Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Argus (U.S.): “Beyond the Martyrs” (Cruz del Sur Music)

Argus (U.S.): “Beyond the Martyrs” (Cruz del Sur Music)
What is heavy metal? Argus is, in the sense of classic, traditional heavy metal. In the near past this zine has reported about several classy albums of heavy metal with singing, riffs that you can appreciate as guitar work (not just chugging rhythms) and with guitar melodies/harmonies; bass guitar that you can distinguish, with a good, solid heartbeat drumming. Some of these more recent albums include the ones by Pharaoh, Surgeon and Power Theory, who all apparently have Pennsylvania connections.
Argus (also, with a Pennsylvania relation) must be added to that list. Listeners of traditional heavy metal, in the classic, basic Judas Priest/Iron Maiden (and forms/styles/bands associated with that tradition) would do well to seek this album. Just to explain further, this is NOT keyboard/happy power metal. It’s guitar/bass/drums/singing heavy metal. The riffs are not happy but gritty Priest/Sabbath riffs, and a clear, solid rhythm section that keeps the songs in place, and upper midrange singing (not thin, high, happy-go-lucky) and with personality. Argus, here and there, shows moments of doom/Sabbath/Candlemass, but is not really a doom band. Rather, it’s selected moments in songs, and it’s all placed very well. In addition, Argus displays the element of Thin Lizzy-ish guitar melodies, a wise component to the band’s sound.
Don’t get the wrong impression, though. Argus is no tribute group. For instance, my old ears are not telling me that Argus is ripping off this or that classic band; my ears only hear echoes of influences, in a good way.
Better than good, Argus is a special treat for those devoted to heavy metal that demands talent to play this style. The singer has to sing for real, and the guitar must have the riffs, and the band must have the songs. There is an air of serious talent to Argus and it would be very revealing to see this band perform in order to find out if they have the goods live (including the singer), as this album is very impressive. You will know a good thing when you hear this band.

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