This album is somewhat of a conundrum to me, described as a perfect mix of Epic Doom and Power Metal I really feel like it comes off as traditional Metal with a few Doom undertones.
After a brief intro, the band launch into ‘Devils Of Your Time’ and you’ll be immediately struck by how aggressive this sounds. There is no holding back from a energy point of view despite the pace hanging onto a brisk mid tempo the whole track comes off more akin to a Power Metal tune than a Doom album. Even the vocalist is killing it, matching the bands energetic Metal prowess. Guitars showing their harmonic approach to melodies while retaining a almost blunt power riff throughout the rest of the song really is characteristic of most of the album. So, did you like what you heard on the opening track ? Because that’s what you’ll be getting for most of the album.
Now it may seem like I’m coming off like all these are negatives but I’m just merely stating that if these guys had more Doom influences before it sure seems like they are slowly shedding them. On the positives though the songwriting is pretty stellar. Lots of harmonies between the guitars, drums are interesting without ever taking over the song and the bass gets moments to stand out. They are also excellent at transitioning between softer and heavy parts. No small feet considering many a metal band often trip over themselves on sections like that. Oh, and did I mention these guitarists can rip? The soloing is excellent to say the least. Like the kind of soloing that makes me want to go practise my soloing chops.
Vocals are handled excellently as well. I feel like alot of the songs wouldn’t sound nearly as aggressive without Butch’s strong, powerful vocals. He also is capable of dropping them back for a more melancholic feel as well, notably on ‘Hour Of Longing’ and I really felt like he nailed it. If I had a complaint it would be a lack of hooks within the riffing and vocals. It would have really helped in pushing the album up another notch but the energy in the performances makes up for it.
Sound wise everything is handled adequately. You won’t walk away saying anything like “Man, those guitars sounded HUGE!”, or something like that, but the entire band is given space to let their performances shine. Though, I will say it lacks a certain amount of character that would have helped making the album be a little more memorable. I’d say if a had a word for it it would be "dry". Besides a few parts that makes use of FX the meat and potatoes is dry. The guitars in particular could have used just a tad more drive, if I was being nitpicky.
Overall, its hard to find to much that's negative about Argus’s ‘From Fields of Fire’ other than many a doomster may not like the tempos or the more Power Metal leanings, and that it’s not exactly the most memorable album ever. But taken as whole it’s hard not to appreciate the energy and strength within the performances. As someone who has always appreciated strong performances and excellent guitar work I gotta say I had a good time listening to this. Will I constantly come back for repeats, though? Maybe not, but when I’m looking for some strong traditional Metal with excellent soloing to tickle my fancy, I’ll take Argus over most other bands any day.