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ASGARD

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Asgard biography
Very little is know of English band ASGARD except that they were one of the first bands to be signed by MOODY BLUES label Threshold. The name 'Asgard', taken from ancient North European mythology, means 'castle of the gods'. Perhaps because of its Tolkien-esque resonance, it seems to be a popular one among progsters as it is shared by two other bands, one a 70's French folk outfit and the other a '90's Italian neo-prog group. English ASGARD consist of guitarist/vocalist Rod Harrison (ex-PLEASE and psych-pop band BULLDOG BREED), vocalist James Smith and drummer Ian Snow (who both later went on to join STONEHOUSE CREEK), vocalist Ted Bartlett, bassist Dave Cook and violinist Peter Orgil.

They released a 45 in 1972 containing 4 tracks, and then a year later Threshold produced their one and only LP, entitled "In the Realm of Asgard". Rather mainstream, the album is made up of 8 relatively short tracks and could be described as a cross between early 70's MOODY BLUES and the warm, flowing symphonic prog of FANTASY, with vocals faintly reminiscent of Dennis deYoung (STYX). The LP has lately been remastered and issued in cd format in Japan.

Of some interest to those who enjoy early 70's MOODY BLUES, circa "Every Good Boy Deserve Favour".

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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ASGARD discography


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ASGARD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.44 | 34 ratings
In the Realm of Asgærd
1972

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ASGARD Reviews


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 In the Realm of Asgærd by ASGARD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.44 | 34 ratings

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In the Realm of Asgærd
Asgard Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Short-lived British band, formed at the dawn of the 70's by already experienced musicians of the Psychedelic Rock scene.Guitarist/singer Rodney Harrison had been playing with Bulldog Breed next to future T2's leading man Keith Cross, while singer James Smith and drummer Ian Snow played together in Stonehouse.The line-up was completed with a second vocalist, Ted Bartlett, along with Dave Cook on bass and Peter Orgil on violin.Among the very first signings of The Moody Blues Threshold label, they recorded their debut ''In the Realm of Asgard'' partly at Decca Studios and partly at Threshold Studios and the album was released in 1972.

The Threshold label was not the only connection of Asgard with THE MOODY BLUES, because their music contained also strong hints from the style of the British Art/Psych Rock veterans, having evident and outdated psychedelic influences, while the presence of Orgil on violin either connects with the string orchestral and deeply romantic side of THE MOODY BLUES or bursts a weird combination of Folk and Classical influence akin to EAST OF EDEN.The music in general alternated between 60's-influenced Psychedelic Rock with melodic vocals and soft arrangements and harder parts with some impressive in-your-face guitar lines, strong soloing and more bombastic passages.Apparently the album was lyrically inspired by Tolkien's ''The lord of the rings'' in another album listed in the countless catalog of Tolkien-inspired works.Dual vocal lines and some nice orchestral segments combined with the pure power of electric guitars are often in the forefront, but the album rarely escapes from this basic matrix.

As aforementioned, Asgard were short-lived and it seems that they disbanded after the album.Reputedly Harrison had done some sessions with The Moody Blues, but it appears he never became an official part of the band.

Energetic Psych Rock with some progressive touches, destinated for fans of early-70's Proto-Prog stylings.Half about of the tracks are very good, but do not expect a killer release.Either way, this is a recommended obscurity.

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 In the Realm of Asgærd by ASGARD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.44 | 34 ratings

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In the Realm of Asgærd
Asgard Crossover Prog

Review by maryes

3 stars I agree with the Progreviewer ClemofNazareth in his review (#134359) August 22, 2007, when he indicate similarities between the sound of the British band ASGARD with another band for the same country (in the case URIAH HEEP) , but, not only in terms of guitars arrangements but also in some vocals chorus... To observe what I say is enough listen the last track "Starquest". The initial compass from track 5 "Time" seems like a MAHAVISHNU"S reminiscence . The track 2 "Friends" starts with a heavy "riff" which remember for a brief moments Leslie West's MOUNTAIN . Another interesting moment be in the track 5 ""Children of a New Born Age", where about 1 min 41 sec another very brief passage recall me KANSAS. However the album is just a middle . My rate is 3 stars !!!

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 In the Realm of Asgærd by ASGARD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.44 | 34 ratings

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In the Realm of Asgærd
Asgard Crossover Prog

Review by Dr. Judkins

5 stars I've always enjoyed finding and listening to obscure and long-forgotten prog albums, loving the feeling of finding a real diamond in the rough and adding it to my list of favorite groups, but they of course can be very hit or miss. Asgard was an immediate 'hit' for me. I've listened to this album a million times over and it never ceases to amaze me, how something this unique and well-produced could go so unnoticed for so long.

I think the best way to describe In The Realm Of Asgard would be something that bristolstc said in his review, that in 1972 Asgard succeeded at what so many 80s metal bands tried and failed at. If you've ever looked at an 80s album with an epic title and even more epic cover art, only to be utterly disappointed once again by 12 less-than-imaginative 3 to 5 minute tracks, look no further than Asgard to restore your faith in that ultimate sound you've been waiting for.

The group manage to stay heavy, original, and mix in a healthy amount of traditional musical influences and Norse lyrical references, without making things too cheesy or seeming too ambitious. And the music comes out utterly excellent. The lead-off title track should give you a pretty good idea of their abilities right off the bat, with a wonderful crying violin and resonating vocal harmonies that seem to fill the space, and simply compliment the music all at once. It's heavy, proggy, and tells a delightful story of Thor the God of thunder searching for love in the immortal realm of his father, Odin.

If you like that track, the rest of the album is a real treat to the ears. The other highlights for me include Town Crier, which makes a return to the epic choral accomplishments of the title, Children Of A New Born Age, which comes across as somewhat of a band anthem, where some of the best vocal harmonies on the disc are found, and Starquest, reminiscent of space rock and not without some possible early David Bowie influence, condensed down into five minutes.

Regrettably, the album is rather short, as are the tracks, Starquest being the longest at 5:17, and as far as anybody seems to know, the members never ventured into recorded musical territory again after In The Realm Of Asgard was released on The Moody Blues' Threshold label. Fortunately, however, the album really sticks with you if you allow yourself to be immersed by it. I don't mind listening to it several times in a row, and I'm sure others would agree.

This album is definitely worth the effort to obtain it. It was finally re-released on CD a few years back, so don't hesitate to try to find it online somewhere. You won't be disappointed.

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 In the Realm of Asgærd by ASGARD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.44 | 34 ratings

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In the Realm of Asgærd
Asgard Crossover Prog

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars A sound very reminiscent of the Wooden Nickel era Styx, Asgærd combine Dennis deYoung-like vocals with Uriah Heepish guitars and the overall pastiche of bands like Rhapsody, only at the height of the progressive (aka art) rock era. In other words, they were dead-on for their time. The sound doesn’t wear all that well with time, but some accommodation must be made since this album was released in the very early seventies.

This is one of those bands that’s impossible to find on the original vinyl, but Progressive Line reissued it as a pretty decent quality CD. From what I’ve read the original vinyl gatefold was pretty ostentatious – I’d like to get a look at that someday.

Nothing special here though, mostly just fairly mainstream guitar and rhythm section and lyrics that range from fantasy to pseudo- folk to heavy-rock. The violinist is a very nice touch though, and at a time when that instrument was not nearly as prevalent in prog music as it is today.

When hearing the opening title track I can’t help but picture Spinal Tap’s ‘Stonehenge’ scene: wildly pretentious, way too serious, and grandiosely Tolkeinesque. Great stuff!

The rest of the album doesn’t quite rise to that level though. A couple tracks like “Austin Osmanspare”, “Lorraine” and “Children of a New Born Age” have some very good vocal harmonies ala CSNY, and “Starquest” features decent fuzz guitar and a decidedly Moody Blues vocal influence. Not surprising since this was originally released on Threshold.

The rest of the album is pretty much generic anonymous art rock from the age of art rock. Not bad, but not really memorable either. Pretty much the definition of a three star album in my opinion. So let’s give it that and move on to something new.

peace

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 In the Realm of Asgærd by ASGARD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.44 | 34 ratings

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In the Realm of Asgærd
Asgard Crossover Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5stars really!!!

Not to be confused with the French prog folk group of the later 70's or the Italian neo- prog group of the early 90's, this English band (spelling the name differently) released just one album in 72 that is sometimes considered a hidden gem of the UK's early 70's proto-prog. And indeed this impressive heroic-fantasy gatefold artworks hides some pretty good hard prog that is strongly guitar-driven heavy progressive rock (all tracks bar one are guitarist Harrison-penned) often oogling in the direction of Uriah Heep with Hensley's organ replaced with Orgil's violin. Another particularity of the group is that it had two full-time singers in Smith and Bartlett. Made of short songs (only two just barely over 5 minutes), the album is not a very long one either, but sweet enough that even after a few years, a second consecutive listen is not out of the question for this writer.

Right from the first seconds of the opening title track, you just know this album will be aimed at those that like dramatic organ-driven prog, even if in this case the group is organ-less. But this doesn't stop them from sounding like the best Uriah Heep moments between Salisbury and Look at Yourself and in particular July Morning. Also coming to mind at times is Vanilla Fudge's Renaissance album without the psych influences: mid- tempo with strong throat-grabbing multi vocals that appeal to most young males in their late-teens or just after. Town Crier is a bit more of a Beatles-inspired track, partly because of Orgil's double-tracked violin, sounding Rigby-ish (all things considered of course) but this is due to the descending violin line. All of the tracks are fairly even in quality and are contagious in terms of enthusiasm. In some tracks, Kansas is not too far away either, but this mostly due to the violin again. Among the better tracks is the Children Of A New Born Age and its follow-up Time.

On the downside of things, the fact that there is only one person involved in the songwriting fails to renew enough the succession of tracks that rely a bit too much on the guitar riffs, the keyboards are very absent, even if there seems to be odd bit here and there. While this album is indeed a small gem, there is nothing really all that unforgettable, groundbreaking or unforgivably over-looked by the public either. Not essential by its nature, but still quite worth the occasional spin or two.

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 In the Realm of Asgærd by ASGARD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.44 | 34 ratings

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In the Realm of Asgærd
Asgard Crossover Prog

Review by chrishocking

3 stars Asgard were an early 7o's rock band from Plymouth England. Ian Snow (deceased) was one of my friends brother in law. I used to watch them rehearse (and help load their transit van which had airliner seats in it!) on a Sunday afternoon at the rowing club on thr banks of River Plym.

This was their only album and I'm glad iit has amention on these pages. My friend would be over the moon, but sadly he has ben in a coma for three years since having a brain hemoragh (?).

I really enjoyed the album which was influenced by the Moody Blues and the era of mysticism. Containing both rock and simple ballads its one for your collection if u can find a copy.

Snowy did go onto STONEHOUSE CREEK (a Plymouth landmark) and one of their songs was Filling In Stonehouse Creek, which was indeed being filled in.

hope this fills in some of the blanks

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 In the Realm of Asgærd by ASGARD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.44 | 34 ratings

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In the Realm of Asgærd
Asgard Crossover Prog

Review by Carl floyd fan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars With a name like Asgard I couldn't help but to think big. However, after listening to this a few times I realized this isn't anything remarkable. You've got the basic instruments that make up the average rock band with above average musicianship. The violin adds a nice touch however.

When diving into the ocean that is prog rock, you will find a lot of average bands that faded quickly into oblivion. Asgard simply was not very innovative. This is very uncomplicared music and certianlly adds nothing new to the space rock sub genre and is probably why they folded after one album.

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 In the Realm of Asgærd by ASGARD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.44 | 34 ratings

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In the Realm of Asgærd
Asgard Crossover Prog

Review by bristolstc

5 stars I got an original of this which was my most wanted UK LP for Christmas and on first listening I was knocked out. I have played the album probably over 100 times since and it continues to be out of this world. There is no other album or band like Asgard in any time period. Their sound and lyrics are dark, menacing, powerful, and filled with a sinister quality lacking lyrically and musically in a lot of other prog rock bands. It is the thoughtful and literate writing of Rodney Harrison (Ex Bulldog Breed) and the soarng multilayered vocals (especially ex Stonehouse James Smith's high pitched wail) that really make this album as well as the very inventive rhythm section. No other band sounds like Asgard so it would be fruitless to try and compare them to another group, but the only two bands who very slightly resemble this music are early Genesis and early King Crimson. Be warned though, this may be my very favourite progressive/ psychedelic crossover album and if you don't like psychedelic effects or guitar or influences intruding you may want to opt for something else. Anyone with an open mind however needs to discover this masterpiece. It also might just as easily be said that this album does what a lot of 80s metal tried and failed at. For anyone who loves different and challenging music this is essential!

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 In the Realm of Asgærd by ASGARD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.44 | 34 ratings

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In the Realm of Asgærd
Asgard Crossover Prog

Review by Nihonsei

4 stars This is an excellent add to any Progressive Music Collection, also it is very hard to find, only Japanese Press was released on Cd. The beggining is very powerfull with strong voices, and a very well guitar notes, "In The Realm Of Asgard", the first track has a very interesting induct to this great album. With "Town Crier", track number three, Asgard has their very best performance, Rodney Harrison reach a top-tone vocals, the rithm guitar in this song is excellent. The other songs are very nice but the end it's much better, with "Starquest" the last song "In The Realm Of Asgard" has his finishing touch, full of moments loaded by fantasy, some special effects were added. Dave Cook play a good drums through the album. A violin took his place by Peter Orgill. I cannot find some related with other Prog Bands, but as many Progressive Music they could be compared to Genesis, Premiata Forneria Marconi,Van Der Graaf Generator and others. If you can find this item, don't let it go!. A well worth. Whitout doubt. Regards from Mexico.

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