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Asgard - Arkana CD (album) cover

ARKANA

Asgard

 

Neo-Prog

3.89 | 70 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars ASGARD take their name from Nordic mythology which is also the subject of their music. And you can tell from the titles of the songs on this album that it's all about folklore. Unless the first song "A Gathering Of Fairies" is about something else (haha). Their sound is similar to MARILLION's although I was reminded more of GENESIS, especially the synth sounds. There is also a gothic element to their sound as heard at the beginning of both "A Gathering Of Fairies" and "Olaf Stonehand".

The vocals are very solemn to open the first song "A Gathering Of Fairies" as acoustic guitar and piano melodies come in.The vocals change as we are treated to some GENESIS sounding synths that pulse as the drums build. Before it's over we get some sad sounding keys and spoken vocals. "Wulfstan" is a good song that opens with pounding drums and guitar melodies.The vocals sound like Gabriel and the synths again sound like GENESIS. Yes it all sounds beautiful.Things speed up as the melody starts to sound more like SAGA. "Olaf Stonehand" opens with solemn vocals again and the atmosphere is dark. The sound builds as the drums and synths come in and the vocals return to normal. Yes it sounds like GENESIS again until 10 minutes in when first reminder of MARILLION has come.The song reverts back to the sound of the intro to end the song.

"The Mirror Of The King" is slow paced with acoustic guitar and reserved vocals. We hear flute for the first time and after 6 minutes the tempo picks up as the MARILLION sound comes back. 9 minutes in we get some scorching guitar solos and crisp drumming. Nice.The song closes with piano melodies. "The Queen Of Ice" reminds me of Hogarth era MARILLION and there is a good bass solo along with an uplifting vocal melody. "The Squirrel" is a fast paced acoustic guitar instrumental, while the next song "The Breath Of A Veiled Goddess" is a piano instrumental with a vocal melody part way through.The final song "The Lords Of The Mountain" opens with synths shooting off then vocals, followed by flute. Then we get some machine gun drumming with keys before it gets dreamy 4 minutes in with relaxed vocals,synths and light drums. Then back to the heavier melody.

"Wulfstan" and "The Queen Of Ice" are the highlights for me although there are many highlights throughout this record. This was worth the search and it was quite the search to find what most people feel is ASGARD's best record. I found rating this quite difficult for a number of reasons but settled on 4 stars, although I feel it's not quite a 4 star record.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |

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