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Ageness Scarab album cover
3.63 | 41 ratings | 6 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1983

Songs / Tracks Listing

Scarab: (36:37)
1. Day of Doom (3:49)
2. Asylum 32 (3:26)
3. Haze and Visions (2:48)
4. Dor- En- Dor (4:49)
5. Grain of Sand (4:54)
6. Finale (1:16)
7. Praying Stone (3:48)
8. For Her Son (5:01)
9. Mortal Wings of Sin I (6:46)

Live: (27:04)
10. The Axe and The Sword (4:19)
11. Port of Hell (3:01)
12. Fear for Delirium (4:20)
13. Illusive King's of Evil (3:42)
14. Blowdown (5:27)
15. Feathers on the Run (6:15)

Total Time: 63:41

Line-up / Musicians

- Tommy Eriksson / vocals & keyboards
- Mika Hella / vocals, bass & guitar
- Kari Saaristo / drums & percussion
- Tommi Toivonen / guitar
- Pasi Nora / violin & viola

Releases information

Two Vintage Ageness Recordings (AGSCD8, 1996 / SCARABLP1, 1983)

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AGENESS Scarab ratings distribution

(41 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (32%)
Collectors/fans only (17%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

AGENESS Scarab reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Before AGENESS fully establish themselves in early-90's,two of their stable members, vocalist/keyboardist Tommy Eriksson and drummer Kari Saaristo were members of a little-known group called SCARAB.They were found in Helsinki in 1983,at a time when all members were schoolkids,and recorded only a self-titled album,pressed in around 200 copies. Fortunately this album along with a performance of the band in Helsinki the same year were re-issued under the title ''Two Vintage Ageness Recordings'' in 1996,offering over an hour of these pre-AGENESS days.

STYLE: Featuring a violinist among the usual guitar/bass/drums/keys quartet,SCARAB had a very rich and strong sound with elements by many 70's classic prog rock acts.Their sound goes easily from keyboard-based symphonic prog to excellent guitar/violin-driven heavy rock and despite the short duration of the tracks,all of them feature interesting arrangements with fine interplays and a good dose of complexity.Melody of course is not absent at all,on the opposite it seems to be one of the band's main aims.The production and mix of the recording helps the listener enjoy the album at its full view.

INFLUENCES/SOUNDS LIKE: Speaking of violin can easily bring KANSAS to your mind and actually some tracks in here with an evident hard rock flavor have this influence.The major influence however are GENESIS of 75'-78' period along with YES,with Tommy Eriksson having lots of TONY BANKS-like moments in the album.The album reminds me a lot of THE FLOWER KINGS at times.

PLUS: Excellent production for such a low-budget album.Often we speak about long compositions in prog rock,but SCARAB proove that you can also produce fantastic progressive music in a limited duration time.Awesome work in violins,viola and keys while Tommi Toivonen has also some trully memorable moments with his guitar.A band who knows how to filtrate their influences under their own umbrella.An album which defines why progressive music wasn't exactly dead in the 80's.

MINUS: Very mediocre vocals which at times sound a bit hilarious.I don't like that much the acoustic parts of the album,where the vocal problem is more obvious.

WILL APPEAL TO: Both modern and vintage prog rock fans,no matter you like symphonic,heavy,hard or eclectic rock music.

CONCLUSION: It would be a crime if this album was to be heard only by the owners of the initial limited copies.Fortunately,SCARAB were reborn after the AGENESS name,leading to the re-issue of this great album.A very young and talented band,who back then decided to write and perform their beloved music,forgetting whether it was in fashion or not.Hurry up and order your copy!4 shining stars.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Strictly speaking, Scarab and Ageness are different bands, but since the subsequent's group career has entirely eclipsed its predecessor this rerelease of old Scarab material (their self- titled album plus some live tracks) comes under the Ageness name. It's decent but forgettable neo-prog stuff with weak vocals and a lack of standout tracks. There's a few quite pretty acoustic sections but otherwise the tracks rather run together, and by the time you finish listening to the album you'll have already forgotten what the first track sounded like. As others have pointed out, there's a lot of Kansas and Saga influence here, so it might be a bit more worthwhile if you're a big fan of those bands.
Review by Matti
4 stars Finland, 1983. Just about the most anti-prog musical climate you can imagine. Not even the British Neo proggers MARILLION and others have found much sympathy in the public yet. Five school kids form SCARAB and make a prog album, distributing the 180 copies themselves. "The band broke up after a major tour was cancelled and frustration for the Finnish musical circles became unbearable to us (Finland was actually a New Wave Paradise)."

In the next decade AGENESS belonged to the small bunch of Finnish prog revivalists. At the time the prog association Colossus was founded too. Since the band's roots are unquestionably in SCARAB whose frontman and composer was the keyboardist-vocalist Tommy Eriksson as well, it makes very much sense that Scarab's studio and live recordings from 1983 were released on CD with the words 'Two Vintage AGENESS Recordings' printed on the cover. "Just recently it became in to my knowledge that the value of the original vinyl version (only a few copies left) has risen to unbelievable heights", Tommy writes in the liner notes. I'm very glad I finally got the chance to hear this brave chapter in the Finnish prog history.

The opener 'Day of Doom' starting with a wind effect is aptly titled as one immediately senses the dark drama in the music. The sound reminds the 80's commercial hard rock, with an emphasis on organ-oriented keyboards and the addition of violin & viola. KANSAS of this era may sound similar to some degree. The GENESIS influence is not quite as obvious as on the Ageness output, but it comes audible here and there. And I bet the "musical box" in the lyrics of 'Asylum 32' refers to no other than Genesis. That track gives a big role to the violin, though mostly in a riff approach.The short and tight 'Haze and Visions' feels at first like a very straight-forward rocker, but it's not without a prog attitude either. 'Dor-en-Dor' offers more Genesis-reminding complexity and Banks-y keyboards. By the way, Eriksson's vocals remind a lot of IQ's Peter Nicholls!

The brief album's compositions get better towards the end. The minute-long 'Sand Finale' is the only instrumental, and the tracks after it have a deeper and more mature atmosphere. Maybe we should talk about an EP or mini-LP because without the 7-minute, originally excluded 'Mortal Wings of Sin I' (a highlight, no doubt) the vinyl has been approximately half an hour long.

If Marillion's debut was very strikingly against the contemporary pop/rock especially in the epic song structures, Scarab's music stays a bit closer to the slightly poppy, hard edged rock of its time, but without sacrificing the totally unfashionable progness. They definitely were pioneers who were swimming against the tide. For an advanced prog listener this hardly offers anything new but it has stood the test of time better than I expected.

It's interesting to note that the live set (recorded in Helsinki's Tavastia, June 30th 1983) offers six other tracks. They're quite similar in style with the studio tracks, but sadly the sonic quality really could be better. Anyway they are a welcome addition already for the curiosity value alone. 3 stars!

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars While Marillion, Twelfth Night, IQ, Pendragon and Arena have received the lion's share of credit for transmogrifying the symphonic prog of Genesis into a totally new and distinct detour called neo-prog, there were in fact other players in that game and not all of them were from England. While not nearly as well known as the aforementioned neo-prog idols, the Finnish band SCARAB released one sole eponymously titled album all the way back in 1983. This one-shot album was initiated by the founders Tommy Eriksson and Kari Saaristo and a self-financed project. After this one release they parted ways and then nine years later reunited under the new name Ageness which still continues as a band to the present day. This debut demonstrates that it was more than just the English who were influenced by Peter Gabirel era Genesis (and beyond) and bands like SCARAB dipped beyond them alone to create a unique hybrid of the different strains of symphonic prog that graced the 70s.

While this album may sound derivative in many ways of 80s Marillion and even Peter Gabriel, it should be remembered that this came very early in the game and debuted the same year as Marillion's landmark "Script For A Jester's Tear." And despite some obvious similarities, SCARAB somehow managed to meld together successfully aspects of 70s Genesis, 80s Peter Gabriel solo albums, Marillion and some tracks suspiciously sound like they took a cue from 80s Genesis with "Abacab" type progressive pop making its way into the more bombastic symphonic tracks. As well as the obvious influences emerging from the Genesis inspired pack, there are clear Kansas aspects from the ubiquitous violin that ranges from simple symphonic touches to full-out attacks once let off its leash. The acoustic guitar passages have a ring of early Steve Hackett as well. I can detect some quirky Styx type energy infused in the mix as there is an infusion of the late 70s prog pop style interspersed with the more progressive rock touches.

SCARAB was quite energetic for this time in the emerging neo-prog era and that's what appeals to me the most. While some have an issue with the vocals, i personally don't find them to be so impenetrable as they have a unique charm all their own albeit attached to the neo-prog type of emerging sound of the era. True that better examples of the newly developed symphonic prog over the decades had emerged but i really love the quirky touches and the instrumentation of the band's sharp tightness which executes the over-the-top Genesis qualities of their different band developments from pastural symphonic prog to full-on prog pop. There are brilliant keyboard riffs, gentle pastural acoustic sweeps and a very competent approach to the percussion which is often lacking in the neo-prog world where more often than not it's on automatic pilot. Add the sensual violin and viola elements and this is a compelling early neo-prog album. There are also moments that remind of bands like Rush in not only a Geddy Lee type of goofy yelp but in the song structures themselves. SCARAB managed to create a diverse album that never stagnates throughout its playing time. I'm a fan of this one.

This SCARAB album was originally released with 9 tracks on vinyl but was later released in 1995 as an Ageness album titled "Scarab: The Album & Live At Tavastia Club 30.6.1983" on CD with extra tracks that included six bonus tracks of live performances at the Tavastia Club. While this may not go down in history as the most original offerings of the early neo-prog developments, i personally find it a rewarding album in the terms of delivery. While there is no doubt that Genesis is the prime mover of influential shakers, i have personally always favored the second generation of Genesis worshipers over the band themselves in the big picture (not to say that Genesis didn't have outstanding albums of course). SCARAB simply created a brilliant album that went somewhere Genesis abandoned as they favored pop over prog. Whether this rates as high in your world or not, neo-prog fans should definitely check this one out.

Latest members reviews

2 stars The debut album by this Finnish band. Well, this album is mostly pre-Ageness songs. From the band Scarab, to be more precise. The style here is the normal progressive AOR/metal with a lot of neo-prog influences. The music also have some harder edges with metal guitars. The vocals are mostly ... (read more)

Report this review (#323344) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, November 17, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Come on, as I've read in the sleeve notes, this was mainly self paid effort of a bunch of schoolkids who got a loan from a local bank with their parents backing it. The material here is a way beyond all the finnish standards at that time. The imagination and influences really bring out a proof ... (read more)

Report this review (#608) | Posted by | Wednesday, April 28, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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