Augury
Illusive Golden Age

I’ve been a fan of Patrick Loisel since his Kralizec days ( I highly recommend you track down 1999s Origin)  and Augury has certainly continued that legacy. And while not very prolific, when Augury does drop and album, the world takes note. 2004s Concealed and 2009s Fragmentary Evidence both are critically acclaimed and arguable classics in the progressive.experimental death metal genre.

So here we are with only the band’s third album in 14 years,  Illusive Golden Age, and it’s what we have come to expect from Loisel and co; an adventurous, ambitious and progressive death metal record that still has nods to the likes of Cynic, First Fragment , Pestilence, Gorod, Gorguts, Neuraxis  (bassist Dominic Lapointe has served in both Gorguts and  First Fragment as well as Beyond Creation) and such, but with added flare and theatrics.

The thing is, while certainly a fantastic album chock full of amazing riffs, fretless bass twanging and powerful vocals, it’s lacking some of the overwhelming majesty and epic orchestral moments of the last two releases. Within the album’s 8 song 44 minute run time, I can safely say there is nothing that compares to the likes of the sheer brilliance and majesty  of “Sovereigns Unknown” or “Brimstone Landscapes” from Fragmentary Evidence or “Lair of Purity” from Concealed. Songs that I still revisit on a regular basis. Something I can’t yet say about any tracks on Illusive Golden Age.

That’s not to say there are some songs that are pretty awesome such as the title track or “Carrion Tide” , but there are no female vocals or massive memorable atmospheric /orchestral sections that truly jump out at you. There are some clean(er) vocals here and there but not full on singing like the prior albums. Still, if you crave some neo classical, experimental but hefty brutality and killer fretwork the likes of the shred-tastic “Mater Dolorosa”, “Maritime”  and “Message Sonore”, will fit the bill.

The album’s ending duo “Parallel Spheres”  and 8 minute “Anchorite” do end the album on a high note with the former being a crumbling, discordant, twisting, mid paced monster and the latter being  the closest to “Sovereigns Unknown”, “Brimstone Landscapes” and “Lair of Purity” with a sound that most closely resembles the last album’s more epic prose, melody and experimentation especially the killer transition at 4;19.

It was always going to be hard for Augury to top Fragmentary Evidence , which might explain the 9  year wait, and certainly expectations were always going to be high for this band. Unfortunately, while a fine album, Illusive Golden Age doesn’t quite reach the bar set by its predecessor, and never really elevates above some of the this year and last years solid tech death efforts.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
May 11th, 2018

Comments

  1. Commented by: Aaron

    Great review, sums up exactly how I felt about it after my first few listens.

    I’ll still pick it up and hope it’s a grower.


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