Arkus - 1914 (SI Music Simply 33, 1981/1993, CD)
I'm not sure how many times I had to listen to this to review it. It seems like I forget about it after every listen. Arkus is a Dutch symphonic group and their debut album from the early 80's is quite the mediocre affair. The music reminds me of simple, thematic, symphonic rock akin to Snow Goose-era Camel, a musically conservative approach with trite major and minor key melodies. The vocals are decent, and the music is not too bad, but while Camel would get in high gear quite often, Arkus just lets it simmer lazily. It is this lack of dynamic contrast that is the album's main flaw. Of course, this type of riskless symphonic rock has always had wide appeal and it's still much better than 90 percent of its label SI's catalogue which I'm sure will speak for itself.
(Originally published in Exposť #4, p. 24, Edited for Gnosis 4/8/01)
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