Argos was founded in 2005, initially as a solo project in Mainz, Germany by Thomas Klarmann. In the same year, he met the singer and keyboard player Robert Gozon and joined his band Superdrama which had been formed by Gozon and others to play and compose progressive rock music. Beyond the wide activities of this group (several gigs since 2006) the two musicians started an intensive musical cooperation. In addition to 'classic' progressive rock both of them shared other influences like the Canterbury scene, the late Beatles and the more experimental, playful and specifically British varieties of bands like Gentle Giant, Stackridge and Van der Graaf Generator.
The first demo songs of Klarmann and Gozon were published on Myspace in 2007 and quickly triggered positive reactions in the international prog community. When Ulf Jacobs, a drummer who at that time had already released three solo albums, heard these songs, he enthusiastically offered his cooperation to complete the album in 2008. Due to the musical originality of the demo songs, the French label Musea signed a contract with the band, and in 2009 their first, self-titled album Argos was released. This CD includes 14 original compositions that were intended to be a homage in three parts to the 'golden years' of British seventies prog rock and were received well by critics and listeners alike.
On their second album, Circles (2010, Musea) Argos, which then had developed into a quartet, managed to increase their fan base with their own, unconventional style, leaving behind the well-trodden paths of progressive rock. Rico Florczak, the new member, was able to draw attention with his virtuoso guitar techniques. In 2011, Argos released a newly arranged version of the Flower Kings' Cosmic Circus on the Musea sampler A Flower full of Stars.
Their most recent work, Cruel Symmetry (2012, Progressive Promotion Records) is dominated by the 21-minute-plus title track which takes the listener on a journey to the different scenarios of perception (and deceit). These stages are presented in imaginative and constantly changing musical styles and textures: hymn-like, tuneful elements are intermingled with and replaced by psychedelic excursions. Rhythmically complex passages are followed by delicate, acoustic parts. With this longtrack Argos convey the spirit of the seventies to our age and time. Because of their typically unconventional and not seldom humorous approach they distinguish themselves from other retro bands.
In the following six songs the band shows that they have an intuition for catchy melodies and jazzy, idiosyncratic harmonies. Remarkably, the classic instrumentation of traditional progressive rock (mellotron, harpsichord, flute, hammond and Moog) is combined with modern techniques like using drum loops and a contemporary guitar style.
Cruel Symmetry, their third album to date, was again produced as a quartet and mixed this autumn by Florczak and Klarmann. The intensified presence of Rico Florczak's electric guitar playing obviously helped to shape the band's character and individuality. For the first time on record, he has also been involved as a composer. Thus, the complex, nearly eight minute-long closer of the album, Open Book, bears his own, distinctive handwriting.
While songs like Possessions and Open Book are characterized by thoughtful lyrics and melancholy sounds, one can also discover the typical, relaxed attitude and irony of the more well-known Canterbury bands like Caravan and Hatfield and the North. These influences are easily recognizable in songs such as Paper Ship Dreams and The Story of Flying Robert, sung by Thomas Klarmann.
Based on harder, straightforward guitar riffs, the catchy Chance Encounters and Caught within the Light with its powerful chorus, show that Argos can rock, too.
On Cruel Symmetry, the four musicians apparently refuse to be categorized in stereotypes due to their diversity and their intention to surprise themselves and their fans alike.