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Argent Ring of Hands album cover
3.35 | 89 ratings | 13 reviews | 8% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Celebration (2:53)
2. Sweet Mary (4:06)
3. Cast Your Spell Uranus (4:31)
4. Lothlorien (7:51)
5. Chained (5:19)
6. Rejoice (3:46)
7. Pleasure (4:52)
8. Sleep Won't Help Me (5:10)
9. Where Are We Going Wrong (4:11)

Total Time 42:39

Line-up / Musicians

- Rod Argent / keyboards, vocals
- Russ Ballard / lead vocals, guitar
- Bob Henrit / drums
- Jim Rodford / bass

Releases information

LP. Epic EPC 64190 / LP. Epic 30128 (1972) / CD. Columbia 6087 (1999) / CD. Sony A-30997 (1999)

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and to projeKct for the last updates
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ARGENT Ring of Hands ratings distribution

(89 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (35%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

ARGENT Ring of Hands reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Wring of hands!

Argent's second album, is the missing link between their self titled first album with it's straight forward mainly pop based songs, and their more progressive and generally louder third album "All together now". Unfortunately, it tends to gather in the poorer sides of both albums, rather than parts which made those albums notable.

"Celebration" is an obvious opener, and was released as an unsuccessful single. As DJ Alan Freeman put it at the time when reviewing this song, "the ring wasn't quite loud enough". Russ Ballard contributes three songs, all of which demonstrate the enormous potential he had, which even to this day has been criminally under exploited. "Chained" (successfully covered by Three Dog Night) is the best of his tracks here, and thus the best on the album.

The long running Argent/White partnership (which goes back to Argent's Zombie days, although White never actually became a member of Argent) is responsible for the rest of the tracks. Of these, "Lothlorien" is both the most progressive, and the most striking. Rod Argent has the space here to indulge in some fine organ playing, leaving Ballard to do the singing (something Rod should have let him do more often!). "Pleasure" also features some good organ work, while "Sleep won't help me" is "Bring you joy" (from the first album) part 2.

The sleeve notes talk about this album being more "urgent" than their first. It's certainly a bit more complex at times, but urgent(?), not really. The music is adequate but unremarkable, and in the end rather ordinary. It's surprising how badly the album has aged in places, compared to other similar music of the time. Had Argent released another album like this, they would simply never have made it. They didn't, and the rest is history.

Review by Tom Ozric
4 stars Argent were a terrific prog-rock ensemble created by his namesake Rod Argent, following the disbanding of his former group 'The Zombies' (responsible for the psych classic 'Odessey and Oracle'). It was Rod's wish to create music that was both musically challenging and accessible, combining strong, focused song-writing with a flair of talented playing and keyboard wizardry. 'Ring of Hands' delivers on this promise, wasting no time with the catchy rock-song 'Celebration', with it's Emerson-like Hammond flourishes and straight-to-the-point structure. 'Sweet Mary' on the other hand, is a standard blues tune that hundreds of bands were churning out at the time and offers nothing exciting - quite the low point of the album. 'Cast Your Spell Uranus' is picking up the quality again, with it's spacey intro and outro of electric-piano and reverbed guitar effects and features great organ playing. 'Lothlorien' is an incredible composition, and top choice for the representative MP3 for 'Argent', supplied here, featuring excellent riffing, great vocals throughout, and is something of a show-case for Rod's amazing, vibrant Hammond workouts. A strong classical feel is present during the first half's instrumental passage, shifting into more jazz territory for the latter half's passage. One of the best tracks ever written by Argent IMO and a solid taste of the more ambitious compositions that were to come on subsequent albums. One could always tell when listening to 'The Zombies' that the keyboard player was extremely talented.

Side 2 of the LP kicks in with a slight hard-rocking song, 'Chained', one of Russ Ballard's compositions, veering towards a simpler style and offering little in the way of prog, but is a concisely written track and enjoyable either way. 'Rejoice' is a pleasant song, book-ended with almost hymn-like organ passages and, stylistically, is similar to the song-writing when Rod was in The Zombies. 'Pleasure' contains another brilliant instrumental section with Rod 'pulling out all the stops' on the Hammond once again, and is a pleasure to listen to !! 'Sleep Won't Help Me' has a mysterious mood with some great drumming and well constructed bass-lines. A well-played electric-piano solo recalls Manzarek's work with The Doors, and is really great to hear. Lastly, 'Where are we Going Wrong' returns to a more standard formula, but has some good parts to it, especially the piano solo, but the vocal harmonies sound a little overdone and kind of let the song down. I really like the acoustic piano solo in this song though. Worthy of your investigation - 4 stars.

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

If Argent's debut was still very much of a Zombie thing (actually almost sounding a step backwards from Odessey And Oracle), this second album is still a transition album, although there are strong hints of their more progressive future featured in this one. While the bulk of the song are written by Rod Argent with his usual songwriting partner (lyrics) Chris White, lead guitarist and singer Russ Ballard with a few, although his contribution would generally be poppier and more commercial than Rod Argent.

The whole of the first side goes fairly uneventfully until the closing almost 8-min Lothlorian, where Argent clearly inspires himself from Bach themes in the organ intro then again with the piano in the middle section where Bach's Prelude is called upon. Overall an excellent track, but they only one really worth retaining from that side, even if its predecessor has its charms. The flipside is not really much better, still very much entrenched in 60's-type of songwriting, but you can feel that some parts are yelling out to be noticed. The middle lengthy solo section of Pleasure is a great moment, but unfortunately Argent is a bit alone in the solo dept, as Ballard failed to pick up on the solo to improve or even reply noteworthy. The other album highlight is the jazz-rock Sleep track where Brian Auger's style is not far even if the featured instrument is an electric piano (most likely a Rhodes Fender).

Outside of two tracks, the proghead better not be waiting too much from ROH, but I would certainly not call this album weak, nor essential for that matter. Only for fans , even if I rate it slightly better.

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars When compared to other keyboard-based albums of the time, this uneven affair suffers. Half the tracks are forgettable, the band chemistry could've been better, as could the mix and drum sound... and what's with that hideous cover? That said, there are some winning moments here among the muddled party- rock quality. The title cut is a perfectly good pop number that I can see getting some airplay 'round about 1972. But 'Sweet Mary' follows, a lugubrious blues with an out-of-tune guitar solo-- and so goes this bumpy ride, as an otherwise talented band throws rusty water on what could have been a really good prog record. 'Cast Your Spell Uranus' has one of the most unintentionally funny lyrics ever written and a John Fogerty delivery that only reminds of the rock'nroll roots most progsters aren't interested in. Finally there is 'Lothlorien', a terrific eight-minute bit of prog with the kind of exciting playing Rod Argent was capable of. 'Chained' is a heavy blues with Zeppelin leanings but none of the fire, and 'Rejoice', the compositional highlight, is a nice blend of Bach with Beatles and some beautiful church organ from Rod. 'Pleasure' is more Paul McCartney moaning with a classical keybord/guitar interlude and some Emersonian moments. Though a lively and inventive album can be seen somewhere among the mess, this one comes up short, and Argent seemed unsettled on whether it wanted to be a integral part of the prog movement or just a mildly successful rock band.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars I was quite positive about Argent debut album (three stars). But even if they deserve a lot of recognition, I am afraid that their second album is way behind their debut one.

You might know that I'm not at all keen on bluesy items. And when I am confronted with a track like Sweet Mary, I am quite confused. Can't stand this! As if the heavy Argent sound wasn't good enough in those early days of (prog) rock music. Still, in this ocean of dull songs, some parts do shine like the great keyboard solo from Cast Your Spell Uranus

Ring Of Hands is not as easy to rate as their debut album. Some of the good tracks like Lothlorien featues some fine and heavy passages but they are combined with rather dull jazzy ones. Make your own choice!

It was a real pleasure to review their debut but this one is waaaaaaaaaaaay beyond. A very average effort actually. More bluesy/funk oriented (but some might love this evolution). Only a few tracks out of this album are really worth. Like Pleasure, during the instrumental part. Because I can't get passionated with these below average vocals.

Argent showed some good potential wit their debut album; but the band didn't quite match the expectations with this one. In those days, it was not easy to be positioned between hard and progressive rock. Because both were only emerging. And Argent' was not a major player.

Two stars.

Review by jammun
4 stars Well, just how proggy can an album be if Three Dog Night covered one of the album's lesser songs? Pretty proggy, it turns out. Ring of Hands starts off with the sappy Celebration. Expectations are minimal upon hearing this one. Sweet Mary is the beginning of the redemption for this album. Though it's yer average bluesy tune, we do get nice Ballard guitar work. Something strange sets in 'round 'bout Cast Your Spell Uranus. The band is treading in prog waters, and in the midst of the song there's a wicked Hammond solo from Argent.

And then out of the blue comes Lothlorien. This is as perfectly constructed a prog song as has ever been written, at least back in its day. Driven by Argent's Hammond (and this is certainly Argent's song), it is by turns playful and aggressive, baroque and romantic. From note number one it engages and challenges the listener; by the end of the song it is soaring way up there, ripping mad gashes across the sky. Let's just say it deserves a place in that rarified air where the great prog songs of the era exist.

In terms of listening to this album, I rarely get beyond Lothlorien, the remainder being somewhat of a letdown, following as it does perfection. Chained (the aforementioned covered song) is that typical cowbell-driven 70's rocker, albeit with above-par vocals. Argent contributes pleasant organ work on Rejoice before it lapses into nothingness. As for the rest, well it's purely average.

I'm torn here. This is an average album that hosts one spectacular song, but that song is special. So let's say it's a qualified 4, simply to encourage a newcomer to Argent with an inquisitive mind to give Lothorien a listen.

Review by GruvanDahlman
4 stars Argent is probably mostly known for Rod Argent being one of the driving forces behind The Zombies and a few choice cuts that became hits in the 70's. I'm obviously thinking of "Hold your head up" and "God gave rock'n'roll to you". The latter didn't exactly fade into obscurity after Kiss picked it up and almost made it their own song. I think it's a shame that these stadium rockers somewhat (and in my opinion) overshadow the true legacy of Argent, which is strong and powerful progressive rock. To me they reached their pinnacle on "Circus", which is all about progressive rock but if you go back throgh their past you'll find a lot to cherish in regards to prog.

While their first album may be somewhat lacking in direction they made it all up on this, their second effort. It opens up with two pop oriented pieces that are nice enough but when you've got those out of the way things get quite serious with the powerful "Cast your spell Uranus" which absolutely reeks of early progressively tinged hard rock. This is so good and gets my blood flowing right away. Great and majestic organ, great guitar riff and wonderful vocals and harmonies that recalls some of Uriah Heeps finest. It's really a powerful staement of intent. And if that isn't enough for you, get yourself into gear for "Lothlorien". Just look at the title. How on earth could you not like that? A song about a country from Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings"-trilogy, that is as prog as it gets to me. And it starts off so well with the organ, the fast paced vocals and complex arrangement. One of my favorites on the album and such a treat. You get a slight classical influence aswell that is tasteful and majestic. At 7.46 minutes it's the longest piece on the album and as such acts as a sort of centre piece or epic. It balances between the outright beautiful to the down right rocking without ever losing sight of the progressive vision.

Side 2 (if you own the thing on vinyl, as I do) opens up with great progressively tinged hard rock in "Chained". The rough guitar riff is wonderful and the organ is to die for. Great lyrics as well. I love this song. "Rejoice" is a quiet piece of the kind that resembles harmony drenched pop/rock of the era. A nice piece that serves as a space for catching your breath after the powerful "Chained". And then it's back to progressive hard rock on "Pleasure", which is great aswell with some complex arrangements. On "Sleep won't help me" Argent visits the jazzy parlour and delivers a great jazz-rock track that is both dreamy and powerful. It all comes to an end with "Where are we going wrong?", which is a hard rock work-out that is good but not the best track on the album.

As a whole "Ring of hands" is typical for many albums of the very early 70's that leans towards progressive rock. It's not at all complex like King Crimson or Gentle Giant but it is certainly very progressive sounding and that comes through so clearly. The keyboards are a treat and shows the massive skills of Rod Argent himself. While I like "Circus" the most I think, at this point in time, I'll place "Ring of hands" as number two in their discography. A wonderful, proto-proggish effort where influences from all walks of like come to life. I mean, that is quite something, isn't it?

Latest members reviews

4 stars If their first album still carried over some remnants of the 60's in their sound, the follow up is something else altogether.It is actually a rather uneven album in terms of quality. The opening track "Celebration" the lyric of which gives the album it's title is fairly low key and the next trac ... (read more)

Report this review (#2710274) | Posted by Lupton | Wednesday, March 16, 2022 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Argent vs. Ballard, act two. After the experience with the Zombies in the Sixties, Rod Argent founded his own band trying to play more complex music, closer to progressive rock style. "Ring of Hands", published in 1971, is the band's second album. Argent can also count on the help of Russ Bal ... (read more)

Report this review (#760938) | Posted by Dark Nazgul | Thursday, May 31, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Argent's self titled first album had been an exploration into a slightly different musical terrain than The Zombies, and that was both a plus and minus. While some songs had a bit of the Oddesey and Oracle magic others sounded commonplace. It was a good, but not great album with a few great mo ... (read more)

Report this review (#79266) | Posted by | Wednesday, May 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I totally agree to Lyndon's estimation. 'Ring of hands' ist the best Argent-album by far. Miles away from the more pop-orientated Zombies-like aproach on their first album, but - even more important - lightyears away from their dull synthie-doodling on 'Nexus', not to mention their embarrassin ... (read more)

Report this review (#48735) | Posted by ekaton | Tuesday, September 27, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Having been a fan of the band from the early seventies, I feel I have to put the record straight. This album contains no hit singles and very few of the songs were played live, but make no mistake this is Argent's most consistent record by a country mile. Recorded in 1971 it finds the band's twi ... (read more)

Report this review (#40402) | Posted by | Tuesday, July 26, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After a promising debut,the group consolidates the prog tendency in line with the ongoing years. The lines of Rod Argent's hammond organ draw new schemes for the future sound of the group. Is more remarkable the fracture between the compositions style from Argent and Russ Ballard that produce ... (read more)

Report this review (#26637) | Posted by | Friday, February 18, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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