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3 stars It's obvious the Australian band Aragon were influenced by early Genesis, Marillion and IQ. Especially the voice of their singer sounds a bit like Fish/Peter Gabriel but some may dislike the raw sound of it due to the similarities with the sound of a crow. On a song like "The Chant" one can get an idea of what Genesis would have sounded in the beginning of the eighties when Gabriel had stayed in the band. This is a prog song with dominant rhythm parts, reminiscent to "back in NYC".

Aragon is typical neo-prog at its best because of the theatrical vocals and the good song writing. The 6 tracks on this album are short tracks with strong melodies with the exception of "the changeling" which clocks over 9 minutes. There's a lot of programming in the arrangements and this gives a mechanical feel to the music. Especially the rhythm section sounds very cold and clean. Strange enough this cold atmosphere fits the music perfectly. In this way the emphasis is on the emotional and dramatic vocals. Listening to this record, you can tell this isn't music that puts you in a happy mood. Like the other Aragon records the mood on this record is cold, dark, fearful and sad. I don't know if the intention of this record is religious in any way but one would get the impression by looking at the cover art and listening to the martyr like vocals of Les Dougan. The keyboard parts show some resemblances with the way Mark Kelly handles the keyboards but here it's more repetitive and the sounds are more diverse. My favourite moments on this album are the floating title track and the romantic "Tugging at the heartstrings" which couldn't be more true to its name. The excellent track "On the edge" is a traditional closing track that's simply beautiful. Here, the additional sax parts adds the necessary amount of emotion to the music. There's some memorable symphonic chords in "The Changeling" but this epic consists of a succession of very different fragments tied together. It lacks a natural flow. The original version of this record was a mini Cd and that's also the version I used for writing this review. At the time of release the band were preparing a concept album that had to become their magnum opus : "mouse". I believe this mini-album was released to fill in the gap between their first album from 1988 and "mouse" which would see the light of day in 1995. The songs on this album are the fifth part of the "mouse" concept. Nevertheless this little record is enjoyable on its own. There're lots of bands that use the legacy of early Genesis/Marillion for developing their own style later on. This may be the explanation why this album has been overlooked shamelessly. Not a very original album but certainly not a bad one either.

Report this review (#87693)
Posted Saturday, August 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Act five

The Meeting was Aragon's second album, following the promising but immature debut Don't Bring The Rain. Interestingly, the contents of the present album constitutes act five of a much longer conceptual album called Mouse (that would be released in its full form as a double CD in 1999). Probably, the band felt they needed something to release to retain interest in the band at this point (that is, in 1992) even though the whole of Mouse was not ready for release at that time. I should say upfront that this review is based on the last six tracks of disc one of Mouse rather than on the original release of The Meeting (the tracks are identical, but the more recent release has been remastered). Another thing to note is that act five (that is, the music featured on this release) is by far the best part of Mouse (in fact, the rest of Mouse is very disappointing but I will get to that in a later review).

Compared to the band's debut album, this second release was a major improvement both in terms of composition and production. The sound (at least on my remastered version) is clear and powerful here and almost all of the songs are of very high quality. Aragon are hardly the most original band you'll ever hear, but I do think that they have something of their own. The musical influences certainly include Genesis, both the more progressive 70's Genesis and the more commercial 80's/90's Genesis. The latter's influence can, for example, be felt in the more rhythmic approach in The Chant and other tracks. The lead vocals of Les Dougan resemble those of Geddy Lee of Rush (but Dougan is more versatile, to be honest), and it is fair to say that that band also has an influence on the music of Aragon, particularly the late 70's/early 80's period of Rush.

There is a nice diversity to this album with two pleasant acoustically based numbers in the middle in Midsummer's Night Dream and Tugging At The Heartstring. Apart from the almost ten minute The Changeling, most of the songs here are of the shorter variety. The album as a whole is also very short. Clocking in at only 27 minutes, it is really more of an EP than a full length studio album. Still, this is certainly a worthwhile set of songs.

The only way to get hold of these tracks now is, I suppose, through buying the full Mouse album (of which, as I said above, The Meeting is but one - the best - part).

Report this review (#403565)
Posted Saturday, February 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After the quite good ''Don't Bring the Rain'',Aussie neo-progstersAragon return after four years of silence surprisingly with a very short album (only 27 minutes),but maintaining the succesful style of their debut.

While the ingredients are all OK (a great vocalist,a cool production,good drum programming despite the absence of a drummer),something went wrong in the total mix.The guitar work is strong and melodic,the keyboards create superb atmospheres and the voice of Les Dougan really shines,but the whole blending doesnt always work succesful.Some nice passages are followed by monotonous choruses and while you find yourself thrilled,the next time something spoils the listening.Good thing is the album is too short,so it flaws generally nice and easy...and for me Aragon succeeded to become a very personal and recognizable band already for their early years.

''The Meeting'' isnt an essential listening but it is a good album.It wont be everybody's cup of tea so anyone into Neo Prog will love it,the rest should give a couple of listenings before moving on a buy...This goes for exactly 3 stars in my books.

Report this review (#456754)
Posted Saturday, June 4, 2011 | Review Permalink

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