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Argus – Boldly Stride the Doomed: Review

On May 3, Argus released their newest album through Cruz Del Sur records entitled Boldly Stride the Doomed. Their eponymous debut was met with such high response, one cannot help but have high expectations for the follow-up. However, despite being far from a bad album, I am somewhat disappointed with this second release; the hype is unfortunately unmatched.

The Music (rating: B+)

  1. Abandoning the Gates of Byzantium
  2. A Curse on the World
  3. Wolves of Dusk
  4. The Ladder
  5. Durendal
  6. 42-7-29
  7. Boldly Stride the Doomed
  8. Fading Silver Light
  9. Pieces of Your Smile
  10. The Ruins of Ouroboros

Boldly Stride the Doomed starts off with an acoustic finger-picked song and transforms into traditional doom metal. As expected from the genre, there is an abundance of long sections of down-paced heavy metal. Aside from the intro and outro, the songs average about six minutes in length. There are some up-tempo moments appropriately dispersed throughout the album. It is a healthy split between doom and heavy metal. Though the latter feels dominant, the doom sections standout strongly.

One of the more impressive aspects of this album is the keen balancing with all the instruments. Metal is generally a guitar dominant genre with all other instruments working towards the heaviness of the sound. But with Boldly Stride the Doomed, the bass is more of a reactant of the guitar as opposed to a shadow, and the drums give themselves a life of their own complimentary to that off the rest of the instruments. The vocals are well-phrased accordingly, though nothing spectacular. In fact, that can be said about all the instruments: nothing spectacular. Still, it would not be a stretch to say that they were very well performed. The band chemistry is remarkable considering it is only their second release.

There are a lot of high quality songs in this album, but they all offer a lot of the same: solid heavy metal with a touch of doom. Yes, it is all well done, but as an album it detracts from its depth. And also, there are moments in this album that are definitively better than others. What is meant by that is that there are memorable moments, but also some holes here and there. Some sections are simply more standard than others and are unable to stand out as strongly. Still, nothing on this album is remotely close to bad.

Boldly Stride the Doomed is a very good release, and it is certainly a showcase of what the band is capable of. However, there was so much buzz going around the debut (which I have yet to listen to) that I was hoping for something absolutely stellar. In comparison, “great” is not overly awe-inspiring. Still, from the general musicianship to the band chemistry, everything with this album is very good – a definite recommendation to fans of doomish heavy metal.

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