Sunday, April 6, 2014

Argus - Beyond the Martyrs

So here we have the album that I deemed to be the best metal album of 2013, Argus' third album Beyond the Martyrs, so I guess it's about time I give it a proper review. This band formed in 2005 and have released three albums. I just happen to discover them in the latter part of 2013 with this album and am I glad I did. This is true metal if ever there was. And I'm not talking about loin cloth Manowar true metal. I'm talking riffs, dual lead riffs, monster solos and melodies. They border on doom a bit but I would not call them a doom band. They just play good old heavy metal that would not have been out of place coming out along side of Maiden's self titled in '81.

This band knows how to write a song that just sucks you in. The opener is an epic number entitled "By Endurance We Conquer" and is just huge. The riffs are crushing right from the start and the dual lead riffs are just classic. "Butch" Balich is a monster of a vocalist not trying to hit every range known to man, but soaring and epic vocals that almost reminds me of Harry Conklin. This band ain't fuckin' around here. This song has some time changes and hooks that make the playing time of 6:33 just go by. Sometimes I repeat this song just because it seems to go by so fast. The guitar work is just godly. The solos are classy and melodic. They take me back to when heavy metal was new and fresh and even though this band surely is old school this is not a stale re-hash. This is timeless music. "No Peace Beyond the Line" is another riff fest using the lead riffs to provide the melodies then the huge riffs that take you into the verse are just crushing. Again, the solos are soaring and melodic and do not rely on just the technical use of scales but instead have feeling and soul. Check out the solos on the title track and album closer. This is an instrumental that shows just how good these guys are and the raw emotion that is in each and every song on this album.

It seems that every song on this album is epic with time changes and catchy melodies as well as being heavy. This band doesn't rely on being fast and furious but instead rely on their strengths as songwriters to create meticulously constructed songs. The intro lead riff on "The Hands of Time are Bleeding," for instance, has a strange rhythm to is but is precise in it's execution leading to a crushing doomy main riff. Again, the vocals are just perfect as they soar with such passion. "Trinity" starts off with doom riffs and could be a doom metal song as it's slower and the main riff is crushing. "The Coward's Path" has a classic Sabbath feel to it and is another doomy number. Mr. Iommi should have listened to this song before writing "13" because maybe then it wouldn't have been a snooze fest! This song is more Sabbath than Sabbath. In contrast to the doom, we have "Four Candles Burning" is faster with more dual lead riffs and a melody that just draws you in. I get lost listening to songs like this on the album. Even if this is one of the shorter songs on the album, it's epic nonetheless. If I were to point out a favorite song it would have to be "Cast Out All Raging Spirits" (can these guys come up with great song titles, or what?). This song is just massive with riffs, melodies, and solos...this is what metal should be.

I absolutely love every song on this album. There hasn't been an album that has been this good and this magical in a very long time. There is a reason that I called this the best metal album of 2013...because no other release could touch it.


No comments: