I have been looking to this album sense I first heard of it in February, as I really enjoyed Argus' debut album from two years ago. I discovered the band on a whim and was very surprised with what I heard, so much so that I've listened to their self-titled several times sense then. Boldly Stride The Doomed, their sophomore follow-up, has some high expectations to get over, but I'm sure with gentlemen of this caliber at the helm, it will all be just fine.
In my replay of their debut I told you my definition of Argus' sound being power doom metal, well Boldly Stride The Doomed does nothing but strengthen that description. The album opens with "A Curse On The World" which is something like rock 'n doom, with a swinging melody and powerful vocals. It sounds sort of like an 80s hair metal band belting out their rendition of doom; catchy but still amazingly heavy. It sounds very similar to the first song off their debut, "Devils, Devils," but that is nothing but a complement, as that was my favorite song from the disc.
As with any multi/cross genre act some songs fall more into one category of power doom then the other. The opening tracks, "A Curse On The World" and "Wolves Of Dusk" (the actual first song, "Abandoning The Gates Of Byzantium" is an intro) are way more into the power metal aspect then any other (of course doom still rears it's head from time to time); with the immediate following, "The Ladder," is almost straight doom, with little power influences at all.
While the entire album is enjoyable, I like the more even genrely (I'm coining that word) mixed songs more then the 'too far to either side' ones. The melding of styles is what Argus does best. The track "Durendal" is pretty much 50/50 on the musical outlook, but even lyrically it's a combination. The song is all about fighting a battle against pagans, and how the narrator will "...never go back, never retreat, even unto my death," with the chorus being quick, but the verses themselves being on the slower side. It's songs and moments like this where Boldly Stride The Doomed succeeds.
If not for my computer cock-up last week, I would have had this review done with by now, but I'm sort of glad for it, because now I get to listen to some of the songs again (I got half-way through the album before my computer crashed). Argus is an amazing band and Boldly Stride The Doomed does not disappoint. I would gladly listen to this album over and over, but there is too much music to hear (like the newest from Alestom and Tyr), and not enough time.