ARGUS - BEYOND THE MARTYRS (Cruz Del Sur)
(Review by Stefan)
First effort for Pennsylvania based Argus was a 5-song demo called “Spring 2007” but officially debuted with the self-titled, full-length album which appeared back in 2009 through Shadow Kingdom Records. I became in touch with the band came along with their second output entitled “Boldly Stride The Doomed” (Cruz Del Sur, 2011). While listening to the entire album, I really stood rooted to the spot! Argus blew me apart with a Classic Heavy Metal sound made on foundations of Traditional Doom, I’m still stuck to all the beautiful songs I heard back then. A masterpiece which has left a very good impression, one of my favourite Classic Heavy/Doom Metal of recent years!
Pending the release of a brand new full CD, Argus deliver a limited, self-financed EP entitled “Blood, Fire, Beer” available as limited edition. Charged with 6 songs of which a forthcoming new album track, a Pink Floyd & Thin Lizzy cover songs and three live recordings from their gig in Pittsburgh at the Smiling Mouse Bar in 2012. With high expectations I looked forward to their sophomore album called “Beyond The Martyrs”, meanwhile issued through Cruz Del Sur and as you’ll read next… I’m very excited with the final result!
‘Endurance We Conquer’ has the pleasure to open this CD and does it with a lot of persuasiveness. Quite epic minded with a catchy chorus and strong melodic Classic Heavy Metal guitar lines, as soon as frontman Brian ‘Butch’ Balich (ex-Penance) opens his mouth, my admiration rises completely at top. This guy has an endlessly good throat which I daresay he’s one of the best singers at the moment inside the Metal community. Highly stable, with moments a little hoarse but all the time very well intelligibly… Butch approaches clear perfection to me. Also allows me to mention that his fellow band companions are able to demand my full attention as well so my appreciation direct to each one of the musicians’ musical skills reaches a high level. Regarding this first song, I couldn’t have fancied a better start.
‘No Peace Beyond The Line’ starts quite easily but comes a little later at full power once the outstanding, heavy guitars riffs starts to roar. Moderate tempi, heavenly beautiful melodic leads and a top-notch vocalist cut my breath completely. Next ‘The Hands Of Time And Bleeding’ is full true to the term traditional Doom Metal in the vein of Candlemass, Krux, Memory Garden. Argus’ Classic Heavy Metal/NWOBHM influences appear with the song ‘Four Candles Burning’, short track (3:48) with a sprawling beauty. However unlike this short distance runner, I will announce ‘The Coward’s Path’ and its seven-minute playing time. Damn, what a superb composition that’ll bring each and every fan of Traditional Doom Metal into temptation. The structure of it is genius and showcases every single musical detail to relive to good old days of Candlemass, Trouble and also Black Sabbath for the Iommi styled riffage. The pace is increased during the second part and the solo’s are just, breathtaking. A killer song still featuring a high and mighty frontman who probably have the best days of his life… what a great singer !On the last song ‘Beyond The Martyrs’, singer Butch gets a deserved rest imposed - this instrumental composition takes me for five minutes into higher spheres. Argus kept the pace rather low but heavy as hell, the beautiful guitar solo’s let me once again enjoy with full force. Along with this song, Argus proves its musical strength and chemistry among the players but have to admit that I like the band’s a lot more during the songs that are sung by the masterly, over the top Heavy Metal voice supplier named Brian ‘Butch’ Balich.
Argus is much more than just a regular formation making a blend of Classic Doom/Heavy Metal music, listening very focussed you can’t deny the fact they’re really outstanding! Their former album “Boldly Stride The Doomed” managed to overpower me, concerning Argus’ new effort “Beyond The Martyrs” I can just report the same. Superb in all areas and definitely recommended to those into early Black Sabbath/Candlemass/Trouble, Sinister Realm, Sorcerer, Krux, Memory Garden, While Heaven Wept, Atlantean Kodex a.o. Purchase on the double via THIS link. Official Argus homepage at: http://www.argusmetal.com/home/
My Points: 89 / 100
95+ : Outstanding, high valued albums & Classic Ones… a direct purchase is advisable !
Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan
Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it
Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing
Between 60 and 69: Rather moderate
Between 50 and 59: Bad, substandard
50- : Rubbish