

"Throw Down the Sword" is the last track and the only track that features a guest organist. However, there really isn't much that stands out on this track, just a continuation of the same style.

This is definitely Wishbone Ash's best work, and it is unfortunate that they didn't improve on this sound. From this point on, most of their music would continue to become more and more radio friendly, even though they never really had much success from that style. Also, this band is still releasing albums, though the line up has changed a lot. Andy Powell has been the only constant member in the line up. Yes, this is a great hard rock album, and if the group followed this style, they may have actually reached a full progressive status. Unfortunately, there are only hints of progressiveness here. Yes, this album is a huge influence, and that cannot be discounted. But it is far from 5 star prog material. Because of it's status, more than anything however, we can manage to give it 4 stars as it is has excellent musicianship and it's strongest points are the twin guitars and the excellent solos.

Report this review (#1999204)
Posted Thursday, August 23, 2018 | Review Permalink
GruvanDahlman
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Wishbone Ash is one of those groups that I've revisited regularly over the years, having discovered them in my formative years as a prog and hard rock lover. They always seemed to pop up when reading about classic hard rock or even prog. "Argus" was probably the first album I got myself acquainted with and from there I just ventured further. The thing about Wishbone Ash is that they occupy a space of their own in which they are sort of unrivalled. Many of the elements that make up there music is not unique to them, one by one, but together it's quite a mixture and a signature of Ash.

When I came across them they were labeled "hard rock" and while that is true, they do have a potent and vivid streak of hardrock in their music, they go beyond that genre. You do find intense electric guitar work from two guitarists and at times the volume is quite loud but you never hear harsh or hoarse vocals screamin their lungs out. Instead you get a very folky approach to singing. It's all very gentle and harmonious. The combination is rather unusual. On top of that you find progressive leanings. All this makes for a exquisite brew that balances between something like the folkrock of Fairport Convention and hardrock of Thin Lizzy with an added splash of FM rock, albeit with a really specific sound that is truly the soul of Wishbone Ash around the first half of the 70's. It's a great mixture that really makes them (sort of) one of a kind.

"Argus" is a real treat to listen to if you like both folk and hardrock, like me. The opening three are great songs with "Time was" being a somewhat ethereal experience. The real gems, though, are the last four songs. Beginning with "The king will come" and ending with "Throw down the sword" it is a journey. First of all I like the titles of the song, which are very folk-prog in my opinion. Songs about the olden days and so on. "The king will come" has this amazing riff inside it that hangs in the air. Beautiful. "Warrior" once again sports a great riff and powerful playing that precedes the folky and gorgeous "Throw down the sword". This track also adds organ to the whole thing.

If I was to recommend an album by Wishbone Ash to someone new to them I'd say it must be "Argus". It's a wonderful album by a somewhat wonderful band. It's an album for contemplation, for driving, for walking in the woods and for rejoicing in the fact that you're alive and there's a genre like progressive rock.

Report this review (#2134459)
Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars From the early 1970's through the early 1980's, New Orleans was home to a singular musical venue, the Warehouse. On Tchoupitoulas St. not too far upriver from Downtown New Orleans, this 'converted' old railroad warehouse witnessed legendary New Year's Eve performances by the Allman Brothers and early in their career performances by Yes, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, and Elton John. Wishbone Ash was also a regular performing group.

Indeed, Wishbone Ash had a particular affinity for New Orleans and the Warehouse. However, it is ironic that, by the time I first saw them in early 1975, Laurie Wisefield had already replaced the departed Ted Turner and the performance occurred at the old University of New Orleans Field House. Touring their recently released, There's the Rub; the back-up band was Camel. If only I appreciated Camel at that time! Andy, Martin, Laurie, and Steve were certainly convincing, especially with FUBB.

When I finally saw Wishbone Ash at the Warehouse in early 1976, they were touring their unfortunate Locked In album. To make matters worse, our heroes were upstaged by some new back-up band known as Styx . . . . Mercifully, by the end of 1976 Wishbone Ash 'redeemed' themselves with New England In a sense, though, 1972's Argus has abided through these years as the band's iconic statement.

It would appear to me that the harmony, dual lead guitar efforts of Andy Powell/ Ted Turner on Argus 'set the stage' for, as a primary example, Boston's first album in 1976. For high school, quasi-performers, 'Blowin' Free,' 'Warrior,' and 'Throw Down the Sword' became intense pieces for study and emulation. With his Gibson Flying V guitar, Andy Powell was the ostensible dominant lead in the band. However, Ted Turner demonstrated his 'chops' in a noteworthy way through his solo on 'The King Will Come.' On bass and drums, Martin Turner and Steve Upton comprised an effective rhythm section with Martin's bass lines in 'Time Was' and 'Sometime World' standing out. Yes, I was in a 'garage band' in the mid-seventies in which we butchered not only the music of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Jimi Hendrix, but also Wishbone Ash.

To this day, Argus produces an almost ineffable reaction in me. The musicality of this album is legendary. But there is something truly mythic, atavistic, and archetypal to Argus. The enduring legacies of Glastonbury and Arthur, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien are 'introduced' to us by a 'gatekeeper' we know as Argus. I believe we followers of progressive rock recognize certain years that are watersheds in development. In 1972, we were given Close to the Edge, Thick as a Brick, Foxtrot, Can't Buy a Thrill, Trilogy, and Argus. In 'Time Flies,' on Porcupine Tree's The Incident, Steven Wilson reminds us of his year of birth, 1967, also the year of the releases of Sgt. Pepper and Are You Experienced? What more pertinent question could a 'gatekeeper' album pose than, 'Are you experienced; not necessarily stoned, but beautiful?'

Time truly flies.

Report this review (#2403079)
Posted Monday, May 18, 2020 | Review Permalink
VianaProghead
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Review Nş 371

Wishbone Ash is a famous British rock band who achieved great success in the 70's. During the early and mid of 70's, Wishbone Ash were among England's most popular hard rock acts. They were described in some quarters, at the time, as England's answer to The Allman Brothers, albeit with a mystical lyrical element. Wishbone Ash fused heavy blues-rock with fine harmonies of jazz and prog. Their most popular albums, at the time, included their self titled debut album, 'Wishbone Ash' of 1970, 'Pilgrimage' of 1971, 'Argus' of 1972, 'There's The Rub' of 1974 and 'New England' of 1976.

Wishbone Ash was also one of the first bands to come to use two lead guitars, although, Judas Priest which was also a contemporary of them, did the same thing too. They're also considered to be one of the major innovators of the harmony in the twin lead guitar format. Their contribution helped Andy Powel and Ted Turner to be considered for several times two of the most important guitarists in rock history and they were also described as the most interesting duo of guitarists since the old days when Jeff Back and Jimmy Page were members of The Yardbirds. This fact made that Wishbone Ash can be considered a very influential rock band. They have been cited frequently as a band with deep influence on some rock bands, such as, Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy, as well as many other dual guitar rock bands.

'Argus' is the third studio album of Wishbone Ash and was released in 1972. 'Argus' has seven tracks. All songs were composed by Andy Powell, Martin Turner, Ted Turner and Steve Upton. The first track 'Time Was' is a perfect song to open this great album. It's the lengthiest song on the album and is a very classic rock guitar song with a very soft and beautiful introduction of acoustic guitar sound. However, the rest of the song is played in a very high rhythm speed. It's a fantastic song, really. This is a song sung by Ted Turner and Martin Turner. The second track 'Sometime World' is also a song with a start as a mellow song. But again, as their previous song, it also explodes in a very high rhythm speed. This is a song with an absolutely fantastic guitar work by both, Ted Turner and Andy Powell. These guys make a unique duo and we can say that they're absolutely genius in their own style. It's absolutely a superb song and represents one of my favourite tracks on the album. This is a song sung by Martin Turner and Andy Powell. The third track 'Blowin'Free' is a different song. It's made more in the rock'n'roll style. This is a calmer song with several guitar sounds all over the track. It's also a very good song but, I must confess, that it's my less favourite song on the album. This is a song sung by Martin Turner, Ted Turner and Andy Powell. The fourth track 'The King Will Come' is, without any doubt, one of my favourite moments on this album. It's a remarkable and an unforgettable song that live forever within us. This is one of the most beautiful, complex and progressive rock songs of the group and where both guitarists use the uah uah pedal effects and huge scales which became very significant in the history of rock. It's really a must track for any prog music lover. This song is sung by Martin Turner and Andy Powell. The fifth track 'Leaf And Stream' is a very beautiful and soft ballad. In opposition with the opinion of some of my colleague reviewers, I don't agree this is the weakest point on the album. Despite be a very simple acoustic song, it represents, in my humble opinion, one of the most beautiful moments on this album. This song is sung by Martin Turner. The sixth track 'Warrior' is also, without any doubt, one of my favourite moments on the album. This is an extraordinary powerful music which represents, in my humble opinion, one of the highest points inside the group's music. It's the perfect example why Wishbone Ash is a so unique and special band that shows everything what they have and how great they can be. I think is consensual to say that 'Warrior' and 'The King Will Come' represent, probably, their best musical moments ever. This is a song sung by Martin Turner and Andy Powell. The seventh and last track 'Throw Down The Sword' is another great song and I think we can consider it a perfect closer for this spectacular and unique album. Curiously, this is a song that brings back all to the principle, and I'm willing to hearing all the album again. This is a song sung by Martin Turner and Andy Powell.

Conclusion: I only bought 'Argus' a few years ago and I've never heard it until that time. It's true I'd seen this album before, on sale in the 70's, when it was released, but I must confess that I only was impressed with its fantastic cover. Now, I'm able to say that I'm very sorry for not bought it in those days. I missed some great music for so many years. 'Argus' is one of the albums that I heard in the last years that most impressed and surprised me. 'Argus' is, without any doubt, the most popular album of the group and is widely considered the best work of the band by fans and progressive reviewers. It was also one of the best studio albums released in 1972. This is really a fantastic and marvellous album, truly the rock music at its best. If you are a progressive rock music fan and you have the need or you like to have something different and new in your collection, won't hesitate and buy 'Argus'. I'm sure you will not regret.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#2446150)
Posted Thursday, September 10, 2020 | Review Permalink
Kempokid
COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars While the bulk of my experience with early 70s prog comes more from the more symphonic and jazzy sides of things, I still hold an appreciation for the style that Wishbone Ash has, feeling more like hard rock with proggy overtones, fitting more cleanly into the vein of classic rock while still clearly being something a bit more complex and often grandiose. Of the albums I've heard from this band, Argus is the one I'd consider their true masterpiece, being the album with the most well-realised sound, carrying some folkiness and medieval atmosphere that feels very core to their identity here, as opposed to just another element tacked on for the sake of it like I feel some prog bands can fall into the trap of. While this alone already makes this quite an entertaining album in its own right, it's the fact that this is couple with some exceptional songwriting and some of the best guitar work I've heard, these amazing elements coming together to complement the already promising sound that the album had going for it.

Time Was is your fairly typical prog epic in a lot of ways, but it's a pretty great one regardless, with the way the first few folky minutes then break into more energetic rock that reminds me of Rush, especially in the interplay between the guitar and bass, especially during solos. The song doesn't really hit any grand peaks like a couple of later tracks, but continuously shifts around extremely distinct sections, all of them paced quite well in order to give a very clear and satisfying sense of progression as everything keeps speeding up. Funnily enough, the song after this, Sometime World ends up following a lot of things that the opener accomplishes, but executes it so much better despite being about 3 minutes shorter. Once again, the song starts off being primarily acoustic, but this time around it's so much more emotional, the vocal melody and delivery being incredibly heartfelt as the hints of electric guitar just amplify the emotion. It's once this part ends that the song is elevated even higher however, with an incredible bassline backed up by one of the most epic sounding choruses I've heard, without even a hint of exaggeration, and it just doesn't feel like it stops, just keeps going with it until it erupts into an extremely triumphant, powerful guitar solo that floors me every time. All of this makes it one of the absolute pinnacles of 70s prog rock for me. It's unfortunate that this masterpiece is followed up by what's easily the weakest track on the album, and just a painfully mediocre one in general, sounding more like some generic hard rock than anything else, not really going anywhere interesting or having anything I'd personally consider enjoyable to listen to.

It's fortunate that things get back on track relatively quickly with The King has Come, which while having less of an overall impression on me than some other songs here, also has some of my favourite instrumental work on the album, especially in the intro, which builds up perfectly into a very memorable riff. The rest of it is a bit tamer than most of the album despite being one of the ones to most prominently make use of the electric guitar, overall another good song. After the reasonably decent, pretty Leaf and Stream, highlighting the folk aspects of the album exquisitely and creating a great atmosphere, the album closes off with the amazing one - two punch of Warrior and Throw Down The Sword, which once again return to the purely epic nature of Sometime World. Warrior in particular impresses me, especially with the vocal harmonies during the "I have to be a warrior" section, really just sounds amazingly powerful once again, especially once the guitar starts to interweave with the gaps in the vocals. Throw Down Your Sword brings things to a close perfectly, still having the sense of grandiosity, but with a sense of quiet triumph to it all. If Warrior was a song about an army going into battle, Throw Down the Sword would be the result after victory was achieved, and it closes everything off perfectly.

I find that the mix of prog and hard rock is that potentially can end up sounding rather generic or just uninteresting if not handled properly, leaning firmly into the aesthetic of one side too hard, which is something that I believe Wishbone Ash did right here, being able to avoid such pitfalls and using these 2 sounds to make something truly interesting and distinct. This is definitely an album that I'd 100% recommend to fans of artists such as Uriah Heep or Rush, but more broadly just to fans of hard and progressive rock in general, taking the best aspects from both of these genres and making something that I could easily see fans of either of them liking quite a lot. I'd rate this a bit higher even, but I personally do believe that Blowin' Free detracts from the album enough to give it a slightly lower score in the end.

Best tracks: Sometime World, Warrior, Throw Down the Sword

Weakest tracks: Blowin' Free

Report this review (#2449434)
Posted Sunday, September 20, 2020 | Review Permalink

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