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Argos: Cruel Symmetry

Argos is a four piece progressive rock band that formed in 2005 in Mainz, Germany. Founding member Thomas Klarmann is a veteran musician and has been in various bands since the '70s. He eventually hooked up with vocalist Robert Gozon and drummer Ulf Jacobs and released their self-titled debut in 2009 and followed it with Circle in 2010. Rico Florczak (electric and acoustic guitars) also joined the fold which brings us to their most recent album Cruel Symmetry.

So, who are these guys anyway? Having never heard of this band I was more than a little intrigued. The cool looking album cover definitely had promise so I was looking forward to giving this one a spin. The verdict I am totally digging this album more and more with each successive listen. I have to say this is one of the strongest prog albums I have heard so far in 2013.

If you like retro sounding keys you have come to the right place. Hammond organ, electric and acoustic piano, synthesizer and Mellotron, all played with high caliber musicianship without making this an all-out wankfest. Although there is nothing wrong with that style it would not fit in with this type of music. There is a refined, tuneful quality at work here, very melodic and easy on the ears. That is not to say the this music is simple, that is not the case at all. The epic twenty minute title track is a prime example. The music travels from soft keyboard drenched soundscapes to a classic retro prog sound to more Canterbury-like stylings with delicate acoustic guitar and flute. Spacey sections, including some Floyd-like passages, will further enhance your musical ride. On "Paper Ship Dreams" tender acoustic guitar and keys further explore the band's penchant for progressive folk music while the quirky "Chance Encounters" has a Van Der Graaf Generator feel. As a matter of fact the mighty Generator can be heard a few times as Gozon's vocals are eerily similar to those of Peter Hammill.

I found Cruel Symmetry to be a refreshing and interesting listen. Sure they haven't written the book on original prog but the strong songwriting and hooks more than makes up for any lack of originality.

Track Listing:
1. Cruel Symmetry (20:43)
2. Paper Ship Dreams (4:30)
3. Chance Encounters (4:22)
4. Possessions (6:05)
5. The Story Of Flying Robert (4:29)
6. Caught Within The Light (6:47)
7. Open Book (7:43)

Added: June 22nd 2013
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Label's Official Site
Hits: 1892
Language: english

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