Argus - Beyond the Martyrs
Cruz Del Sur Music
Traditional Metal/NWOBHM
8 songs ()
Release year: 2013
Cruz Del Sur Music
Reviewed by Alex

Despite my bold prediction that Pennsylvanians Argus will be moving on to bigger things, they stuck on Cruz Del Sur, instead releasing a pair of EPs and a DVD, taking an opportunity to replay an excellent Pieces of Your Smile a couple of more times, before coming up with a new full-length. Beyond the Martyrs is here now, and it looks like things got a bit more streamlined for Argus.

Occupying a subtle niche between power and classic doom metal Argus skillfully maneuvered those waters, never really declaring their propensity outright. In my opinion, the new album for Argus is an effort with the refined songwriting and improved sound quality, however, in terms of genre allegiances Beyond the Martyrs is much more traditional metal than power doom. With obvious prominent chorus hooks, solid defined riffs and very to the point, not twisty labyrinthine, solos, Argus on Beyond the Martyrs is a lot closer to Pharaoh and Iron Maiden than it is to While Heaven Wept and Solitude Aeternus (By Endurance We Conquer, No Peace Beyond the Line, Four Candles Burning). The songs here are shorter, manifesting those sharper songwriting skills, galloping along with tight staccatos and you find your feet tapping, head nodding in approval. Songs like No Peace Beyond the Line retain the earlier darker overtones, but there are fewer moments of old Argus on Beyond the Martyrs, where heavier, slower and somber tunes dominate (The Hands of Time Are Bleeding, Trinity). In The Coward’s Path the melody twists and stabs, supported by the prominent bass, before the song builds up, but somehow my favorite tune on this album came to be Cast Out Your Raging Spirits, with its muscly riffs, great melodies throughout, snappy bass and o-o-oh naïve singing. This is the song Iron Maiden should have had as a lead single on their first album with Blaze Bailey. Vocalist Butch Balich still has strong but soulful vocals, as in his “there is no peace” wailing on No Peace Beyond the Line.

Listening to Argus on Beyond the Martyrs is an interesting experience. On one hand you have to admit the band was not about to push themselves stepping out of the comfort zone with some new innovations. For them, going more traditional heavy metal, may have been sidestep in a different direction, but overall this effort looks familiar in many ways. Perhaps there will be comfort in this familiarity for many listeners, and Argus can be enjoyed “in the moment” that it is on. Having heard this before did not prevent me from liking it, but there is no question some of these riffs are on the recycle pattern. I challenge you to hear the closing chorus riff of The Hands of Time Are Bleeding and compare it with Black Destiny’s Down to the Shore from Black is Where Our Hearts Belong.

Killing Songs :
Cast Out Your Raging Spirits, By Endurance We Conquer, No Peace Beyond the Line, Four Candles Burning
Alex quoted 79 / 100
Other albums by Argus that we have reviewed:
Argus - Boldly Stride the Doomed reviewed by Alex and quoted 85 / 100
Argus - Argus reviewed by Alex and quoted 82 / 100
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