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Argos Circles album cover
3.75 | 108 ratings | 8 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Sammel Surium (2:49)
2. Closed Circle (4:36)
3. A Thousand Years (8:12)
4. Lines on the Horizon (5:48)
5. Sun and Moon (3:36)
6. Custody of the Knave (6:04)
7. The Gatekeeper (7:51)
8. Willow Wind (3:13)
9. Total Mess Retail (3:47)
10. Lost on the Playground (8:17)
11. Progology (5:16)

Total Time 59:29

Line-up / Musicians

- Robert Gozon / vocals, keyboards, guitars
- Enrico Florczak / guitar
- Thomas Klarmann / bass, flute, keyboards, guitars, vocals
- Ulf Jacobs / drums, percussion, Roland DM, vocals

- Michael Hahn / guitar
- Dieter Gunterman / soprano saxophone

Releases information

CD Musea ‎- FGBG 4850 (2010, France)

Thanks to Rivertree for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ARGOS Circles ratings distribution

(108 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(51%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

ARGOS Circles reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars In some way ARGOS' new effort points to the predecessor debut which basically was divided in three parts, bearing references to different music styles and bands. But this time they obviously avoid a clear distinction and mix them all up across the album respectively even within the particular songs. So you will find a tricky blend of canterbury, eclectic and symphonic elements ... with the emphasis on the latter as for my impression. They are a quartet now due to the addition of Rico Florcak which surely gives the guitar more importance.

This new album was completely worked out on their own with love for detail (recording, mixing, mastering, cover artwork). While exploring the booklet the front cover is something to think about especially. The circle according to the album title - built up by a marching band which probably are representing the vintage retro aspect of the album. Finally we have the @ char which stands for the modern internet dominated society. And indeed you will find several comments within the song notes pointing to inspirations taken from several websites, speaking of the lyrics for example.

To pick up some impressions from diverse songs now ... the short keyboard dominated Sammelsurium covers some german recitative and a fantastic drive due to Ulf Jacobs' intriguing drum work. Or on the contrary just take the wonderful eclectic ballad Custody Of The Knave - when I hear Robert Gozon singing the lead vocals I'm often remembered at Peter Hammill. Lines On The Horizon seems to be the most charming one, very melodic with delicate flute and keyboard support (including mellotron) ... so much the more provided with stunning variety. Everytime I come to this song it sounds different somehow. Or to describe it in another way - and this basically fits for most of the songs - what seems to be relatively simple at first proves to be something tricky finally.

A Thousand Years musically expresses some sort of optimism as for my impression, a strong, powerful and excited exemplar - at least matching for some parts. Speaking of Sun And Moon next I want to mention the impressing guitar contributions. The symphonic The Gatekeeper is decorated with some Erich Kästner poetry (excerpts of 'Der Oktober') - an epic which is comparable to Big Big Train's masterpiece 'The Underfall Yard'. Nearly working in the same way Lost On The Playground is pointed out as the true showcase of their new band member ... and indeed, you will hear Rico Florcak alternating between riffing rhythm and soaring solo guitar work.

So far so good ... even if two or three tracks lose potential a bit 'Circles' can be already counted among the 2010 big hits. The compositions are surely picking up influences from diverse prog bands. However, the songs are ARGOS typical in the end, compact - which means melody, melancholy, instrumental and vocal variety, short solos, turns and breaks are blended to something fresh and impressing. This is the real deal - they have worked out an entertaining album. 'Circles' is dedicated to lovers of charming prog songs provided with a symphonic and canterbury outfit - highly recommended!

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars German band ARGOS was formed back in 2005, and four years later their self-titled debut album was issued by French label Musea Records. Since then the band have expanded from a trio into a quartet, new material has been written and recorded, and upholding their label connection their sophomore effort "Circles" was released in the start of 2010.

As on their initial effort, Argos has crafted themselves a charming retro-oriented CD with sophomore effort "Circles". This time around they seek to carve out their own niche in the universe of retro-oriented symphonic bands, and while arguably not among the most adventurous of these outfits their thorough approach and obvious passion for the type of music they explore makes them well worth seeking out by fans of 70's oriented symphonic art rock.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars An incredibly well-composed, performed, and recorded collection of Neo-Prog songs which at times remind me of STEELY DAN, DAVID BOWIE, PETER HAMMILL/VDGG, GENESIS, YES, MICHAEL FRANKS, CAMEL, NOVA, HAWKWIND, THE BEATLES, CARAVAN, ROXY MUSIC, BRIAN ENO, SIMPLE MINDS, WEATHER REPORT, EGG, NATIONAL HEALTH. What I enjoy most about this album is twofold: its utter unpredictableness (one can never guess where the next influence is coming from) and the fact that this is such a refreshing form of Neo-Prog--imitative of the more quirky, delicate, acoustic, jazz and poppy strains of 1970s prog. I find this music more akin to such artists as RITUAL, DIAGONAL, VIOLETA DI OUTONO, and L'ESTATE DI SAN MARTINO in that it is more imitative of the quirky psych pop jazz of the Canterbury groups.

Favorite tunes: "Lines on the Horizon" (5:48) with a surprising turn or twist every ten to twenty seconds (9/10); the stunning, BOWIE-like "Sun and Moon" (3:36) (10/10); the better-than-PETE HAMMILL/MATTHEW-PARMENTER, "Custody of the Knave" (6:05) (8/10); the straight-out-of- Canterbury, "Progology" (5:16) (9/10); and the incredibly melodic and memorable tongue-in-cheek JTULL/GENESIS/CARAVAN parody, "Lost on the Playground" (8:18) (9/10).

A four star album of very clever, very accomplished songs from an obviously gifted songwriter.

Review by Andy Webb
4 stars Closed circle: this album is great

Argos is a young German neo-prog band, on the heavier side of the genre. The band has a great eclectic and dissonant style, with a heavy use of bass and spacey electric piano. Circles, the band's sophomore album, fleshes out this unique style, showing the young band's promise and unique light in the genre. Each song has a great feel to them, with an eclectic sense of jazz, neo fusion, and some nice great symphonic elements as well. Of course, neo-progressive rock is one of those 'circular' genres that no one really knows what it truly is, and we can just assume that Argos can be described by such a genre. The whole album is full of catchy melodies and great harmonies that keep the compositions spicy and full of great proggy vigor. The songs are upbeat, jovial, and have a really nice atmosphere about them. Reminiscent of the Flower Kings fused with Marillion, the band has a creative style, with more nostalgic themes to keep you seated without too much 'worry' about outlandish attempts at experimentation.

The band is able to keep quite a steady feel to the album, with some funky bass lines, retro synth, mellotron, and Hammond lines, and some upbeat jazzy rhythms. The melodies are engaging and nicely harmonized with the music. The music is catchy, fused with pop elements, but still able to keep a level-headed prog spectrum in mind when playing. Songs like A Thousand Years, Total Mess Recall, Lost on the Playground, and Progology have a really awesome upbeat feel to them, keeping you tuned into the music and attentive to the great compositions (Total Mess Recall is a personal favorite of mine). Then, songs like Closed Circle, Lines on the Horizon, and The Gatekeeper have a more intensive, sometimes melancholy, sometimes intense musical feel to them, which edges them closer to the 'metal' section of the neo-prog genre. Overall, nearly the entire album is genius tracks, combining funk, jazz, prog, symphonic rock, and a host of other elements to fuse into a fantastic album.

Overall, the album is great. Full of countless memorable moments and some really fantastic instrumental sections, the album is certainly a memorable moment in recent neo- prog history. It may not be a masterpiece, but this album is certainly a great collection of tracks. With many dynamics, little moments that contribute to the whole atmosphere of the music, and many other little tidbits, the album is great. I highly recommend this album to any fan of neo-prog, symphonic rock, or even jazz fusion, because of all the great jazzy elements in the music. In the end, Circles is one of the more memorable albums of the past year (2010). 4 stars.

Review by lazland
3 stars Listening to this album from German neo band Argos, I am struck by one glaring omission from reviews undertaken thus far by esteemed colleagues, and that is just where this band take their primary influences from.

For when you listen to tracks such as Custody Of The Knave, and, indeed, much of this album, the one primary influence that screams out is Hamill and Van Der Graaf Generator. Indeed, the similarity is so obvious in the vocals, I have to ask myself whether vocalist Robert Gozon, especially, is a twin of Hamill and somehow lost his way to Germany.

Elsewhere, the instrumentation also harks back strongly in terms of flute and mellotron, especially, to Trespass era Genesis, with a massive dollop of Canterbury Scene thrown in as well, something which is especially evident on the very solid short track, Willow Wind.

The band do, by the way, put paid to that terrible old joke/theory about Germans not having a sense of humour by putting out the rather quirky, and brilliantly named, Total Mess Retail. Very jazzy, it bears absolutely no semblance to Close To The Edge whatsoever. It is, in fact, a very eclectic track, and rather experimental, and could have done with rather more than the 3:47 on offer here.

The longest track. Lost On The Playground, is very reminiscent of Ye Olde England Kentish prog, but is a very pleasant listen, and features some good work from Rico Florcak on guitar especially.

There is not a bad track on this album. All is very solidly performed and produced, and is designed particularly to appeal to those fans of retro prog. What the band have done well, in my opinion, is to avoid the very nasty, and ultimately self defeating, trap of seeking to emulate only one band or style as their baseline. Instead, what we have here is a very pleasant smorgasbord of differing 1970's style prog, which is a good listen, but not in any way groundbreaking.

Three stars for this, an album which seems strangely out of time in 2010. Of course, this review should alert true fans of retro prog, because there is much in here that will appeal to you.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Whereas most retro-prog bands tend to focus on one or two bands or a particular subgenre of the 1970s to emulate, Argos try to emulate everyone at once - and, surprisingly, turn out to be really quite good at it. Listening to Circles, you'll stumble across a bit of acoustic strumming (a la some of Pink Floyd's Animal-eras stuff) at one point, then a symphonic section, then something reminiscent of Lizard-era King Crimson, then a pastoral passage, then a Hatfield and the North-esque jam, all jammed together cheek-by-jowl in an attempt to blend more or less every major subgenre of prog into one big melange. They don't manage to get everything in (I don't remember hearing any zeuhl) but they give it a good go, and their efforts to do so sound great.
Review by b_olariu
4 stars One of the most pleasent discoveries I've made in last years in music is for sure german band Argos. Formed around 2005 as a trio and evolved on their second album from 2010 as quartet, Argos mange to capture my intrest big time. Circles issued by Musea as I said in 2010 is a winner album from all sides. Very polished and diverse prog with various influences like from Hatfield and the North canterbury aproach with elements from Van Der Graaf Generator specialy on vocal department and here and there maybe in some parts King Crimson atmosphere - Circles definetly is a very strong album in today prog. Quite lenghty al;bum with some long tunes but aswell some shorter ones, but on each piece the musicians really shine. I like alot the voice of Robert Gozon, he fits here perfectly, very much similar in tone with Hammill, the voice is deep with plenty of jaw dropping moments, powerfull and catchy. The instrumental parts are aswell top notch, very eclectic in aproach with nice guitar and keyboards. The album has a very '70 atmosphere overall, but this is not a problem Argos manage to create something truly great and with inventive and quite original passages. From opening track Sammel Surium , the album sts the mood for all pieces to come, and I mean greatness and excellent arrangements. Two instrumental pieces are present , very good and well developed. All in all a very strong album, fans of the band mentioned above can check this band because worth it. They prepare for a new album to be released somewhere around august 2012, can't wait. So, 4 stars easy, very enjoyble from start to finish + very good cover art and all the art work presented, Very nice.
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars By the time of their debut Argos had already entered the studio to prepare their second album.Some of the heavy guitar lift has been taken off the shoulders of Thomas Klarmann and Robert Gozon, as Rico Florczak, who started as a session musician helping the group, had now become a permanent member of Argos.The new album was entitled ''Circles'' and it was eventually released in 2010, again on Musea Records.

''Circles'' shows a turn towards the more classic Neo/Symphonic Prog fields compared to the ambitious but quite uneven debut of Argos and finally the band starts making some noise.There are still some evident influences by the music of PETER HAMMILL and VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR in couple of lyrical and jazzier tracks, like the nice ''Closed Circle'' with the beautiful sax work of Klarmann or the poetic and very atmospheric ''Custody of the Knave''.However the majority of the new effort is more in a Symphonic Rock vein ala YES, early KING CRIMSON and GENESIS with the band producing some quite great and clever orchestrations, based on tons of shifting moods and changing tempos.The heavy use of Mellotrons next to the multi-layered synth moves recall the best moments of THE TANGENT, THIEVE'S KITCHEN or SPOCK'S BEARD, while there are a fair dose of good flute work around these lines.The Canterbury edge of the debut is almost completely gone, giving its place to smooth, lush arrangements with impressive guitar melodies, dark organ runs and angular synthesizers, although the overall style remains deeply grounded in 70's British Prog.The tracks are not long, but there are so much going on in most of them that sound like complete epics.Dual and triple keyboard textures, dynamic guitar work and a solid rhythm section offer a rich and highly symphonic mood, that is only lowered by the rather mediocre vocals of the Argos' crew.

''Argos'' showed the potential, ''Circles'' makes this suspicion true.Dense Retro Prog with some great interplays and melodies, far from original or groundbreaking, but definitely rewarding.Recommended.

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