ARGOS: A Seasonal Affair (2015: MUSEA, Progressive Promotions Records)
Thomas Klarmann/ Bass, Flute, Keyboards, Guitars, Lead Vocals
Robert Gozon/ Lead Vocals, Keyboards, Guitars
Ulf Jacobs/ Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Rico Florczak/ Electric Guitars
Andy Tillison, Marek Arnold, Thila Brauss
This album (their fourth) is so good I guarantee it will be on many “best of” lists for 2015…or it would be if people knew of ARGOS and actually purchased/heard their new musical offering: A Seasonal Affair. Counting two bonus tracks it’s an 11 track disc that serves up a feast of not neo-prog, but classic goodness ala 1973/4.
Track 1, ‘Vanishing,’ starts with fantasy lyrics and real Porcupine Tree vibe but by the time that Hammond and synths arrive in Track 2 one is hearing echoes of Triumvirat. Track 3, ‘Silent Corner,’ though too starting with a Steven Wilson feel, morphs into a sound dialogue between trance-like meditation and jazzy instrumental fusion. This song is so perfectly constructed that it should be a Classic Prog standby tune!
Track 4, ‘Silver And Gold,’ keeps up the jazz/rock rhythms but adds some neat Gentle Giant like vocals. This complex syncopated style of choppy vocals makes another pleasant appearance on bonus track 11, ‘Black Cat.’ Track 5, ‘Lifeboats,’ may be my favorite song and all by itself it worth buying the album for. The song hearkens back to the great classics of Gabriel era Genesis or even Fish era Marillion. The squiggly Mellotron and synth keys put an actual smile on my face.
Thinking then that ARGOS had peaked; they delivered their magnum opus in the 12:32 multi-layered and multi-part epic ‘Not In This Picture.’ The interplay between synth strings, keys, and Hammond produce more Genesis brilliance with a touch of both Pink Floyd and, surprisingly, Big Big Train. There is a rural English countryside appeal to much of the vocal delivery. These Germans sound like a classic undiscovered Canterbury band.
This respectful nod to the Canterbury scene continues with Track 7, ‘A Seasonal Affair,’ as the beautiful melody and gorgeous piano hearkens back to Pete Bardens and Camel.
This is simply a groove laden album with handsome low-key vocals swathed in meditative and achingly beautiful washes of color and fragrance. It’s like Passport meets Yes with an extra dose of both Genesis and Steve Rothery guitar runs.
ARGOS, formed in 2005, and hailing from Mainz and Greifswold Germany needs to be put on a much larger stage as this album is Prog magic which should be part of every Prog aficionado’s collection.
A telling sign of how good it is (how good it MUST be) is that mega-genius and musical polymath Andy Tillison is one of the guest musicians (along with Marek Arnold on Soprano Sax and Thila Brauss on keyboards). This album truly bears that distinguished mark of excellence that is Tillison!
Progressive Promotions Records deserves to placed on the permanent radar of all Prog fans, and this album needs to sell. It is available for around $20.00 at Amazon.com, while ARGOS’ 2012 album, CRUEL SYMMETRY is available at CD Baby for a reasonable price.
ARGOS info at:
Mellotron set to 11