posted on 6/2009 By:
While I certainly appreciate those bands that push the envelope and inject a level of freshness to heavy metal, nothing knocks me to the curb with greater walloping clout than those records that effectively deliver choice h-e-a-v-y-f-u-c-k-i-n-m-e-t-a-l in its purest and most natural form. To many readers that essentially equates to "antique sounding," so if such an idea sets off your fight or flight response, I'd say this is a pretty good time for you to start spinning your wheels.
Argus' debut full-length bleeds influence from a wealth of heavy metal's elite. Piles of melodic twin guitar attacks hearken obvious vintage pursuits such as Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden, so those who pitch tent from the blazing fretwork of Slough Feg or Brocas Helm should certainly take note. But where Feg and Helm aren't afraid to inject a healthy dose of merriment and pedal-to-the-metal hard rock, Argus favor a more sullen and serious delivery that's obviously magnified by the classic doom firmly imprinted on their foundation. Penance (RIP) will likely spring to mind, not only because they share(d) the same vocalist, but because both bands generally duck the misconception of doom having to be sloooooooow by maintaining a solid mid-paced stride that emphasizes a walloping heaviness.
Personal highlights strike early with the infectious "Devils, Devils", the fist-pumping romp of "Bending Time", and the galloping charge of the epic "From Darkness...Light", but the wealth of bright leads, bubbling bass lines and sweetly doomy riffs combined with Butch's warm, impassioned vocal delivery truly results in a record that's ironclad from start to finish.
Those already familiar with the band through their 2007 Bland Hand Records demo will quickly recognize four of the eight tunes here (the only hitch, as far as I'm concerned), but the 30+ minutes of additional material is undoubtedly strong enough to make the record worthy of purchase. And those yet unfamiliar with the band who prefer their metal melodic, galloping and built on a classic doom foundation, consider this your call to arms -- Argus stands as yet another notch in the win column for the burgeoning Shadow Kingdom Records. I have no doubt this record will find its way into my top ten at year end.
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