Review Summary: Better than Air Conditioning...
Shtick 2 (for Shtick 1 check my review for Augury's debut, Concealed
; that was the one where they don't forget the death part of their progressive death metal attack and here it's even more present).
In the modern death metal world, press releases are often out of control. How many times has, "This album will be more brutal, more progressive, more melodic, tighter, looser, etc." been stated only to find a band sounding pretty much the same? Well you're in luck loyal sputnik review-reader, for Canadian (Quebecian) deliverers, Augury, have offered up what so many have promised with their latest release, Fragmentary Evidence
. What this album is is a culmination of Augury's unique sound. The useless fat of their first released has been cut and an overall tightness of everything has spawned.
Bob Dylan wrote a song called "The Times They Are a Changing." Augury must have heard this song, so when this album goes on, it hits hard. First, at least for me, those annoying operatic female vocals have been kicked to the curb. And, besides from a little appearance by Ms. Unexpect (I won't ruin the surprise), it's all sausage vocals, and what more could a true death metal fan ask for? Second, and probably most useful to non-sexist users, is the new and improved melodic/mellow portions of the album. On Concealed
, there were many acoustic portions and, though they were often interesting, felt more like tack-ons than natural parts of songs. Here, they are well thought out and flowed into and out of uniquely and logically. There are no wacky genre shocks to the system. Sure a soft break can be smashed at a dime (or sixpence or whatever foreign mumbo jumbo currency you use), but the shocks are for effect and are used just as regularly as other transitions (i.e. dramatic slowdown, build-up, or reversal). Take "Jupiter to Ignite" (possibly the best metal song these ears have heard in a long while). It is a perfect song. Every second is thought out; the soft portions exist and develop into the ferocious and vice versa. The solos (this album contains a bunch all to some degree of brilliance) are well placed and fit, keeping the attention to the overall piece but adding a little Ranch dressing for the crust of the death metal pizza pie to be dipped in. It's a song best heard, with too much going on to describe in a short (Yes, I'm going for short but slowly losing it to long) review.
But all this description won't persuade you to listen (it didn't for their first album). So fancy is the game. What do you want? This is one of the best performances on bass heard in any genre. I can hear the back-forth scrape of little brother Tyler Munro's hand under his sheets working furiously to songs like "Skyless." I can envision uncle Crimson writing an over-long piece describing the guttural-er vocals and furious drums that play fastest, fastestest, and even fasterestest to songs like, well, all of them. I even saw my best friend who lives around the block, Nick Greer, typing a million multi-faceted and boisterous colloquialisms about the multi- guitar-line technicality mumbo-jumbo (bet you didn't think mumbo jumbo could be used twice...and an ellipse oh me!) assault that is always too intricate to grasp at a first listen. And that is true of the album as a whole. You don't get it with one try. It takes a while because it's so unique, yet not show-offey, that you don't know what to grasp on the first listen.
In reality friends, all it takes is forty-eight seconds to leave its mark. Forty-eight seconds that should force you to give this album, Fragmentary Evidence
, the chance it needs. It is this moment in "Aetheral," a simple scream that demonstrates the entire beauty that is Augury. It is a natural beauty that, no matter how many guest appearances, guitar solos, unintelligible lines, bizarre spacey passages, melodic sections, etc., it is there. Augury from freshman to sophomore have evolved and pulled themselves farther away from the rest of the crowd. There's a certain indescribable appeal to this band that comes with them being like no one else and yet not going out of their way to be different. As much "Focus" as "Annihilation of the Wicked." As much "Lazarus Bird" as "Still Life." And yet, it is none of these things (I feel like this is becoming a Crysis review, well I'll insert some modesty and all will be forgiven). It's likely to be the Traced in Air of this year but not recognized as such for years. It's a 5-star album reviewed by a 3-star reviewer but it's something that should be given a shot, especially if you're a person willing to be sitting in your smelly basement, typing fast just to finish your review because you forgot the album was released today knowing their is the all-encompassing wave of life that is air conditioning blowing upstairs. An album that's better than air conditioning? Why aren't you pirating yet?