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ASGARD

Neo-Prog • Italy


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Asgard biography
Although it began in Treviso (Northern) Italy, Asgard has strong ties to Germany as well. The origin is in a band named Fire Dusk, formed in 1984 by guitarist Massimo (Max) Michieletto,
drummer Marco Michieletto,
 basist Glauco Giacchello, and Alberto Ambrosi on keyboards. They became a popular local band, won many contests, and appeared on radio and T.V. Shows. Fortune smiled when they went to Ibiza, and got the chance to work with Nick Griffiths (former Pink Floyd producer), and recorded a few tracks. These ended up on the sampler "Italian Rock Invasion," and another from a Dutch label called "Exposure '88." Soon after, Giacchello was replaced by Chris Bianchi d'Espinosa, and lead singer Francesco (Chicco, or Kikko, depending in which article you read) Grosso was also welcomed to the mix.

In 1991 they signed with German label WMMS, and were given to producer Peter Wustmann. This began the band's heyday. The first proper release was 1991's "Gotterdammerung." In 1992 work was begun on an EP, but it evolved into a short album that became "Esoteric Poem." This was also when the first lineup change occurred. Michieletto left, and was replaced by another drummer named Marco (this one with the surname of Ferrero). Later that year, a darker path was explored on "Arkana." With three solid efforts under the band's collective belt, the time was right to pull out all the stops. So, in 1993 (true to prog form) the epic concept album "Imago Mundi" was recorded. After its release, Franchesco Grosso left, and was replaced by Franco Violo. In late '94, co-founder Max Michieletto also said his goodbyes. Andrea Stefani sat in to cover tour dates.

The website tells a tale of how two of the members wished to stay in Germany, while the others left the band and returned to Italy. Other sources site a financial dispute. The truth is most likely a combination of the two. So, Alberto Ambrosi and Chris Bianchi d'Espinosa would now remain the core of the group. In 2000, the urge to record again came upon them, and "Drachenblut" was released on their own label. This time the other positions were filled by Sergio Ghiotto on guitars, Peter Bachmayer on drums, and Ivo Gallo taking on lead vocals.

By the turn of the Millenium, Ramsau Germany was home base, and through the revolving door came vocalist Dietrich Kuhn, guitarist Michael Brandt and drummer Markus Hinzmann. Information suggests work being done on a fifth album to be titled "Ragnarøkkr," usi...
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Dark HorizonsDark Horizons
Import
Phantom Sound & Vision 2008
Audio CD$16.64
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The Seal Of MadnessThe Seal Of Madness
My Graveyard Productions
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DrachenblutDrachenblut
Import
Dragon's Music
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ArkanaArkana
Audio CD$15.99 (used)
Tradition & Renouveau (Jpn Lp Sleeve)Tradition & Renouveau (Jpn Lp Sleeve)
Import
Marquee 2001
Audio CD$55.00 (used)
Imago MundiImago Mundi
Progressive France 1996
Audio CD$520.84
$35.39 (used)
In the Realm of AsgarIn the Realm of Asgar
Import
Progressive 2006
Audio CD$17.90
$13.90 (used)
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ASGARD discography


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

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

3.11 | 27 ratings
Gotterdammerung
1991
3.14 | 27 ratings
Esoteric Poem *
1992
3.80 | 66 ratings
Arkana
1992
3.54 | 38 ratings
Imago Mundi
1993
3.03 | 16 ratings
Drachenblut
2000

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

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ASGARD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Imago Mundi by ASGARD album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.54 | 38 ratings

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Imago Mundi
Asgard Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Forth album of this discret neo prog band from Italy with moderate succes in the '90s, issued at same WMMS and named Imago Mundi - 1993. Well this is a little known album that desearve a far more attention then it has today, is a concept album well played , performed and composed. Not a weak moments here, I like a lot this kind of neo prog, up tempo with very nice keyboards parts, guitar and all is more then great. I also lik the voice of Kikko Grosso, he has that goth special tone, deep and very elastic in manner of singing. So, as I said before I'm in minority here because I find this one better then Akana in any way. Pieces like opening track Transmigration - On A Blow Of Immense with bombastic chorus, the excellent duel between guitar and keyboards on Courage - Land Of The Dark Wood, the folky with nice flute on Serenity - Land Of The Green Flowers, the rest are also strong. So what to complain here I don't know, I like what I've hered here a lot, this kind of albums I can listen every time with pleasure never get boring. Imago Mundi is one of the unfairly little know album from neo prog field from early '90s. 4 stars easy and to me their best work for sure.

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 Arkana by ASGARD album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.80 | 66 ratings

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Arkana
Asgard Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Asgard is one of the forgotten neo prog bands coming from Italy from early 90s. Their third album from 1992 and second from same year named Arkana is a good example of how must be played this kind of music. Issued at German label WMMS, Asgard was at their peak of their shor career. I guess I'm in the minority here but I don't think this album is their best, I find the next one Imago Mundi to be the most acomplished work they ever done. So regarded to this album the neo prog is rooted very much in Marillion early albums, but also they developed their own aproach. The first 3 pieces are the best from here for sure, specially Olaf Stonehand, a very nice complex neo tune that is very well performed and composed. The rest of the album even is ok, good, there is to much mellow parts interfear between more up tempo ones, cuting the piece when was more intresting. Anyway I like this album, nothing particular excellent but good towards great in places. In some parts they are similar with neo prog bands like Chandelier, Tsunami or High Wheel. 3 stars maybe rounded up to 3.5 because of the first 3 tracks.

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 Imago Mundi by ASGARD album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.54 | 38 ratings

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Imago Mundi
Asgard Neo-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars It's been over six years since a written review was done for this record. This is their fourth studio album released in 1993. Again there is a MARILLION flavour here but a fair amount of heaviness as well. I still feel that "Arkana" is their high water mark and I rated it a very low 4 stars. This one isn't as good in my opinion. It's a concept album by the way. I'm just using the first half of the album titles.

"Transmigration" is led by riffs until the vocals arrive after 1 1/2 minutes. Ripping guitar before 3 minutes. It sounds like mellotron coming and going along with those riffs. This is my favourite track. "Justice" kicks in quickly with vocals. This sounds like Power-Metal light. Not a fan. "Violence 1" is short but very good. This is slower but heavy but it does pick up some. "Violence 2" is uptempo and again in the light Power-Metal style. "Virtue" puts the focus on the vocals for the most part, although there are some good instrumental sections. "Fortitiude" sounds like part 2 of the previous song. "Serenity" is an upbeat listen with vocals. Flute late ending with children's laughter.

"Disharmony" kicks in hard after a minute with vocals. "Courage" is one i'm not a fan of at all with those fast paced vocals and backing vocals helping out. "Imagination" is heavy as vocals join in. It turns lighter a minute in. Contrasts continue. "Vulgarity" kicks in quickly with vocals. An uptempo track that settles 1 1/2 minutes in but not for long. "Nobility" features what sounds like strings and reserved vocals. A tasteful guitar solo 3 1/2 minutes in. "Egoism" has a good heavy intro. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in in an uptempo but not so heavy soundscape. Later it seems like each member gets a chance to solo. Good stuff.

A good album that just doesn't do a lot for me overall.

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 Arkana by ASGARD album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.80 | 66 ratings

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Arkana
Asgard Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Asgard had improved substantially since their debut, and by this album had developed a distinct style of their own; the bedrock of their sound is still Genesis-influenced neo-prog, but Asgard distinguished themselves from the many bands working in the same vein by placing a greater emphasis on the folky, acoustic side of the Genesis sound, as well as introducing a few traditional folk sounds from around Europe which Genesis had not incorporated into their own music. I still wouldn't rank them amongst the upper ranks of the neo-prog scene, but I'd say this album is a decent listen for anyone who thinks "acoustic folk pagan Genesis" sounds like a good concept for a band.

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 Gotterdammerung by ASGARD album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.11 | 27 ratings

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Gotterdammerung
Asgard Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This first release from Asgard is rather rough and unpolished. The Gregorian chant opening to the album on Antiquum suggests that perhaps this particular neo-prog group will go for some unusual influences and lash together a novel sound; alas, what we finally get when the band let rip is a fairly mediocre sound cobbled together from the cast-off musical ideas of neo-prog legends such as Pendragon and IQ, with perhaps a pinch of early Marillion here and there to spice things up and a pronounced Genesis influence to really drive the cliches home. Zealous neo-prog fans who can't get enough of such things might find something to enjoy here; for my part, I can't hear anything on this album which hadn't been done better previously by their influences.

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 Drachenblut by ASGARD album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.03 | 16 ratings

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Drachenblut
Asgard Neo-Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars I have really never understood the old ancient world's fascination for the old Viking world. It seems like the Italians & Co from the old Roman empire believe the old Asatru has the answers to all their ills. Financial meltdown and a sprained wrist ? Unleash Odin. Most of us up in the North would gladly swap minus twenty degrees with Sicily and Italy. And we frequently do ! The trade and tourism from Scandinavian countries is one of Italy's biggest income sources.

Asgard developed and expressed their fascination for these old Nordic beliefs a decade or two ago. Their music is dark and brooding neo prog with some hints towards the Italian occult music scene. Dark and brooding, but still pretty standard and not that interesting. The music is more standard rock than neo-prog. It is bereft of most ideas though.

I find the music here pretty dull and that even after weeks of listening to it. Not all the time, that is. I am not in a loony home. But on a more infrequent basis though to see if this album has the ability to mature. It does not. The vocals are on the less satisfying end of the scale. The music is standard rock and I have long time ago entered the bored out of my mind stage. It is OK, but not more.

2 stars

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 Esoteric Poem * by ASGARD album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.14 | 27 ratings

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Esoteric Poem *
Asgard Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars Having already entered their most busy period,Asgard did a lot of gigs but still found time to write some new material.Their next work was intended to be an EP before the second full- length release of the band,but ended up to be a 37-min. epic composition divided in 5 tracks.This was called ''Esoteric poem'',released in 1992 again on the German label Music Is Intelligence.

The title says it all.This is for most of its part a very long poem and only at moments a Progressive Rock epic.The first part is a long lyrical introduction with only hypnotic background guitars supporting Grosso's voice,by the second part Asgard remind of the band,which recorded the excellent ''Gotterdammerung''.Sensitive guitar work, dreamy synthesizers, romantic harpsichord and Grosso as a Fish clone,delivering an excellent performance.For the third and longest part Asgard return to the opening style,poetic lyrics surrounded by low backgound keys and guitars and only a MARILLION-esque middle-part close to the likes of ''Misplaced childhood'' remind that this is music and not poetry.The same story with ''Esoteric Poem 4'',which starts off again as a poem (music is totally absent),but after the middle the band offers some nice Theatrical Prog with guitar solos,keyboards and vocals to the front and, at last, some rockin' edge.The last part flows into the lighter side of Symphonic Rock with again plenty of vocals,low-tempo guitars and delightful keyboards,lacking although in terms of energy and passion.

What is really succesful about this EP is definitely the choice of its title.A trully esoteric poem by the band,heading to fans of atmospheric music and with only a few sunbeams of the band's style on the masterful debut.''Esoteric poem'' is propably created straight out of the members' souls,heavily leaning towards the lyrical side of prog,still one can indicate Asgard's creativity and pure talent...2.5 stars.

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 Esoteric Poem * by ASGARD album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.14 | 27 ratings

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Esoteric Poem *
Asgard Neo-Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars OK....... I will try not to joke too much here although I feel a long witty rant is just coming up. But frankly; this Italian band sounds and feels like the Fish fronted Marillion. The vocals, the sound..... most things here = Fish & Marillion. To this mix, add the band that Marillion once based themselves on; Genesis. And people, well make that me too, claims The Watch is a Genesis/Marillion rip-off. Their countrymen in Asgard has bettered The Watch. Well, based on this album at least.

I have just said everything you need to know about their sound. Yes, it has some RPI flavours too. But most all of it is Marillion/Genesis based.

The quality of the music is very good though. This is a concept like album. The musicians is more than competent and they pulls of a delightful album which has made me order some more Asgard albums. Then again; I am a Genesis fan. But also those with normal mental health will find this album very enjoyable.

3.5 stars

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 Gotterdammerung by ASGARD album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.11 | 27 ratings

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Gotterdammerung
Asgard Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

5 stars One of the most unique bands of the early-80's Italian prog scene,ASGARD were formed in their original form in 1987 in Treviso,featuring Massimo Michieletto on guitars,Marco Michieletto on drums,Glauco Giacchello on bass and Alberto Ambrosi on keyboards.The band promoted themselves through magazines,TV/radio show and live gigs and participated in two compilations, ''Italian rock invasion'' and ''Exposure 88''.Giachello left to be replaced by Chris Bianchi d'Espinosa and Kikko Grosso on vocals.With this line-up they signed with WMMS and recorded their debut '' Gotterdammerung'' in 1991.

STYLE: This is a stunning and unusual mix of dark,almost Gothic Symphonic Rock and Marillion-esque Neo Prog.Lots of floating and flashy synths combine with distorted guitars under a mysterious dark production to create a very unique soundscape overall.Kikko Grosso sounds very theatrical in a Fish-like voice costume,yet weirdly original.The mainly slow tempos help to the deepness and mysticism covering the band's compositions.Plenty of breath-taking solos all around to calm things down.Dark passages with background keys and poetic lyrics are also in the menu.A very memorable release overall.

SOUNDS/INFLUENCES: Very much influenced by GENESIS and early-MARILLION,but sounding a lot more darker than the latter.

PLUS: A pretty memorable and unique prog style.Vocals are just beautiful.Keyboard work in the vein of Mark Kelly is one of the best to be listened in the Neo Prog league and offers also many unusual Gothic-like moments.Excellent guitar work by Max Michieletto both on rhythms and solos.A superb production to support the band's style.

MINUS: There is a lot in here to remind you of old MARILLION (guitars,keys,voice).

WILL APPEAL TO: it's weird...I can't even think of any serious prog lover not to add this album in his collection.

CONCLUSION/RATING: One of the best Neo/Symphonic Rock releases of the 90's.Melodic, theatrical, delicate, mysterious and very very personal.An underrated and unfortunately overlooked masterpiece to remember...5 stars!

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 Esoteric Poem * by ASGARD album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.14 | 27 ratings

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Esoteric Poem *
Asgard Neo-Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The only other work I own by this band is their supposed magnum opus "Arkana" but even that album didn't really thrill me in many ways. Just the compositions impressed me slightly. In the end I rewarded it with 3 stars. With this obscure second album Esoteric Poem it's an even harder task for me to get ethusiastic.

This short album is performed in the same gloomy, dark style as the more famous follow-up but the interesting large compositions are lacking here. The only track that does it for me is the shortest part IV and then only the rocky second half of it. The rest is uninspiring and makes me do what I already wanted to do with Arkana but couldn't do there because it simply would have been unfair but with this poem I have no problem giving it two stars only. Just for fans ....

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