In The Realm Of Asgard
(original LP 1972, CD reissue 2010 -Esoteric - UK)
After more than three decades, the official CD release of this 1972 band’s one and only LP is released by Esoteric in a remastered version with original art. For so many years this was a rare item which brought huge sums of money in the record auctions around the world. So now everyone can hear it.
There are other bands with the name Asgard (a French and a Scandinavian band that I know of) but you are safe if you just remember the cover art, and/or know the fact that this title “In the Realm of Asgard” on the Esoteric label, is the only release by this particular Asgard (who picked and used the name before all the other bands did). To sum up the details of the band, they were signed to Threshold in 1971, by The Moody Blues (who had become fed up with the major existing record companies and started their own label). The members of Asgard were James Smith (vocals), Rod Harrison (vocals, guitar), Dave Cook (bass), Peter Orgil (violin) and Ian Snow (drums). They weren’t as progressive as most of the other progressive rock acts of the era, but they did bring in a very distinct influence from Uriah Heep and Styx, along with some Crosby Still and Nash styled harmonies. Not a bad combination really.
The CD is extremely short, clocking in at just under 36 minutes. The songs are not epic or extended, but just well written semi progressive rock very much like early Uriah Heep in a nutshell. You don’t have to have been growing up in 60's and early 70's to really appreciate this but it might help if you did. You’d relate it to the feel of that spread of time. I always liked Uriah Heep through ‘Magician’s Birthday” and so I had no trouble liking Asgard. I am a good example of someone who never heard the band until now. So it’s a retrospective, but I grew up in the 70's so had an easy time identifying with the style of ‘In The Realm of Asgard” It’s a short piece of history. Not earth shaking or monumental in any way, just nice and good song writing.
Reviewed by Lee Henderson - May 8, 2011