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Wishbone Ash

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Wishbone Ash Argus album cover
4.24 | 794 ratings | 85 reviews | 53% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Time Was (9:42)
2. Sometime World (6:55)
3. Blowin' Free (5:18)
4. The King Will Come (7:06)
5. Leaf and Stream (3:55)
6. Warrior (5:53)
7. Throw Down the Sword (5:55)

Total Time 44:44

Bonus track on 1991 MCA reissue:
8. No Easy Road (B-side 1972) (3:36)

Bonus tracks on 2002 MCA remaster:
8. Jail Bait (live *) (4:57)
9. The Pilgrim (live *) (10:10)
10. Phoenix (live *) (17:06)

Bonus tracks on 2007 Universal remaster:
8. No Easy Road (B-side 1972) (3:36)
9. The Pilgrim (live *) (10:10)
10. Phoenix (live *) (17:05)

Bonus disc from 2007 Universal remaster:
1. Time Was (live "In Concert") (9:55)
3. Warrior (live "In Concert") (5:44)
4. Throw Down the Sword (live "In Concert") (6:16)
5. The King Will Come (live "In Concert") (7:32)
6. Phoenix (live "In Concert") (19:31)
7. Blowin' Free (live "Bob Harris Show") (5:36)
8. Throw Down the Sword (live "Pete Drummond Show") (6:13)

Total Time 60:47

* Taken from the "Live From Memphis" EP, recorded at WMC-FM, Memphis, Tennessee, Aug 21, 1972

Line-up / Musicians

- Andy Powell / lead (1-3,5-7), rhythm & acoustic guitars, vocals (2-4,6,7,9)
- Ted Turner / lead (2-4,6,9,10), slide (3), rhythm & acoustic guitars, vocals (1,3)
- Martin Turner / bass, vocals
- Steve Upton / drums, percussion

- John Tout / organ (7)

Releases information

Artwork: Hipgnosis (photo taken at Gorge du Verdun, Provence, France)

LP Decca - DL 75437 (1972, US)
LP MCA - MDKS 8006 (1972, UK)

CD MCA - MCD 10234 (1991, Europe ) With bonus track
CD MCA - 088 112 816-2 (2002, Europe) Remastered by Eric Kvortek & Erick Labson and remixed by Martin Turner, w/ 3 bonus Live tracks
2CD Universal - 9849624 (2007, Europe) 35th Anniversary Ed. remastered by Paschal Byrne w/ 3 bonus tracks & extra disc with 1972 BBC Live recordings at Paris Theatre, London

Thanks to alucard for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy WISHBONE ASH Argus Music

WISHBONE ASH Argus ratings distribution

(794 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(53%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(34%)
Good, but non-essential (11%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

WISHBONE ASH Argus reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by chopper
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I've always thought of this album as a classic of prog rock so I'm glad to see it on this site at last. Whilst Wishbone Ash became more of a guitar-based rock band later in their career, their first three albums are classics of prog rock and this is the best of the three. Most songs feature the excellent twin guitars of Andy Powell and Ted Turner and usually have two or three part vocal harmonies.

"Time Was" kicks the album off with an acoustic flavour and some nice harmony vocals, before changing to the rockier part of the song. Some nice guitar work here.

"Sometime World" again starts off slow, before breaking down before a chunky guitar riff appears from the mix and takes the song onto a different plane with some great bass playing from Martin Turner. Nice harmony vocals again.

"Blowin' Free" has an Allman Brothers kind of feel to it, with a country-ish guitar riff.

"The King Will Come" and "Throw Down The Sword" are similar to each other, in between we have the gentle "Leaf and Stream" and the awesome "Warrior". This song kicks off with a great guitar riff and ends with the fantastic "I'd love to be a warrior, a slave I couldn't be" chorus.

The bonus track on the 1991 release ("No Easy Road") is a pleasant enough rock song, but out of place here.

A prog rock classic - if you like the rockier, guitar-based side of prog then you'll love this.

Review by Tony Fisher
5 stars This album is sensational and is Wishbone's masterpiece. Over 30 years after its release, it sounds as fresh and exciting as ever and, along with The Snow Goose, is my most played album. The guitar play throughout is breathtaking and melodic, Andy Powell and Ted Turner complementing each other and swapping solos and riffs effortlessly whilst Martin Turner contributes some sensational bass lines and Steve Upton's drums are sensitive and inventive. For the first time, they include keyboards, with Jon Tout of Renaissance guesting on organ in Throw Down The Sword. This adds an extra dimension and, subsequently, Graham Maitland (ex Glencoe) would tour with them. Are they prog? Probably, at least on this album; they have some definite prog characteristics but who cares when they're as good as this?

All seven tracks are an aural delight (ignore the CD's bonus track which has no place in such exalted company). Their previous albums were brilliant for the most part, but were somewhat flawed by rough edges and some undeveloped ideas. This is expertly constructed and produced. The tracks change between gentle acoustic passages to full blooded rock seamlessly. All seven tracks are highlights and still feature in their live repertoire to this day; it's amazing to see 17 year olds singing along to songs recorded long before they were born. I will refrain from describing each track; the best way to discover this album is to buy it and hear for yourself.

This album was voted best album of 1972 - ahead of Close to the Edge, Thick as a Brick and Foxtrot. Did it deserve this accolade? Without any doubt at all; excellent though those albums are, this is on a higher plane altogether. Very few albums deserve the title perfect: this is one. Essential to any collection.

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars While I'm not sure whether WISHBONE ASH should be more considered "art-rock" than "prog-related", "Argus" is their definite piece of music that stands the test of time. Of almost cult-like proportions, "Argus" is full of twin guitar interplays, acoustic passages, melodic bass hooks, long multi-part jams and slightly "romantic" or "sword and sorcery" lyrical images that should satisfy the average prog rocker's hunger for elaborative music concepts!

Although I have not heard much of their later work (what I heard is pretty thin!) I can freely assume that this album is their highest point. In digression, I was at WISHBONE ASH tour of 1982 when they also visited Sarajevo, ex-Yugoslavia. It was an excellent concert in spite of the fact that they largely promoted the then released and terribly bad album "Twin Barrels Burning". The concert set contained mostly the material from "Argus" and the audience was thrilled because evryone new the songs ("Argus" being licensed and released domestically and enjoyed a sort of "cult" status among the Hippies and Proggers).

All in all, this album is a masterpiece of classic rock of the early 1970s, even though WISHBONE ASH are not usually considered a prog band. I can but recommend this fine work to all prog lovers. You will not be dissapointed!

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars 4,5 sdtars really!!!!

Unanimously recognized by all WA fans, Argus is also the main reason why the group is in our beloved Archives. One of the reasons for progheads liking this album so much is the absolutely superb gatefold artwork depicting a medieval soldier on a misty morning in a mountainous landscape observing a strange flying saucer. One of the more puzzling things about this album is that almost every single Cd re-issue has had that artwork duplicated without the spaceship, which remains a mystery to this writer about the whys of this fact. Much discussion about this album has occurred on whether it was a concept album (four tracks clearly allude to warrior- related issues, but this reviewer prefers to speak of a thematic album rather than a conceptual one. At most, only the second side of the vinyl is strongly thematic in its heroic-fantasy imagery.

Every little thing that seems not perfect on the first two albums here are completely absent and the album is close to flawless in this gorgeous set of tracks. From the 9 min+ stunning opener Time Was (and its quiet intro, and strong tightness of the group) to the catchy Blowin' Free (again returning more towards the tighter and more macho side of the group) and passing through the awesome Sometime World (with its superb intro and then the superb bass line supporting the now-famous scatting, great succeeding guitar solos), the first side of the album ends all too shortly (but time-wise this vinyl was anything but short). But I have only one regret: though, most of the songs ends in fade-outs - maybe the last little flaw in the songwriting, but that was the common thing to do back then.

The second side of the album manages to top the first one, with their seminal the King Will Come, with Ted turner playing his best solo in the five records (the double live included) he recorded with WA. Just as superb is leaf and stream with its beautiful arpeggios and that superb pastoral ambiance, a quiet and reflective track from beginning to end and a pure joy. Spine chills guaranteed!! Out comes one of the most awesome track ever written, Warrior and its message for force to become a free man. Throw Down The Sword is a fitting exit to an almost perfect album with both Powell and Turner playing so emotionally that one can only want to spin the album again.

Recent re-issues of this album have included as bonus tracks a rare live three track EP or in my case (the Japanese mini-Lp) the B-side to the Blowin' Free single - No Easy Road. In either case, the tracks are not a suitable addition to this great album and actually ruin a bit the feeling of mighty beauty once Throw Down The Sword is over. Most of this album is still played in concert thirty years after it was written and that fact speaks for itself, does it not?

Somehow it is so sad that they never did another album like that one, but maybe the group knew its strengths well enough not to want to try to repeat this album without cheapening it by making a carbon copy. Nevertheless every proghead is still crying at the sudden change of musical direction taken after this album, despite its wide critical acclaim and excellent commercial success.

Review by 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.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is as an essential offering to the progressive music genre as you will ever get. Argus is a classic 1972 composition from Wishbone Ash. Along with thier debut and perhaps Pilgrimage the trio of albums stands out as superb quality music. What is the formula which makes a mix of sound so successful and at the same time so damn progressive? A good blend of rock and roll, progressive rock and languid mournful lyrics that carry an air of mystery and grandeur. I reckon that is a pretty darn good cocktail to start with.The album kicks off with the epic ' Time Was' which builds nice and steadily to a raucous chorus, followed by ' Sometime world'. The slower numbers really are the most haunting ' The King will Come' and the beautiful ' Leaf and Stream'. ' Throw Down the Sword makes for a climatic end to the album also. Make no mistake there is tons of rock and roll on Argus too, but quality stuff which only compliments the overall message. The remastered version comes with three live tracks ' Jail Bait', 'The Pilgrim' and last but not least ' The Phoenix'. Ordinarily I would not mention bonus tracks and remastered editions but this package is so well delivered it is impossible to ignore the memphis gigs of 1972. Essential progressive music every step of the way.
Review by Australian
5 stars The band of Andy Powell, Martin Turner and Steve Upton creates Argus, the crown masterpiece of Wishbone ash which, for me goes down as one of the best albums. The title, "Argus" comes from the Greek myth of "Argus" who is a giant with 100 eyes, it also can be used to describe a vigilant or observant person. With this name comes a conceptual album of war, time and history all of which are mentioned in "Argus." Even without listening to the album it is clear that "Argus" is based around warriors and war, the cover and song titles emulate this idea. "Argus" is an undoubtedly progressive album, changes in dynamics and tempo complement this claim as well as the epic concept surrounding the album.

Wishbone Ash developed their ideas to the point of perfection for the first and arguably only time and were rewarded with a number 3 charting in England, from which the band attained a moderate following, which remains to this day. "Argus" is a musical journey, taking the listener into a land of old, while still retaining an element of modern times, if you understand me. "Time Was" is a progressive song with time changes and extended song length as well as ingenious guitar work and lyricism. The song begins with a short acoustic section before moving into a fully blown rock/prog song with various guitar solos and lyrics. There is absolutely nothing dark about "Time Was" and it is actually an uplifting song and enjoyable to listen to. "Sometime World" follows "Time Was" and opens as a slow-ish song of a man waiting and lamenting basically. The song gradually gains momentum and eventually changes tempo and for the last four minutes of the song there is upbeat guitar work and supporting lyrics.

"Blowin' Free" is perhaps the most off-topic song, about the usual stuff. The songs takes on more of a conventional rock feel, but still retains progressive elements and tempo changes. Coming up next is "King Will Come" which opens with a instrumental jam consisting of a mainly a snare drum with guitar and bass overlay. The song follows on with the concept of history and talks of what will happen when the "King will Come" and various related propaganda. Next up is "Leaf and Stream" which reminds me greatly of 'The Church.' Anyway the song has a splendid atmosphere and a mellower feels than feel than the rest of "Argus", while still retaining great effect. Next is "Warrior" one of the best songs on the album, very infectious and just a great listen with stunning lyricism and guitar work. It really follows on with the concept of warriors and war. Last off is the legendary "Throw Down You Sword" whose guitar solo was named number 14 in Planet Rock's top 40 guitar solos. Once you listen to it you'll surely agree it is a entwined guitar solo from both Andy Powell and Ted Turner, amazing stuff which ends and amazing album and song.

1. Time Was (5/5) 2. Sometime World (5/5) 3. Blowin' Free (4/5) 4. King Will Come (4/5) 5. Leaf and Stream (5/5) 6. Warrior (5/5) 7. Throw Down the Sword (5/5) Total = 33 divided by 7 (number of songs) = 4.714 = 5 stars Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music

I posted my "Argus" review because at the moment the album is at around 4.80 (makes this review timeless, wink, wink<">) stars which is insanely good, the fact is it is a fair rating.The UK remaster of the album comes with three live bonus tracks, two of which run for over 10 minutes and are recorded live with great sound quality. I'd recommend "Argus" to all Art Rock fans and to all of you who love a good concept album. Also, a time less album.

Review by ClemofNazareth
5 stars Argus is without question Wishbone Ash’s magnum opus. That much is hard to argue. What’s less clear is whether this is a progressive rock band; a hard-rocking yet innovative group of skilled musicians; just four guys who got lucky; or something else. ‘Something else’ is probably the closest answer.

I have several other Wishbone Ash albums, and while a few of them are quite good, none exudes the kind of calm sense of confidence and self-assurance that this one does. The boys in the band must have felt pretty cocky when they laid down the last tracks on what they must have known would be considered a masterpiece.

There’s nothing particularly innovative about the style or arrangements of the seven songs which make up this album; heck, the Allman Brothers were doing the exact same kind of stuff but with a bit more flair, percussion, and soul far to the west of Devon about the same time. Country Joe & the Fish and Spirit were among many bands that predated Wishbone Ash in the realm of folksy, blues-tinted and guitar-driven mood music. There are easily dozens of similar bands that put out similarly inspiring sounds in the early seventies (Ramatam, Thee Image, Cactus, etc.), but none of these have left the kind of lasting impression that Wishbone Ash did with this album.

Every track is a self-contained expression of peace, nostalgia, longing, sadness, and beauty, all rolled into one and lain out like a bare soul for the reflection and enjoyment of all who have partaken of them. The twin guitars and poignant harmonizing vocals have stood the test of nearly thirty-five years time flawlessly. Brilliant stuff in every respect.

The opening track “Time Was” would have been enough to make this album worth picking up all on its own. The gentle guitar and mellow singing that lead off the song give the impression this is a folkish melody, but eventually the tempo picks up and this turns into a touching lament-turned-love song. The soaring guitar licks and driving beat work themselves into a full-blown jam for what seems like an eternity before finally bringing it home with a flourish. Every time I hear this song (really, every time I hear this whole album) I wish I was sitting behind the wheel of an old muscle car just cruising down a coastal highway taking in a cool summer breeze, free of all the world’s crap and with a busty blonde in a billowy dress at my side. Daydreams were made for this kind of music, and vice versa.

“Sometime World” evokes many of the same emotions, but I think this is the track that first got people calling this progressive music. It isn’t, maybe, but the tempo shifts from ballad-like crooning into driving twin-guitar intensity is an absolute rush if you hear it with the car stereo’s volume turned to eleven. Try it some time: if your dial doesn’t have an 11, paint one on. Feel free to sing along too, especially if you’re in that muscle car and screaming down the highway. No one will care. I really shouldn’t drive while listening to music, I think.

The timing of “Sometime World” seems designed to get one’s blood rushing to jut a little beyond the safety point just so “Blowin’ Free” can bring it back down to earth. Now that’s a great production technique! Still the twin guitars carry the rhythm, but this is closer to that folksy side of the band that makes them so endearing. I can think of a whole pile of ‘girl I can’t quite reach’ songs like this one from the seventies, but this one not only wears the scars of experience, it does it while seeming to celebrate the gut- wrenching experience of longing that so many of us have forgotten over the years. This one will bring those feelings rushing back, and will probably get you thinking about some old girlfriend as well. Enjoy.

“The King Will Come” is the rockingest song of the apocalypse ever made. At times it almost seems like a celebration. It just occurred to me that one of the great things about this album is that it makes the journey through the lands of a hundred human emotions, and it showcases each one with a knowing resignation that each of these emotions and experiences is essential to what makes us human. I wonder if these guys were into Zen or something? Maybe.

That wizened gristle can be heard in “Leaf and Stream” as well as anywhere else on the album. This acoustic and poetic folk ballad forms a peaceful interlude before the boys kick things up again with “Warrior”, a war-cry for any of a thousand races who have pledged their souls to secure the freedom of their own destiny. This one brings me back to the real point of the album, the loosely-coupled theme of struggle and conquest and finally peace.

The peace comes with the aptly-titled “Throw Down the Sword”, a reflective anthem of searching. The guitar work here is rather subdued and the vocals a bit discordant, full of the raw emotion of a weary soul. The sense of the uncompleted journey is completely intentional I suspect, and mirrors the unfilled search for meaning and conclusion that we all seem to live every day. A poignant ending to a brilliant album.

It’s kind of frustrating that Wishbone Ash never again was able to capture the combination of seamlessly precise musicianship and honest emotion that this album evokes. But I suppose if they had it would only have served to cast a shadow on this classic, which would have been unfortunate in some ways. This is a classic, and one that belongs in every music lover’s collection. Five stars, easily.


Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is melodic rock at it's finest, with a twin lead guitar attack and vocal harmonies that make this extremely accessible.

The record opens with "Time Was" that for 3 minutes is delicate and pastoral with beautiful guitar and gentle vocals until the tempo speeds up and we have a guitar driven rocker.Nice. "Sometime World" is a slower paced song with the focus on the vocals until like the first song things accelerate 3 minutes in. The vocal melody is pretty cool with nice bass lines, but check out the last couple of minutes where there is this fantastic guitar solo that just goes on and on. "Blowin' Free" is a fan favourite that features some slide guitar and three of the guys singing on this one. Again the guitar is so good !

"The King Will Come" builds in the beginning with some great interplay between the drums and guitar. The lyrics are taken from the Bible and are great. "Leaf And Stream" is a beautiful folk song with some tasteful, intricate guitar melodies. "Warrior" opens with a nice 1 minute guitar solo. The vocals are reserved and sad as the soldier in our story contemplates leaving home and family behind to go to war. The soundscape speeds up as he gathers strength knowing he must fight to be free. This song blends into the next one "Throw Down The Sword" opening with some beautiful guitar melodies.This song becomes powerful and emotional as the war is over ! And the guitar is soaring ! A great way to end this amazing record.

This is just a great listen with no weak tracks. Just don't expect anything too challenging or adventerous. A pleasant listen.

Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Here is one fine example of music that perhaps is not too daring or complex but it's excellent, enjoyable and still of interest for progressive rock fans.

"Argus" is considered as band's masterpiece by many, and while that fact is arguable (there are other WISHBONE ASH albums good enough to compete), it's definitely the finest example of band's sound picture.

This IS a great album. If we do individual vivisection of each track, the conclusion is that all the tracks are more or less straightforward rock tunes, with lots of solos and occasional escapes into the progressive territories.

The best tracks here are "Warrior" and "Thrown Down Your Sword", leaning perfectly one onto another, with epic feel, excellent guitar craftsmanship and occasional impressions of proto-metal. By listening to these, one could easily conclude where METALLICA picked their influences, among others respectable artists of the era.

My favourite track is "Sometime World", simply because of gorgeous vocals that remind me of CAMEL somehow.

The rest of the album is not to be underestimated, because they are all high quality guitar-oriented rock tunes, with many rewarding moments for the listener scattered all over the place - for example, the opening track is clocking at almost 10 minutes (it's not the most progressive one, though) and there is not a one boring moment at all.

One might blame the band because of their style, neither here not there: they weren't true prog band, but they were not a mainstream rock neither. However, it seems that band's formula worked perfectly (at least in the seventies), and this album is the finest example of it.

Review by Zitro
2 stars I don't understand.

Well, first, I don't understand why this band is here, as this seems to be just a typical rock album. I do not see any traces of prog here. This is just rock, and rock&roll.

Secondly, I just find the music mostly dull, repetitive, and uninspired. Melodically poor, harmonically simple, and the musicianship and vocals are just not very strong. The songs are long because they drag, not because they are multi-segmented mini-epics.

Third, this is a style of music that I really enjoy listening to, so It's not like I'm reviewing a neo-prog (sorry) album or an 80s pop album. So, I just find it very mediocre compared to similar artists like Led Zeppelin.

I'll discuss track by track why I consider the first half of this album very weak.

This Was: The album begins with a pleasant acoustic intro and decent (but not very good) vocals, but it keeps being like that with no variation for almost three minutes. The rest is extremely repetitive Rock&roll with an obvious Led Zeppelin influence throughout. There are a few moments where musicianship is great (the guitars), but that mediocre Led Zeppelin-style riff played forever ruins everything. Bad start. 2/10

Sometime World follows the same format: It begins as a decent yet not very interesting acoustic ballad is played for a long time with little variation yet turns into another pointless, repetitive, straight rocker for over four minutes. Sure, the soloing is pretty good, but the songwriting here is just terrible. It's just the same riffing for a long long time. 3/10

Blowin' Free: A more boogie-style number with a very uninteresting guitar riff played for a long time. It has a decent mellow section around the middle with nice guitar. Unfortunately, s ending is a disaster: it sounds like Led Zeppelin, but much worse than that band at its worst with an irritating riff and a kind of awful guitar solo. 2/10

Fortunately, none of the following 4 songs are bad.

The King Will Come: The riff-oriented repetitive nature of the album continues but this song is slightly more varied and at least the main riff is decent. The music is mid-tempo, rocking, and quite celebratory I could say (it just sounds positive). The guitar performance is pretty good and while the song is repetitive, at least it does not sound bad. Unfortunately, the vocals are not very good, like always. 5/10

Leaf and Stream: Once the ok vocals shut up for a bit, there is a very good clean guitar solo in the middle of the song. This song is more harmonic and much prettier than the mellow moments in the first tracks. It is however, playing the same acoustic pattern for 4 minutes. 5.5/10

Warrior: good song! Of course, it's repetitive and is based only on a couple of riffs, but hey, these riffs are pretty good and the soloing in the background is good too. At minute 1, there is a beautiful mellow riff. Of course, the not so good vocals come, but they don't really ruin that part. The ending would be so good if the vocalists had good voice. 5.5/10

Throw Down the Sword is my favourite song and despite the same intro riff being played alone for over a minute, this is possibly the least repetitive track here. After that riff, it is just a normal conventional song but what makes this song stand out is the last two minutes. What a brilliant climax! Two guitar solos playing simultaneously over a good instrumental backdrop. It is not something I hear everyday, and sounds very hard to do, but they pulled off the twin guitar solo perfectly. 7.5/10

Well, the second half of the album is pretty decent, if repetitive music and finishes with a glorious guitar performance in its last two minutes, but the first half is beyond poor. I just find it very hard to focus on that music as it seems to rock and rock and rock mindlessly for eternity with very little variation and few excellent solos.

I recommend to look for other 70s classic rock rather than here.

Review by Hercules
5 stars Let me say this loud and clear - I don't think this is really prog. No keyboards (except on one track), no epics and no real innovation unless you count dual/harmony lead guitars. But whatever, this is simply one of the finest albums ever recorded. Not a note is out of place, every song is a beautifully crafted piece of art and the band play out of their skins. The dual lead guitars produce solos that other bands would die for on every track, the vocals are superb and the lyrics are sheer poetry. By far their finest work and possibly one of the the best albums of all time. Whereas once great albums like In the Court of the Crimson King have become terribly dated, this still raises the hairs on the back of my neck every time I hear it, undiminished by the passage of 35 years. Outstanding and completely essential to any collection, prog or otherwise!
Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars 4,5 stars. Without doubt, Wishbone Ash´s best release ever. the album was very influential to a number of bands and artists, including a very young Steve Harris, who became obssessed to have the twin lead guitars sound for his new band, Iron Maiden. Argus stood very well the test of time and shows the prowness of tis english foursome to make some really advanced music.

Ok, it is not symphonic prog like Yes or Genesis, but then progressive music means much more than that. Prog rock meant expand rock´s horizons and bring up new levels to the music. And that Wishbone Ash did very well, Argos being the group´s best exemple. Songs like The King Will Come, Time Was, Sometime World, Warrior and Thrown Down The Sword are some of the songs that sounded like never done before. The guitar works of Ted Turner and Andy Powell is amazing and it is no wonder they have so many imitators and followers. Martin Turner´s bass playing is also very interesting and diferent. Steve Upton is a fine drummer. Their vocals, often usign two lead vocals in harmony is another highlight.

Make no mistake, this is prog rock music: alive, powerful, groundbreaking and very, very good. It proves that you can make a fine prog album without keyboards and with a lot of guts. Highly recommended!

Review by mystic fred
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A Timeless Masterpiece!

One of the most popular Prog rock albums of all time, "Argus" remains as profound and influential today as it did on its release. This is what Progressive rock is all about - its wonderful imagery, dramatic mythical themes of history and time, wonderful vocal harmonies and superb musicianship confirm its place as an archetypal Prog classic, the various musical styles on their previous albums came together to form the very cohesive material on "Argus".

This could indeed be described as a "crossover" album as it was and remains very popular with all rock and pop fans, many of the songs are still part of the Wishbone Ash live set, most latterly "Leaf and Stream". Recorded at Wembley's De Lane Lea studios in January 1972 and released on April 28th of that year, the album reached No.3 in the UK album chart. The first track "Time Was", about putting the past behind and moving on, is in two parts; introduced with an atmospheric acoustic section leading into a Who influenced (a band WA had toured with on many occasions) rock workout, sometimes played live as two separate songs. "Sometime World" contains some fine scat style vocals and a brilliantly fluid guitar solo from Andy Powell, the song also features some very catchy bass lines from Martin Turner, overall some great album highlights. "Blowin' Free", a whimsical love song reputedly about a beautiful Swedish girl Annalena Nordstrom, a former girlfriend of Martin Turner... the phrase "you can only try" was one of hers!

Side 2 begins with "The King Will Come", reputedly written about the Christian Biblical idea that when the world ends believers will be saved - I promise to be good...honest! A military-style beat with wah-wah guitar solo snaking around it introduces the song, breaking into a classic Ash guitar riff. "Leaf and Stream" is a beautifully atmospheric English folk song written by Steve Upton, his first lyrical contribution to the band. "Warrior", a rousing song about having to fight one's own personal battles, not being pushed around or country fighting country and "Throw Down the Sword", the battle won, healing wounds and a return to peace, are two songs but are often regarded as a two part mini-epic. These classic Prog songs are still part of the band's live set.

An essentially uplifting addition to any Prog collection!

Review by jammun
4 stars As others have noted, labeling Wishbone Ash's Argus a prog album is stretching things a bit. These guys have as much in common with Foghat as they do with Yes. However, this is about as good as mainstream rock ever got, and there is a level of sophistication to these tracks that do nudge the album a bit into the prog realm. Then there's also the barely discernable UFO that was visible on the LP album cover: definitely progressive.

Argus starts off with chiming acoustic guitars on Time Was, after which the song takes on a decidedly louder character. The second track, Sometime World, follows somewhat the same approach: begin quietly and gently, then explode in a whirlwind of bass and dual lead guitars. The bass playing on this track particularly shows a Yes/Squire influence. However, the album probably gets its prog- related reputation from The King Will Come, Warrior, and Throw Down the Sword, all originally on Side 2 of the LP. These are all excellent rock songs imbued with a smattering of prog influences.

This album, unlike many of the era, still sounds fresh today. This is not your mindless boogie that was growing in popularity at the time; these guys are top-notch rock musicians. It's too bad that WA were never able to produce anything else that came close to it; this was the one classic they had in them. Much as I'd like to, I can't quite bring myself to give this album a 5, but it's certainly worthy of a 4. It should be of interest to anyone who wants to hear the influence that prog had on hard rock in general.

Review by Flucktrot
4 stars Similar to most bands, one album tends to stick out from the others for Wishbone Ash. The only remarkable thing is just by how much. Argus simply blows the doors off of at least 95% of classic and prog rock albums. I can't believe that I've never heard of these guys before frequenting ProgArchives. I think I'll blame it again on pathetic radio playlists, but I digress.

Time Was, Sometime World, Blowin' Free. The first side contains one boogie track (Blowin' Free), which is just fine, and two feature tracks that start slow, but it's only a matter of time before they set to rocking. Of course, the guitars lead the way (and they are an absolute treat to behold), but one thing that many reviewers fail to mention is the excellent bass by Martin Turner--most of the time, his contribution is basically a countermelody, which adds a richness to the music that is easy to overlook. This is just great rock.

The King Will Come, Leaf and Stream, Warrior/Throw Down the Sword. Let the prog begin--and make no mistake, the second side is indeed progressive. The playfulness is for the most part gone, and the music takes on a much more serious, pernsive quality. The King Will Come is a stately rocker, and catchy as can be, followed by the slower, absolutely gorgeous Leaf and Stream. As with most great albums, the best is saved for last, and the Warrior/Throw Down the Sword Suite does not disappoint! Majestic, powerful and captivating, these closing tunes are the perfect way to conclude the album.

Great stuff from Wishbone Ash--too bad there was nowhere to go but down from here. I actually hear some resemblence to a stripped-down early Kansas--plenty of boogie and rock, but also enough prog to keep you listening (though without the keys and synths). I put this up with some of the great classic rock and progressive rock albums.

Review by obiter
5 stars Having just listened to some Steve Wilson I was feeling down and then I remembered this great album and thought: time to cheer up with superb uplifting harmony vocals and clean honest guitar.

Thank prog for music like this (especially when you've ahd a close encounter of the Steve Wilson kind). This isn't just great music it's positive therapy.

Let's tune in to Wishbone, see the important things in life, enjoy ourselves and move to Taos and live in an Earthship. OK there's a more than a hint of southern rock in here but every house needs a confederate corner. What else do you expect from an English band?

Who said prog can't be fun? I dare you to listen to this album and not smile.

A prog rock classic essential.

Review by russellk
2 stars Though considered a classic rock album, I always saw WISHBONE ASH's 'Argus' as a generic rock album with one special trick: the twin-lead guitar.

The trick isn't actually very convincing. Plenty of bands double-tracked or multi-tracked their guitars and by 1972 had equalled or surpassed the twin-lead concept. Maybe the band was impressive live, but this is a studio album. The southern rock here is third-hand and very tame, with none of the fire of the ALLMAN BROTHERS, for example. There's a little folk to give the listener a break from the relentless, repetitive, limited-range guitar work, the plodding drums and the frankly dreadful vocals. Oh, and perhaps a light dusting of progressiveness.

The compositions offer little to compel repeated listens. The vocalist sings about the 'fury of the battle', for example, to a mundane beat and a gently strumming guitar. We're wandering dangerously close to amateur folk territory here: the conceit of the fantasy lyrics is undermined by the twee sweetness of the compositions. Not a moment of drama to be seen. I respect the views of other reviewers, but I imagine a significant minority of listeners to this album will wonder, as do I: what is the fuss all about?

Precisely the sort of music I listen to prog rock in order to escape from.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars Argus is without doubt the peak of their career, reaching a status maybe never achived again by them, a classic of the '70's. Considered by many WA and not only them the best aalbum they ever reales, Argus stands today very well after almost 40 years of the first isseue - 1972. While the music is not very complex they manage to make the listner to stay focused on entire 49 minutes, leaving in the end the feeling that this album worth buying and investigate. This is maybe the most progressive album they ever done, more hard rovk twin guitar orientad music but with a good doze of prog elements here and there. In early '70's this kinda music was considerated prog rock- quite agree with that but at some point. Sometimes they remind me of Master's Apprentices or Blue Oyster Cult and other bands from that period who plays aswell this kinda of prog rock. Not a bad thig of course and they even creat with this album something that stands very well today, apart from other bands who or they disbanded and gone into oblivion or never reaches the same fame as their compatriots. Wishbone Ash is today a respected band with a lot of good to great albums from the impressive career of 40 years. Argus release in 1972 taken the name from a greek god who has no more no less than 100 eyes. The best pieces to me are:Sometime world, Warrior and Leaf and stream come, the rest are ok, nothing really chalenging but not a weak track here overall. I don't think Argus is a masterpiece, but a good album no doubt, there are much more intristing albums from thet period than this Argus, but as i said this is a strong release in their career and not only, this is their classic of classics album. 3.5 rounded up to 4, but for sure not a masterpiece, at least from my side.
Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Io, Check This Out!

Er... I was considering Dont Get Shot by the Messenger, Hera Wishbone Ash, and Argus It as alternative headlines, but settled for the one above - you'll be thankful that I didn't think up any plays on the name Hermes, I expect. Enough of Greek myths already - I'll assume you know them or how to use Google to find out :o)

Argus was Album of the year, 1972 (According to Sounds magazine). Hmm. Makes me think they hadn't heard Nursery Cryme... but it's a cracking listen, nonetheless, and a more-than-worthy follow up to Pilgrimage. As an album, it's far more consistent, and the overarching lyrical theme is of picking yourself up, leaving old ways behind and starting afresh - alluding to the new world order theme of the Argus legend.

Musically, we've got a more crystallised sound than on previous offerings, nostalgic flavours, genre blending and somewhat long songs - particularly the instrumentals - that are typical of Progressive Rock wrapped up in fairly standard song formats. The formula is in place; The songs are familar verse chorus constructs with easy melodies, and the extended instrumental sections (bridge and coda) are refined improvisations erring on the side of strong melody, harmony and dramatic colouration taking place at an unhurried pace whatever the actual tempo of the piece.

But take a listen to the style with which Wishbone Ash put these simple elements together - this album is all about style, which it has in spades. And there's a LOT less twin-guitar duelling than many reviews of this album I've read would have you believe.

Time Was Immediately the message is put across; I've got to rearrange my life, I've got to rearrange my world. A clean folk-styled section introduces the piece, and the twin-barrelled vocals weave around the intertwining lines, spreading like ivy on the forest floor. For somehow, there are the flavours of wooded English countryside infusing the whole piece. John Tout (Renaissance keyboardman) supplies great organ atmopsherics.

Almost 3 minutes in, there is a sudden change in tempo and key, like a new piece has been unskillfully appended to what was, in fact an extended intro - and we're soon into guitar solo territory. As ever with Wishbone Ash, this is not a case of two chords being noodled over for hours... OK, so there ARE two chords, and it is quite long, but there is pathos and dynamic, returns to the vocal sections and added blues guitar interjections. Then there's the big change around 5:40 which leads to many more changes into minor keys, breakdowns and all manner of dramatic bits and pieces which keep the piece interesting for the whole of the 9:40 odd - even though no new ideas are presented for the last 3 minutes or so, which may turn a few off.

Sometime World is vaguely reminiscent of Pink Floyd - a common influence on Ash's early material - except for the attention-grabbing opening chords, which set the listener up for something altogether more dramatic than the gently-shifting soft chord progressions that follow. The instrumental sections are things of real beauty, surpassed only by the Floyd themselves and Camel - a couple of slightly kludgy chord changes being the only let-down.

All is forgiven by the change to the second instrumental around 2:30 though, with its round bass sound and CSNY/Yes styled vocal passages - altogether like a bluesier Yes in many ways. Or maybe Yes sounded like a less bluesy WA - who knows? The lead guitar (presumably Powell) certainly heats up in this one, with some passages bearing a passing resemblance to Lynyrd Skynrd's Freebird, of the following year, but the bass driving, almost Squire-like until the fade-out.

We might expect a gear-shift downwards at this point, but instead, the music picks up some more for the bouncy Blowin' Free, which features guitar solos between and even during the verses. An unexpected tempo change gives way to another CSNY styled section, so that this piece feels like an extension of Sometime World, and this in turn gives way to an almost complete breakdown before we return to the bouncy music, and more Skynyrd-style soloing.

One of my favourite moments in this album has always been flipping the vinyl over at this point, to be treated by the warm yet slightly aggressive sound of The King Will Come. After the wah- drenched fade-up, and the intensifying introduction, the bass features even more of that Squier - or possibly Entwhistle - growl, emphasising the regal strides, with tempo and dynamic changes a-plenty... just listen, OK!

Leaf and Stream is a great acoustic flavoured interlude, in which the English countryside is painted vividly in the lyrics, and the scene is set for the Warrior, seraching for something new. There are unmistakable flavours of early Genesis in here, and maybe the odd nod and wink to Floyd and Fleetwood Mac.

The Warrior is the high point of the album for me - all the music previously having set us up for this song, which is a powerful, clean-lined rocker, strident and mighty - the peak of Wishbone Ash's musical prowess and everything that is great about them. No new musical devices or styles here - but listen to how the ingredients are mixed together to form exactly the something new that the lyrics speak of searching for. Around 3 minutes into the song, the halfway point, begins the ultimate journey into Ash's music. Simply stunning stuff - the sort of music that raises neck hairs from half a mile away.

And then Throw Down The Sword does it again - and you have to listen to the album again. Here we finally get the twin guitar soloing that everyone goes on about - but Thin Lizzy or Iron Maiden it is not.

Marvellous album - truly classic rock at its best, that flirts mischeviously with Prog Rock, but never really attempts to enter into the hallowed portals, instead, preferring to set up hallowed portals all of its own. They didn't make many bands like Wishbone Ash, and there have been very few since. If you only own one of their albums, this is the one to own (buy!). And I'm sure it will tempt you further into their back catalogue (and check out what they're currently doing!).

Excellent addition to any ROCK collection, progressive or otherwise.

Don't miss out.

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars One of my earliest LP memories occurred in 1974 when my brother brought home a WISHBONE ASH album with an odd cover, called "There's the Rub". With the exception of an olde Englishe styled folk song, it didn't do much for me. Over the years I occasionally would discover another WA album in a delete bin and, when in a more extravagant mood, might actually pick it up for a song, literally. For a long time I thought they were an American group with a passing interest in their Anglo heritage, because most of each album was given over to midwestern cum southern rock of little distinction beyond dueling guitars, which is only "special" if you think in terms of WA as a progressive band.

My relationship with the band might have ended thus, although I admit to wondering now and then if all their songs of the "Lady Jay" or "Valediction" ilk might be collected on some nerdy "best of" just for folkies like me. Finally, with "Argus" being praised to the skies here, in stark contrast to all other WA productions, and available at a low sticker price, I decided to invest and give the group yet another chance. My conclusion: overall it's better and somewhat more progressive but with a persistent tendency to faceless 1970s phrasings, redeemed from some decidedly stronger tunes.

"Time Was" contains two rather lifeless segments, one mellow acoustic and the other raucous, but the effect of both is simply to mercilessly extend the drudgery. "Blowin Free" is even worse, sort of like STEELY DAN colliding with the DOOBIES and the ALLMANS, and sounding even worse. "Sometime World" starts off like more of the same, but the bass and vocal work after the halfway point showcase a vital aspect to the group missing in even their more melodic tracks. Among the latter, "The Leaf and the Stream" is a fine acoustic number, while "Warrior" utilizes one guitar for the most magical soloing and the other for rhythm. It changes pace here and there until the powerful chorus rumbles in. Although it is oft repeated, each incantation is separated by more lead histrionics. "Throw Down the Sword" end the album in fine fashion, and integrates the faux traditional and hard rocking styles well.

In the end, it is not so much the presence of two guitars that salvages this effort, but the absence of keyboards that, in the many high points, are not missed at all. So rarely can this be done outside a metal context that it is worth wishing for, and is happily attained often enough on Argus to warrant guarded praise.

Review by TheGazzardian
4 stars Every once in a while, you just have to rock out to some great guitar work. Sometimes, saxes, moogs, flutes, etc. are not necessary. For those times, I turn to Wishbone Ash.

Does having two guitars, a song greater than 9 minutes, and what could be considered a mini-epic (Warrior / Throw Down the Sword) make this album prog? Not really, yet it gives it something akin to the magic that progressive rock has, making this a great piece of classic rock for someone who enjoys progressive rock.

To be honest, I had never heard of Wishbone Ash until I started buying music on Amazon. It was recommended to me (because I had bought an ELP album, no less), and the album art looked really cool. The price wasn't too high, so out of curiosity, I ordered it.

I will openly admit to being swayed by nice packaging, and could not wait to get into the music behind the soldier on the cover. The opening track, Time Was, lead me in with it's sweet acoustic guitars, before it started rocking out. Perhaps not as anthemic as some classic rock can be, but definitely a nice listen.

Sometime World was similar in song structure to Time Was (quiet start that leads into a rocker), but I feel that it was somehow more successful. The final pass through the chorus truly feels epic, and the build up to it was quite excellent. Unfortunately, this was followed by what I consider the weakest track on the album, Blowin' Free, which still has not lodged itself in my memory.

Luckily, this is followed by some more excellent music. The King Will Come furthers the feel of this being a somewhat medieval themed album, although it was apparently not a concept album. Leaf and Stream is a nice piece that gives off the feel of being about among nature quite nicely.

The album ends with what I consider to be a mini-epic, even though it is really just two songs that flow nicely into each other. The first of these, A Warrior, is an excellent rocking piece, with a strong chorus that really builds up energy. It leads into 'Throw Down the Sword', where I often imagine a warrior after years of battle retiring to a life more peaceful. All in all, a most excellent way to close an already excellent album.

This album would make an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection, despite not being strictly prog. It is definitely a near-masterpiece, and was apparently considered the best album of '72 by some. Considering what other music came out in '72, it had a lot of competition, so even if I don't agree with that particular notion, it still speaks volumes about the quality of music contained herein.

Review by Sinusoid
4 stars There's an overt progressiveness to ARGUS, but it's hard to tell exactly how so. If you just listen to the album, you might question where the prog is here; there are no keyboards, no unusual instruments or time signatures, and certainly it sounds more like a plain, ordinary hard rock band. So how is this even related to prog rock?

It's how the songs are crafted. Bands such as Uriah Heep have the Hammond organ and fantasy part of prog rock down, but Wishbone Ash has the compositional cleverness to them. Take the opener ''Time Was'' for example; it starts as a three minute acoustic ballad that evolves into a violent rocker with well-placed, meticulously crafted riffs and solos that take you on an adventure. I can't help but headbang or fist pump to this section even if they're not required.

Like I said before, Wishbone Ash seems to utilize the guitar riff properly, as sort of a means to propel a song. The prog aspect comes from essence, not necessarily what's physically there. In particular, ''The King Will Come'' and ''Leaf and Stream'' have such a prog feel to them that I honestly don't miss keyboards and technical complexity. They do have simpler stuff like the boogie in ''Blowin Free'' and the macho ''The Warrior'', but they pack enough energy to keep me interested.

Only ''Throw Down the Sword'' does little for me, even if there's an organ in there somewhere. Maybe all of the power from the first six songs wore me out by the time ''Throw Down the Sword'' comes along. But this is a hard rock album that teeters very close to prog rock even if it's not quite there. If you enjoy mid 70's proggy Black Sabbath, I feel this is in the same arena.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Good classic rock

"Argus" is one of those warm '70s albums that made my old friend Pete close his eyes as he recalled listening over beers. It most certainly qualifies with its classic layered electric guitar leads that extend into expanded instrumental passages. Inviting, organic, and relaxing rock with occasionally fiery lead passages. It's a very enjoyable spin for me on occasion although I find it completely ridiculous to sell this album as some kind of progressive masterpiece as is done quite often. I believe our site properly locates WA in prog-related. Musically it reminds me of another prog-related band yet to make our site, the Dead, and in particular their early 70s era when great tracks like "Weather Report Suite" and "Black-throated Wind" were commonplace. Melodic and often beautiful music such as "Sometime World" and "Throw Down the Sword" cannot be denied. Still, while very pretty in places the extended guitar solos are far less interesting and dynamic to me than the Dead or the Allmans, I just don't see them having the instrumental prowess of the best lead players. That's a problem when one of your big selling points is the supposed amazing dual leads---simply extending the length and building to harmonized hammer-ons comes off as little more than a fancied-up Molly Hatchet. I can't be the only one glazing over with boredom during parts of this album. The structural playing and vocals are pretty good though, nice harmonies. The songs are average and occasionally border on parody (Warrior) rather than being convincing "prog-rock" fantasy. With apologies to this band's many fans I think our RussellK nails this album with his assessment. I'll give an extra star for the big vision and the beauty of some passages but find little actual evidence to support the legendary status this album has received.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I remember that only a few years back Argus had almost a 4.5/5 rating on this site and since I'm always on a lookout for new exciting music it was almost given that this album would make it into my collection at one point or another.

Before buying the CD in 2008 I asked several of my friends about their experience with Wishbone Ash. Most of them described the band as a relatively faceless rock band of its time which also was presumably reflective in the nature of their compositions. Having already been burned once by Blue Öyster Cult I had some reservations at first, but the overwhelming amount of praising reviews that this album received convinced me to play with fire for one more round!

I can't say that I was too happy when I heard Time Was for the first time, surely the music would get better towards the end of this album? After all, most of the reviewers here recognized that the album's last two compositions, Warrior and Down The Sword, were the definite highlights. Therefore I marched on only to experience one disappointment after the other. The music on Argus is classic '70s rock with a strong acoustic flavor which I generally enjoy, especially when it's fused with strong melodies and memorable delivery, but it all felt very generic here.

It's not that these compositions are bad or flawed in any way. I just don't find them all that enjoyable and since there isn't any real progressive complexity in neither the instrumental nor the lyrical themes there's just nothing left here for me to cheer about. Maybe it's one of those albums that had to be experienced in the '70s to truly comprehend? Still, this wouldn't really justify anything considering that classic albums by Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin still manage to find new audiences even today.

Wishbone Ash's highest rated release is nothing more than a good, but non-essential album. If you haven't heard it in the '70s then you should probably stay away all together.

**** star songs: Time Was (9:42) The King Will Come (7:06) Warrior (5:53) Down The Sword (5:55)

*** star songs: Sometime World (6:55) Blowin' Free (5:18) Leaf And Stream (3:55)

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "In the fire the king will come..." This is the lone masterpiece of Wishbone Ash"

Wishbone Ash's "Argus" is the band's most famous album and in fact is the best thing they ever did though I love all their live material especially the "Time Was Anthology". What makes this album great is it contains no less than four of their all time classic tracks 'The King Will Come', 'Throw Down The Sword' and 'Blowin' Free', not to mention 'Warrior'. The great WA sound consists of duel guitar playing from the excellent musicianship of Andy Powell and Ted Turner; they would always be remembered for this album. The guitar breaks are nothing short of extraordinary, before Iron Maiden and before Judas Priest's twin guitar solos there was Powell and Turner. Martin Turner's vocals are easy to take and he doesn't go for high octave but stays in the mid range, his bass playing is noteworthy too.

'Time Was' is a classic track with very soft folk guitar and melancholy singing. The guitar jamming is a feature and there is a lengthy solo with a driving rhythm, after 9 minutes 40 the track finally comes to a close. A very good opening track to prepare us for better to come.

Steve Upton's drumming is fairly average though he does some lovely things with the cymbals on tracks such as 'Sometime World'. This track is kind of bluesy and speeds up in tempo as the song progresses.

'Blowin' Free' begins with the killer riff that drives the song. The lyrics are great to sing to; "I Thought I had a girl I know because I seen her, her hair was gold and brown, blowin' free like a cornfield..." The twin guitar solo is a feature once again and this is a real favourite with the band and they always include it on their live set, which sound jammier and better than this. There are some delicious passages of soaring guitar and blues scales on this. The time sig remains fairly much the same apart from some slower bits thrown in such as; "In my dreams..." section.

'The King Will Come' is my favourite Wishbone Ash song and I saw this on the Classic Rock Anthology which drew me to the band. The band have so much fun rockin' it out and the lead guitarist wears flowing white flares. Powell moves back and forth playing a flying V guitar staring into the camera just having the time of his life. They sound incredible live, so this studio version is not as loud and aggressive though it's still great. The guitars are not as up in the mix but the harmonies are divine. It is a song about the Biblical end times when the king (Jesus) will return and apocalypse will reign; the Revelation. The lead break is magnificent from both guitarists using wah wah pedal effects and huge scales. Once again this is a staple of the live set and would not be complete without it. It is brilliant prog rock. "See the word of the prophet on a stone in his hand, poison pen Revelation, just a sign in the sand..."

'Leaf and Stream' is the weakest track on the album, very quiet and melancholy, but still listenable and marks a transition point to lead the next huge rocker.

'Warrior' has a rocking riff and lead intro before the gentle lyrics; "I'm leaving to search for something new, leaving everything I ever knew, a hundred years in the sunshine, hasn't taught me all there is to know..." The theme centres around the conquest of the vanquished or fallen and how they triumph over the war to find the sword of destiny. The time sig changes to a faster tempo on "Time will pass away, Time will guard our secrets..." Then there is an anthemic section with the chorus repeated over and over with striking harmonies; "I have to be a warrior, a slave I couldn't be, a soldier and a conqueror, fighting to be free." Another great harmony and melody on this memorable track.

The second best WA track is 'Throw Down the Sword' which is among the live sets I have heard. It features a fade in intro with a very nice guitar riff that sounds medieval in tune. The quest is not over, and this track encompasses the tired traveler who is searching but not finding and throws down the sword in frustration; "Throw down the sword the fight is starting over neither lost neither won, to cast away the fury of the battle, turn my weary eyes for home... leave the glory, a story time could never change, to walk the road the load I have to carry..." It is the journey's end for the warrior, and this reminds me of the cover, a lone soldier watching over the battlefied awaiting death or will he be spared? The uncertainty is reflected in the music which meanders slowly along with very precise guitar lead breaks.

'No Easy Road' is a bonus CD track and not much really, just a solid rocking track that doesn't belong here, but interesting anyway.

There is a kind of concept running through this album though it is not as blatant as a concept album usually is but with the theme of battle and quests, it is there. So this last track is a perfect ending to a perfect album. Wishbone Ash could never live up to the reputation of this album so "Argus" is their most accomplished work and worthy of masterpiece status.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars "Argus" is the most praised album from "Wishbone Ash".

Lots of reviewers do believe that the inclusion of the band was granted by this work. I don't agree with this at all. As far as I am concerned, this is an excellent rock album. But to depict this as a progressive masterpiece, that's maybe a step too far?

The opening number is one of the highlight of this album; fair enough. The song builds crescendo and from an acoustic intro it leads to a frenzy and gorgeous piece of guitar maestria. But that is what the band has been used to play so far. So, there is little surprise as far as I am concerned.

The romantic and soft rock "Sometime World" is another pleasant song which features delicate acoustic guitar work in its initial phase and then develops towards a more rocking angle. It is needless to say that this is how I like the band the most.

An excellent bass play and sustained drumming are also demonstrating, if needed, that the band is not only a twin guitar one. The four gangsters are building the whole. The closing section (which is unfortunately faded out awkwardly) is just a wonderful guitar moment.

After a transparent "Blowing Free", the band swaps his usual song construction: "King Will Come" starts with a marvelous intro and becomes more conventional afterwards (average vocals and basic rock music). A deep CSN&Y is felt during this song: but it is not the first time that I made the comparison.

The remaining songs from this album are just mainstream rock. But tons of bands can fall under this category and most of them are not featured on PA, right?

What I mean is that there are a lot of great bands out here (like WA) who played excellent rock music. But not prog (related) music.

The original work closed on "Throw Down The Sword" and I would rate this work with three stars. It is a good rock album indeed. Several versions were released afterwards: one of which features some live tracks recorded in Memphis.

A giant version of "Phoenix" is one of them and thanks to this brilliant interpretation I will upgrade this album to four stars (but only if you can get the CD version with these live tracks). I have never listened to the 35 years anniversary version but it looks pretty attractive.

Review by baz91
3 stars Before diving into describing this album, let me tell how I came across this opus. Last year I attended the High Voltage festival in London, to see acts like ELP and Transatlantic. Also on the bill were Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash (a variant of the original group) and the poster revealed that they would be playing Argus in its entirity. Seeing as I only needed to purchase one album to be able to enjoy this band live, I bought the special edition of Argus a few months before going to the festival.

I'd also seen that it had very positive reviews from this website, so I was rather surprised when I found very little that could be described as progressive within this album. The first song, Time Was is just short of 10 minutes in length, and is a tour de force of guitars, but the endless guitar solos don't spell progressive for me. This just seems like a very arty form of classic rock. Sometimes the music is fantastic, my favourite track being Sometime World. After 3 minutes the song erupts into very fast paced guitars, and whilst being quite repetitive, it definitely holds up by sounding fantastic.

Blowin' Free just annoys me. This band is not American, and should not have pretended to be. The King Will Come has a great main riff that is very easy to get into. A lot of people may say Leaf and Stream is an extremely beautiful track, but it's just a bit dull really, and by this point in the album you're probably fed up of hearing guitars all the time.

Warrior is one to wake you up though. This one sounds the most progressive as the song evolves throughout it's 6 minute length, eventually reaching the chorus right at the end of the song. Throw Down The Sword is the final track, and is no more than a really good classic rock tune.

I do enjoy moments of this album, but calling this music progressive rock is not right. I do agree that progressive rock is a very broad genre, but people who like Yes and Genesis and King Crimson will surely agree that this music is too far removed from the natural sound of prog, ie has too much of a commercial sound. Although it's unfair to say this about a group who had TWO lead guitarists, the band really relies too heavily on guitar solos in their music. Though by themselves they sound fantastic, Wishbone Ash truly prove that you can have too much of a good thing, as there is another guitar solo every 60 seconds. Compare this example to the guitar solo on Genesis' 'The Knife'. This classic solo is the only one in the song (if not the only one in Trespass itself) and has a more structured feel. As a result it stands out far more, and is a real 'air guitar' moment for fans of Genesis.

I give this album 3 stars out of 5 because I have enjoyed the songs, but there is nothing special about them. As this is Wishbone Ash's most praised album, I don't think I'll be listening to any more from them.

Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars The much applauded Argus opens with beautiful acoustic guitar and harmonic vocals, building to upbeat, melodic, and instantly enjoyable rock. Strong guitar work, bass grooves, powerful solos, a '70's feel, with a straight-ahead rock vibe indicative of the era shows how a bit of artistic sensibilities can improve conventional classic rock-- which, ultimately, I feel Argus is.

"Time Was" starts things off well, demonstrating the band's comparatively more ambitious songwriting as the traits described above. Wishbone's Ash sound here will probably leave an impression on folks who have little exposure to the big names in prog (Yes, for example). who do everything Wishbone does here with more energy, panache, and creativity. That being said, there is still a lot to enjoy in this tune, especially if one is looking for melodic guitar jams.

"Sometime World" is a folksy ballad that leaves the flimsy vocals exposed too much for my taste, but luckily the tempo picks up for a rousing second half, with especially strong melodic bass and a killer guitar solo to top things off. First-rate classic rock grooves. "Blowin' Free" is a heavy, riff-driven song with down-home-style blues soloing. Fun, though light-weight. The well-received "The King Will Come" is easily my least favorite song on this album; trite lyrics and directionless wah-wah guitar made it hard for me to even listen through the whole thing. Another folk ballad follows with "Leaf and Stream"-- giving way to heavy, screaming guitar work with "Sword". Righteous man! "Throw Down the Sword" closes the album with pomp and epic guitar solos, but the tune itself is pretty much a throwaway beyond that.

One thing which stood out to me throughout Argus are the vocals. While pleasant enough to listen to casually, they strike me as mediocre after repeated listens. All three vocalists are bland and inflection-less, seeming to emphasize the hitting notes rather then their effect on the listener. Considering that most rock of this vein relies on choruses and catchy lyrics to make an impression, this is actually pretty brave. Luckily, the group's extended instrumental work backs up their bluff. The twin guitar work is generally excellent and entertaining, and the group's melodic and cohesive playing adds a refined touch throughout.

I enjoyed listening to Argus a lot, but it doesn't stand up to a critical ear-- at least in terms of it's "progressive" qualities. Taken by itself it is still an excellent album for classic rock lovers, especially those seeking something more interesting than what most of the bands of the age were producing. Definitely worth exploring, but not to be mistaken as a masterpiece.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Review by Warthur
5 stars Wishbone Ash's most celebrated album is essentially a folk-rock disc with an innovative twin lead guitar sound - later embraced by many New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands. (Warrior, in particular, sounds like a number which - if the guitars were just a touch heavier - could be a lost Saxon or Iron Maiden song.) Musically speaking, the band seem to be out to explore territory similar to the likes of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, with more extended and complex guitar solos - this approach is especially apparent on Blowin' Free, on which the vocal harmonies in particular are clearly inspired by CSNY's best. Still, the guitar heroics are impressive enough to make the album of interest to prog fans, and as far as classic rock albums in general go it's well worth your time. Wishbone Ash never quite made another album which captured my interest to the extent that this one did - whenever I hear another Wishbone Ash song, I think to myself "this is alright... but I could be listening to Argus instead". It's that good.
Review by Matti
4 stars 4 ½ stars really. As can be seen from the number of reviews here, this is undisputedly the most important WISHBONE ASH album. It is a timeless Classic Rock Album but maybe not a Prog Classic because it really sounds more like rock - with some prog elements such as extended compositions - than prog per se. Does it bother you? Not me and many others who praise Argus even more than I do. The album has a feeling of very balanced unity, especially in the sound, even if the songs approach various genres from acoustic folk rock (delicate melancholic ballad 'Leaf And Stream') to American-style rock'n'roll ('Blowin' Free', my least favourite track) or riff-heavy hard rock ('Warrior'). There's no weak track among the seven.

This band is known for its meaty twin guitar sound and here's plenty of that, as well as great vocal harmonies. Indeed, sometimes keyboards or any other extra instruments are not missed at all. Standout tracks are the longest ones: 'Time Was', 'Sometime World', 'The King Will Come' and 'Throw Down The Sword', but I'm very fond of the mentioned 'Leaf And Stream' too. Some albums just have the special aura that usually is never again captured by the band in question. Argus is among them.

The great cover art is somehow exactly right for the music: the mystic figure with a helmet, a cloak and a spear is looking over a vast misty landscape, seeing an UFO in the distance (which is rather unvisible to the person looking at the cover). The sense of medieval fantasy is just behind the corner of pure classic rock here.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
5 stars I don't care if this album sounds like Southern Rock or classic rock. Wishbone Ash are "Prog Related" so it doesn't need to be fully prog to be considered a masterpiece as I think it is. First of all it's a concept album and the average track length is over 5 minutes. There are a lot of instrumental parts and quite frequent changes in theme and signature...classic rock? maybe.

"Time Was" starts with one of the classic WA choirs on an acoustic guitar harping. The second guitar acts as a keyboard and when the guitars fade out there come the drums to start a light rock piece based on major chords. I have read somebody saying that there's a bit of Pink Floyd in this album. Well, slowing down the rhythm of this song could make it fit into Obscured By Clouds. In any case the guitars are more similar to Van Zandt than to Gilmour but let me underline that Ted Turner doesn't need to be compared to anybody else as he's probably one of the best rock guitarists ever.

"Sometimes World" is absolutely my favorite Wishbone Ash's song. The melodic first part of the song has a sound that will later become another band's trademark, specially in an album like Front Page News. After the first refrain "Sometimes World Pass me by Again, carrying you carrying me away...." there's a return to the jazzy choir of the kind present on the first two albums. I think that the bass line is fantastic. Well, it's the first thing that I've tried to play when I bought my first bass. You can imagine how much I love this track. The only negative thing is the fade out that I think shouldn't be used in a concept album.

The guitar intro on "Blowin' Free" is another thing that takes time to leave one's mind. The song is just good rock, but let's underline the word "good". There's again the classic WA choir and the twin guitars. The song is probably of less interest for proggers apart for the slow interlude.

Side B opens quite proggy, instead. "The King Will Come" starts with a crescendo on a minor chord with the drums playing a sort of march. Then the song which comes is another WA classic. I can't describe it. there are all the elements for which I consider WA a great band.

"Leaf And Stream" is based on a finger picking guitar that gives it a country-rock flavor, but the melody is quite distant from that genre. The second guitar is almost Floydian. In terms of guitar sound it can be compared to the B side of Meddle. Of course it's a totally different thing. A 4 minutes song, the shorter of the album, but a great song. Again, why don't add 10 seconds more to avoid fading out?

"Warrior" is the album's anthem. If we think to this concept album as to a soundtrack, this is the final and "Throw Down The Sword" the end titles. A song like "Warrior" can justify the presence of this band on PA. Not very original in terms of chords, it's logically split in two different parts, the first more dreamy and intense, the second a little heavier with a fantastic choir.

Finally "Throw Down The Sword" which starts in crescendo from where the previous track ends. The intro takes two minutes. The song is intense. It's the final act of a concept about soldiers and wars, it has to be dramatic. The guitar riff is excellent, if not technically, for the feelings that it gives. Listen to it and tell me if it doesn't give the same sensations of the best Latimer's solos? It's a pity that it ends in that sudden way. At least it's not a fade out.

This is a transition album, different from the first two and from what will follow, with elements which belong to the "before" and others belonging to the "after". This may be the reason why it's so good. The best of the band, in terms of composition and arrangements, concentrated in one album, absolutely their best, unrepeatable, album

Review by FragileKings
3 stars From the days that I first started buying Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin cassettes I can recall seeing Wishbone Ash albums at the record stores. However, their name never came up in the metal magazines I was reading and I never heard any of their songs on the rock radio station in Vancouver, so I never knew if I was missing out on something earth shaking or just standard 70s guitar rock.

It took my roamings on this site to bring that name to the forefront of my curiosity and at last I decided to get what seemed to be the seminal album by this band. During the first play I was surprised at the sound of the more rocking part of the track Time Was. It sounded very much like the sound of the power pop band Sloan circa 1992 and also like some other bands of the 90s. There's always someone who's done it previously it seems. The acoustic guitar on this album is very pretty and the dual electric guitar stands out as original for its time (I grew up with the dual guitars of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden so something a little more aggressive and progressive had already set the standard for me). I also enjoyed right of the bat the track The King Will Come particularly for the wah-wah guitar riff.

Good though the album was, I couldn't get as hotly excited about it as some other reviewers. Perhaps it was a case of place and time and personal experience, but for me it was just a good album. I picked out some titles that hadn't pricked up my ears yet and threw them on a playlist of other such songs and hit shuffle. Leaf and Stream came on and I was attentive throughout. I also tried to play the much praised Throw Down the Sword but after a few listens I can't recall the riff or melody without playing the track. So far there is little from this album that plays spontaneously in my head (a sign that the music has not yet ingrained itself) unlike some other albums I bought at the same time that do pop up in the random jukebox in my mind's ear.

I will keep listening. It's a good album. But I haven't found that much in the music that really strikes me as the prog flavour of the era. It's a mellower, more laid back approach to progressive music, and I can't help but think that the length of a couple of the songs are the most progressive parts of the album.

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Argus' - Wishbone Ash (68/100)

Around 1970-71, the British musical zeitgeist was all about this kind of hard rock; a little bit psychedelic, a little bit progressive, and a lot of blues. I've made it a side-quest of mine to listen to as many of the golden-era bands as I can, and while I haven't heard many that were laughably bad, I wouldn't say there were more than a couple in every hundred of these heavy-blues-psych outfits that deserved to stand the test of time. Although the stream of incessantly mediocre records Wishbone Ash have churned out in the decades since their heyday has pegged them as a generally less-than-fantastic band in my mind, there's always Argus. While the band's best collection of songwriting still feels something brittle in my eyes, the band could play. The evocative album cover doesn't hurt either.

In my experience with Wishbone Ash, I've noticed two major opinions arise. The first (and arguably most relevant to Argus) is that Wishbone Ash had one of the most full-bodied sounds in hard rock. The vocal harmonies were crisp. The bass guitar was as heavy and thunderous as anything I might expect to hear from Chris Squire on a Yes album. The acoustic elements were effective and far from overwhelming, the solos were great, and the ever-so-praised twin harmonized guitar assault still gives the impression that, in one way at least, Wishbone Ash were several years ahead of their time. At least one foot was planted in the familiar blues rock canon, but Wishbone Ash were doing some pretty cool things on their other end. It's nigh-impossible not to think of the NWOBHM that took Britannia by storm a decade following some of the slick twin harmonies Powell and Turner pull off here. If anything, Argus is a home to some great rock guitar. The heavy instrumental jam that takes up the latter half of "Sometime World" is one of the coolest things I've heard in classic hard rock; whenever there's a guitar solo, the rest of the band escapes the excuse to be lazy and actually kicks it up another notch. Considering I'm usually given to thinking of rock guitar solos as ego-driven filler in all but the brightest cases, it's a major credit to Wishbone Ash that their jams are so exciting.

The second, possibly more controversial opinion rests on the band's composition; namely the impression that Wishbone Ash aren't particularly inclined towards writing compelling tunes. I'm sure even the staunchest fan would have a hard time arguing that Powell and company were as good at writing music as they were at playing it. While it's doubtful Wishbone Ash wrote five superb songs following their heyday, the lack of truly great songwriting is apparent even on Argus. Just look at "Time Was" for an example of this; I had high hopes for the nine minute track, but the lacklustre transition from the folkish acoustic overture to a predictable hard rock formula does little to stir me. Some of the album's most memorable numbers (see: "Warrior") cross my jaded ears as something Fly By Night-era Rush might have done on a less inspired day. The band's range from hard rock to blues, country and Medieval-tinged folk keeps the album from sounding samey, but for all of Wishbone Ash's relative ambition here, the songwriting never feels more than average. This wouldn't usually threaten a hard rock album so much, but considering Argus has earned itself the status of would-be classic in the decades since its release, I'll admit I was expecting something more from it.

I actually had the chance to see Wishbone Ash play live last night. If this review is any slight indicator, I was not particularly enamoured with any of the material I'd heard from the band, but I was nonetheless fairly excited to see how they might approach a concert performance. While the night benefited from a confident stage show and a lot of vivid guitar soloing, there is one thing about the show that's been stuck in my mind the most. Whenever a song from Pilgrimage or Argus was announced, cheers erupted from the small crowd. However, whenever there was a song from any of the two dozen albums thereafter, the crowd was virtually silent. I mean, Andy Powell introduced a song from their latest album Blue Horizon and for a few seconds, there wasn't a single cheer. It's as people had clamped up and insisted on hibernating until the next song from Argus played.

I felt a little bad about it; while this is definitely more a reflection on the poor crowd than the band themselves, it should go to prove a point. If Wishbone Ash were particularly good songwriters, there's a solid chance lightning would have struck more than once or twice. Even as far as Argus is concerned, the songwriting is a far step short of some of the band's better-loved contemporaries. If there's anything to make Wishbone Ash's magnum opus worth revisiting in my eyes, it's not the music itself, but the way it's performed. Even last night, the band stand as a great performing unit; it's all the more lamentable they've never had the great songs to back it up.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "Argus" is the third album in a long string of albums by Wishbone Ash. It was also their most popular, and their most progressive album, though it is not a strict progressive album as much as one that contains several prog elements interspersed within it's hard rock tracks.

Wishbone Ash was one of the first bands to ever use twin lead guitars and this would inspire bands like Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy, albeit their music would be much heavier. The twin guitars are very relevant on this album, and guitars pretty much drive most of the music. There are no keyboards, at least not much, except for an organ on the last track. While there are elements of prog here, there are also elements of folk rock within the tracks.

Most of the tracks are long, mostly exceeding 5 minutes, with the first one approaching 10 minutes. "Time Was" starts out with a beautiful acoustic beginning with some nice harmonies, but it soon rocks out after a few minutes. The melodies change often as it does in a lot of prog epics, however, the meters are pretty standard throughout. Thus you get the feeling of prog rock in the complex melodies, but on the light side of prog. "Sometime World" also starts out soft and gets faster as it continues. This one carries a distinct folk song throughout most of it, then as the vocals come in, you can hear an early Yes influence. The track ends with a great guitar solo. The track however, does feel a little dated, but that's all because of the mixing. It makes it even more early "Yes-like".

"Blowin' Free" is a heavier song, but the music is definitely standard rock. This doesn't make it a bad song, but it doesn't make a real prog song either. The harmonies on this one are very similar to Crosby, Stills and Nash. As the tempo slows in the middle of the song, there is that return to the folkish sound, and then a nice slow guitar solo. The tempo picks up again and another solo follows. This is great hard rock, but again, other than the tempo changes, there isn't much progressive rock here.

"The King Will Come" exceeds 7 minutes. It starts off with a reggae vibe for about a minute, then the beat tapers off to another standard rock beat. Again, you have harmonies similar to early Yes. As the first track, this one has many changing melodies and it makes for another complex track. But the complexity doesn't reach any real heavy progressiveness again. The changing melodies stay in a standard meter throughout. You get another great guitar solo here too.

"Leaf and Stream" returns to the folk-ish sound. It matches the horned helmet shadowed figure on the cover in feel and style. Again, we have another beautiful guitar solo. The melody pretty remains the same throughout this track however. "Warrior" is a heavy rocker with a great opening riff, but it quickly mellows out and slows down as vocals begin. When the chorus finally arrives, things get more interesting as vocals and guitar solos take turns. I can hear some early Styx in the harmonies and the structure of the last half of the song, so it's obvious here where Styx was inspired early on. But the song, as epic as it sounds, doesn't rise above the standard hard rock tune.

"Throw Down the Sword" is the last track and the only track that features a guest organist. However, there really isn't much that stands out on this track, just a continuation of the same style.

This is definitely Wishbone Ash's best work, and it is unfortunate that they didn't improve on this sound. From this point on, most of their music would continue to become more and more radio friendly, even though they never really had much success from that style. Also, this band is still releasing albums, though the line up has changed a lot. Andy Powell has been the only constant member in the line up. Yes, this is a great hard rock album, and if the group followed this style, they may have actually reached a full progressive status. Unfortunately, there are only hints of progressiveness here. Yes, this album is a huge influence, and that cannot be discounted. But it is far from 5 star prog material. Because of it's status, more than anything however, we can manage to give it 4 stars as it is has excellent musicianship and it's strongest points are the twin guitars and the excellent solos.

Review by GruvanDahlman
4 stars Wishbone Ash is one of those groups that I've revisited regularly over the years, having discovered them in my formative years as a prog and hard rock lover. They always seemed to pop up when reading about classic hard rock or even prog. "Argus" was probably the first album I got myself acquainted with and from there I just ventured further. The thing about Wishbone Ash is that they occupy a space of their own in which they are sort of unrivalled. Many of the elements that make up there music is not unique to them, one by one, but together it's quite a mixture and a signature of Ash.

When I came across them they were labeled "hard rock" and while that is true, they do have a potent and vivid streak of hardrock in their music, they go beyond that genre. You do find intense electric guitar work from two guitarists and at times the volume is quite loud but you never hear harsh or hoarse vocals screamin their lungs out. Instead you get a very folky approach to singing. It's all very gentle and harmonious. The combination is rather unusual. On top of that you find progressive leanings. All this makes for a exquisite brew that balances between something like the folkrock of Fairport Convention and hardrock of Thin Lizzy with an added splash of FM rock, albeit with a really specific sound that is truly the soul of Wishbone Ash around the first half of the 70's. It's a great mixture that really makes them (sort of) one of a kind.

"Argus" is a real treat to listen to if you like both folk and hardrock, like me. The opening three are great songs with "Time was" being a somewhat ethereal experience. The real gems, though, are the last four songs. Beginning with "The king will come" and ending with "Throw down the sword" it is a journey. First of all I like the titles of the song, which are very folk-prog in my opinion. Songs about the olden days and so on. "The king will come" has this amazing riff inside it that hangs in the air. Beautiful. "Warrior" once again sports a great riff and powerful playing that precedes the folky and gorgeous "Throw down the sword". This track also adds organ to the whole thing.

If I was to recommend an album by Wishbone Ash to someone new to them I'd say it must be "Argus". It's a wonderful album by a somewhat wonderful band. It's an album for contemplation, for driving, for walking in the woods and for rejoicing in the fact that you're alive and there's a genre like progressive rock.

Review by VianaProghead
5 stars Review Nş 371

Wishbone Ash is a famous British rock band who achieved great success in the 70's. During the early and mid of 70's, Wishbone Ash were among England's most popular hard rock acts. They were described in some quarters, at the time, as England's answer to The Allman Brothers, albeit with a mystical lyrical element. Wishbone Ash fused heavy blues-rock with fine harmonies of jazz and prog. Their most popular albums, at the time, included their self titled debut album, 'Wishbone Ash' of 1970, 'Pilgrimage' of 1971, 'Argus' of 1972, 'There's The Rub' of 1974 and 'New England' of 1976.

Wishbone Ash was also one of the first bands to come to use two lead guitars, although, Judas Priest which was also a contemporary of them, did the same thing too. They're also considered to be one of the major innovators of the harmony in the twin lead guitar format. Their contribution helped Andy Powel and Ted Turner to be considered for several times two of the most important guitarists in rock history and they were also described as the most interesting duo of guitarists since the old days when Jeff Back and Jimmy Page were members of The Yardbirds. This fact made that Wishbone Ash can be considered a very influential rock band. They have been cited frequently as a band with deep influence on some rock bands, such as, Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy, as well as many other dual guitar rock bands.

'Argus' is the third studio album of Wishbone Ash and was released in 1972. 'Argus' has seven tracks. All songs were composed by Andy Powell, Martin Turner, Ted Turner and Steve Upton. The first track 'Time Was' is a perfect song to open this great album. It's the lengthiest song on the album and is a very classic rock guitar song with a very soft and beautiful introduction of acoustic guitar sound. However, the rest of the song is played in a very high rhythm speed. It's a fantastic song, really. This is a song sung by Ted Turner and Martin Turner. The second track 'Sometime World' is also a song with a start as a mellow song. But again, as their previous song, it also explodes in a very high rhythm speed. This is a song with an absolutely fantastic guitar work by both, Ted Turner and Andy Powell. These guys make a unique duo and we can say that they're absolutely genius in their own style. It's absolutely a superb song and represents one of my favourite tracks on the album. This is a song sung by Martin Turner and Andy Powell. The third track 'Blowin'Free' is a different song. It's made more in the rock'n'roll style. This is a calmer song with several guitar sounds all over the track. It's also a very good song but, I must confess, that it's my less favourite song on the album. This is a song sung by Martin Turner, Ted Turner and Andy Powell. The fourth track 'The King Will Come' is, without any doubt, one of my favourite moments on this album. It's a remarkable and an unforgettable song that live forever within us. This is one of the most beautiful, complex and progressive rock songs of the group and where both guitarists use the uah uah pedal effects and huge scales which became very significant in the history of rock. It's really a must track for any prog music lover. This song is sung by Martin Turner and Andy Powell. The fifth track 'Leaf And Stream' is a very beautiful and soft ballad. In opposition with the opinion of some of my colleague reviewers, I don't agree this is the weakest point on the album. Despite be a very simple acoustic song, it represents, in my humble opinion, one of the most beautiful moments on this album. This song is sung by Martin Turner. The sixth track 'Warrior' is also, without any doubt, one of my favourite moments on the album. This is an extraordinary powerful music which represents, in my humble opinion, one of the highest points inside the group's music. It's the perfect example why Wishbone Ash is a so unique and special band that shows everything what they have and how great they can be. I think is consensual to say that 'Warrior' and 'The King Will Come' represent, probably, their best musical moments ever. This is a song sung by Martin Turner and Andy Powell. The seventh and last track 'Throw Down The Sword' is another great song and I think we can consider it a perfect closer for this spectacular and unique album. Curiously, this is a song that brings back all to the principle, and I'm willing to hearing all the album again. This is a song sung by Martin Turner and Andy Powell.

Conclusion: I only bought 'Argus' a few years ago and I've never heard it until that time. It's true I'd seen this album before, on sale in the 70's, when it was released, but I must confess that I only was impressed with its fantastic cover. Now, I'm able to say that I'm very sorry for not bought it in those days. I missed some great music for so many years. 'Argus' is one of the albums that I heard in the last years that most impressed and surprised me. 'Argus' is, without any doubt, the most popular album of the group and is widely considered the best work of the band by fans and progressive reviewers. It was also one of the best studio albums released in 1972. This is really a fantastic and marvellous album, truly the rock music at its best. If you are a progressive rock music fan and you have the need or you like to have something different and new in your collection, won't hesitate and buy 'Argus'. I'm sure you will not regret.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by Kempokid
4 stars While the bulk of my experience with early 70s prog comes more from the more symphonic and jazzy sides of things, I still hold an appreciation for the style that Wishbone Ash has, feeling more like hard rock with proggy overtones, fitting more cleanly into the vein of classic rock while still clearly being something a bit more complex and often grandiose. Of the albums I've heard from this band, Argus is the one I'd consider their true masterpiece, being the album with the most well-realised sound, carrying some folkiness and medieval atmosphere that feels very core to their identity here, as opposed to just another element tacked on for the sake of it like I feel some prog bands can fall into the trap of. While this alone already makes this quite an entertaining album in its own right, it's the fact that this is couple with some exceptional songwriting and some of the best guitar work I've heard, these amazing elements coming together to complement the already promising sound that the album had going for it.

Time Was is your fairly typical prog epic in a lot of ways, but it's a pretty great one regardless, with the way the first few folky minutes then break into more energetic rock that reminds me of Rush, especially in the interplay between the guitar and bass, especially during solos. The song doesn't really hit any grand peaks like a couple of later tracks, but continuously shifts around extremely distinct sections, all of them paced quite well in order to give a very clear and satisfying sense of progression as everything keeps speeding up. Funnily enough, the song after this, Sometime World ends up following a lot of things that the opener accomplishes, but executes it so much better despite being about 3 minutes shorter. Once again, the song starts off being primarily acoustic, but this time around it's so much more emotional, the vocal melody and delivery being incredibly heartfelt as the hints of electric guitar just amplify the emotion. It's once this part ends that the song is elevated even higher however, with an incredible bassline backed up by one of the most epic sounding choruses I've heard, without even a hint of exaggeration, and it just doesn't feel like it stops, just keeps going with it until it erupts into an extremely triumphant, powerful guitar solo that floors me every time. All of this makes it one of the absolute pinnacles of 70s prog rock for me. It's unfortunate that this masterpiece is followed up by what's easily the weakest track on the album, and just a painfully mediocre one in general, sounding more like some generic hard rock than anything else, not really going anywhere interesting or having anything I'd personally consider enjoyable to listen to.

It's fortunate that things get back on track relatively quickly with The King has Come, which while having less of an overall impression on me than some other songs here, also has some of my favourite instrumental work on the album, especially in the intro, which builds up perfectly into a very memorable riff. The rest of it is a bit tamer than most of the album despite being one of the ones to most prominently make use of the electric guitar, overall another good song. After the reasonably decent, pretty Leaf and Stream, highlighting the folk aspects of the album exquisitely and creating a great atmosphere, the album closes off with the amazing one - two punch of Warrior and Throw Down The Sword, which once again return to the purely epic nature of Sometime World. Warrior in particular impresses me, especially with the vocal harmonies during the "I have to be a warrior" section, really just sounds amazingly powerful once again, especially once the guitar starts to interweave with the gaps in the vocals. Throw Down Your Sword brings things to a close perfectly, still having the sense of grandiosity, but with a sense of quiet triumph to it all. If Warrior was a song about an army going into battle, Throw Down the Sword would be the result after victory was achieved, and it closes everything off perfectly.

I find that the mix of prog and hard rock is that potentially can end up sounding rather generic or just uninteresting if not handled properly, leaning firmly into the aesthetic of one side too hard, which is something that I believe Wishbone Ash did right here, being able to avoid such pitfalls and using these 2 sounds to make something truly interesting and distinct. This is definitely an album that I'd 100% recommend to fans of artists such as Uriah Heep or Rush, but more broadly just to fans of hard and progressive rock in general, taking the best aspects from both of these genres and making something that I could easily see fans of either of them liking quite a lot. I'd rate this a bit higher even, but I personally do believe that Blowin' Free detracts from the album enough to give it a slightly lower score in the end.

Best tracks: Sometime World, Warrior, Throw Down the Sword

Weakest tracks: Blowin' Free

Latest members reviews

3 stars 1. Time Was launches the LP with the sound that will characterize them, soft vocals and duo-stereo guitars; 3 minutes in arpeggio as an intro before the real start, rock, hot bluesy from the US and a raw sound that leans on Caravan-style convolutions, on prog from the day after tomorrow; Andy and Te ... (read more)

Report this review (#2974998) | Posted by alainPP | Sunday, December 17, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars From the early 1970's through the early 1980's, New Orleans was home to a singular musical venue, the Warehouse. On Tchoupitoulas St. not too far upriver from Downtown New Orleans, this 'converted' old railroad warehouse witnessed legendary New Year's Eve performances by the Allman Brothers a ... (read more)

Report this review (#2403079) | Posted by ken_scrbrgh | Monday, May 18, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Review # 84. I don't know about other countries, but Argus is a legendary album in Greece. It was released on January 1972, it was the 3rd studio album of Wishbone Ash, and it is considered their best work by far. Needless to say, that is also their most famous work. Many music magazines n ... (read more)

Report this review (#1917917) | Posted by The Jester | Friday, April 27, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'm not sure was it "Argus" or was it "Wishbone Four" the first Ash's album that I have listened to, in 1976-1977, thanks to good friend of mine who came back from UK, from English Language Summer School, with a couple of great LPs, but never mind, from that time till now, "Argus" has remained o ... (read more)

Report this review (#1732596) | Posted by cedo | Tuesday, June 13, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Argus" is arguably the proggiest album Wishbone Ash ever released, a dreamy hodgepodge of prog, blues and hard rock. This album is so good that it even ranked first on a Melody Maker readers poll as the top album of 1972, and one listen is all that you need to discern its superb quality. Starti ... (read more)

Report this review (#1536395) | Posted by PoolmanProgger | Sunday, March 6, 2016 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I have stumbled many times on the high rating of Wisbone Ash on Progarchives and never understood why. Once again, I have seen this record here highly rated as a prog related album here. This one, I didn't hear before. Of course, I just had to try again. After all, it sits there, as a top record, ... (read more)

Report this review (#1495172) | Posted by justaguy | Tuesday, December 1, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Masterpiece. I've done track-by track reviews for the previous two albums, but I won't do one for this, for two reasons: a) This one is THE most prog album they've done, it flows continually, so a formal track-by-track judgment is way more difficult. b) It's such a beloved and reviewed album t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1378703) | Posted by BigDaddyAEL1964 | Friday, March 6, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This bluesy hard prog rock masterpiece is certainly one of the very best of the genre and has a lot of merit for the twin guitar attack, which is its most definite characteristic, and which would later influence bands like Iron Maiden. The virtuosity of the two guitarist is impressive to say a ... (read more)

Report this review (#1356270) | Posted by Mista-Gordie | Wednesday, January 28, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars When finally the world comes to an end it will surely be a spear holding Darth Vader, obviously deserted on Earth by his drunken buddies, who will do it. I mean, he must be irked, look at 'em they're leaving him down here all to himself, poor rascal, and no one will ever understand anything abou ... (read more)

Report this review (#1178008) | Posted by TerryDactyl | Thursday, May 22, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Some say they are pioneers of the twin lead guitar hard rock/heavy metal. The first track I've heard of this was The King Will Come, and this track is a great classic rock one, and the mind blowing intro can drive anyone to madness in a great way, but the fantastic expectations made this al ... (read more)

Report this review (#1024365) | Posted by VOTOMS | Monday, August 26, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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, ... (read more)

Report this review (#917739) | Posted by coasterzombie | Friday, February 22, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Argus is 44 years old at the time of writing this review - and yet it doesn't sound at all dated and is still my favourite album of all time. Wishbone Ash really peaked with this, their third album, and unfortunately never reached quite the same heights again. All seven songs have something spec ... (read more)

Report this review (#895973) | Posted by AlanB | Saturday, January 19, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It always seemed to have that concept or theme feel to it. I guess I feel the need to review some of my old favorites being a newbie... The progression and placing of most of the songs is what gives it a theme type quality and should help explain a little bit why this is in a prog review sit ... (read more)

Report this review (#810349) | Posted by AEProgman | Saturday, August 25, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 8/10 Argus is everything a fan could ask for hard rock - and add a few touches of prog and have at hand an album worthy of being on this site. I have a soft spot for these hard rock bands of the '70s and '80s, but I must confess it took for me to hear this album. Oh, what a mistake. I neve ... (read more)

Report this review (#784206) | Posted by voliveira | Saturday, July 7, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A fine, fine album from Wishbone Ash, released in 1972, and still as fresh as it ever was. Unfortunately, I havenever considered any other of their releases to be nearly as good. This is hard-prog mixed with great lyrics, guitar wonderfulness, and a nice concept. My CD release has a couple of live n ... (read more)

Report this review (#749380) | Posted by mohaveman | Saturday, May 5, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Argus of Wishbone Ash is an archetypical classic rock album. Some bluesrock influences still, but much less then in Wishbone's debut. This record is a compilation of boogierock and (hard)rock songs with a lot of guitarsolo's played by both guitarists. The heaviness ranges from rock to hardrock ... (read more)

Report this review (#636963) | Posted by the philosopher | Tuesday, February 21, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Just adding my 100 words to the many reviews of this album. Wishbone Ash is, together with Thin Lizzy, credited for the twin-guitar attack sound. A sound later adopted and perfected by the likes of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Slayer. In other words; the significance of this band cannot be und ... (read more)

Report this review (#451565) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Tuesday, May 24, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is a spectacular album by an exremely underated band. Argus is considered to be the greatest release by fans. The folk influence is quite evident on most tracks with a stong blend of hard rock and prog rock because the songs are extended and have a lot of changes in rhythm. While on the note of ... (read more)

Report this review (#332800) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Wednesday, November 24, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Argus fits perfectly into the Prog Related class. The songs are not without a certain verse-chorus structure, but they are so much well extended and strewed of little details that it approach of prog in a certain way. The songs are excellent, the guitar duo is in perfect harmony with himself, the ... (read more)

Report this review (#295612) | Posted by Ogilla | Saturday, August 21, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars How could this be prog? Tell me. After much time looking for this specific CD I found It and played 4 times in a row. No doubt in my mind that this is a good record of soft heavy metal from the seventies. The songs are good, specially the B-side (on the original LP), the guitars are spot and t ... (read more)

Report this review (#279683) | Posted by steelyhead | Wednesday, April 28, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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