ARGUS (s/t) CD
The eagerly awaited debut album from ARGUS is finally out, and exceeds all my expectations with ease. I have already expressed my enthusiasm in the demo review and interview, but this album makes unequivocably clear that ARGUS is a band, which is to be reckoned with in the future. As announced, Shadow Kingdom Records has released ARGUS' debut in 2009 which consists of eight magnificent tracks, brimming with power, soul and musicianship. Anyone who knows the five-track demo from 2007 will find again four of these songs on this album. But even if you know them it's still interesting to listen to this tracks, because of the powerful yet crystal clear production. During the approximate 55-minutes running time ARGUS works as an well-oiled machine, where all the pieces fit together perfectly. This may sound like the typical blathering of a music journalist, but that's the absolute truth.
The twin-guitar riffs intertwine with one another so perfectly it doesn't even seem like a human composed them, while the hard-working rhythm section achieves an impressive rhythmic precision. All of this is rounded off by the strong vocals of Brian 'Butch' Balich, who once again displays top-form. Already with the opener 'Devils, Devils' ARGUS reveal their qualities and talent. The guitar sound is sufficiently thick and powerful to capture the heaviness of the riffs, characterized by a liquid combination of melody and complexity to accomplish the best results. Further examples are 'Bending Time' and 'None Shall Know The Hour', but for me actually it doesn't make sense to comment on individual songs, because the album as a whole managed to convince me. ARGUS maintain this high level at every song and manage to incorporate their influences, ranging from Iron Maiden to Trouble to Black Sabbath w/ Dio, in a clever way.
The unusual cover artwork underscores the exceptional position of ARGUS in the world of heaviest metal as well as the band's interest in the mysterious and bizarre world of H.P. Lovecraft. Please note the spoken words section in 'The Outsider' and it's obvious that the band is very widely read in Lovecraft's writings. A view inside the extensive booklet, as usual delivered in Shadow Kingdom Records top quality, is also very worthwile because of the lyrics. Damn it, I almost forgot John Gallo (Orodruin, Blizaro, Crucifist, Necrochasm), who plays a medievally sounding intro of 'The Damnation Of John Faustus' whose lyrics are based upon 'Doctor Faustus' by Christopher Marlowe, an English Renaissance poet. This is a truly awe inspiring album that will definitely appear in my personal (doom) metal top ten at the end of the 2009. There's no doubt about it.