AUGURY — Fragmentary Evidence

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AUGURY - Fragmentary Evidence cover
4.35 | 20 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 2009

Tracklist

1. Aetheral (4:18)
2. Simian Cattle (5:38)
3. Orphans of Living (5:10)
4. Jupiter to Ignite (8:24)
5. Sovereigns Unknown (5:13)
6. Skyless (6:29)
7. Faith Puppeteers (4:07)
8. Brimstone Landscapes (4:30)
9. Oversee the Rebirth (11:11)

Total Time: 55:00

Line-up/Musicians

- Patrick Loisel / vocals, guitar
- Mathieu Marcotte / guitar
- Dominic "Forest" Lapointe / bass
- Étienne Gallo / drums

Vocal guest appearences by:
- Sven de Caluwé (ABORTED, SYSTEM DIVIDE)
- Syriak and Leilindel (UNEXPECT)
- Youri Raymond (CRYPTOPSY, UNHUMAN)
- Sébastien Croteau (NECROTIC MUTATION)
- Filip Ivanovic (AGONY)
- Eric Fiset (OBSCENE CRISIS, NERVOUS IMPULSE).

About this release

Released on the 17th of July 2009 in Europe and internationally on the 11th of August 2009.
Produced by Hugues Deslauriers, Yannick St-Amand and AUGURY.
Mixed by Jean-Francois Dagenais .
Mastered by James Murphy .
Artwork and layout by Sven de Caluwé.

Antoine Baril was credited as a member of the band in the album notes but all drums were played by Étienne Gallo.

Thanks to UMUR, adg211288 for the updates

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AUGURY FRAGMENTARY EVIDENCE reviews

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siLLy puPPy
As with many perfectionist technically oriented bands, many years can pass between albums and such is the case with Montreal, Quebec based AUGURY that took five trips around the sun before releasing their much anticipated sophomore FRAGMENTARY EVIDENCE after taking the tech death metal by storm in 2004 with their lauded debut “Concealed.” In that five year period, amazingly the lineup of musicians remained the same however the band lost one of their most defining features with that being the additional operatic diva charm of Arianne Fleury who graced “Concealed” with a stabilizing contrast to the unbridled aggression of the technical death metal assaults that constituted the majority of the album’s near one hour length.

Despite the loss of Fleury, there are many guest vocalists on FRAGMENTARY EVIDENCE that attempt to fill the void although not quite as successfully i may add. As a matter of fact five out of the nine tracks have guest vocalists which include Sven de Caluwé (Aborted, System Divide), Youri Raymond (Cryptosy, Unhuman), Sébastien Croteau (Necrotic Mutation), Filip Ivanovic (Agony), Eric Fiset (Obscene Crisis, Nervous Impulse) and fellow Montreal residents SyriaK and Leilindel from Unexpect. Since the feminine charm of Leilindel is limited to a mere pair of tracks, FRAGMENTARY EVIDENCE is a much more testosterone driven maelstrom of frenetic energy without the many pacifying moments that allowed some cooling down periods.

Overall album #2 is a lot more technical in nature with the progressive wankery turned up several notches with lots of jazz-fusion in the works. Many of the opening intros and sudden clean guitar passages display a very fusionistic approach in chord progressions, time signature chops and advanced atonal harmonics. The closing and longest track on the album “Oversee The Rebirth” is perhaps one of the finest moments in technical death metal-jazz fusion i’ve ever heard with some of the swankiest jazzified guitar techniques recorded which extends the variations on the theme for a full satisfying eleven minute stretch. The track also exhibits the cleaner almost James Hatfield type of vocals set in folk metal style that appeared abundantly on “Concealed” but utilized sparingly on FRAGMENTARY EVIDENCE.

While more adventurous in tech death metal assaults that pummel and bombast the senses with less downtime for deep breaths, FRAGMENTARY EVIDENCE is a tech death metal beast finding the musicians in fine form and more technically developed in the five year period since “Concealed.” The guitar chops remind me a lot of Necrophagist with brutal punishing riffs that implement the occasional neoclassical virtuosic sweep. Also mentionable is the extraordinary bass work of Dominic Lapointe whose finger dancing skills display uncanny mastery of one of the most physically demanding instruments in a metal band, the bass guitar. Likewise for Étienne Gallo’s inhumanly percussive juggling drum abuse. Damn, how many stick were sacrificed to record this?

FRAGMENTARY EVIDENCE is a superb followup to “Concealed” in every way but one. Without Fleury’s feminine spell casting charm, the pacifying folk inspired acoustic elements present on “Concealed” are sadly missed on this one and in the process has lost the atmospheric robustness. This album is just simply a much more aggressive beast and while i do not dislike that for a second, it seems that while the debut was perfectly balanced, this one seems like a slightly lower calibre in its wake. However, in its stead there are plenty of technical death metal chops to salivate over with the superb production and mixing allowing for a near perfect modern tech death listening experience. It also seems the more diverse tracks are tacked onto the end and they could’ve been redistributed in a better way but make no doubts about it. FRAGMENTARY EVIDENCE displays exactly what a modern 21st century extreme metal album should sound like and while not perfect delivers many of the goods.
voila_la_scorie
Augury’s “Fragmentary Evidence” is a very difficult album for me to review. I first picked it up some months ago when I had a bit of extra money for experimenting and Augury appeared on a list of suggested YouTube videos. I listened to a couple of snippets of their music and decided it was a challenge I was willing to take. But now, after several listens as well as individual song plays, I am still not sure what to make of it.

Augury come from Montreal, a hot place for extreme metal, and it’s no surprise to find similarities in their music with that of recent Gorguts. It’s easiest described as complex, technical, brutal, progressive death metal with melodic moments. There are spots where I find myself reminded of uneXpect, also from Montreal, but Augury are not nearly as eclectic in their music mélange. Perhaps another good band to compare Augury to would be Fallujah out of the U.S.

Augury’s music seems to be mainly based upon two simultaneous approaches: the total brutal assault of rhythm guitar and double bass drumming and the more technical and often melodic complement of lead guitar melodies and solos along with some adventurous bass work and percussion. In fact, it was how the bass guitar often stamped its presence in the music that convinced me to try the album in the first place.

The brutal part of the music would run dry pretty soon were it not for the more progressive/technical side. Sometimes I feel it’s like driving down a gravel road at high speed with a steady pummeling, rumble. At another moment, I likened it to listening to music played either live or from a stereo system that is powered by a gasoline generator. You can hear the melody in the music but the steady chugging cough of the generator rumbles on at high speed. The duality of the more technical part alongside the brutal part sometimes makes the music difficult to figure out and may seem like two songs playing at once. The opening of “Skyless” really could seem like two songs playing together, and when an extreme music fan friend of mine heard this song he said it was “stress music” because he feels stress listening to it.

But Augury offer something more interesting throughout the album. There are short surprise bits that show their progressive side such as the opening of “Jupiter Ignite” or the Animals as Leaders-type of playing at the beginning of “Oversee the Rebirth”. If you are familiar with uneXpect, then you might notice the similarity to that band when the female guest vocals come in on “Brimstone Landscapes” or perhaps the beginning of “Simian Cattle” with the pulled bass notes. It is for these occasional pit stops that I keep coming back to the album to try to better understand it.

As for the vocals, you’ll find three basic types: the throat-shredding screamer, the deep, incomprehensible death roar, and a hardcore punk style of vocals that sound like a pirate trying to sing a melody. Especially in “Sovereigns Unknown” there is a vocal melody that is sung very much like a pirate’s ode to the high seas. For my taste, these vocals are the weakest part of the album. At times they’re okay but mostly I get turned off by them. There is also the one guest female vocal part I mentioned above and as well a few whispered lines.

I’d say the most difficult thing about this album is picking out any favourites. No songs give me that excited rush or prickle under the skin. This is not music for feeling good or busting out of your stress bubble. This is complex and at times confusing. It’s almost like that experimental jazz that sounds like random toots, squeaks and honks except that this is more like seemingly unrelated machinegun blasts, exploding buildings, and pirate chanties. Once again though, I do enjoy the challenge of listening to this album and as I have no favourite tracks it’s easy enough to play the whole album through and just go along with the atmosphere.
adg211288
Fragmentary Evidence is the second full-length album from the Canadian death metal act Augury. Being released in 2009 the band left it a good while between studio albums since their debut Concealed was released in 2004. By the time of release the line-up had changed to include new drummer Antoine Baril but Concealed drummer Étienne Gallo actually played the drums so the core Augury line-up remains unchanged. They aren’t working with female vocalist Arianne Fleury any more however and did not replace her.

Compared to their debut Fragmentary Evidence is a much more standard affair of progressive/technical death metal. The removal of female vocals (apart from a guest slot from Unexpect’s Leïlindel) takes away one of the biggest atypical elements that Concealed had going for it, and there is nothing that screams avant-garde at me the way Beatus from Concealed did. Although the music is still very much death metal, it somehow feels a lot more tamed compared to the wild adventurous style of Concealed. It some ways that’s a disappointment but in others it’s a good thing as although this is still recognisable as Augury the band most certainly haven’t made the same record twice over and it certainly does not lack for merits of its own.

It’s not without its own surprises though, the biggest of these being the track Sovereigns Unknown which features the most use of frontman Patrick Loisel’s clean vocals that I’ve heard in an Augury track. Although he still uses his deep death metal growling in it it’s hard to really consider it a death metal track even with the music being in the same style as the rest of the album. Loisel’s clean voice puts me in mind of working in heavy or US power metal context’s the most but this track isn’t really either. To be honest although it lacks the instrumentation to make the claim valid, vocally it sounds very folk metal to me, of the Alestorm variety that is.

Still, despite the album not being overall as surprising or unique as Concealed was Fragmentary Evidence is easily a worthy follow-up to the masterful debut. There is just one blip with the opening track Aetheral which I think is Augury’s weakest track. It took me a lot of listens to get into this one compared to the rest of the album, which got my attention after just one listen and it’s still the only track from Fragmentary Evidence that I don’t love.

The rest of the album is masterful however. It may be more typical than atypical this time but Augury proves once again that they deserve to be counted among the best acts of the progressive death metal genre. Tracks such as Simian Cattle, Orphans of Living and most especially Jupiter to Ignite and Oversee the Rebirth are just as good as anything they delivered on Concealed. The level of technicality is amazing but they never sacrifice song writing or their status as a death metal act.

The album features a number of guest vocalists on several songs but I’d sooner put them done as cameo vocalists that all the contributions are so minimal that you’d miss them if you got distracted for even a moment. The most notable of them is probably Leïlindel on Brimstone Landscapes, whom being female has a naturally different tone to the horde of growlers appearing on Fragmentary Evidence. But she’s gone as quickly as she came as well. It all feels a little pointless really. None of them really detract from the album except in Aetheral so mostly them being here is neither here nor there. I do think Leïlindel in particular could have been used more though, as I do miss that extra level of uniqueness that Arianne Fleury’s vocals gave Concealed.

One thing I do have to say in Fragmentary Evidence’s favour over Concealed though is that Augury’s development as musicians is very evident. The guitar work of Patrick Loisel and Mathieu Marcotte is stunning and Dominic "Forest" Lapointe’s bass brings even more to the Augury sound than it did on Concealed. I like the fact that he uses some fretless bass on the album, as that always works really well in a progressive death metal sound.

If it were not for Aetheral dragging my overall experience of Fragmentary Evidence down some it may have actually dislodged Concealed from its status as the best death metal release I’ve ever heard, despite the fact I consider that album a true masterpiece worthy of a perfect score. As it is though I find myself more inclined not towards a masterpiece tier rating but rather an exceptional one instead. Still, when you’re only two albums into your career and are delivering albums as this high quality, I don’t think Augury fans are going to have much to sniff at with Fragmentary Evidence. Without Aetheral it easily would have been top tier though, possibly even a second perfect in a row.

9.3/10

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))
Conor Fynes
'Fragmentary Evidence' - Augury (8/10)

If there is any place one could go to in Canada for good metal, it would be Quebec. Sure, there are good bands to be found in every province of this vast nation, but Quebec seems to have the greatest tendency to churn out some of North America's greatest metal outfits, with a particular focus on death metal. Augury is a band that is coming out of a well-established scene for all things brutal and heavy, and their second album 'Fragmentary Evidence' takes heir epic take on technical death metal and brings it to a much wider audience. featuring cameos from a number of Quebec's most noteworthy metallers, 'Fragmentary Evidence' may not have the pleasing shock of 'Concealed', but their penchant for quality leaves on with this one, and with this, they plant themselves as one of North America's most promising young death metal acts.

Like 'Concealed', there is quite a bit of variety on 'Fragmentary Evidence', quite a bit more than what one may usually expect from a death metal record. The variety of riffs can leap from brutally technical death riffs, to more melodic licks, jazzy bits and a few proggy tapping sections. Not a most original innovation in progressive death metal to be sure, but Augury makes these aspects work with greater dynamic and excitement than most. On a personal note, I find myself typically amazed by the musical skills and abilities of tech death musicians, but find the music itself to be lacking. Augury is an exception to this rule, always throwing new things at the listener, right to the final track. The heavy sections here don't have the distinctiveness to keep from sounding the same, but they are far from monotonous, as the band is constantly changing up their pace, energy, and sound.

Included here are the vocal presences of singers from such bands as Cryptopsy and uneXpect, both bands that have also impressed me greatly in the past. Sadly- and especially in the case of the uneXpect vocal contribution- the appearance feels more like a gimmicky cameo than anything, jumping in for a few seconds, hinting at the sound of their origin bands, then disappearing for the rest of it. The main vocals here are a little more varied than your typical death metal dose, although they are not nearly as varied as they were on 'Concealed'. The vocals tend to lead the band into whatever specific style they are doing; there's even a song here where it sounds like vocalist Patrick Loisel is taking Augury on a pirate metal adventure through high seas. That being said, the real highlight here is what Augury can do with the lighter, mellow moments of the album; specifically the variety of different things they do with it.

'Concealed' will be a tough album for Augury to beat, but 'Fragmentary Evidence' certainly does not disappoint; we have here a very well-produced and exceptionally performed progressive death metal album, with plenty of little tricks up its sleeve to distinguish it from the legions of other bands.
UMUR
"Fragmentary Evidence" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Canadian technical/progressive death metal act Augury. While the band´s debut full-length studio album "Concealed (2004)" was released on the indepentent, Montreal based Galy Records, this time around Augury have signed with Nuclear Blast Records, which should give "Fragmentary Evidence" a much better exposure than the more obscure debut album. "Fragmentary Evidence" was released in Europe in July 2009 and internationally in August 2009.

The music on the album continues the progressive and technical death metal style of the debut. Seen from a technical point of view this album is very impressive. Blasting drums, fast shredding, jazzy parts, and skillful soloing are just some of the assets of this album. The vocals vary between deep growls (predominantly) and occasional clean vocals. The clean singing reminds me a lot of the clean singning on Amorphis releases. I´ve seen other reviews mention viking metal vocals, so maybe that´s a valid comparison too. There are a bunch of guest vocalists on the album, who also contribute to make that side of the music diverse. Some of the guest vocalists are Sven de Caluwé from Aborted and Syriak and Leilindel from Unexpect. The tracks are high quality technical/progressive death metal compositions. Augury understand how to vary their music to keep it entertaining and intriguing throughout the album´s playing time.

The sound production is polished, clean and powerful. Basically perfect for this kind of music although to my ears a bit more grit wouldn´t have hurt.

I´ve given "Fragmentary Evidence" a lot of spins and while there is no doubt that this is a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) release in my book, I can´t help think that I enjoyed the debut a bit more. Maybe in the end "Fragmentary Evidence""Cosmogenesis (2009)" by Obscura, which I also think is a great high quality release, but which also suffers slightly from a lack of rawness and grit. Despite my reservations there should of course be no doubt in the minds of fans of the genre that this is an album you should have in your collection.

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