Ethos – Ardour (1976)

Ethos_Ardour4.5 out of 5 Stars!

From the town of Fort Wayne, Indiana, came the group Ethos, a Prog band with high potential that released only two albums before sadly disbanding. Not until the groups Kansas, Starcastle, and Ethos appeared on the scene in the mid-’70s could the Central Midwest region of the USA claim such promising Prog-Rock bands in its midst, so it was a shame the latter act disappeared so shortly after emerging (and followed soon afterward by Starcastle).

Anyway, the band’s debut album, Ardour, contains some truly impressive, complex, and well-performed Symphonic Prog, very British-sounding overall, with lush melodies and grand vocal harmonies, keyboards galore—including Mellotron, Chamberlin, and multi-layered synths—a seemingly perfect balance of both acoustic and electric guitar accompaniment, a dynamic rhythm section including Rickenbacker bass, along with mandolins and flutes popping up on occasion.

On diverse tunes such as “The Dimension Man,” “Space Brothers,” “Long Dancer,” “Everyman,” and “Intrepid Traveller,” I hear Yes and Flash influences, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band and Genesis touches, a smattering of Van Der Graaf Generator, and (on “Atlanteans”) an all-too-brief guitar solo that instantly brings to mind the work of six-string axe wielder Georg Wadenius, who employed some inspired and jazzy “guitar/vocal duets” during his time with Blood, Sweat & Tears.

Regardless, Ethos was a band worthy of greater acclaim and wider recognition, and Ardour (and, to a lesser extent, the band’s 1977 sophomore release) is an obscure goldmine of musical riches.

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