The eponymous debut album of the German band Argos (2009, see review), reminded our reviewer of 'the good old seventies.' And he wrote: 'the influences of Camel are evident.' However, he also mentioned that they admired other bands like Caravan, Genesis and the early seventies Pink Floyd. In the review of their second album Circles (2010, see review) another reviewer came up with bands like King Crimson, Gentle Giant, The Beatles, but he thought that the Norwegian prog outfit Fruitcake and in particular the Canterbury scene band Hatfield And The North must have inspired Argos. After listening to both albums myself I fully agreed with them.
Concerning their third CD Cruel Symmetry you could say that they stuck to these above-mentioned influences. It seemed that Rico Florczak (guitars), Ulf Jacobs (drums, vocals), Robert Gozon (vocals, keyboards) and Thomas Klarmann (bass, flute, keyboards, vocals) had no reason at all to drastically change their musical direction. Why change a winning team, seems to be their slogan!
Cruel Symmetry immediately starts with the title track, which has been divided into thirteen parts. I think this epical piece that lasts more than twenty minutes is the highlight of the album. All the influences of the above-mentioned names can more or less be heard supplemented by the influences of Peter Hammill and Van Der Graaf Generator. This epic contains a number of different musical moods. Sometimes very mellow, at other times they're getting into a higher gear. The many flute, keyboard and guitar solos certainly make this piece worthwhile listening to without having a dull or boring passage! The vocals are strong and sometimes tend towards singers like Peter Hammill, Robert Wyatt (ex-Soft Machine) and Pye Hastings and Richard Sinclair both of Caravan fame. Beside the title track this CD contains six other songs having almost the same high quality level as the title track and with the same musical influences.
After their two previous albums Argos recorded an outstanding third CD that will be enjoyed by those who are interested in the music of all the above-mentioned bands. I'm quite certain that the band will stick to this style of music on future releases. Never change a successful style is probably one of their other slogans! Well, I don't care at all as long as the next album contains the same strong compositions as these three records.
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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