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Wishbone Ash - Argus CD (album) cover


Wishbone Ash


Prog Related

4.24 | 715 ratings

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3 stars Maybe not the prog masterpiece it's made out to be, Argus is undoubtedly a rock classic with surprising depth. However, other than the finale of "Warrior/Throw Down The Sword," I don't hear much innovation or risk-taking from Wishbone Ash; Argus is universally recognized as their best album, and admittedly I am not familiar with any of their other work, but I only hear a marginally good prog album here. That being said, Argus is an exceptional Classic Rock album, far superior to most of the stuff you hear on classic rock radio, and gets heavy rotation when I am not in the mood for more cerebral material. Argus actually has a Southern Rock feel, and should appeal to fans of The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynrd. Though four stars is probably appropriate, I can't get there given the strength of competition in the Prog-Related genre.

Despite its nearly ten-minute length, "Time Was" is mostly repetitive and even somewhat boring. The dreamy acoustic introduction features the strongest vocal harmonies on the album and deserves a longer exposition instead of the forced, jammy treatment it offers for the remaining bulk of the song. The dual-guitar attack of Andy Powell and Ted Turner makes its first appearance and despite my appreciation for the technique, it becomes stale fairly quickly. I did not grow up with Argus and have heard this device repeatedly throughout the course of my musical life so its groundbreaking nature is all but lost on me. I can imagine what it must have been like to hear something this intense in 1972, but time has not been so kind to "Time Was." "Sometime World" offers the same formula, beginning with a slow ballad that awkwardly transitions to a brisk rock exercise. Though I do enjoy Martin Turner's melodic and commanding bass line, it is really the only highlight of the song for me personally.

The lightweight "Blowin' Free" actually got some radio play back in the day but its staying power is nil. The vocal harmonies seem forced and out-of-place, or maybe just don't suit the song, but don't last too terribly long thankfully. Finally with "The King Will Come" Wishbone Ash begin to incorporate some of the lyrically thematic elements and sense of urgency that has helped it earn their place in the Prog Rock epoch. The song is simply awesome and marks a turning point within the album that never lets up until it's over. "Leaf and Stream" is a lush symphony of glistening guitars and a confident solo vocal courtesy of Mart Turner. The medley of "Warrior" and "Throw Down The Sword" is easily the highlight of Argus, the latter of which contains that now-famous twin guitar polyphony between Powell and Turner. The second side of Argus is much stronger than the first and is an essential listen for all rock music fans. As Prog-related albums go, Argus is good but ultimately not that important in the scheme of things.

coasterzombie | 3/5 |


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