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Label: The Artisan Era

Release Date: 30/03/2018

Genre: Death Metal

Canadian progressive death metallers Augury caused underground rumblings with 2009’s Fragmentary Evidence, but given how quiet they’ve been over the past few years, I assumed they’d buggered off into non-existence. Not the case, they’re back with their first release in almost a decade, Illusive Golden Age.

The Quebec death metal scene usually sets its foundations on a backbone of unrelenting technical savagery, coupled with rule bending tweaks to that of jazz, funk and even classical music. Primarily this is Augury in a nutshell, but on Fragmentary Evidence their dabblings of light progressive rock was a game changer, almost going full modern day Opeth in very brief spells. It offered a wonderful bridging point to influences I barely frequent, and something I was really looking forward to on Illusive Golden Age

The reason why I brought this up, is because while Illusive Golden Age is an absolute face melter of a record, some chunks of full-scale progressive rock have been stripped away. It certainly sounds more experimental, but somewhat less cohesive.

More so, vocalist Patrick Loisel is an absolute jack of all trades and willing to offer every lyrical style and sound you could put to the genre. During ‘Carrion Tide’ he delves into some crunchy yet clean vocal hooks, jokingly named pirate vocals by the band, yet they actually stand out as a positive for me. We’ve heard this from him before, and for a band willing to bend their own rules, I really thought this vocal style could’ve been utilised further.

It’s worth mentioning the production levels on Illusive Golden Age, which are done to perfection, allowing Bassist Dominic Lapointe and lead guitarist Mathieu Marcotte to go absolutely wild. They make for a really interesting duo, and no egos either. Both seem to know exactly when to let the other come forward and momentarily nab the spotlight without treading on each other’s toes.

‘Matar Dolorosa’, is a 7 minute epic, showcasing every element of brilliance Augury have to offer, and ‘Parallel Biospheres’ is like a tsunami hitting you full force. Both are my stand out favourites, and definitely the two I’d recommend as starting points if you’re new to the band.  

While Illusive Golden Age is jam packed with power and intricacy, sometimes this forfeits any sense of appropriate song structuring, and throwing every idea at the wall lost my interest on occasion. Augury haven’t dated a second, but dabblings of progressive rock on their last release served as an anchor to keep rooted in their music. It admittedly feels absent here.

While it’s bound to receive higher reviews in other places, opting to maintain their intensity as opposed to variating their pace does become a little overwhelming. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait another decade for Augury’s next release.

Illusive Golden Age is out now and available to order via Band Camp.

Rating: 6/10

Recommended Track: Parallel Biospheres

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