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

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more

2020-01-07
Joel Vandroogenbroeck RIP – Word has reached us of the death of Joel Vandroogenbroeck, best known as one of the founders of Brainticket, He also recorded electronic music under a variety of names. He was born August 25th, 1938 in Brussels, Belgium and died December 23, 2019 in Arlesheim, Switzerland, aged 81. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Jadis - Across the Water – If this band sounds familiar to you, it's probably because Jadis are usually touted as the alter-ego of IQ. With half of Jadis also members of IQ concurrently (Martin Orford, keys; John Jowitt,...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues