It’s been a while since we last heard from Argus. Their last album, Beyond the Martyrs, was released in 2013, and when combined with a lack of appearances on any notable U.S. underground doomfests lately, I wasn’t sure if this band was still a going concern. Fortunately, Pittsburgh’s premiere purveyors of power/doom metal have returned to grace us with their fourth full-length album.
Following an instrumental intro, this 55-minute epic properly gets underway with “Devils of Your Time,” harkening back to one of the better tunes from their self-titled debut (“Devils, Devils”) in name, if not in spirit. This one opens with a crushing doom riff, but quickly picks up the tempo to a mid-paced trad-metal chug and culminates in a catchy chorus, including a backing “Whoa-oh-oh” that’ll get the festival crowds chanting. “As a Thousand Thieves” gallops along at a similar pace, throwing in a deadly stop-start section around the three-minute mark. The “Whoa-oh-ohs” return on “216,” which offers up two-and-a-half-minutes of Iron Maiden instrumentation before the first verse kicks in.
“You Are the Curse” comes close to doom with its chugging guitar-driven verse, but it leads into a chorus that’s pure power metal. “Hour of Longing” also lays on the doom and gloom with a slow, longing chorus, while “No Right to Grieve” channels the melodic doom metal of Warning and Pallbearer for seven solid minutes of anguished solitude (which is a good thing). And it wouldn’t be an Argus album without at least one lengthy epic—11-and-a-half minute “Infinite Lives, Infinite Doors” definitely fits the bill, and contains a few doomy interludes as well.
Just like its predecessor, this album is still more power and less doom—but overall, it’s a damn fine example of traditional, melodic heavy metal, no matter how you slice it.
Releases September 8, 2017.