Tuesday, August 22, 2017

review: Argus

review by MMB
From Fields of Fire
Cruz Del Sur Music
8 September 2017
Perhaps it will help if we understand one thing about Argus, which is that the band—a high quality group tremendously respected for its very good music, and the overall set of skills that they bring to the table—has somehow found itself the creator of a bit of a disparate fan base, and while the band may not see itself caught in a bit of a pickle, there is a bit of a pickle to consider. Argus has often been categorized as doom and they even called their second album from 2011 Boldly Stride the Doomed, but their traditional heavy metal side has become too pronounced for some people.
For instance, I have noticed that some fans say that they do not like that the band has lost its doom mojo and has become too traditional heavy metal. The band's previous album, 2013's Beyond the Martyrs, saw criticism that the doom was gone. It's a shame that there should be negative comments about said album because it is about as perfect as it can get in terms of serious, strong traditional heavy metal, praised even by people who prefer extreme metal because they believe that traditional heavy metal is too goofy or retro or just plain ridiculous or that the genre has too many bands with weak/annoying singing.
The reason why Argus keeps climbing up people's list of top heavy metal bands is, quite frankly, that it is serious business and appears to have no weak links in the chain.
Cutting to the chase, the new album features a band firing on all cylinders, with a professional production, thoughtful songs and a pair of lungs that you can bet all your money on; each and every single penny that you have, bet it on Argus.
So, what's the problem? Is there a problem? Is it possible that the band was not entirely happy with the previous album? The new work features the doom in a way that is a striking contrast to the album from 2013.
Therefore, since it's already established that Argus is synonymous with quality, the issue is not whether this is a good album. Instead, Argus has put you on the hot seat. It's up to you. Do you want to hear the two sides of Argus? Can you handle the two-headed style? Do you have the patience to let the album convince you that this mix of genres can work?
Who knows, at this rate, the band might give you another four years until a follow-up arrives. That's plenty of time to explore and get to know the full identity of Argus on here.
OFFICIAL: Four years after the release Beyond the Martyrs, mighty U.S. Heavy Metal torchbearers ARGUS have returned with From Fields of Fire on Cruz Del Sur Music! From Fields of Fire is the defining moment from a band that has delivered the goods album after album. It is the highlight of their career to date and it is an album that will be seen as a highlight in heavy metal circles, not just this year, but for years to come.
ARGUS no longer needs an introduction. Three studio albums, three EPs, several European tours and US showcases and festival appearances have established the name of ARGUS as an established force in the Heavy Metal Universe. Yet, ARGUS is a band not content to rest on its achievements. This is a band that is still hungry - a growing and strengthening animal that shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Judging from the outside almost nothing seems to have changed this time around on From Fields of Fire. Another exceptional and visionary cover provided by Brad Moore, and an Intro / Outro on the tracklist, another of ARGUS’ trademarks through all their records. But it’s when you get on the inside, when you bite this album below the flesh to the bones that you realize ARGUS has not only been able to maintain their uniqueness, but the band has raised the quality of their creativity and therefore raised the stakes for their future. There’s a definite step ahead in terms of production and songwriting, which has reached the highest quality with the addition of producer and guitarist Dave Watson and bassist Justin Campbell in the line-up. The tense opener “Devils of Your Time” and the emotional closing “No Right to Grieve” are the songs that most clearly express their courage and confidence of exploring unusual sonic paths.
But it’s the entire album that confirms that ARGUS is probably the best band nowadays to pay homage to traditional heavy metal without merely aping their heroes. This is true metal with doom elements, two worlds that often touch, but have never been as well synthesized into a single, organic sound as they are here. From Fields of Fire features some real Heavy Metal gems: the infectious melodies and guitar-drive of “You Are the Curse” and “216,” the moody “Hour of Longing,” the galloping sound of “As a Thousand Thieves” and the borderline epic, ever-shifting majesty of “Infinite Lives, Infinite Doors.”
From Fields of Fire is an album that whose parts are as strong as the whole, where each track is a highlight; yet, it is also an album that demands to be absorbed as a whole where the music, lyrics and atmosphere reach deep inside of you and take root as your appreciation of this band and this music grows to be a part of you.

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