|Review: Augury - Fragmentary Evidence|
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2009
Genre: Death Metal
Review online: September 5, 2009
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
I've been hearing about Augury for years, narrowly missing a few shows where they were on the bill. But since I've never been a fan of most metal out of Quebec (at least the "tech Death" stuff – which seems to make up the bulk of bands, though Black Metal has been taking more and more room in recent years), I didn't exactly lose sleep over missing them.
Unsurprisingly, Fragmentary Evidence is all over the place – and then some. A mix of prog, Death Metal and acoustics, with both growling and clean vocals, and time signatures that could be on a poster for attention-deficit disorder, the album is definitely not easy to follow. First let's talk vocals: There are a number of guest vocalists here, and personally I found that more annoying than not. The clean vocals especially are pretty lame – in the sense that they stick out like a sore thumb. The growls, on the other hand, fit the music like a glove.
Musically, well, at times this jumps from one thing to the other and back so quickly that I'm afraid it might trigger an epileptic fit in some people. I've been listening to this album several times daily for a couple of weeks now, and still can't "predict" all the changes, the u-turns, whatever. In that sense the album is very interesting, as it keeps surprising you on every corner. The other side of the coin is that these songs barely sound like actual songs, but rather an amalgamation of various sonic tidbits put together. OK, it's not that bad, but let's just say that I like a song to feel like one, and that's not what we've got here.
With that said, from a purely technical standpoint, there are some strokes of genius dispersed throughout the album – the Death Metal part especially are pretty damn cool, and had they stuck to that, we could have a damn good Death Metal album on our hands. But "progressive technical Death Metal" *catches breath* needs to go further into mind-fuckery, and Augury sure are champions at this. Fragmentary Evidence can be full-blown Death Metal one second, and then sound like those sound clips on TV interludes the next, then progressively move back to the other end of the spectrum. As "metal" as the heavier, more extreme passages may be, the move into other "areas" often sound extremely mellow, if not to say fruity (I don't want flowers in my DM, thank you. ;))
This is obviously not for everyone – personally I won't be listening to this again once I finish this paragraph. There is however a good following for such bands, and of the albums in the genre I've heard, this is one of the good ones. If you're not sure about this, check out some song samples first. If you're obsessively into the genre, just run to the store now.
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