If anyone is curious about how to create kick-ass retro heavy/doom metal in this modern age, Argus is easily one of the first bands I'd recommend taking a listen to. Their decidedly retro sound seamlessly bridges the gap between Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden, resulting in an album that instantly transports the listener back about thirty years in time. Combine their simply awesome stylistic traits with some of the meanest and most interesting classic metal riffs this decade has to offer, and you're immediately in for one hell of a ride! Boldly Stride the Doomed is the second full-length album from these Pennsylvania doomsters, and I can safely declare that Argus has hit a home run with this spectacular effort. Anyone who misses the days when doom metal was at its peak and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal was just beginning should make sure this masterpiece makes it into their collection.
The best way to describe the music here is an odd love child between Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden; expect plenty of mid-to-slow tempo heavy riffs, in addition to quite a few galloping basslines and epic heavy metal compositions. Even though this fusion of traditional heavy metal and doom metal has been done literally hundreds of times, Argus outshines nearly all of their competitors with Boldly Stride the Doomed; despite the fact that this observation is 'retro' in every sense of the word, it still manages to sound fresh, inspired, and new. I think this is mainly due to Argus's tremendous talents as songwriters and musicians. There's hardly a weak moment on this near-55 minute album, and the musicians performing these songs clearly dumped their sweat, blood, and tears into the recording of Boldly Stride the Doomed. Argus is not just a group of well-versed musicians; they're a group of well-versed musicians with the heart and soul that seems to be lacking from most retro-heavy/doom outfits on the scene today.
Boldly Stride the Doomed also sports a warm, seventies-inspired production that suits the music perfectly. The mix finds a spot-on balance between all of the instruments, and I love how the bass is completely audible without ever sounding too overpowering or dominant. Well-made clean productions simply don't come around as often as they should anymore, and I gain instant respect for any producer that can capture that organic seventies' heavy metal sound with such perfection.
Boldly Stride the Doomed is a successful effort in nearly every sense of the word, and I'd consider it an absolute must-have for anybody who gets a kick out of heavy/doom metal. Argus have crafted an album that is more than worthy of the metal community's attention; I sincerely hope that Boldly Stride the Doomed gets them all of the recognition they've rightly earned. I've had an absolute blast while listening to this album, and I have little doubt that fans of Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden will as well. 4.5 stars are warranted for this excellent album. Retro heavy/doom metal just doesn't get much better than this!
1. Abandoning The Gates Of Byzantium (1:12)
2. A Curse On The World (5:25)
3. Wolves Of Dusk (6:22)
4. The Ladder (5:27)
5. Durendal (7:26)
6. 42-7-29 (6:55)
7. Boldly Stride The Doomed (2:33)
8. Fading Silver Light (4:36)
9. Pieces Of Your Smile (11:22)
10. The Ruins Of Ouroboros (3:20)