ARGUS
Doom Metal / Traditional heavy metal • United States

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Argus are a doom/heavy metal band from Pennsylvania. Their sound is characterised by a twin guitar attack mixed with doom-tinged riffs and powerful vocals curtsey of former Penance vocalist Brian "Butch" Balich.

Argus went through several line-up changes before releasing any recordings. The band was formed by Erik Johnson (vocals, guitars) with Kevin Latchaw (drums), Mike Wisniewski (guitars) and Viele (bass guitar). After some time Viele was replaced by Andy Ramage and Jason Mucio joined the band as a guitarist, replacing Erik who moved solely to vocals.

Brian "Butch" Balich met the band at Erik's "farewell" gig. He become the band's new vocalist and they recorded their first demo in 2007, through John Brenner's Bland Hand Records.

The same line-up recorded the band's debut full-length album which was released in 2009. After the album Mike Wisniewski left the band, to be replaced by founding member Erik Johnson, who returned to Argus as a
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Thanks to adg211288 for the addition and UMUR, Bosh66 for the updates

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ARGUS Discography

ARGUS albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.99 | 4 ratings
Argus
Doom Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 4.42 | 13 ratings
Boldly Stride The Doomed
Doom Metal 2011
.. Album Cover 3.99 | 5 ratings
Beyond the Martyrs
Traditional heavy metal 2013
.. Album Cover 4.25 | 4 ratings
From Fields of Fire
Traditional heavy metal 2017

ARGUS EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sleeping Dogs
Doom Metal 2011
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Blood, Fire, Beer
Doom Metal 2012

ARGUS live albums

ARGUS demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
Demo - Spring 2007
Doom Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Boldly Stride
Doom Metal 2010

ARGUS re-issues & compilations

ARGUS singles (0)

ARGUS movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live at Hammer of Doom V
Doom Metal 2011

ARGUS Reviews

ARGUS From Fields of Fire

Album · 2017 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
adg211288
I'm sure that most metal fans, like myself, when they think of the genre's base sound, traditional heavy metal, their first thoughts are drawn to the classic acts from the seventies and eighties. Black Sabbath. Iron Maiden. Judas Priest. Accept. Motörhead. The list could go on, but I'm sure you get the idea. If you go on music rating websites and call up a chart of traditional heavy metal releases it'll be the rare album that is newer than being from 2000 and most that are will be by the long established groups. Newer traditional metal acts may obtain a small but loyal following, but seem to be doomed to forever sit in the shadow of their forebears. As good as the classics are this is a shame, because there's quite a few bands formed this side of the year 2000 that proudly fly the flag for unmodernised traditional heavy metal and play the style convincingly. The latest of these to make my shortlist for being the 'real deal' is US act Argus, whose fourth album From Fields of Fire (2017) is ready to assert them as one of the contenders to be heir to this classic genre's crown.

I first became aware of Argus with their second album Boldly Stride the Doomed (2011). Back then, they had a sound that was more of a blend of heavy metal and traditional doom metal, leaning more on the latter to my ears. But with their next album Beyond the Martyrs (2013) the group focussed more on their heavy metal side. Rather than being the kind of coincidental writing fluke that can happen with acts who blend two genres more or less equally it looks like the change was intentional, since From Fields of Fire features a similar approach; occasionally doomy traditional heavy metal played with distinctive, meaty guitar riffs and topped by powerful vocals from Brain 'Butch' Balich.

After a brief intro instrumental, the first full song Devils of Your Time starts up and it's an instant winner that sets the tone for the album. Argus must have been recording in these fields they keep harping on about because they really are on fire here! This is classic sounding heavy metal done with such strength and conviction that had Argus been around in the eighties they'd surely have been a major name today alongside the other eighties greats. And it continues through another seven songs, including the eleven minute epic Infinite Lives, Infinite Doors without skipping a beat, finally drawing to a close with a similar instrumental to what it opened with. Though very classic in style, the album does benefit from modern production standards, which makes it sound all that more potent.

While I didn't like the predecessor Beyond the Martyrs quite as much, I have to say that From Fields of Fire certainly represents a step up for Argus and while it hasn't topped Boldly Stride the Doom as the band's best album for me, it certainly provides ample proof that Argus has a future playing this semi-doomy style of heavy metal and also elevates the band in my regards in relation to other newer heavy metal acts such as Dark Forest (the UK band) and A Sound of Thunder. Undoubtedly this album is the best heavy metal album I've heard from 2017 so far or am likely to for the remainder.

ARGUS From Fields of Fire

Album · 2017 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Nightfly
My introduction to Argus came with their second album, Boldly Stride The Doomed, an album that received such universal praise it was impossible to not want to check it out. My initial impressions were good but it was to take a few plays before it really hit home with its combination of doom and old school metal. After a while though I couldn’t leave it alone and it became a firm favourite in my collection. Its follow up, Beyond The Martyrs arrived in 2013 and listening to that after BSTD I have to admit it was a bit of a disappointment. Yes, it was good, sometimes very good but they’d reduced the doom element which might have been part of the reason but overall some of the songs lacked that killer punch, only occasionally reaching the greatness of its predecessor.

Roll on to 2017 and From Fields Of Fire arrives on my doorstep. See, I still had enough faith to buy it without hearing first and I’m very happy to say that I don’t regret it. After the short acoustic instrumental Into The Fields Of Fire, Devils Of Your Time is a good omen of what’s to come. The old school metal vibe of past work is retained as it moves along at a fair pace, rolling double kick drums pushing it along overlaid by compelling staccato riffing and a well thought out solo, i.e., not just a blur of fast notes. Brian ‘Butch’ Balich’s vocals are the icing on the cake, an excellent singer in the classic 80’s metal mould of which there aren’t enough of these days. This is epic stuff! The galloping As A Thousand Thieves is more of the same, maintaining the momentum and only marginally missing the mark set by Devils Of Your Time. As the album progresses it becomes clear that the doom element that added greatly to Boldly Stride The Doomed has been pretty much ditched, but this time it’s not missed as they’ve really upped their game on the strength of the compositions as one after another the hook laden songs keep coming. By today’s standards this is not particularly heavy when you compare it to the more extreme metal that’s prevalent. This album screams 1980’s in style and delivery and if it had come out then it would have seemed heavier and they’d have been massive. However, there’s not too many bands doing this stuff, particularly so well, at the moment so it’s like a breath of fresh air with an organic production in keeping with the vibe.

This album beats Beyond The Martyrs, not only because the songs are better but also with its sheer consistency, with no weak tracks to speak of. As with most albums though it has its highlights. One of these comes mid album with the eleven minute plus Infinite Lives, Infinite Doors which has plenty in common with Iron Maiden in their more epic moments – the Maiden comparisons being nothing new to this band. This dynamic and dual guitar work of Dave Watson and Jason Mucio is key to this and indeed the whole albums overall success. Another highlight is the slow build of No Right To Grieve, the only time anything approaching doom appears. For the most part its slow and melancholic and whilst it throws in a few doomy power chords it’s not doom per se.

Argus have really excelled expectations here. I never doubted it would be good but with From Fields Of Fire they’ve made an album at least the equal of Boldly Stride The Doomed. Some may even think it better. For me, I’m on the fence.

ARGUS Boldly Stride The Doomed

Album · 2011 · Doom Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Nightfly
Traditional metal with doom overtones, Argus have a retro sound but where many doom bands would look back to early seventies Sabbath for inspiration Boldly Stride The Doomed sits better in the early to mid-eighties in sound and production style. Hat’s off to them for not restricting themselves to traditional slow doom pace, this has a number of relatively up tempo songs not unlike early Iron Maiden like on the seven minute plus Durendal. Calling themselves Argus suggests they were also inspired by the twin guitar attack of Wishbone Ash too.

Good musicianship and powerful vocals in the traditional sense, i.e. no growling benefit greatly here. BSTD is an overall very good to excellent and consistent album with a few killer songs to make them well worth some of your time. Whilst Argus don’t bring anything new to the table it’s quite refreshing to hear something new like this in the present time. I was originally leaning towards a 3 and a half star review but this stuff is infectious leaving me wanting more so 4 it is.

ARGUS Beyond the Martyrs

Album · 2013 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
adg211288
Beyond the Martyrs (2013) is third full-length by US heavy/doom metal act Argus. Since the release of Boldly Stride the Doomed (2011), which was in my view the doom metal album of its year, Argus has put out a few smaller releases to whet their fans appetite for more. But aside from one song, The Hands of Time are Bleeding (which also appears on this album), on the EP Blood, Fire, Beer (2012), Beyond the Martyrs marks the first batch of new material from the group since the last album.

Similarly to Boldly Stride the Doomed the music on Beyond the Martyrs mixes traditional heavy metal with traditional doom metal. While the blend of the two has always been subtle in Argus' music, it does feel that on Beyond the Martyrs Argus are openly leaning more on their heavy metal side. There are still doom metal passages and some slow tempo sections to be found during the album's eight tracks but more often the guys seem happy to keep things flowing with a classic metal sound which despite some noted differences to its predecessor still have Argus written all over it at the end of the day. Great riffs, with twin guitars, to the point song-writing and best of all the mighty voice of Butch Balich.

It's a solid album that Argus have turned out here and I have to say that if I was hearing the band for the first time it would leave a really good impression. But this is the thing, I have heard them before. Specifically I have heard Boldly Stride the Doomed which you may recall I already stated was the best doom metal album of 2011 for me. So coming from that to Beyond the Martyrs does make this one feel significantly lesser in terms of the overall impact it has on me.

The problem is not that the album is less doom more heavy metal this time, because I always half expect artists that blend two or more genres the way Argus do to sometimes put out an album that favours one over the other. The song's are the issue. They're all great, don't get me wrong on that count and indeed there are some exceptional tracks here including No Peace Beyond the Line and the previously released The Hands of Time are Bleeding. But there's nothing that sticks with me the way A Curse on the World, 42-7-29, or Durendal from Boldly Stride the Doomed did. Where Boldly Stride the Doomed is a fan making masterpiece Beyond the Martyrs is simply a great album that you listen to because you already like the band. You just don't play it as much as its betters.

Okay so maybe that sounded harsher than it was intended, after all, I still feel largely positive about the album and it's not that I doubt Beyond the Martyrs ability to win Argus some new fans. It simply doesn't stand up to Boldly Stride the Doomed making the prior album a more ideal starting point for the newbie while for those who already know Argus the album may be a touch disappointing, although ultimately it is a worthy follow-up. A great album tier rating is deserved.

84/100

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/argus-beyond-the-martyrs-t3188.html)

ARGUS Boldly Stride The Doomed

Album · 2011 · Doom Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
On Boldly Stride the Doomed, their second album, Argus play an interesting blend of traditional doom metal in the Candlemass school and more energetic traditional heavy metal with mild NWOBHM influences. The end result takes a little getting used to, but it's a blend which has grown on me somewhat over time. It doesn't at first feel particularly revolutionary - listen to any random snippet and you might think it's just any other extract from a Sabbath or Iron Maiden soundalike, but when you put those ingredients together and the two sounds blend you end up with an interesting hybrid of the two styles which works better than I'd have thought.

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