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Album Review: Argus – From Fields of Fire

Argus was born on the thin line between doom and traditional metal but they’ve gradually minimized their associations with all things slow over the course of their twelve year long career. This is especially true of their fourth full-length album and first since 2013’s Beyond the Martyrs. While there are still a couple slower moments, the majority of songs on here like “Devils of Your Time” and “You are the Curse” utilize the fast-paced guitar gallops, babbling bass, and howling choruses of a downtuned Iron Maiden.

But this album still has a dark overcast feel throughout despite the emphasis on speed and upbeat riffs. While past efforts mixed in the odd introspective lyric with the abundant supernatural and historical themes, there aren’t as many fantasy elements this time around, as songs like the climactic doom ballad “No Right to Grieve” hit even harder thanks to their forlorn lines. “Infinite Lives, Infinite Doors” is also worth noting as its eleven minute runtime sees its upbeat verses offset by a melancholic extended instrumental segment.

As expected from a band of Argus’s caliber, the musicianship on From Fields of Fire is stellar. The songs were composed with the perfect balance of memorable guitar harmonies and catchy vocal lines in mind and the surging rhythm section helps make these songs among their most energetic to date. Particular props must also be given to vocalist Butch Balich as his Tim “Ripper” Owens after a carton of Marlboros approach continues to give the band the perfect mix of grit and melody. It’s good to know that he still had some energy left over after the Balich/Arduini collaboration earlier this year.

Overall, Argus’s fourth full-length album isn’t too dramatically different from what they’ve done before but offers noteworthy tweaks and excellent songs to go with them. There are more faster songs and the lyrics seem more melancholic than usual, but there’s nothing that will alienate established fans of the band. It may be one of the strongest traditional metal albums of 2017 and heavy/doom/power metal fans who’ve yet to check them out are especially advised to give this a listen.

“Devils of Your Time”
“You are the Curse”
“No Right to Grieve”

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