Exposé Online banner

Asgard — Imago Mundi
(Music Is Intelligence WMMS 028, 1993, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1994-02-01

Imago Mundi Cover artThis, Asgard's fourth album, covers plenty of new territory, recaptures some of the lost ground from their original sound, and offers a quite a bit more accessibility - while maintaining a generally non-commercial spirit. For those not familiar, Asgard is an Italian neo-progressive rock band who tend to develop long thematic structures within their music, which typically involves album length conceptual projects. They never list the lineup on the CD booklets (I guess one needs to join the fan club to get that information), but it sounds very much like a six-piece with a dedicated lead singer, two guitars, bass, keys and drums. The band is very versatile, and can seem equally at home in a symphonic setting (as in Esoteric Poem, album No. 2) or a fast-paced urgency approaching the near metallics of Dream Theater or Rush (the album at hand). The vocalist, although he has a powerful delivery full of raw gut-felt emotion, sounds too much like too many other singers out there: depending on the style at hand - he reminds me of a cross between the German band Iskander and Marillion with Fish. Still, taken together, their music seems to possess an energy and spiritual drive, full of life and mysticism that the other neo's totally lack. Imago Mundi is the story of a warrior's wanderings across some imaginary land (presumed to be prehistoric Europe). Each of the album's thirteen tracks involves a part of this journey and some insight into human nature derived from it. Musically, the band has moved into a more stylistic rock setting, applied with a healthy dose of crunch, not unlike the more powerful moments of Clutching at Straws, but with a bit more of a metal edge at times. Yet at the same time they still retain some of that gothic moodiness from their previous release Arkana, which brought them close to the style of bands like Devil Doll or Golgotha. Finally, at least on a few tracks ("Land of the Silver Drakkar," "Land of the Green and Flowers," and "Courage - Land of the Dark Wood") they have managed to create some fairly accessible tunes with a thread of rhythmic continuity. Overall, an good fourth step for Asgard, that should offer some reassurance to those who thought they were about to go over the edge.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 2, 1993 releases

Related artist(s): Asgard

Latest news

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more

2017-01-27
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more

2017-01-26
Butch Trucks RIP – Butch Trucks was one of two drummers in the first incarnation of the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, helping the band achieve its legendary status as an American original. He died on January 24, 2017 of a self-inflicted gunshot would. He was 69. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Fromuz - Audio Diplomacy – Fromuz is short for "From Uzbekistan," the homeland country for this inspired quintet that took Tashkent by storm a few years ago. Guitarist Vitaly Popeloff leads the band in a series of fusion and...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues