I really like Argus' debut album, really digging the style of the record. It's power doom with stoner touches, and that is something that I don't know if I've ever heard before. Their songs meld the lines between uplifting and depressing, with both power metal and doom metal having a heavy hand in their creation. I've heard this album a bunch now, but every time I give it another spin, I find something else to enjoy, something else to raise it's praise in my book. This time is nothing new.
The album begins with a power/stoner style of song, "Devils, Devils," whose chorus really gets my head bobbing and stuck in my head. From there we play the more stoner, more power metal game, with one genre winning out over the other, and judgement of the song can commence. As these songs trade places style, they also swap around in overall quality, at least to me. But also, as the album progresses, the doom features become more apparent, by the half-way mark it becomes noticeable, and by the end it's overpowering of all others. The final pair of songs, "The Effigy Is Real" and "The Outsider," are pretty much straight doom, with only a touch of the power metal melodies. I love doom, and so these are probably my favorite tracks of the entire album (with "Devils, Devils" being up there as well).
Although stoner sounds play a part in many of the songs off of Argus, I find that my favorite moments and tracks are when the band is accepting their roots in either power or doom metal, or some mix therein. When the act backs away from these themes the tunes just sound empty, lacking the powerful sound that usually dominates their record. When the song is slow and chugging, the doom fan in me weeps in joy, and when the guitars and bass come in loud and proud, my inner power metal fan gives a toast with his flagon of ale, when the stoner elements come in to play, my stoner side... falls asleep.
Argus is just a band that you need to hear to fully comprehend and appreciate, their blending of styles - never too far into one or another - makes them out to be odd sounding on paper, but once you hear it, you'll be singing a different tune (namely one of theirs). This album was initially a surprise for me, I wasn't looking for an instant-classic, but I am exhilarated with what I discovered, which only brings me more expectations and hope for their 2011 follow-up, Boldly Stride The Doomed, to be reviewed soon!