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Arkus 1914 album cover
3.26 | 24 ratings | 2 reviews | 21% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1981

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ouverture (4:09)
2. Life (7:34)
3. Scared (6:38)
4. No Chance (8:19)
5. Adorable Woman (6:06)
6. 1914 (5:40)

Total time 38:26

Bonus tracks on 1993 reissue:
7. Repudiation (5:37)
8. Don't break the silence (7:30)

Line-up / Musicians

- Frans Smits / lead vocals, rhythm & 12-string guitars
- Ron Willems / lead guitar, composer
- Jan-Henk Wiggelinkhuizen / Strings, organ, synth
- John Bouman / bass, vocals
- Erik van Duin / drums, percussion, drumsynth, vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Louis Hagenbeek

LP self-released (1981, Netherlands)

CD SI Music ‎- SIMPly 33 (1993, Netherlands) With 2 bonus tracks, new cover

Thanks to windhawk for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ARKUS 1914 ratings distribution

(24 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

ARKUS 1914 reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Dutch band from Utrecht, formed sometime in the 70's and having a good live activity around the time.In 1981 Arkus aka Frans Smits on vocals/guitar, Ron Willems on guitar, Jan-Henk Wiggelinkhuizen on organ and synthesizers, John Bouwman on bass/vocals and Erik van Duin on drums/vocals entered the SR Studios in Bodegraven, working hard for six days to record their debut , inspired by Dutch poet Bert Voeten.The result was the album ''1914'', released as a private press.

Wrapped under a very sensitive atmosphere Arkus played soft guitar-driven Symphonic Rock with emphasis on smooth guitar playing, melodic solos and elaborate arrangements.They seemed much influenced by CAMEL and recall at moments fellow natives ODYSSICE with Smits and Willems taking over the situation and delivering series of mindblowing, dramatic solos with a solid rhythm section in the background.The keyboard work of Wiggelinkhuizen remains in the background as well, filling up the empty holes for the guitarists and occasionally offering some nice passages.Vocals are in English and they are delivered with heart and emotion in a sensitive style.

Arkus were soon abandoned by the manager with large financial debts on their backs, eventually slowing down their career, though the band kept playing live.In early-90's, at a time when the band was back alive and well, ''1914'' was reissued in CD format by SI Music with a pair of bonus tracks from the early days.Both show the band insisting on playing a warm Neo/Symphonic Rock with delicate and impressive guitar work, but ''Don't break the silence'' contains also some nice synthesizer parts not unlike the bands of the New Wave of British Prog.

Many of these guitar-based prog albums rely much on how good the melodies contained are.Arkus did it very well and if you are into Neo Prog, light Symphonic Rock or even Melodic Rock, ''1914'' is a great purchase.Go for the CD reissue due to the nice pair of extra compositions.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Nice Neo Prog from Utrecht.

1. "Ouverture" (4:09) opens with slow build temple-like cymbal crescendo before relaxed 4/4 blues rock groove is established for synths and melodic fuzzy guitar to lead over. I'm strongly reminded of the sounds and a particular melody that TRION used in "Frank." Nice but nothing extraordinary. (8/10)

2. "Life" (7:34) opens with a slow guitar melody that gets double-timed as the full band joins in at the 0:30 mark jumping into a full rock band mode. Lead electric guitar enters and solos melodically until 1:20 when vocals join in. The guitar solos through the fourth minute, before a break allows someone to do the dishes before a reset button starts the song over and everything starts over, slow to fast, before slowing down for the final section over which the guitar solos. (12.33/15)

3. "Scared" (6:38) opens with picked acoustic guitar (12 string?). This guitar remains--more prominent than on any other song on the album. Despite the same voice and vocals, same synth washes and the same melodic noodling of the same electric guitar sound, this is a nice song. (8.5/10)

4. "No Chance" (8:19) slow electric guitar arpeggi opens this one while a different (effect?) singer sings. The song literally starts over, music and lyric, at the 4:15 mark, slow and sparse, slowly building. The seventh minute is nice but the fast-speed finish from the eighth minute is predictable. (16.5/20)

5. "Adorable Woman" (6:06) boring. Except the bass play. (8.25/10)

6. "1914" (5:40) opens as a simple, almost Folk Rock song sung in English until at 2:48 a proggy soundscape establishes itself. It's the opening song, "Overture"! Exactly! Same nice melody riff from the same sounding lead guitar. It's Neil Young's "Like a Hurricane"! Chords and melody! (8.5/10)

Total time 38:26

My biggest complaint with this album is that the band relies heavily on synth washes to provide background for every moment of every song and on one particular sound for its constantly soloing lead guitar--which results in there being very little variety in the album's sound palette from song to song. They're nice sounds--definitely derived from the 1976 post-Peter Gabriel GENESIS sound palette, but there needs to be more. Plus, the singing is rather lackluster and the lyrics rather banal.

C+/3.5 stars; a pleasant enough sounding album that, in the end, is too simple and . . . just too simple.

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