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ARGENT

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Argent biography
Heavy Progressive Rock


Eighteen months after keyboard virtuoso Rod ARGENT left the famous sixties band The ZOMBIES, their single "Time Of The Season" from their last album "Odyssey & Oracle" topped the US charts and sold one million copies! There was a hugh demand to re-group The ZOMBIES but Rod ARGENT preferred to form his own band to make more progressive music. He recruted bass player John Rodford, drummer Bob Henritt and guitarist Russ Ballard and called the quartet ARGENT.

Under this name they released the eponymous debut album "Argent" in '70, the song "Liar" became a USA hit and was covered by THREE DOG NIGHT. With the next albums "Ring Of Hands" ('71) and "All Together Now" ('72) ARGENT gained more appreciation and the single "Hold Your Head Up" became a smash hit all over the world. The following album "In Deep" and single "God gave Rock 'N' To You" charted good but the increasing musical problems between Rod ARGENT and Russ Ballard finally escalated after the next album "Nexus" ('74): Russ wasn't pleased at all with Rod's synthesizer escapades, he liked the shorter and more catchy rocksongs. In '74 Russ departure was a fact but without hard feelings. Later that year ARGENT released the double-live record "Encore". Russ was replaced by multi-instrumentalist John Grimaldi and guitarist/vocalist John Verity. Rod was so excited about this new ARGENT that he refused an offer to join YES after WAKEMAN's departure! In '75 ARGENT made the album "Circus" but despite good critics the sales were poor. In '76 ARGENT released the disappointing LP "Counterpoints", ARGENT took his conclusions and broke up his band.

The early ARGENT made catchy heavy progressive rock with powerful organplay by Rod ARGENT. Their most progressive and acclaimed album is "Nexus": the Hammond organ has almost dispappeared in favor of the Fender Rhodes - and Hohner electric piano, the Mellotron, Grand piano and the famous Moog synthesizer. The album shows great sense of dynamics and splendid shifting moods: lush symphonic, slow and dreamy and fluent and powerful with strong electric guitar and tasteful keyboard play. In '95 their was the release of a great live album titled "In Concert" (on the Windsong label) including most of their best songs, superior to the rather excellent live album "Encore" ('74).
- Erik Neuteboom

Not wanting to destroy a good band, but Argent were never groundbreaking and uncovered new areas of musical exploration: they were simply followers of a movement and added to the sheer mass of excellent albums of those years (70's) and had a lot more commercial success than other band who had more talent (Audience, Comus, etc.....) but always remained somewhat of a second-league act (as opposed to the prog giants). Is it normal that Argent had more commercial success at the time than Caravan, Gentle Giant and others? Nowadays, of course, it seems that Caravan and Argent are regarded with more lucidity and to their more proper artistic value.

Russ Ballard's solo career would take a while to develop, but he was also writing songs for other artistes as well. But one would have to wait for 79's Barnett Dog to find a real good reason for his departure: a strong album filled with solid dramatic RnR lyrics and a widely heard single On The Rebound. His next album Into The Night is probably his best album though, with some very good and diverse songwriting.

While John Verity would go on to form his own band for two albums, Rod Argent will return to his side business of music equipment (he can still be seen in his Denmark street shop in Soho, when not touring with the reformed Zombies) and concentrated on studio work (including The Who) before releasing a solo album Moving Home in 79 (with many star friends) then the Masquerade musical in 82, then worked with Closseum's Hiseman and Barb Thompson on the jazzy Siren Song (83), and then movie scores and new age albums (Red House in 88) and production work (Tikaram in the 90's). He tours now and again with the re-formed The Zombies and plays some Argent tunes in the sets, with his cousin Rodford on bass.
- Hugues Chantraine


DISCOGRAPHY:
Albums:
1970 - Argent (CBS 63781)
1971 - Ring Of Hands (Epic EPC 64190)
1972 - All Together Now (Epic EPC 64962)
1973 - In Deep (Epic EQ 31295/Q 65475)
1974 - Nexus (Epic EPC 65924)
1974 - Encore (dbl) (Epic EPC 88063)
1975 - Circus (Epic EPC 80691)
1975 - Counterpoint (RCA RS 1020)
1978 - Moving Home (MCA MCF2854) - (Rod Argent solo)
1995 - In Concert (Windsong WINDCD 067) - (CD)
1997 - The BBC Sessions 1970-73 (BBC Worldwide Music/Strange Fruit SFRSCD039) - (CD)

Compilations:
1976 - Best Of Argent (Epic EPC 81321)
1978 - Hold Your Head Up (Embassy 31640)
1984 - Anthology: The Best Of Argent (Epic EPC 3257)

: : : Erik Neuteboom, The NETHERLANDS : : :
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ARGENT discography


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

3.10 | 81 ratings
Argent
1969
3.34 | 81 ratings
Ring Of Hands
1971
3.53 | 92 ratings
All Together Now
1972
3.46 | 86 ratings
In Deep
1973
3.73 | 97 ratings
Nexus
1974
3.33 | 73 ratings
Circus
1975
3.22 | 49 ratings
Counterpoints
1975

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

3.52 | 35 ratings
Encore: Live In Concert
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
In Concert
1995
0.00 | 0 ratings
High Voltage Festival
2010

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

3.00 | 4 ratings
Inside Argent
2005

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

2.83 | 13 ratings
The Argent Anthology: A Collection of Greatest Hits
1976
3.09 | 4 ratings
Hold Your Head Up
1978
2.16 | 6 ratings
Argent - The Complete BBC Sessions
1997
3.02 | 7 ratings
Argent/ Ring Of Hands
2000
0.00 | 0 ratings
Greatest: The Singles Collection
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
Original Album Classics
2009

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Schoolgirl
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
Celebration
1971
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sweet Mary
1971
0.00 | 0 ratings
Hold Your Head Up
1971
0.00 | 0 ratings
Tragedy
1972
3.00 | 1 ratings
God Gave Rock and Roll to You
1973
0.00 | 0 ratings
It's Only Money Part 2
1973
0.00 | 0 ratings
Thunder and Lightning
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
Keep On Rollin'
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
Man for All Reasons
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
Thunder and Lightning
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
Rock 'n' Roll Show
1975

ARGENT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Nexus by ARGENT album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.73 | 97 ratings

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Nexus
Argent Crossover Prog

Review by Lupton

5 stars Come together right now...

If In Deep saw Russ Ballard trying to steer the group into a more progressive direction, the follow up album Nexus saw him pushing the band into the realm of pure prog with the opening tracks- not hard rock with a few proggy elements thrown in but full tilt PROG.The fact that the album opens rather audaciously (even Genesis generally tucked these away near the end of an album eg Los Endos) with a three part instrumental -"The Coming Of Kohoutek" based in part on the famous Medieval doom laden "Dies Irae" theme.And what an absolute cracker it is.Although not surprisingly it is dominated by Argents' frenetic keyboard soloing Russ Ballard provides some tasty licks as well.I particularly love the second part with a slow magisterial church organ line and the way the guitar comes in with this slow but blistering solo.It is just so atmospheric and I can almost visualize the mighty but deadly comet hoving into view.This is what I want from Prog- not just a lot of aimless noodling.Prog this track most certainly is but very focused and dynamic. The rest of side one contains "Love" a fairly simple ballad and "Music From the Spheres" which is probably the only other real prog epicon the album with an extended instrumental section. If side one is dominated by Argent/White compositions, side two predominantly contains Ballard penned heavy rockers.The opening track on side one "Thunder and Lightning" is particularly heavy and very bombastic. It ranks with my favourite Argent songs "Keeper Of the Flame" is another punchy rocker and keeps the album's momentum going.Argent's sole contribution on side two "Man For All Reasons" is more sedate with its militaristic rhythm. It actually sounds like the sort of music Stryx would go on to make.It is another enjoyable track with an excellent classically inspired instrumental section.In true stle the band end proceedings with another Ballard bluesy rocker.Unlike the previous album's closer this one is actually pretty good.

Nexus is easily the most consistently enjoyable Argent album.I know I am being a little generous here but I cannot resist giving this album the full 5 stars.I love it.

 In Deep by ARGENT album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.46 | 86 ratings

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In Deep
Argent Crossover Prog

Review by Lupton

4 stars It's never too late to work nine till five- what a depressing thought.

Argent's follow up is similar in style to ATTN but with a bit more prog thrown into the mix.The opening track "God Gave Rock and Roll to You" is such a well known anthem no doubt largely because of Kiss cover version that it is easy to dismiss it a lightweight song.The instrumentation is actually quite sophisticated with an almost Baroque feel and Classical guitar picking in the middle.It really is another stone cold Classic.Easily one of Argents crowning achievements. The rest of the album is actually quite dark and heavy and probably would appeal to Prog Rock fans more than the earlier album."It's only Money Part 1" is a brooding and very heavy prog rocker with a great pulsating base line and another terrific. organ solo"Seriously Rod Argent is so underrated.The closing track on side one "Losing Hold" starts as as a melancholy ballad and includes an excellent guitar solo by Russ Ballard. The song end with a highly atmospheric doomy melotron solo punctuated with big fat gongs in the background. Side two continues the proggy sound with the lengthy "Be Glad" which although a straight forward heavy rocker albeit piano led features another lengthy instrumental break mixing classically inspired piano deviations with aggressive hammond solos- very ELP."Candles on the River" is another mini epic full of epic stabbing hammond chords. The boys cannot help themselves and the closing track "Rosie" is another lightweight feel good boogie.I personally do not have a problem with groups incorporating lightweight feel-good or even comic songs -ELP got away with "Are You Ready Eddy" at the end of Tarkus so Argent should not get critisized either and I must admit after the relentlessly downbeat nature of much of InDeep it is a bit of light relief.

Overall, this is another really strong album and more likely to appeal to fans of prog than the preceding album.

4.5 stars

 All Together Now by ARGENT album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.53 | 92 ratings

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All Together Now
Argent Crossover Prog

Review by Lupton

4 stars Hold your head up woman!

After the uneven if occasionally brilliant Ring Of Hands Argent enter their imperial phase with the much heavier and more consistent All Together Now album.This was their most commercially successful album ever no doubt helped by the massively successful and much covered opening track "Hold Your Head Up".The album version is nearly twice as long and contains a superb keyboard solo.No two ways about it -this track is a stone cold Classic. "Tragedy" is another excellent rocker with a funky rhythm and another excellent solo."I am the Dance of Ages" with its slow pounding rhythm is another great track absolutely drenched in atmosphere.It is probably the closest thing to pure Prog on the album. Unfortunately side one is let down slightly by the track "Keep On Rolling" which is a basic piano boogie led track.There is nothing wrong with it -it is just that it seems a bit out of place adjacent to "Hold Your Head Up" and "Tragedy" and just goes on too long for such a lightweight number. Side two i a bit of a mixed bag."Be My Lover,Be My Friend" is another classy riff driven rocker."He's a Dynamo" is a bit poppy for my tastes but it is OK.The rest of side two is taken up with the lengthy "Pure Love" suite It starts of with a very lengthy unaccompanied church organ solo followed by a very energetic but all to brief jazzy work out slightly reminiscent of ELP. The third part of the suite is a bluesy song which is quite enjoyable and this lead to a brief reprise of the opening part.It is avery satisfying way to round off the album In retrospect it is easy to see why this album proved so popular. It is a very solid rock album with with some nice prog touches no real filler unless you really do not like boogie woogie.

4 stars

 Ring Of Hands by ARGENT album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.34 | 81 ratings

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Ring Of Hands
Argent Crossover Prog

Review by Lupton

4 stars If their first album still carried over some remnants of the 60's in their sound, the follow up is something else altogether.It is actually a rather uneven album in terms of quality. The opening track "Celebration" the lyric of which gives the album it's title is fairly low key and the next track "Sweet Mary" is frankly a fairly pedestrian bluesy number.With the third track "Cast your Spell Uranus" (no schoolboy giggling please) is much more dramatic - I love the organic nature of it -lots of stabbing chords and free-wheeling rhythms.The closing track on side one "Lothlorien" is the real standout here though.It is hands down my favourite Argent song and has one of the absolute best keyboard solos ever committed to vinyl.I cannot understand why so many critics seem to ignore this track especially while dismissing the album as a whole. The "Inside Argent- an independent Critical Review" DVD is a good (or should I say bad) example.Seriously that track alone could give any of the other "Classic" prog tracks especially those featuring hammond organ a real run for their money. Side 2 is a bit more subdued although "Pleasure" has another excellent keyboard solo and closing track"Where Are We Going Wrong?" is another excellent uptempo number with some spirited playing by the whole band.Interestingly the opening track "Chained" a fairly pedestrian rocker was also covered by "Three Dog Night"

For the fantastic "Lothlorien" this album gets 4 stars from me

 Argent by ARGENT album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.10 | 81 ratings

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Argent
Argent Crossover Prog

Review by Lupton

3 stars Argent's self titled debut is a fairly assured album but musically is still closer to what the Zombies produced than the heavy rock/prog crossover sound which would define their sound as the decade progressed. "Like Honey" is a great opener with powerful arpeggiated guitar opening and prominent organ backing and some excellent harmony vocals. Probably the best known track on the album is Russ Ballard's "Liar which was covered successfully by Three Dog Night.The song set a precedent whereby other artist's would have hits with Argent's songs.Infact I cannot think of another band who have been so heavily covered without being major successes themselves-something which always bothered Russ Ballard. The rest of the songs are fairly good but really this album belongs to the 60's -lots of simple verse-chorus songs with very little in the way of instrumental development and as such cannot really be considered a very Prog album

Worth a listen though

3 stars

 Argent by ARGENT album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.10 | 81 ratings

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Argent
Argent Crossover Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars Frustrated by lack of commercial success with The Zombies and seeing the writing on the wall for the changing music tide of the late 1960s despite a few hit singles in both the band's native UK as well as across the pond in the US, Rod Argent grew exhausted from chasing all those psychedelic dreams of the 1960s and longed to jump on the bandwagon of the nascent progressive rock scene that was taking the world of rock and roll to the next level. Ironically The Zombies' final album "Odessey and Oracle" has gone down as one of the most important albums in rock history but that would take many decades to cement its classic status having been commercially unsuccessful upon its time of release.

With the initial intent of simply nudging The Zombies into hard rock / prog hybrid effect, after all was said and done, Rod Argent and Zombies vocalist Colin Blunstone decided to part ways which meant Argent had a stockpile of new material free for exploit. After recruiting his cousin and former Mike Cotton Sound bassist Jim Rodford along with drummer Bob Henrit and guitarist Russ Ballard (both formerly of The Roullettes and Unit 4 + 2), Rod Argent formed his new band with his last name ARGENT providing the moniker. This band enjoyed a bit more success than the previous Zombies with several top 40 singles manifesting in both the UK and US during the band's first half of its career. Argent himself handled keys, guitars and lead vocals.

ARGENT was basically the logical next step for where The Zombies would've headed had they stuck it out. This eponymously titled debut album was recorded and released in 1969 and crafted the blueprint for the style that would make ARGENT one of those typical sounding rock bands of the 1970s much like bands like Mott The Hoople, Deep Purple and Rainbow, that being highly melodic songwriting with a hard rock gusto accompanied by adventurous organ rolls which is the key element that added them some prog kudos in certain circles but despite a few progressive accouterments finding their way into the mix, ARGENT was really about writing instantly catchy hits graced by the Rod Argent's excellently emotive vocal style.

For true progheads, ARGENT's debut isn't the place to begin and they should fast forward to the 1974 album "Nexus" but if really good classic 70s rock appeals to you then ARGENT's earliest albums including this debut are decent albums. While not a major success quite yet, this debut caught the attention of Three Dog Night who covered the band's single "LIar" and took it to the top 10. This was an admirable beginning as ARGENT was just getting it's bearings after reemerging from the ashes of The Zombies but the following albums would get stronger however if you want to comprehend the progression of the band then this debut album is by no means a waste of time, just not as strong as what came next.

3.5 rounded down

 Circus by ARGENT album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.33 | 73 ratings

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Circus
Argent Crossover Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

2 stars There are points on Circus, especially on the first two songs, 'Circus' and 'Highwire,' where the album sounds like a clever parody of fancy-pants concept albums. The sometimes histrionic lead vocals, echo-chorus backing vocals, and grandstanding synthesizer leads aping guitar solos - - it almost sounds like someone did too good a job at Spinal Tap.

But in a strange, Poe's-Law way, Circus is, by definition, pretty good: after all, it does mimic 1970s concept albums without plagiarizing any single 1970s concept album.

There are also points on Circus where I wish the album had no vocals, or that the words were sung in some language I didn't understand. Musically, some of the compositions are good. For example, the melancholy 'Clown' might have said the proverbial thousand words without any words other than the title; conversely, the near-funk-fusion of 'Trapeze' is very good, but its 7/4 meter hardly evokes the motion, or any other aspect, of a trapeze. Actually, 'Trapeze' exemplifies a core problem of Circus: the concept has to be force-fit in places.

And then there are points on Circus, specifically on 'Shine on Sunshine' and 'Jester,' where the group seems to be genuinely trying to sound like Queen. Between these two songs is the semi-ambient synthesizer piece 'The Ring' - - go figure.

Circus is not a total calamity; 'Clown' and 'Trapeze' are pretty good when you look past the lyrics, for example. But I can't recommend it to anyone other than Argent enthusiasts, and I have to believe that they already have it. For everyone else, I'd suggest looking into some of the concept albums by Alan Parsons Project or Electric Light Orchestra.

 Argent by ARGENT album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.10 | 81 ratings

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Argent
Argent Crossover Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Argent is a band that really offers a wide variety of music. From the truly progressive to the pop-infused stadium rock'n'roll for which they have earned the most of their reputation. At least in the public eye. When Argent catches the progressive wave they are magnificent but when they crash into the rocky beach of pop'n'roll I am sure to skip to the next track. Unfair? Maybe, maybe not. Whatever you think of Argent as a band you cannot deny their musical abilities. They were truly masterful at handling their instruments. You can blame them for the weak spots in material but never in the execution. So, having said that I will tell you something about this debut by the band known as Argent.

If you listen to this album and their next one, "Ring of hands", you will hear a major difference. The follow up is packing a whole other punch and is by all account coloured by a real progressive flair that is great. On the debut they seem uncertain in which direction to go. The material is largely pop or (hard) rock but lacking in power. It's held back, thusly creating a sort of bland concoction of late 60's/ early 70's rock music with a hint of "hey, let's try prog or what do you think? Yes? No?"-attitude. There are songs that could have been more interesting if the band had felt more sure about their direction. "Be free" is such a a song, as is "Dance in the smoke" with the wonderfully warm organ of Rod Argent. But then songs like "Schoolgirl" or "Lonely hard road" harkens back to the shift from 60's blues/soul rock and pop into hard rock or prog of the 70's leaving the songs quite lacklustre an lost in translation.

I suppose it must be a challenge to totally redefine oneself, going from the R&B of The Zombies to explore new realms of music and by doing so be relevant to the new public ear of the early 70's. I see that and I acknowledge it. Considering the massive steps taken by the band on their second album one must view this as the dress rehearsal of the great band Argent. Not fully clothed, not fully in tune with the script or ideas that would emerge later on the fumbled through a set of songs that aren't bad but mostly dull. Sad to say, most of the music on this album fails to draw my attention. Having listened countless times I still find myself puzzled and un-moved by the content of the record. It's interesting mostly as a pre-cursor to what's coming but nothing more. This is like the few scattered huts on the seven hills of Rome, before they built a city and empire of powerful proportions. This is merely a hut but obviously competent and by no means rubbish. It's just not that good. It's not.

 Ring Of Hands by ARGENT album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.34 | 81 ratings

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Ring Of Hands
Argent Crossover Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Argent is probably mostly known for Rod Argent being one of the driving forces behind The Zombies and a few choice cuts that became hits in the 70's. I'm obviously thinking of "Hold your head up" and "God gave rock'n'roll to you". The latter didn't exactly fade into obscurity after Kiss picked it up and almost made it their own song. I think it's a shame that these stadium rockers somewhat (and in my opinion) overshadow the true legacy of Argent, which is strong and powerful progressive rock. To me they reached their pinnacle on "Circus", which is all about progressive rock but if you go back throgh their past you'll find a lot to cherish in regards to prog.

While their first album may be somewhat lacking in direction they made it all up on this, their second effort. It opens up with two pop oriented pieces that are nice enough but when you've got those out of the way things get quite serious with the powerful "Cast your spell Uranus" which absolutely reeks of early progressively tinged hard rock. This is so good and gets my blood flowing right away. Great and majestic organ, great guitar riff and wonderful vocals and harmonies that recalls some of Uriah Heeps finest. It's really a powerful staement of intent. And if that isn't enough for you, get yourself into gear for "Lothlorien". Just look at the title. How on earth could you not like that? A song about a country from Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings"-trilogy, that is as prog as it gets to me. And it starts off so well with the organ, the fast paced vocals and complex arrangement. One of my favorites on the album and such a treat. You get a slight classical influence aswell that is tasteful and majestic. At 7.46 minutes it's the longest piece on the album and as such acts as a sort of centre piece or epic. It balances between the outright beautiful to the down right rocking without ever losing sight of the progressive vision.

Side 2 (if you own the thing on vinyl, as I do) opens up with great progressively tinged hard rock in "Chained". The rough guitar riff is wonderful and the organ is to die for. Great lyrics as well. I love this song. "Rejoice" is a quiet piece of the kind that resembles harmony drenched pop/rock of the era. A nice piece that serves as a space for catching your breath after the powerful "Chained". And then it's back to progressive hard rock on "Pleasure", which is great aswell with some complex arrangements. On "Sleep won't help me" Argent visits the jazzy parlour and delivers a great jazz-rock track that is both dreamy and powerful. It all comes to an end with "Where are we going wrong?", which is a hard rock work-out that is good but not the best track on the album.

As a whole "Ring of hands" is typical for many albums of the very early 70's that leans towards progressive rock. It's not at all complex like King Crimson or Gentle Giant but it is certainly very progressive sounding and that comes through so clearly. The keyboards are a treat and shows the massive skills of Rod Argent himself. While I like "Circus" the most I think, at this point in time, I'll place "Ring of hands" as number two in their discography. A wonderful, proto-proggish effort where influences from all walks of like come to life. I mean, that is quite something, isn't it?

 Counterpoints by ARGENT album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.22 | 49 ratings

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Counterpoints
Argent Crossover Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Argent seems to be a band sadly underappreciated in prog rock circles. True, the first two or three albums are sort of lacklustre even by my standards but almost every album holds one or a few progressive gems. "In deep" certainly do and "Nexus is the first of the Argent albums, as I see it, that aims for the progressive rock market. The band hits a high with "Circus" which is by far their most accomplished and most progressive sounding album. Then they released "Counterpoints". Not much loved, as far as the ratings go, but they seemed to launch yet another full on attack of prog rock. Is it as good as "Circus"? Almost.

The album starts off with a mellotron drenched rock song with progressive garnish. You have to remember that Argent from the beginning was little more than a (hard) rock band and though they in 1975 headed down prog avenue they seemed to feel obliged to add one or two simpler songs. Single cuts? A yearning for the charts? Well, maybe. And who can blame them for wanting some cash in their pocket? Anyways, not the most progressive track but good enoug and the mellotron opening is terrific. The song segues into "I can't remeber but yes" which turns out to be the exact opposite to the beginning. High octane progressive jazz-rock with a breathtaking intensity.

The first really outstanding song is "Time" and quite a long piece too, clocking in at 7 minutes. This is really brilliant jazzy progressive. The opening sets the mood and then it hits you. The pop and rock tendencies are gone. You are left with pure prog gold. This is the motherlode of the album.

"Waiting for the yellow one" is a ballad of the sort that prog bands seem to do so well. Soft and gentle with a great organ in the background. "it's fallen off" is a fusion-y thing that could have been on one of the mid 70's Focus albums. The song "Be strong" is another ballad type of thing but with wonderfully arranged odd time structures. Up to now the stage have been set for an almost 100% progressive experience but the spell is broken somewhat by "Rock & roll show". I have a serious problem with bands singing the words "rock-n-roll" over a simple boogie beat as if their trying to create a hymn for the genre. The song in itself isn't bad, really it isn't. Quite catchy and energetic but I just cant stand the chanting of "rock'n'roll". It's just not my cup of tea.

"Road back home" puts most things in order again and a very british sounding intro on flugelhorn(?) precedes the vocal part. Great stuff this. A progressive journey with emotive sections and beautifully arranged. This, the last track, is also the longest with its 10 minutes. Jazzy and smooth without being cheezy this really is a fine way to end an album. And the mellotron is yet again delicious.

I do not understand the high degree of negative criticism this album seems to receive. Given the fact that we all have different taste I still do not understand it. It's a great little album by a (sometimes) great band and being their last album I Think they Went out on a high note. The instrumentation is flawless without being fusion-y sterile, the vocals are terrific (thank you, John Verity) and the mood of the album has everything that makes a prog album great. Apart from two lesser loved tracks ("On my feet again" and "Rock & Roll show") I think it's top class stuff. Give it a go, why don't you?

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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