Released: 2011, Sonic Unyon
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Prior to 2009’s flawless FRAGMENTARY EVIDENCE, few metal fans outside of Canada were familiar with the progressive death metal machine known as Augury. Thanks to a deal with Nuclear Blast Records and some high profile touring alongside bands like The Black Dahlia Murder and Death Angel, Augury have quickly become a name to be reckoned with. But way back in 2004, Augury laid the groundwork for what was to follow with their debut album CONCEALED. Released through the idie Galy Records, CONCEALED didn’t see much in the way of international promotion and distribution, but the album itself was an impressive collection of tech death wizardry. Either in an effort to cash in on Augury’s current notoriety or to help provide CONCEALED with the recognition it deserves, Sonic Unyon has given the album a full remaster treatment and re-released it with a pair of bonus demo tracks. If this is your first introduction to CONCEALED, then consider this to edition of the album to be well worth your time and the version of choice to purchase.
On the merits of the album itself, CONCEALED is a grittier, more aggressive version of what Augury developed into on their sophomore effort. Tracks like “Beatus,” “Cosmic Migration,” and “Alien Shores” all prominently feature the concentrated guitar frenzy and free flowing bass lines, and the extraterrestrial, sci-fi themes associated with the band also feature prominently throughout CONCEALED. The addition of female vocalist Arianne Fleury on songs like “…As Sea Devours Land” provides an extra dimension to an already diverse musical menagerie. In addition to the original ten tracks on the album, included here are demo versions of “Skyless” and “Faith Puppeteers,” both originally featured on a 2006 promotional demo and later featured on FRAGMENTARY EVIDENCE. From start to finish, CONCEALED is an aggressively varied collection of complex death metal that would be a worthy addition to any metal fan’s collection.
However, as a “re-issue,” there’s not much difference between the original Galy Records version of the album and this new one. The production on the album has been brightened a bit and the songs sound a bit “cleaner,” but there weren’t any real sound quality issues to speak of on the 2004 recording. And as for the bonus tracks, many Augury fans already have found the aforementioned 2006 demo online, so their inclusion here isn’t all that big of a deal. I would have loved some live tracks from this era or some personal history from band leader Patrick Loisel as a tradeoff. Plainly put, if you already own CONCEALED, there’s not much incentive to pick it up again.
Augury is definitely one of the few death metal bands of late that have renewed my love affair with the genre, and if you haven’t checked them out yet – you’re seriously missing out. If you’re not already a convert, check out the sublime FRAGMENTARY EVIDENCE first and then check out this version of CONCEALED – you won’t be disappointed.