Argos: A Seasonal Affair
Cruel Symmetry (2012)
A Seasonal Affair (2015)
Thomas Klarmann (bass, flute, acoustic guitars, keyboards, soundscapes, vocals)
Robert Gozon (keyboards, vocals)
Ulf Jacobs (drums, percussion, vocals)
Rico Florczak (electric guitars, sounds, vocals)
Andy Tillison (keyboards)
Thilo Brauss (keyboards)
Marek Arnold (saxophone)
I first heard the German symphonic progressive rock band Argos with their Cruel Symmetry CD in 2012. My initial impression was very favourable so when I heard they were releasing a new disc, A Seasonal Affair, well, let's just say I couldn't wait to wrap my ears around this one. The three years between albums was certainly put towards good use as A Seasonal Affair is a finely crafted prog album, maybe even better than their previous effort.
The album's bleak but well done artwork reveals the concept of a planet in dire consequences. If only the 'powers that be' would be so enlightened. The lyrics are certainly worthy of further examination. Now on to the music.
"Vanishing" begins the album with a subtle electronic vibe before Gozon's lower range vocals enter reminding me of David Bowie and/or Peter Hammill. The keyboards flow nicely in contrast to some jarring guitar work from Florczak.
"Divergence" features big organ fills and synths and more biting guitar. The vocals are more frenzied here and the song diverges from heavier guitar to softer motifs. The guitar solo is excellent.
"Silent Corner" adds a jazzy edge with gently cascading flute, dreamy keys and acoustic guitar. A little Floydy at times with a nod to King Crimson as well. The addictive melody in the chorus makes this one hard to stop spinning.
The quirky "Silver and Gold" has an up-tempo funky groove with angular guitar explorations giving this an alternative edge. Again, the melody is never too far away from the core of the song.
Prog fans should love the obligatory album epic "Not In This Picture", a four part suite filled with sweet acoustic guitar, lush synth solos, big organ grooves and more discordant meanderings. The tone can be upbeat as in the acoustic melody in "Tuesday's Dead" and "Tuesday Returns" or more ominous as demonstrated in the foreboding instrumental "The Shadow Over Herne Bay".
The jazzy prog of the title track flows from pastoral flute passages and pretty piano to soaring guitar and rich violin work while "Forbidden City" is a quirkier affair harnessing a bit of Jethro Tull featuring more outstanding flute, synth and guitar excursions.
Simply put, A Seasonal Affair is an outstanding disc and another strong contender for my album of the year. Another excellent release for Progressive-Promotion Records.
1. Vanishing (3:39)
2. Divergence (4:04)
3. Silent Corner (6:32)
4. Silver and Gold (4:26)
5. Lifeboats (6:02)
6. Not In This Picture (12:33)
I. Tuesday's Dead
II. The Shadow Over Herne Bay
III. TV Seasons
IV. Tuesday Returns
7. A Seasonal Affair (4:18)
8. Forbidden City (5:21)
9. Stormland (6:21)
10. Killer (2015 version) (5:18)
11. Black Cat (2015 version) (3:37)
Added: May 17th 2015
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Label's Official Site
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