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Wishbone Ash - Argus CD (album) cover

ARGUS

Wishbone Ash

 

Prog Related

4.24 | 711 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars The kings have come

While Wishbone Ash may fall into the "Prog related" category, there is little doubt that "Argus" stands as one of the finest prog albums ever. The band may not have had a full time keyboard player (arguably a pre-requisite for any prog band), but they more than compensated for this with the sounds and textures the twin lead guitars of Andy Powell and Ted Turner offered. Indeed, the guest appearance of keyboard player John Tout (Renaissance) on "Throw down the sword" perhaps seals the prog credibility of this masterpiece.

It is in fact difficult to categorise this album in terms of a sub-genre. The many acoustic parts convey a prog-folk feel, frequently accentuated by the mediaeval lyrics, while the strong guitars and vocal harmonies can perhaps be compared to bands such as Camel. While never overtly metallic, when the band work their way through a few strong bluesy riffs they offer comparisons with the work of Uriah Heep or Deep Purple.

The album opens with the 10 minute "Time was", which moves from the gentle acoustic introduction into a wonderful up-tempo number featuring some great licks by Powell. "Sometime world" has a similar structure, while "Blowin' free" is more of a fun number.

If side one of the album is classic rock music at its finest, it is arguably surpassed by side two. The feature tracks are set around the acoustic "Leaf and stream", a "Dusk" (Genesis "Trespass") like piece which like "Dusk" offers a peaceful haven amid the glorious epics. The side opens with "The king will come". Here, the twin guitars harmonise to wonderful effect while the lyrics portray a quasi Arthurian tale. This theme is perpetuated in the closing two part epic "Warrior/throw down the sword". While the guitar work throughout the album is exemplary, the track closes with a truly awesome solo, full of atmosphere and emotion.

There really is not a weak track on "Argus", it represents one of the finest albums of its era, a truly essential masterpiece.

In 2002, Martin Turner remixed and remastered the album. The remixing is the cause of some controversy, with some feeling it has not been done well while others take the view that it brings out the dual guitar sound well. The re-release comes complete with three bonus live tracks, of which the 17 minute "Phoenix" is particularly special.

Easy Livin | 5/5 |

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