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ARAGON

Neo-Prog • Australia


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Aragon picture
Aragon biography
Founded in 1987 in Melbourne, Australia - Disbanded in 1998 - Reformed in 2004

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 2004 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

See also: Founded in 1987 in Melbourne, Australia - Disbanded in 1998 - Reformed in 2004

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 2004 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

See also:
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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)

3.22 | 62 ratings
Don't Bring The Rain
1988
3.12 | 41 ratings
The Meeting
1992
3.91 | 74 ratings
Rocking Horse - And Other Short Stories From The Past
1993
3.17 | 60 ratings
Mouse
1995
3.20 | 30 ratings
Mr. Angel
1997
3.69 | 41 ratings
The Angels Tear
2004

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

ARAGON Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ARAGON Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ARAGON Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
In A Lifetime
2014
4.00 | 1 ratings
Rocking Horse Saga ~ Act 1
2018
4.00 | 2 ratings
Rocking Horse Saga ~ Act 2
2018

ARAGON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Don't Bring The Rain by ARAGON album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.22 | 62 ratings

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Don't Bring The Rain
Aragon Neo-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A Marillion-inspired band of multi-nationals that formed and recorded in Australia that shows tremendous potential--greatly due to the wonderfully passionate vocal performances of lead singer Les Dougan.

1. "For Your Eyes" (4:44) opens with harpsichord-sounding guitar picking before a pulsing bass-and-drum structure is established for the singing to join in. The vocalist is dramatic, theatric, but not very impressive or winning--kind of like a weak GEDDY LEE trying to sing with the power and emotion of AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson. The music during the choruses is too standard rock, it's the down time subtleties that are interesting and engaging. (8.25/10)

2. "Company Of Wolves" (9:22) (16.5/20)

- a) Under the Hunters' Moon (3:30) babeling brook water sounds are soon joined by keys and percussives giving the soundscape a very fairy-like feeling. Barking and then heavy bass tom play enter providing quite a contrast to the delicate fairy sounds. (8/10)

- b) In the Company of Wolves (5:51) more background sounds from the fairy world before a cheap keyboard begins adding a pattern of chords. At 1:25 heavy, pounding drums re-enter before singer Les Dougan enters with a FISH- or OZZIE OSBORN-like vocal performance. The vocal dominates despite the tinny music's attempt to thicken and become more complex. Fairly impressive vocal performance. (8.5/10)

3. "The Cradle" (5:32) gentle prog start with pretty late-80s heavily chorused guitar strums over which the odd voice and stylings of Les Dougan sings. He gives it quite an impassioned try and it almost works. The background "harmony" vocals are pitiful. (8.25/10)

4. "Solstice" (3:40) opens with a fairly flagrant attempt to recreate a classic GENESIS. The metal voicings of Les Dougan soon arrive and not long thereafter the lead guitar (sounding more like BABYLON's David Boyko or MIREK GIL than Steve Hackett). Decent BABYLON-like song. (8.25/10)

5. "Cry Out" (5:33) An interesting m'lange of sound as each and every musician here seems to be drawing from different eras and styles of GENESIS or classic rock sounds, riffs, and styles. Les Dougan's singing gives it its own unique stamp (though there he uses a very familiar "St. Elmo's Fire" melody). (7.75/10)

6. "Gabrielle" (3:30) pure FISH theatrics in this vocal over acoustic guitar finger picking. Easily the best song on the album. (10/10)

7. "The Crucifixion" (15:39) (27.5/30)

- a) Part 1 (7:38) synth strings and pregnant New Wave-like bass line with straight time drum beat provide the sole backdrop for the first four minutes of Les's impassioned vocal. It works. Then there is a major softening--with only guitar and Les's whispering voice--before a burst forth into a speedy swinging pseudo-Rocky Horror-like section. At 5:50 there occurs another stop and slow down, this time for a low keyboard bass note over which spacey flanged synth strings slowly twist and snake their way to the end of this Part. (13/15)

- b) Part 2 (8:11) again the FISH and MARILLION comparisons are unavoidable. Les opens with singing over synth washes--which continue for a few minutes while eventually being joined by simple electric guitar "solo" arpeggi, bass, and drums. Les rejoins in the fourth minute to deliver an amazingly passionate "I'm still waiting" vocal before the band rises up to the album's first truly proggy instrumental passage, complete with multiple keyboard sounds and searing electric guitar soloing all at the same time. Impressive! Why they didn't do more like this I don't know. (14.5/15)

8. "For Your Eyes (Reprise)" (1:14) interesting outro. (4.5/5)

Total Time: 49:14

Odd that there are so few instrumental solos, that the songs are so reliant on a single theme and singer Les Dougan's impassioned vocals. The instrumentalists here are competent and do an admirable job of creating cohesive song constructs but their proficiency on their respective instruments seems to be under-confident and, perhaps, "under progress." Still, thanks to the stellar second half, this is an album that introduces to the world a band with tremendous potential.

B/four stars; an excellent debut for this multi-national Neo Prog band.

 Rocking Horse - And Other Short Stories From The Past by ARAGON album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.91 | 74 ratings

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Rocking Horse - And Other Short Stories From The Past
Aragon Neo-Prog

Review by groon

5 stars In my (very) humble opinion, this masterpiece is really worth to include in hypothetic "Neo-Prog Hall of Fame" (along with selected releases of MARILLION, PENDRAGON, IQ, ARENA, etc.). These guys managed to create an atmosphere of old prog-rock, that refers to bands like GENESIS, YES, CAMEL. The sound is overall dark. The band features the dense and at the same time floating sound, leaving the keyboards dominating. The opening, title and longest track in the album is simply brilliant, leaving an impression of a real rocking horse with the use of sampling keyboards. Sadly, this album (along with the others from the band) is not easy to find. Otherwise a great job, 5 of 5.
 Mouse by ARAGON album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.17 | 60 ratings

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Mouse
Aragon Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

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.

 Rocking Horse - And Other Short Stories From The Past by ARAGON album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.91 | 74 ratings

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Rocking Horse - And Other Short Stories From The Past
Aragon Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

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.

 Mouse by ARAGON album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.17 | 60 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.
 Don't Bring The Rain by ARAGON album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.22 | 62 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.
 Rocking Horse - And Other Short Stories From The Past by ARAGON album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.91 | 74 ratings

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Rocking Horse - And Other Short Stories From The Past
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.

 The Meeting by ARAGON album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.12 | 41 ratings

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The Meeting
Aragon Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

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.

 The Angels Tear by ARAGON album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.69 | 41 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!

 Mouse by ARAGON album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.17 | 60 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.

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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