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ARAGON

Neo-Prog • Australia


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Aragon biography
Before listening the music of the Australian band ARAGON, I took my time reading all the info available, and the information provided is not very good, comments go from they suck (specially directed towards John Poloyannis in the guitars) but being that I'm part of the Neo Prog Team and having to make a new bio for this band I tried their music.

The truth is that they were always pretty good, but their orientation was hardly Prog until their surprisingly strong last album, I believe they were in the borderline that divides Neo Prog from Prog Related, with clear MARILLION influence and RUSH luike vocals, but of course oriented towards the softer and more commercial side, also you can get some Yes sounds similar to the 90125 era and three men Genesis touch.

So my conclusion is that they were always good but not too Prog oriented, but most of the people who talk about them, haven't heard their last album, which is a pity, because they are loosing the opportunity to listen very good Prog.

ARAGON could be called a subsidiary of the United Nations because Scottish-born Les Dougan (Vocals), Italian-born Tony Italia (Drums), German-born Tom Behrsing (keyboards) and Greek-born John Poloyannis (guitar), joined forces in Melbourne Australia to form ARAGON on 1987, the four guys with the help of Ron Bacon in the bass, release their debut album "Don't Bring the Rain" in 1990, mainly inspired in MARILLION and 80's GENESIS but very mainstream oriented.

Until 1998 they manage to release 5 albums and keep the same lineup withourt radical musical changes, but after the release of "Mister Angel" they seem to vanish in the air as many bands who never found their own identity.

The surprise is that in the year 2005 the band reappears as a trio formed by John Poloyannis (guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion) Les Dougan (vocals, drums, percussion) and Tom Behrsing (keyboards), this time with a stronger sound and definitely more oriented towards Prog, seems the Sabbatical made good effect on them, because sounds almost as a different band with many similarities to early MARILLION but a unique touch.

According to their website, we must expect more of them and if the new stuff is like the latest album, we can only wait with great hope, because they have reached maturity and an own unique sound.

Iván Melgar Morey - Perú

Aragon official website

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  • Ghosts Rocking Horse And Other Stories, 1993

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ARAGON discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.02 | 39 ratings
Don't Bring The Rain
1987
3.12 | 25 ratings
The Meeting
1992
3.86 | 52 ratings
Rocking Horse And Other Stories
1993
3.10 | 42 ratings
Mouse
1995
3.21 | 19 ratings
Mr. Angel
1998
3.63 | 35 ratings
The Angels Tear
2004

ARAGON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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ARAGON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mouse by ARAGON album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.10 | 42 ratings

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Mouse
Aragon Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Aragon had been working on a monster concept/autobiographical album since the start of the 90's, which was actually a slow work in progress, which ''Rocking horse...'' surpassed through the sands of time.Actually the 92' mini-album ''The meeting'' was the fifth act of this long work, which the band managed to finish by mid-90's.With respect to the fans, who had already purchased the fifth act a few years back, the album ''The mouse'' was released in 1995 without the pieces of ''The meeting''.Three years later the full work was re-released by LaBraD'or Records in a double-CD edition.

This is a collection of thirty tracks, flowing in a tight cohesion and passing through tons of different moods, all of them connected to the already familiar style of Aragon.No epics or even mid-length pieces, ''The mouse'' is a story unfolding via very short tunes in the vein of PENDRAGON and CLEPSYDRA, fronted by the trademark fast paces of the band, the use of many dreamy instrumentals and the aggressive vocals of Les Dougan.Of course the somewhat synthetic keyboard sound and the overall plastic production, which comes along with all Aragon releases, is not among the advantages of the album, it seems at moments that the sound quality has been stuck sometime in the mid-80's.Otherwise this is another decent effort by the group, not always sealing its extended length, but containing good enough material with theatrical singing, rockin' grooves and even symphonic backdrops in a MARILLION/mid-70's GENESIS vein.Maybe they should have used a larger number of longer pieces, because some of these arrangements are fascinating, for example ''Cold in a warm place'' gives plenty of room for variations between CAMEL, GENESIS and PINK FLOYD overtones and a very poetic vocal performance by Dougan, ''The sheer joy of creation'' reminds of the greatest days of old ABEL GANZ with its playful guitar, sweet keyboards and emphatic vocals, ''Brave new world''features a a slow development from background echoes to more bombastic music with sentimental solos, while ''The cross'' is a fantastic, old-styled MARILLION-like tune with another Dougan monumental vocal performance and the use of semi-symphonic synths next to discreet New Wave samplers.The good thing about ''The mouse'' is that the are no weak pieces or dead holes in the process, everything seems to be in the right place next to the mass of memorable tunes and pompous instrumental sections.Lack of trully fascinating moments, but the band passed a really hard test on producing a long and consistent album.

For fans of MARILLION, PALLAS, PENDRAGON, ABEL GANZ and IQ, this is strong Neo Prog with efficient melodies and a decent flow among all pieces.Recommended.

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 Rocking Horse And Other Stories by ARAGON album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.86 | 52 ratings

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Rocking Horse And Other Stories
Aragon Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Aragon seemed to work fine even with the trio of Behrsing, Poloyannis and Dougan and after ''The meeting'' they decided to go on with this reduced line-up.In 1993 a third, now full-length, album of the band came out on the Dutch SI label.Entitled ''Rocking Horse and Other Short Stories From the Past'', this work contains 6 tracks of reworked material that predates even the first album of Aragon.

''Rocking horse'' is actually the track that dominates the album, clocking at exactly 20 minutes, and featuring some very interesting work by the band.Its first part is dedicated to a very lyrical Neo Progressive Rock with limited instrumental parts but a great performance by Dougan on vocals with both sensitive and more aggresive singing.The second part though is exclusively instrumental with floating keyboards, powerful grooves and some more dreamy passages, a bit too long but still decent.The ''Other Short Stories From the Past'' of the title refers to the next sum of tracks, written in mid-80's, and offering catchy and lyrical Neo Prog with good breaks, incredible theatrical vocals, decent keyboard work and an overall nice performance by Aragon.A couple of these though suffer from flexibility with long hypnotic keyboard parts close to Electronic Music and distorted vocals, not what one would expect by the Aussies.

Despite its flaws this album is another pleasant listening experience by Aragon, mainly because of Les Dougan's superb vocals and the deep atmospheres the band could create with ease.Recommended.

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 Mouse by ARAGON album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.10 | 42 ratings

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Mouse
Aragon Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I guess the point of this album was to return to the band's progressive routes, after the rather commercial direction they took in Don't Bring the Rain. Unfortunately, this double-CD concept album fails to convince. Once again, the keyboard sound is decent and the vocals by Les Dougan are alright, but the band rather lacks for strong compositions, with what few good ideas the band have being diluted to the point of irrelevance in order to fill out the narrative. The album ends up being all filler and no killer, the concept is incoherent, and on the whole the brilliant potential shown on the Rocking Horse release is pretty much completely squandered by this point.

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 Don't Bring The Rain by ARAGON album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.02 | 39 ratings

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Don't Bring The Rain
Aragon Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Aragon's debut album is a rather forgettable affair compared to the earlier material collected on their classic Rocking Horse album; that showcased an interesting, spooky, electronic- influenced take on the whole neo-prog deal, whereas this time around they cleave much more closely to the late-1980s Marillion/Pendragon playbook. Poppy opener For Your Eyes and the embarrassing Christmas song Solstice represent the album at its worst, whilst songs such as The Cradle and The Crucifixion don't accomplish very much except giving me a craving to listen to some early Marillion, or perhaps Pendragon's The Jewel. It's a real shame the band didn't feel daring enough to include more material along the lines of Rocking Horse on here; as it is, the debut has to be seen as a wasted opportunity.

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 Rocking Horse And Other Stories by ARAGON album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.86 | 52 ratings

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Rocking Horse And Other Stories
Aragon Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I have to agree with SouthSideoftheSky here in saying that the pre-Don't Bring the Rain demos collected on Rocking Horse are truly excellent, and I'm also baffled that fantastic songs such as Rocking Horse or Ghosts weren't included on the band's debut album. Had these pieces been released in the latter half of the 1980s, when they were originally recorded, the entire history of the band might have been very different and they might have been held in much greater esteem than that they enjoy today.

Combining a Marillion-inspired theatrical neo-prog approach - singer Les Dougan rivals Fish when it comes to emotionally expressive vocals in the neo mould - with more prominent and varied keyboard work, at points drawing more on the progressive electronic genre than on the symphonic prog keyboardists most neo-proggers found inspiration in, the band come up with a truly original and haunting sound which is express perfectly in the songs collected here. It's rare that I feel inclined to give what is essentially an odds-and-sods collection a high mark, but in this case I feel compelled to. The band's decision to hold back this material - only releasing it after the neo-prog high water mark had come and gone - must surely go down as one of the greatest strategic blunders on the part of any neo-prog band.

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 The Meeting by ARAGON album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.12 | 25 ratings

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The Meeting
Aragon Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars After the quite good ''Don't Bring the Rain'',Aussie neo-progstersAragon return after four years of silence surprisingly with a very short album (only 27 minutes),but maintaining the succesful style of their debut.

While the ingredients are all OK (a great vocalist,a cool production,good drum programming despite the absence of a drummer),something went wrong in the total mix.The guitar work is strong and melodic,the keyboards create superb atmospheres and the voice of Les Dougan really shines,but the whole blending doesnt always work succesful.Some nice passages are followed by monotonous choruses and while you find yourself thrilled,the next time something spoils the listening.Good thing is the album is too short,so it flaws generally nice and easy...and for me Aragon succeeded to become a very personal and recognizable band already for their early years.

''The Meeting'' isnt an essential listening but it is a good album.It wont be everybody's cup of tea so anyone into Neo Prog will love it,the rest should give a couple of listenings before moving on a buy...This goes for exactly 3 stars in my books.

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 The Angels Tear by ARAGON album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.63 | 35 ratings

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The Angels Tear
Aragon Neo-Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars A mature band

It is sadly not an easy task to find the albums by Aragon, and indeed their previous, fifth, album, Mr. Angel, still eludes me. This sixth, and to date latest, release of the band took some effort to track down, but it was well worth that effort. After having reviewed the whole discography of Aragon (minus Mr. Angel), I feel that The Angel's Tear is the album that best brings together the respective strengths of all their previous releases while at the same time avoiding most of their flaws and also at the same time introducing something brand new into the band's sound. All this helps them to sound more confident and also more original than they did on their early releases. The vocals of Les Dougan have never sounded as passionate and powerful as they do here and the same must be said of the guitars of John Poloyannis that get a more prominent place in the sound than ever in the past. The lyrics are thoughtful and often existential in nature.

The "mechanical" rhythm section of songs like the opening track, Growing Up In Cuckoo Land, and the midi-like keyboards of the short Discovery might trouble some people, but both tracks grew on me significantly after repeated listens. Indeed, all of the eight songs featured on The Angel's Tear are very strong. Favourite tracks for me include the nine minute In The Name Of God and the almost folky album closer The Silent Field with its Celtic-sounding drums. The album's longest track is the 13 minute title track while the shortest track, the aforementioned Discovery, is just under two minutes. The latter does indeed end rather abruptly and might perhaps have been extended somewhat. Another very short track is the weirdly titled Copper Bob And The Pirates At The Gates Of Dawn. This is actually quite weird musically too and features some notably theatrical "pirate" vocals and an almost Metal-like beat!

There is a nice flow and a good balance throughout the album between acoustic and electrically based songs and between upbeat passages and more serene ones. This makes for a very appealing variation that keeps the album interesting from start to finish and invites recurrent listens. Thankfully, Aragon have also avoided the common pitfall to put too much music on the same album just because the space available on a compact disc allows for it. A running time of just over 40 minutes is often optimal.

If you want to check out Aragon, The Angel's Tear is a great place to start. Let us hope that the band will return with another album in a not too far distant future and that they will also tour and perhaps record a live album/video that brings together songs from throughout their whole career.

Excellent addition!

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 Mouse by ARAGON album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.10 | 42 ratings

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Mouse
Aragon Neo-Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Next please

Many years in the making, Aragon's Mouse finally appeared in 1995. This lengthy conceptual album in eight 'acts' had already been discussed by the band as early as straight after the release of their debut album in the late 80's. Due to pressure from fans and record companies, they decided to release act five of Mouse separately in 1992 as The Meeting even though the whole was far from finished. The original 1995 version of Mouse did not include the previously released act five, but a re-mastered re-release appeared in 1999 that contains all eight acts (as well as new art work, the story of Mouse and an audio interview with the band about the making of the album). As I have rated The Meeting tracks already (with three stars), I will concentrate on the rest of Mouse here.

My first impression of this album was that it was fragmentary and disjointed. Many of the tracks are very short and intended to function as link pieces. The problem is that there is not much for them to link to! Many passages feel like transportation and this reviewer's opinion is that there is just too much of that. Excluding the (very good and) previously released The Meeting tracks, there are not that many 'full-fledged' songs on Mouse. Having that said there are some good moments here also, but generally they are too few and too far between. Maybe there was a conflict between two very different objectives; that of telling the story, on the one hand, and that of making good music, on the other. Both the story and the music seem to have suffered as a result. There is certainly a shortage of memorable melodies.

Some spoken word passages seem out of place and distract from the flow of the album, rather than enhance it. As I mentioned above, the booklet (of the 1999 double CD version that I have) features the story of Mouse, but to be honest I have not managed to get through it. In the bonus interview on disc two, it is mentioned that the story is a layered one about (1) life in general, (2) about a character called Mouse and (3) about the history of the band! Maybe they just bit off more than they could chew?

Musically, Mouse is clearly inspired by Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. There is even a track called The Waiting Room (but there is no further connection between the two tracks as this one is just a short piece of pointless dialogue). Aragon do have their own approach but I think that it came to its right much better on both some earlier and some later releases of theirs. While the 1999 re-release of Mouse is now (I suppose) the best and easiest way to get hold of The Meeting (act five), which is well worth hearing, I cannot give Mouse as a whole more than two stars. If you have The Meeting already as a standalone release, this overblown concept album is recommended for you only if you are a fan or collector.

As a side note, I can mention that the artwork (which is different from the one displayed here on PA, which I suppose is the original 1995 artwork) reflects the band's Australian origin. It features a photograph that (I suppose) was taken somewhere in the red Australian dessert.

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 Rocking Horse And Other Stories by ARAGON album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.86 | 52 ratings

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Rocking Horse And Other Stories
Aragon Neo-Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars A past that tells a story of a future that never was

To fill the gap between 1992's The Meeting and 1995's Mouse, Aragon released Rocking Horse And Other Stories From The Past in 1993. This album contains material that dates from before the band's debut album, Don't Bring The Rain. This means that the material featured here goes back to the band's early days sometime in the 80's. It is unclear to me whether it is the compositions only that date from before the band's debut album and that the present recordings of these songs were made later, or if even the recordings themselves date from before Don't Bring The Rain. Regardless of which, the sound quality of these recordings, though not perfect, is actually better than that of the debut album itself. Interestingly, and this is the important part, the compositions also by far outshine those that actually made it onto Don't Bring The Rain. Indeed, to have such great pieces as the 20 minute Rocking Horse and the haunting Ghosts on their hands and decide not to include them on their first album release cannot be explained by anything else than bad judgment or possibly by pure madness! The songs featured here are generally excellent and certainly include some of the best songs the band ever did.

The song Ghosts appear twice, first in a studio version and then in a live version. This emphasizes the compilation nature of this album and distracts somewhat from its inherent qualities. If I allow myself to dream a bit, I would say that had Aragon released a full-length studio album containing the best songs from the present collection plus good-sounding versions of the very best songs from Don't Bring The Rain and The Meeting, they would doubtlessly have a truly excellent album on their hands. As they stand, however, none of these releases deserve a higher rating. Still, I would say that at least Rocking Horse (the track) is essential listening for any fan of Neo-Progressive Rock.

Recommended, but not excellent all the way

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 The Meeting by ARAGON album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.12 | 25 ratings

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The Meeting
Aragon Neo-Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Act five

The Meeting was Aragon's second album, following the promising but immature debut Don't Bring The Rain. Interestingly, the contents of the present album constitutes act five of a much longer conceptual album called Mouse (that would be released in its full form as a double CD in 1999). Probably, the band felt they needed something to release to retain interest in the band at this point (that is, in 1992) even though the whole of Mouse was not ready for release at that time. I should say upfront that this review is based on the last six tracks of disc one of Mouse rather than on the original release of The Meeting (the tracks are identical, but the more recent release has been remastered). Another thing to note is that act five (that is, the music featured on this release) is by far the best part of Mouse (in fact, the rest of Mouse is very disappointing but I will get to that in a later review).

Compared to the band's debut album, this second release was a major improvement both in terms of composition and production. The sound (at least on my remastered version) is clear and powerful here and almost all of the songs are of very high quality. Aragon are hardly the most original band you'll ever hear, but I do think that they have something of their own. The musical influences certainly include Genesis, both the more progressive 70's Genesis and the more commercial 80's/90's Genesis. The latter's influence can, for example, be felt in the more rhythmic approach in The Chant and other tracks. The lead vocals of Les Dougan resemble those of Geddy Lee of Rush (but Dougan is more versatile, to be honest), and it is fair to say that that band also has an influence on the music of Aragon, particularly the late 70's/early 80's period of Rush.

There is a nice diversity to this album with two pleasant acoustically based numbers in the middle in Midsummer's Night Dream and Tugging At The Heartstring. Apart from the almost ten minute The Changeling, most of the songs here are of the shorter variety. The album as a whole is also very short. Clocking in at only 27 minutes, it is really more of an EP than a full length studio album. Still, this is certainly a worthwhile set of songs.

The only way to get hold of these tracks now is, I suppose, through buying the full Mouse album (of which, as I said above, The Meeting is but one - the best - part).

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