Wishbone Ash
Argus


5.0
classic

Review

by DaveW USER (3 Reviews)
December 6th, 2007 | 208 replies


Release Date: 1972 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 1972's Argus is the prime piece in the Wishbone Ash collection and a must have for any fan of 70s progressive rock. It shows pioneering twin lead guitar work, great (independent) basslines, a lot of melody, and a nice mystic feel in the music and lyrics,

Formed in 1969 and releasing their first album in 1970, English classic rock band Wishbone Ash were pioneers of the twin lead guitar sound which was also used by Thin Lizzy and which would become famous in the 80s through the work of Iron Maiden. Some of their early work, including this album, is actually progressive rock, although no keyboards are used.

What immediately stands out on Argus are the bass lines of bassist / vocalist Martin Turner. Unlike many rock bassists of this time, Turner does not just follow the guitars but does his own thing, adding an extra dimension to each song on this album. A prime example of this is formed by the beautiful bass riff (which is even played without guitars for a while) about 3.30 into 'Sometime World'.

The swapping of solos between guitarists Andy Powell and Ted Turner is extremely innovative on this album, especially on the track 'Throw Down the Sword'. I would like to turn everyone's attention to the solo section of this song, since both guitarist are soloing at the same time by playing different lines, yet keeping in perfect harmony, continuously diverging and converging. A great accomplishment which has rarely been heard since.
That being said, the twin lead guitar sound is really great on the album as a whole, which includes a great many beautiful harmonies.

The album has a lot to offer in terms of song structure as well.
The opener Time Was starts out with some beautiful, mellow, acoustic acoustic parts, accompanied by soothing vocals. Halfway the song gains in tempo and becomes more heavy, leading up to a grand finale with some really nice guitar solos.

The song 'Sometime World' starts out as a soft melodic rock song, fading away around 3.30 into the song, only for a beautiful melodic bass line to arrive which increases the tempo of the song and is soon joined by the rhythm guitars, which gradually increase in volume. Vocals follow soon after that, after which a great solo section launches.

A favorite of mine is the song 'The King Will Come', which gradually builds up in volume, starting off with a nice guitar riff with a lot of great wah-wah effects. After about a minute the song is underway and becomes a real melodic rock song. It shows some nice interaction between both guitarists. This really helps to build up the atmosphere. Halfway through the song has an easy, melodic break/interlude which adds even more to the atmosphere and feel of the song.

I guess atmosphere is one of the strong points of this album in general. The album has a bit of a mystic feel, which is nicely represented by the album cover. The feel of each song nicely corresponds with the lyrics as well.

'Warrior' is another highlight off the album, starting out with a real hardrocking riff, arguably the loudest riff on the album, which is followed by one of the better leads on the album right away. The song has a few nice mellow and mystic sections and a great sing-along chorus with heavy riffs: 'I have to be a warrior, a slave I couldn't beeeeee. A soldier and a conqueror, fighting to be freeeeee'.

The only weakness of the album is the lack of a real vocalist. Although bassist Martin Turner does a good job which fits the songs, and so do some of the other members who take part in the singing, a true lead vocalist may have given the album just a little bit extra.

1972's Argus is the prime piece in the Wishbone Ash collection and a must have for any fan of 70s progressive rock. It shows pioneering twin lead guitar work, great (independent) basslines, a lot of melody, and a nice mystic feel in the music and lyrics, which is also expressed in the album cover.


user ratings (145)
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4.3
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Rudd13
December 6th 2007


952 Comments


This seems interesting. I greatly enjoy a lot of mystical sounding songs, one of them coincidentally being The Argus by Ween. I'll probably look into this sometime soon.

Good first review, although it seems you repeated some statements multiple times. How would you compare this album to Houses of the Holy?

DaveW
December 6th 2007


15 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I have to confess I am not familiar with that particular Zeppelin album, although I like Zeppelin of course.

If the album is anything like their other stuff, I'd say Argus has less focus on vocals and more on guitar melodies, because of the two guitarists.

moltenlava
July 2nd 2008


312 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't think this is comparable to Zep's HOTH in any way, shape or form. But, it's very good nonetheless. Argus is considered to be a Prog Rock album, but it's no more progressive than the average Rock release in 1972. Everything was progressive to one degree or another in 72/73, the pinnacle of the first wave for the genre. The standout tracks here are 'Time Was', 'Sometime World' and 'The King Will Come'. If you like this recording, I would also look towards things like Gnidrolog's Lady Lake, Spring's self-titled debut and Jade Warrior's Last Autumn's Dream. Awesome, the whole lot of 'em.



KILL
October 2nd 2010


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

really loving this wow

Digging: Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses

McCopper
October 8th 2010


1367 Comments


You're late

KILL
October 8th 2010


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

who are you

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
October 8th 2010


16137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If I'd have known you hadn't heard this, I'd have rec'd it to you a long time ago man.

KILL
October 8th 2010


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yea man i'm loving it, what album should i go for next?

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
October 8th 2010


16137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pilgramige is great too, though a bit scatter-brained. I've been thinking of reviewing that one for a while. I need to bump this to 4.5.

KILL
November 19th 2010


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

pilgramige is great going to get s/t next cant wait

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
November 19th 2010


16137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

First two jazz-infused tracks are pretty damn awesome.

Nagrarok
November 19th 2010


8315 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Listened to this a couple of days ago again and bumped. Guitar melodies are fantastic, the vocals lack sometimes. It's unfortunate that they didn't have a real lead singer, but somehow this suits them as well.

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
January 3rd 2011


16137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Throw Down Your Sword" rocks out loud.

bungy
January 29th 2011


8843 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Is any of their crap after this good too?

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
January 29th 2011


16137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The next few albums are pretty solid. Not really on par with this and the s/t, but worth a listen I'd say.

bungy
January 29th 2011


8843 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

aright I'll probably give them a go eventually, cause this is awesome. Not sure if it's a 4 or 4.5

FatChickIrl
February 22nd 2011


4096 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yes

FatChickIrl
February 22nd 2011


4096 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pretty much every song is astounding and the fact that this was made 40m years ago is ridiculous

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
February 22nd 2011


16137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, it's so good. Not sure why these guys aren't mentioned next to some other prog and folk titans.

KILL
April 24th 2011


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

jamming to this for the first time in a while

rules so much



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