Released: 2004, Galy Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Augury is a different one to peg (as we writers like to do). Their debut, CONCEALED, contains elements found in the music of Opeth, Voivod, European folk bands and about a million other places I can’t think of right now. Technical death metal is the basic framework (and with Neuraxis’ sorely underappreciated Etienne Gallo on drums, that’s no surprise) but these background elements really mess with your metallic mind. The vocals are ultra-low and border on grindcore but the inclusion of a female soprano really take the music on twists and turns never before experienced by this reviewer. Add the incredible, technical-beyond-belief bass playing of Dominic Lapointe and CONCEALED is a trip through the metal landscape like no other.
The first track, “Beatus,” begins with an interesting guitar effect not unlike that used by Eddie Van Halen on “Cathedral” and finishes with enough feedback to send the neighborhood’s yapping dogs running for cover. Patrick Loisel’s otherworldly growls are offset by Arianne Fleury’s operatic swells throughout and the two are like the devil himself squaring off with an angel. AMAZING! Gallo’s drumming shines on “…Ever Know Peace Again,” with furious double bass and some incredibly snare and cymbal combos. “Cosmic Migration” spawns from a frantic bass line courtesy of Lapointe that I just cannot get enough of. On this track, especially, Lapointe almost seems to be doing more than the guitarists! Mathieu Marcotte turns in a killer guitar solo on this track and time changes are around every corner. Not ones to settle with full-scale brutality from start to finish, Augury pull out a prog passage on “Nocebo” and later, on “The Lair of Purity,” a two and a half minute Medieval-like opening section. The oddly titled, “In Russian Dolls Universes,” features extended pieces with Fleury wavering between opera and regular vocals. These parts of the song, especially the middle of the track, are among the most dynamic on the CD as her voice seems out of place yet perfectly suited to the brutal nature of the music at the same time. Loisel’s vocals are not to be forgotten as he masters the transition between death growls, harsh screams, gurgled gibberish and the occasional clean-ish shout. The instrumental masterpiece, “From Eden Estranged…,” allows the musicians to shine in a very Opeth DAMANATION sort of way. The clean acoustic guitar creates a hushed melody, while Lapointe’s fingers never let up on the bass. Gallo’s muted drumming is as equally soothing as the brutal drumming is anxiety-inducing at other points.
One thing Augury cannot be accused of is a lack of variety on CONCEALED. When I saw the cover, the artsy-fartsy band name and the oddball song titles, I was dreading this CD as a piece of pretentious prog metal rubbish but what I got instead was a diverse album of technical death metal laced with melody, brutality, extremely talented musicianship and stunning vocals, both male and female. Had I heard this CD last year, it would surely have made my top 20 of the year, but alas, Augury will have to settle with a perfect 5/5 score. Aw shucks…
KILLER KUTS: “Beatus,” “Cosmic Migration,” “Alien Shores,” “In Russian Dolls Universes,” “From Eden Estranged…”