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Review: Argus - Boldly Stride the Doomed
Boldly Stride the Doomed

Label: Cruz Del Sur Music
Year released: 2011
Duration: 54:36
Tracks: 10
Genre: Heavy/Doom

Rating: 3.5/5

Review online: April 30, 2011
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
Boldly Stride the Doomed


I liked Argus' self-titled debut album quite a lot, and I was hoping we'd get a real monster this time. In some ways Boldly Stride the Doomed is the album I hoped for, but too many other ways it falls short. The good news is this band is still pounding out the underground Heavy/Doom metal we loved the last time out, and they have made no nods at all to consumerism or mainstreaming their sound. The bad is that they have not really stepped up their songwriting at all, and this results in a very safe album.

The production is not really pro or indie sounding, it is just kind of plain and unexciting. The guitars are okay, but they lack bite, and the low end is sadly neglected in the mix. The vocals are the loudest part of this album, and it is easy to see why, as singer Bruce Balich has really stepped up and cranked out an amazing performance with grit and emotion to spare. He really went for it recording this, and he simultaneously impresses and points up how somnolent the rest of the band sounds. The riffs are good, but they are played with a startling lack of energy or feeling, and thus sound bland no matter how good they might be. The leads perk up a bit, but overall the performances do not sound that good, just kind of phoned in.

The songwriting is also pretty weak and unremarkable. The songs have opportunities for heaviness and drama, but again the mediocre recording and the lackluster performances neuter them. Even when the band does get a good riff they just run it into the ground. I mean, listen to a cut like "Durendal" and imagine how a band that didn't sound half asleep could make it into a pounding, neck-killing epic, but this band has no snap or fire at all except for Balich, who deserves a better band than this. Argus are getting a lot of good ink, but I really think they need a kick in the ass to get going, as right now they just sound bored.

Other related information on the site
Review: Argus (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Beyond the Martyrs (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Boldly Stride the Doomed (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: From Fields of Fire (reviewed by MetalMike)
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