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Argos - 'A Seasonal Affair' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/fe/b6/8e/Argos-A-Seasonal-Affair-74-1447875433.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 18, 2015    
 
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With repeated plays more of its charms are revealed.

Argos is a Prog band that have somehow passed me by; this being their fourth album since the eponymous debut in 2009. The band originally started out as a solo project for multi-instrumentalist Thomas Klarmann when he rediscovered his passion for, and returned to, the Prog genre. He'd previously been away in the Jazz world for a period of time. The project subsequently developed into a trio with erstwhile band-mate Robert Gozon (keyboards & lead vocals) getting involved along with drummer Ulf Jacobs. Later on they expanded to a four-piece with the addition of guitarist Rico Florczak.

If one were to try and find a genre into which to place Argos the closest would be the Canterbury scene (Caravan, Hatfield & The North etc.) with certain hints towards early Genesis, a bit of early Camel and the occasional nod towards Fish.

Initially I was somewhat underwhelmed by this album, but it's a "grower" as with repeated plays more of its charms are revealed; notably the instrumental passages. If there is one aspect of the album that, for me, doesn't quite hit the mark it has to be the vocal delivery which tends to be somewhat expressionless and one dimensional. What kept coming to my mind as I listened to the album was how much the vocal style reminded me of Kraftwerk and I can't help but think a more dynamic vocalist would be beneficial.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Opening number, 'Vanishing' immediately made me think that this is what Kraftwerk would have sounded like had they been a traditional Rock band rather than a synthesiser-based combo. The guitar solo is nicely varied and extremely agreeable; in fact the guitar work throughout the album is of top quality, always tuneful and never overly flashy.

'Divergence' is more in the Hard Rock vein with the chorus putting me in mind of The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. 'Silent Corner' opens with a subtle flute refrain before the band kicks in with a delightful melody underpinned by acoustic guitar. Multi-layered vocals give added depth and whilst I'm not a fan of the saxophone, here it stays the right side of melodic and thankfully doesn't stray into tuneless screeching territory.

Both 'Silver & Gold' and 'Lifeboats' have that Fish element to their structure while the album's centrepiece is the four-part, twelve minute epic 'Not In This Picture', which is probably the Proggiest thing on offer as it moves through various phases and styles. There's some rather nice Camel-esque Hammond Organ and more delicious guitar work.

The title track features some delightful flute but I'm not sure re-working two old tracks was wise; 'Black Cat' is particularly drab.

Gary Marshall

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