Practitioners of traditional metal, harbingers of doom, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania quintet ARGUS are the axiom of time-honored, classic metal. Since their 2009 self-titled debut, ARGUS has enjoyed critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic, warranting multiple European tours, festival appearances and stateside showcases. Their 2011 album “Boldly Strides The Doomed” and 2013 follow-up “Beyond The Martyrs” were equal in measure, showcasing the leather-lunged pipes of Brian “Butch” Balich and an uncanny ability to create memorable, epic songs all within the familiar, lauded confines of tried-and-true heavy metal.
After an uncharacteristic four-year break between studio albums, ARGUS is back with “From Fields Of Fire”, set for a September 8 release via Cruz Del Sur Music. It will be the first album to feature guitarist/producer Dave Watson and bassist John Campbell, who join long-time members Balich, Jason Mucio (guitars) and Kevin Latchaw (drums). Recorded throughout various points in 2016 and 2017 at Tonic Studios in Pittsburgh with Watson manning the production board, “From Fields Of Fire” also finds Argus once again teaming up with visual artist Brad Moore for the album’s eye-catching cover art.
“If you had told me in 2013 that it would be four years until the next album, I would’ve been incredulous, but sometimes that sort of thing happens,” says Balich. “We didn’t want to rush the material. Because ARGUS is really a labor of love for us, it will always be that we release music when we are ready and not a second sooner.”
Draped in a warm, crystalline production job, “From Fields Of Fire” is kicked off by the punchy and stout “Devils Of Your Time”. “As A Thousand Thieves” sees the band going full gallop, evoking the glory days of IRON MAIDEN, while the dueling twin-guitar harmonies on “216” captures the instant chemistry between Mucio and Watson.
Elsewhere, the pounding “You Are The Curse”; soaring “Infinite Lives, Infinite Doors” and nimble “Hour Of Longing” offer up a degree of range and diversity emblematic of a band who has long come into its own as songwriters. However, “From Fields Of Fire’s undisputed highlight is the somber “No Right To Grieve”. Perhaps the band’s darkest song to date, “No Right To Grieve” was born out of a song Balich and Watson thought would be better served in a joint project outside of ARGUS. However, it was simply too good to be left off “From Fields Of Fire”.
“The song revolves around the ideas of grief and the consequences of being involved in a relationship that is not out in the open,” notes Balich. “So the song, in a nutshell, deals with a secreted relationship that ends when one of the partners dies and how the person left deals with that loss knowing that to publicly mourn and grieve would reveal the relationship. So they would be left with few options but grieve alone for fear of hurting those who were unaware of the relationship and who are already hurting from the death of this person.”
A bona fide cult favorite in America and in continental Europe, ARGUS’s status as true metal flag-bearers remains firmly intact with “From Fields Of Fire”. If anything else, the band’s steady, gradual career arc proves there is no substitute for quality songwriting and a humble, fan-first approach.
“We hope the fans we have like it as much as we do and that it will have some meaning to them,” concludes Balich. “It’s kind of a waste of energy to concern ourselves much with how well it sells or is received by critics… Of course we want it to sell well and for it to be well-reviewed, but we are very realistic about the ways of the music business for a band like ARGUS and short of throwing away our jobs or selling our souls, it’s a tough road for a band like ARGUS to make some headway. We’re cool with that. Our goal is to create music with people we enjoy being in a band with. Our goal is to keep clawing for more ears to listen, more faces to be in the crowds at our shows…those are things we hope will happen.”
“From Fields Of Fire” track listing:
1- Into The Fields Of Fire
2- Devils Of Your Time
3- As A Thousand Thieves
5- You Are The Curse
6- Infinite Lives Infinite Doors
7- Hour Of Longing
8- No Right To Grieve
9- From The Fields Of Fire
10- You Are The Curse DEMO VERSION (LP BONUS TRACK)
11- 216 DEMO VERSION (LP BONUS TRACK)
12- By Endurance We Conquer LIVE (LP BONUS TRACK)
13- A Curse On The World LIVE (LP BONUS TRACK)
Brian ‘Butch’ Balich – Vocals
Dave Watson – Guitars
Jason Mucio – Guitars
Justin Campbell – Bass
Kevin Latchaw – Drums
Argus (– 2009, Shadow Kingdom)
Boldly Stride The Doomed ( – 2011, Cruz Del Sur Music)
Beyond The Martyrs (- 2013, Cruz Del Sur Music)
Death Hath No Coscience ( 7’’ – 2015, Cruz Del Sur Music)