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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Zaragon - 1984 No Return
Zaragon - 1984 No Return

ARTIST: Zaragon
ALBUM: No Return
LABEL: PMP Records
SERIAL: 12161
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 1994, Ad Perpetuam Memoriam, APM-9405


LINEUP: Martin Nielsen - vocals * Ralph Hoel - keyboards * Finn Jansen - guitars, backing vocals * Jim Andersen - bass * Bjorn Hoel - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Stretched Out Hands * 02 Thoughts * 03 Lightrace * 04 No Return * 05 Exit * 06 Fear To Fight (CD bonus)

In an earlier review, Eric pointed out a handful of Danish progressive rock bands, including the band Ache in our 1971 reviews section. A few years down the track, Denmark would unearth another band (among many) that also finds appeal among the melodic rock fraternity as well. The band in question are Zaragon. Formed in 1979 under the temporary handle Thin Ice, the band specialise in a brand of prog that is highly infectious, with traces of Genesis, Yes, Eloy, Camel, and if we delve into the neo-prog scene, we could dish out a name like IQ too. I read somewhere that Zaragon could be described as neo-symphonic, whatever the hell that means. Their one and only album 'No Return' was released in 1984, but didn't really gain any mention until the album was reissued in 1994 by the Ad Perpetuam Memoriam label.

The Songs
As with most prog albums, there is some extended playing time on 'No Return', two tracks clock in over 11 minutes. But it's all interesting stuff, nothing plodding at all, the metronome working hard from start to finish. The man of the moment is undoubtedly keyboardist Ralph Hoel, who holds the fort together with some monstrous ivory chops, a la Wakeman, Banks etc. Guitarist Finn Jansen also chimes in with some solid six string work in the vein of Camel's Andy Latimer. You can hear him stretch out on the fantastic title track, where his solos remind you of David Gilmour's work with Pink Floyd - another good reference point. 'Fear To Fight' is more modern sounding, and so it should be, as it was recorded in 1993, and is the album (CD) bonus track. It races along at a good tick, and the obvious comparisons to neo-prog can be made on this track.

In Summary
Prog fans should already know about this lot, melodic rockers less so. I did see a small review of this album in Mike Shannon's GC Discs mail-out during 1994, I think the album may have been reviewed by Kelv Hellrazer at the time, who gave it a wholehearted recommendation. The CD is pretty hard to find, but there is a fileshare out there on the Net, so check out Zaragon for yourself. It goes to show if you dig hard enough, there is more to Denmark than Caroline Wozniacki, Prince Fredrik, Princess Mary and King Diamond!

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