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And then it's back to progressive hard rock on "Pleasure", which is great aswell with some complex arrangements. On "Sleep won't help me" Argent visits the jazzy parlour and delivers a great jazz-rock track that is both dreamy and powerful.
It all comes to an end with "Where are we going wrong? As a whole "Ring of hands" is typical for many albums of the very early 70's that leans towards progressive rock. It's not at all complex like King Crimson or Gentle Giant but it is certainly very progressive sounding and that comes through so clearly. The keyboards are a treat and shows the massive skills of Rod Argent himself.
While I like "Circus" the most I think, at this point in time, I'll place "Ring of hands" as number two in their discography.
A wonderful, proto-proggish effort where influences from all walks of like come to life. I mean, that is quite something, isn't it? The album starts off with a mellotron drenched rock song with progressive garnish. You have to remember that Argent from the beginning was little more than a hard rock band and though they in headed down prog avenue they seemed to feel obliged to add one or two simpler songs.
Single cuts? A yearning for the charts? Well, maybe. And who can blame them for wanting some cash in their pocket? Anyways, not the most progressive track but good enoug and the mellotron opening is terrific. The song segues into "I can't remeber but yes" which turns out to be the exact opposite to the beginning. High octane progressive jazz-rock with a breathtaking intensity. The first really outstanding song is "Time" and quite a long piece too, clocking in at 7 minutes. This is really brilliant jazzy progressive.
The opening sets the mood and then it hits you. The pop and rock tendencies are gone. You are left with pure prog gold.
This is the motherlode of the album. Soft and gentle with a great organ in the background. The song "Be strong" is another ballad type of thing but with wonderfully arranged odd time structures.
I have a serious problem with bands singing the words "rock-n-roll" over a simple boogie beat as if their trying to create a hymn for the genre. The song in itself isn't bad, really it isn't. Quite catchy and energetic but I just cant stand the chanting of "rock'n'roll". It's just not my cup of tea.
Great stuff this. A progressive journey with emotive sections and beautifully arranged. This, the last track, is also the longest with its 10 minutes. Jazzy and smooth without being cheezy this really is a fine way to end an album. And the mellotron is yet again delicious. I do not understand the high degree of negative criticism this album seems to receive. Given the fact that we all have different taste I still do not understand it.
It's a great little album by a sometimes great band and being their last album I Think they Went out on a high note. The instrumentation is flawless without being fusion-y sterile, the vocals are terrific thank you, John Verity and the mood of the album has everything that makes a prog album great.
Give it a go, why don't you? I love a good concept album. It's so prog. The whole album is tightly played and doesn't let go of me for the duration of the album. There are three tracks that really do stand out amidst these seven wonderful tracks. Amazing instrumentation and full of jazzy progressive drama. It is that sort of spicy ingredients that fills my cup. Jazzy, hard rocking and thumping basslines. There are other tracks well worth hearing, such as the gentle "Clown".
Or "Shine on sunshine", which is the finest song Queen never wrote with a prominent mellotron. A great track in it's own rights. The inclusion of John Verity is a brilliant move. He has such a great voice and delivers passionate vocals througout. Well worth mentioning is the abundance of keyboards.
Mellotron, organ, electric piano and moog. What more could be asked for? The bass is great, as are the drums. I must mention the striking cover. A man on a highwire, way up in the ceiling of the circus tent. Two or three colors, drama and beauty. Evocative, maybe that's the word? I can look at the cover for hours. Simply beautiful. The progressive rock provided by Argent on this album is very jazz-rock and very warm. It is a work of love and passion and I find that it is one of a kind in the discography of the band.
You will find progressive touches and flourishes on nigh on any album by Argent especially "Nexus but not as focused, devoted and full blown as on "Circus". This album holds a very dear place in my heart and for every listen I walk away with a new experience, a titbit I haven't heard before. A great, underappreciated, somewhat forgotten flower in the garden of progressive rock. But this live concert recording eliminates the producer's flights of fancy and helps to place the focus solely on the songs and the band's performance.
Not a favorite of mine as it's sounds as derivative as anything concocted by Emerson, including his synth tones. If there was one thing that set seventies synth wizards apart, it was a personally unique synth sound, but that's a minor quibble.
So much for slamming the group for eclectic song styles. But what of the songs in the middle? Well, Russ Ballard's "It's Only Money" parts 1 and 2 lacks anything like a musical or vocal hook, and his semi celebrated "God Give Rock and Roll Too You" tries too hard to sound like a drunken beer hall sing-a-long.
Let's face it, when a group like Kiss can take someone's best song at the time and make it sound better, something is desperately wrong. And that was real the problem with Argent. Not the loud stereo panning studio album productions or their eclectic song styles. It was simply poor songwriting or poor song arrangements and singing that resulted in a majority of their material just coming up short. And unfortunately, that is also brought into sharp focus on Encore.
And what was the reason for the band's lapse in taste? Well, it's not beyond reason to assume that Argent and White were quite confused and baffled by the poor reception to their fantastically produced and recorded Zombies' swansong album Odessey sic and Oracle, and that the duo maintained a scattershot approach to both songwriting and song arranging, resulting in the up and down song quality of Argent's output.
But all is not lost. What doesn't rock is a sped up version of "Hold You Head Up" with Argent injecting boring improvised I hope melodies from his new synthesizer which is no match for his original organ solos. A ragged version of "Time Of the Season" is the album's actual encore and I'm quite glad that they didn't do another. I didn't think so. Review by ExittheLemming Prog Reviewer. Once Upon a Time in a far and distant land, there were no double live albums available on which simple fisher folk could fritter the pittance they earned from their wearying, malodorous and dispiriting labours.
So it came to pass that the sovereign decreed that forever hence, any minstrel capable of selling out the local tavern on a wet Tuesday night when there's footie on the telly, could peddle to his followers, a souvenir of this merriment via the mystical sorcery of the Mobile Recording Unit. The rawk demographic were particularly ripe for exploitation in this regard, seeing as how most Mud and Rubettes fans wouldn't be shelling out just to hear different solos from the ones that appeared on the 45 rpm versions of Lonely this Christmas or Sugar Baby Love Two years prior to the frankly baffling success of Frampton Comes Alive , Argent embarked upon a UK tour in support of their Nexus album.
As the latter is maybe the prog friendliest of their entire discography, there is much to embrace and cherish here from a rather unjustly neglected association.
The gestation of Argent is a very tidy fit for the lineage of so much 1st Gen Prog in the early 70's: From pale R'n'B standards via gaudy psychedelic chamber Pop to caped armadillos firing flamethrowers through dry ice in less than a decade.
All kidding aside, Argent never strayed too far from their roots and this is maybe why they seem considerably more grounded than some of their codpiece donning contemporaries. When inhabiting the boogie piano grunt of something like Keep on Rolling you sense in their palpable revelry that unlike an ELP or a Yes, Argent ain't slumming it to appease a fan base starved of less lofty aesthetics.
When you consider the relative career paths of both the Zombies and Argent, a telling disparity starts to emerge. Although both bands split due to lack of sustainable success, the Zombies' Oracle and Odessey sic continues to gather posthumous critical acclaim which prompted a reunion tour and album in , while Argent have almost disappeared entirely from the popular consciousness.
Most critters of a certain vintage can sing along to their two hits but very few can name the band who composed and performed them. Rod and Co are fast becoming the potential subject of a tricky tie breaker in a pub quiz and that's a shame as their music will continue to stand the test of time long after the inebriated contestants have left the tavern. Like Greenslade, Barclay James Harvest, Procul Harum and Camel, Argent seem destined to forever belong among Prog's Brown Dwarfs not big enough to become stars By the time Encore landed on the shelves in singer, songwriter and guitarist Russ Ballard had already departed which left Argent in something of a quandary.
It seems entirely plausible that this release would have bought the band some valuable time to plan their next move and recruit a replacement. They ended up hiring TWO new members but that's another story and maybe indicative of Ballard's unheralded talents. The reasons for Russ leaving are obscure but whether it was a case of him believing not enough of his songs made the albums or he wanted them to move in a more pop direction, there was no way this ensemble were ever going to sanction subsequent material in the vein of Since You Been Gone Rainbow or So You Win Again Hot Chocolate Russ has gone on to write over 40 hit songs for a variety of artists.
The only one I would unreservedly endorse however is I Don't Believe in Miracles for Colin Blunstone which is included here in a tasteful piano setting which builds slowly to a dramatic climax featuring layered harmony vocals and Mellotron strings. The Coming of Kohoutek is probably my favourite Argent number ever and would be an unflaggingly brilliant opening salvo in anyone's live set.
It's an instrumental in three seamless sections based entirely on Lizst's Totentanz Dance of Death, which is in turn sourced from the Gregorian plainchant melody Dies Irae That description sounds 'dusty academia nuts' but rest easy padre, it's a riot of rhythm, timbre and unfettered gusto which will have those stifling vestments swishing vigorously in the aisles for years to come.
The original unadorned theme is stated on Mellotron at the outset before Rod subsequently manipulates this melodic fragment into all manner of unlikely outcomes with stylistic treatments from shuffle rock, astringent organ dissonance, classical piano and Moog soloing as if performed by an ADD dervish snorting coffee straight from the jar.
I wouldn't be surprised if this track could increase any mammal's sperm count all told. BTW The inspiration for the title must have been the comet identified by Lubos Kohoutek which flew very close to the earth in God Gave Rock and Roll to You is one of those songs that provokes some pretty extreme reactions irrespective of the listener's religious orientation.
From a musical perspective, there is very little not to like about a naggingly addictive tune that carries the faintest sway of a gospel spiritual wedded to a mock bombastic intro which is transparently tongue in cheek and great fun all round. Like their other smasheroonie Hold Your Head Up this also has the type of chorus that I'm surprised more football fans haven't assimilated into a terrace anthem similar to their appropriation of Give Peace a Chance.
The lyrics aren't even remotely preachy either: You don't have money or a fancy car And you're tired of wishin' on a falling star You gotta put your faith in a loud guitar You can take a stand, or you can compromise You can work real hard or just fantasize But you don't start livin' 'till you realize Don't step on snails, don't climb in trees, Love Cliff Richard but please don't tease The foregoing is hardly the stuff of right wing conservative fire and brimstone evangelism now is it?
The cover art would suggest that Russ was using his distinctive 'Holey Emmenthaler Frankenstein' guitar at this time which had a Stratocaster body through which several holes had been drilled and was joined to a Telecaster neck. I'm not a guitar tech by any stretch but wouldn't such an ungodly combination make the instrument susceptible to intonation issues? There are further traces on Encore that this may have been the case but like I said before, it's practically unnoticeable and doesn't impinge on the music.
I nailed it in the end, but the reaction I got was the cold shoulder from everybody. It was like 'Well, just go home, you're not being of any use right now. Retrospectively, that might have been a danger sign. Now, his self-control was clearly slipping. The Bel Air mansion the band was renting belonged to John du Pont and the band found several spray cans of gold DuPont paint in a room of the house; finding Ward naked and unconscious after drinking heavily, they proceeded to cover the drummer in gold paint from head to toe.
In his autobiography I Am Ozzy , Osbourne speaks at length about the sessions: "In spite of all the arsing around, musically those few weeks in Bel Air were the strongest we'd ever been. One sniff, and you were king of the universe. I didn't realize how nuts things had gotten until I went home and the girl I was with didn't recognize me. Despite their spiraling addictions, musically Vol.
The band's heavy side remains intact on the likes of 'Tomorrow's Dream', 'Cornucopia' and the seismic 'Supernaut' a firm favorite of Frank Zappa , featuring Bill Ward's soul-inspired breakdown , but the guitar intro on 'St.
Vitus Dance' possesses a jaunty, Led Zeppelin -flavoured quality, while 'Laguna Sunrise' is an evocative neo-classical Iommi instrumental. Snowblind was also the album's working title , but Vertigo Records executives were reluctant to release an album with such an obvious drug reference. We didn't argue. Although most of the album is in the band's trademark heavy style, some songs demonstrate a more sensitive approach. Iommi taught himself to play the piano after finding one in the ballroom of the Bel-Air mansion they were renting.
It was on this piano that "Changes" was composed. I thought that was brilliant from the moment we recorded it. After smoking hashish , the crucifix hanging from Iommi's neck accidentally struck the strings of his guitar and the band took an interest in the odd sound produced.
Iommi calls the song "a total joke". Of "Wheels of Confusion", Henry Rollins said: "It's about alienation and being lost in the wheels of confusion, which is the way I find myself a lot of the time. Sabbath could be my favourite band. It's the ultimate lonely man's rock. There's something about their music that's so painful and yet so powerful. The album, Tony Iommi told Circus ' s sister magazine Circus Raves , "was such a complete change — we felt we had jumped an album, really We had tried to go too far.
The album cover features a monochrome photograph of Ozzy Osbourne with hands raised throwing the peace sign,  taken during a Black Sabbath concert at Birmingham Town Hall in January by Keith Macmillan credited as Keef. Each band member is given his own photo page, with the band on-stage at the very centre. All photos were from the aforementioned Birmingham gig. The album's original cover art has proved iconic, and has been imitated and parodied on numerous occasions, such as on the Peaceville Volume 4 compilation album, the Volume Two EP by the band Sleep , and the Planet Caravan EP by Pantera.
The U. Rock critic Lester Bangs , who had derided the band's earlier albums, applauded Vol. But there's only one band that's dealt with it honestly on terms meaningful to vast portions of the audience, not only grappling with it in a mythic structure that's both personal and powerful but actually managing to prosper as well. And that band is Black Sabbath. In June , Q  placed Vol. Frank Zappa has identified " Supernaut " as one of his all-time favorites.
That influenced me lyrically, definitely". Some North American pressings have parts of the songs titled as The Straightener and Every Day Comes and Goes ; the former is Wheels of Confusion 's coda , while the latter is a two-minute segment that serves as Under the Sun 's bridge. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Redirected from Volume 4 Black Sabbath album. Black Sabbath. Sounds Da Capo Press.
Julian Cope presents Head Heritage. Retrieved 10 April Rolling Stone. Retrieved 20 February Retrieved 25 August Archived from the original on 6 March Retrieved 5 June Retrieved 24 February Retrieved 29 January Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. Strong, Martin.
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