By Gruesome Greg
Argus’ self-titled album is one of my favourite doom debuts of the past couple years. This is a band that gets it: dual guitars, soaring vocals, shades of Trouble, Candlemass, et al, without being complete copycats. Ever since I first got word of this follow-up effort, I’ve been looking forward to it with great anticipation.
After a brief acoustic intro, the band gets right into it with a pair of driving, mid-paced numbers that reference Maiden and Dio just as much as Candlemass, though one can’t help but succumb to the slithering, snake-like riffs that held you captive as frontman Butch Balich begs for mercy on “Wolves of Dusk,” ushering a change of pace that brings the number down to a devastating crawl. This is plenty of prime slow-motion headbanging material to be found as this one slowly but surely exceeds the six-minute mark.
“The Ladder” and “Durendal” are jam-packed with solid doom-metal riffage and tasty, melodic solos while Balich’s voice soaring overtop like a true Messiah. His screams in the epic “42-7-29” are at once primal, plaintive yet soothing while the chiming bells and dual guitar leads deliver a sense of dread.
Boldly Strides ends on a slow note with the slow, burly crushers “Facing Silver Light” and 11-minute epic “Pieces of Your Smile,” which goes from power to doom to trad metal and back again with some well-placed time changes.
The title track is the perfect culmination of the band’s sophomore effort. Moving at a more-than-mid-paced gallop, with some killer melodic riffs and Dioesque chorus, “They are the dead,” it neatly packages all that is good with this album. Boldly strides Argus, lookout!
(Cruz Del Sur)
Boldly Stride the Doomed will be released by Cruz Del Sur on May 3rd, 2011.