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Aragon - Don't Bring the Rain CD (album) cover





3.25 | 69 ratings

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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.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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