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Augury - Concealed CD (album) cover

CONCEALED

Augury

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.34 | 25 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
5 stars The Canadian province of Quebec has long been associated with an exotic artistic flair that they inherited from their French connections with some of the nation's most arty examples of both progressive rock as well as avant-garde metal having emerged within the province's border. The Montreal based AUGURY is yet one more band to emerge from this fleur-de-lis setting and has been quite the contribution to the more progressive side of technical death metal. A long plan in the making with the blueprint being sown in the 90s, AUGURY finally formed in 2002 after lead guitarist Mathieu Marcotte at last left his band Spasme. The search was then on for the suitable team to carry out the desired agenda of creating a pummeling death metal sensation laced with various styles and nuances of disparate genres.

After the many auditions and plucking from other unknown bands from the local scene, the final lineup ended up with Dominic Lapointe (bassist from Atheretic), Patrick Loisel (vocalist, guitarist), Étienne Gallo (drums) and soprano vocalist Arianne Fleury. The band quickly coalesced a series of new tracks with each members adding their signature elements to the mix. As the death metal band became more adventurous, many new elements of folk, progressive rock and classical were added and after some time in the production and mixing processes emerged the band's debut album CONCEALED in 2004. The album caught the tech death world by storm and put AUGURY on the map from the start and although a mere bunch of newbies on the scene, came across as well-vetted masters of the scene as if they were some sort of supergroup.

While it's true that many a death metal band that throws in a few "alternative" passages can qualify as progressive these days, AUGURY is the real deal. "Beatus" starts off with a symphonic acoustic guitar passage with feminine diva soprano vocals slowly entering the scene but after the proper melodic developments are introduced, the band breaks into some serious death metal which is by far the dominant style on CONCEALED with million mile per hour crushing guitar riffs, stylized technical drum frenzies and thoughtful interplay between the bass, guitar and percussion. The band not only focus on tight top notch compositional styles that differentiate each track from the next but find interesting methods of adding softer and acoustic intros and interludes to create an interesting dynamic contrast.

While the album is primarily in-yer-face tech death metal with galloping angular guitar riffs on speed, there are many passages with Enslaved type viking metal that emphasize traditional folk melodies that implement clean vocal techniques and while Fleury's feminine charm is usually reserved for moments of contrast, on the Celtic folk inspired "The LaIr Of Purity" she takes the reins with a prominent beauty and the beast role as well as the clean male folk vocals. However on "As Sea Devours Land" she gets to unleash her lead vocal charms as she escapes the diva role and is allowed to belt out her full metal charm. The album is well paced with nice little folky acoustic parts that segregate the brutal death metal from more subdued moments. Melody is the emphatic focus which is allowed to expand into neighboring dimensions.

CONCEALED is a really brilliant exercise in progressive leaning technical death metal. It exceeds in the tech department with the excessive guitar wankery behind the scenes including a few neoclassical solo moments as well as dishing out pleasant progressive developments. Likewise the band implement firm control over the ratio of brutality to the sensual counter forces which give AUGURY a much broader spectral resonance than the average death metal band. All in all, the album flows almost flawlessly with only the all acoustic "From Eden Estranged" wearing out its welcome with a rather unnecessary and repetitive strum-athon through the acoustic nothingness. AUGURY is a band where the mastery of the musical elements on board is exquisite and the production is perfectly crystal clear yet abrasively pleasant when the rougher aspects dominate. CONCEALED is a must hear for lovers of aggressive and complex death metal taken to extremes.

4.5 rounded UP!

siLLy puPPy | 5/5 |

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