Ragnarok — Nooks
(Belle Antique 9004, 1976/1990, CD)
by Peter Thelen, 1996-03-01:
Not to be confused with the Swedish band of the same name, this Ragnarok is from New Zealand and released two albums in the mid-70s, of which Nooks is the second. Their sound was a solid symphonic rock, fairly accessible, and typical of the times. Most of the tracks feature vocals, contributed by all four members, yet their presence doesn't overwhelm the music, which remains the driving force. Influences might include some of the early British mellotron bands like the Moodies, yet there is a jazzy / percussive element in some tracks that defies that comparison. A closer connection might be found in Australian band Sebastian Hardie, although Ragnarok eschews the languid soloing and makes every second count. They also have a nice acoustic side that surfaces from time to time. The odd track here is "Captain Fagg," a spoof of early 70s glam-rock that might sound more at home on an early Mott the Hoople album. The only negative is that the CD is a vinyl transcription, which may annoy some of the digital purists. Still, this is an album definitely worth owning.
by Mike McLatchey, 1995-07-01:
Belle Antique released this some time ago in the days when Japanese distribution was much more expensive and less widespread. It's a vinyl transcription of the second album by the New Zealand group (not to be confused with the Swedish band Ragnarök on Silence) a symphonic rock album that should have great appeal. Ragnarok's concoction reminds one of many English groups – Moody Blues, Yes, Genesis; lesser known groups like Fantasy, Kestrel, England, and an approach similar to Sebastian Hardie. Yes, a plethora of analog synths, tons of Mellotron and great dynamics. The only problem I have here is the obnoxious "Capt. Fagg," a Bowie-esque number with terrible lyrics and definitely out of place here. Fortunately, that's where the skip button comes in handy, the rest of this is solid sympho-prog that will appeal to most except the very adventurous.
Related artist(s): Ragnarok
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more
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
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
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 Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more
Quasar Lux Symphoniæ - Abraham - One Act Rock Opera – First, let's clear up any confusion: This is in no way related to the British neo-symphonic group Quasar that once featured Tracy Hitchings as vocalist. Instead, QLS is an Italian four-piece core band... (1994) » Read more
Various Artists - Psychedelic Phinland: Finnish Hippie & Underground Music 1967-1974 – This archival collection presents the music of 24 Finnish bands, most unknown to Western ears. Disc One contains 19 psychedelic/progressive rock songs and Disc Two contains ten experimental/avant... (2008) » Read more