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progVisions

progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

album reviews

album review

Asgard - Drachenblut - 2000

"< This work has been conceived in the sign of the rune <"

"Arisen from the unimaginable depths, its primordial power gave shape to the world, moulded things. Its nature condenses into the great beast and it's blood in which we all bathe, that way taking part in the most ancient rite. Here we better explore it's substance, we get to know it, we learn to distinguish that mysterious bond which links blood and fire, life and war, light and creation…"

Welcome back to world of the dragon,
the world of the Italian (German) band Asgard.

Do you remember Asgard who surprised us in 1991 with "Götterdämmerung". In the next year they even released two albums "Esoteric Poem" and "Arkana". After the release of "Imago Mundi" in 1993 the band almost fell apart. I remember a Dutch concert, at least two or three years ago, where they played some tracks of the new album "Drachenblut". So we had to wait for seven long years. But now Asgard with only two original members (Alberto and Chris) is back. The line-up today is as follows: Alberto Ambrosi - keyboards, Chris Bianchi d'Espinosa - bass, Sergio Ghiotto (ex Top Left Corner) - guitars, Ivo Gallo - vocals, Peter Bachmayer - drums.

The opener "Blue fire" (5:36) sounds familiar to me; they played it already at live gigs. The typical Asgard organ sound is here again. It is a song with a kind of marsh tempo and a simple Hey! refrain that I don't like. But the track has nice guitars and bass. And with that organ sound I have immediately the feeling that the dragon is back. The second track "Red fire" (4:46) is up-tempo and has a nice guitar and keyboard solo. But I have a problem with some parts of the vocals. Sometimes the singer is shouting instead of singing. Still it is a good song. Next is the "Drachenblut suite", which is divided into eight chapters. The main character appears in "Ch. I – Sigurd" (1:09). In this intro of the suite the text is spoken. "Ch. II - Dragon's blood" (3:16) starts with an acoustic guitar and it has some flute parts, which give the piece a folky touch. But after two minutes heavy guitars change the atmosphere of the piece. Then it is time for one of the longer pieces of the album "Ch. III – Quid" (10:45). Slowly the piece builds up with nice guitar work and the Ambrosi keyboards. There are a lot of tempo changes and the piece develops into one of the highlights of the album. The keyboards give sometimes a Genesis or Iluvatar feeling.

Keyboard trumpets are opening "Ch. IV – Drachenfels" (4:01) an up-tempo piece. Mysterious keyboard opening in "Ch. V - In the lands of the dragon of Midgard" (5:37) percussion and a flute accompanies the "Gabrielesque" vocals. The second long piece of the album is "Ch. VI – Initiation" (10:10). In the first minutes of the track there are some nice IQ like guitar sounds. Then the music becomes even more up-tempo. There are some very beautiful melodies in this piece, which mainly reminds me of IQ and Genesis. Even the acoustic Genesis guitars can be heard in the end. This is one of my favourites. Heavier guitar sounds in the next chapter "Ch. VII - I am the udder …" (3:21) again an up-tempo piece with some strange lyrics. "Ch. VIII - The bathe" (2:35) is an instrumental of beautiful classical piano. Then a happy sounding piece "Memories of Sigurd's past" (2:38) but the singer is singing "… I had to kill you"?. One of the older songs is "Danger! (Sigurd in love)" (4:15). For me not very special. The last long track is the highlight of the album "A lime leaf on his back" (9:00). There are a lot of tempo changes, keyboard and guitar solos. In this last piece the guitar of Sergio shows a lot of emotion.

With this album Asgard is back on the map in Sympho/Prog land. The fans of Asgard who have waited for seven long years will buy this album and enjoy it. It is not brilliant and sometimes you have the feeling that you have heard some things before. But when you listen to it a couple of times, you will agree with me that the music grows. If you are new to the music of Asgard, please listen to some tracks at your local record shop first.

Douwe Fledderus - May 2000
rating - Dragon's Music

 

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