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Augury - Illusive Golden Age - 80%

chrisc7249, June 10th, 2021

I often forget how long Augury has been around for. Of course, I only got into extreme metal recently, and I was merely a small child when their first two records came out, and I was much more interested in terrible music like Linkin Park and Slipknot (ew!) to be focused on the glorious sounds of the underground. Better late than never, I guess. Anyway, this was the first Augury album I heard, and it's the one I'm most familiar with. I have listened to the previous two, and I do enjoy "Fragmentary Evidence" though I'm struggling to remember much of it. I only listened to the debut once and it was not a good impression, I remember thinking it was pretty bad, but we'll revisit that at another date. This is solely about their newest record, "Illusive Golden Age."

There was an almost decade long gap between "Fragmentary Evidence" and this one, but it seems, according to Metal Archives, the band never split up in between then and now. So, I'll assume it just took nine years to make this album. Was it worth the wait? Well, I didn't wait for it at all as this album was released a few months prior to me getting into death metal, but yeah, I'd say if I did wait 9 years, I'd be pretty content with it.

A lot obviously changed between 2009 and 2018, especially within the Canadian tech/prog death scene. With new faces like Archspire and Beyond Creation, the second coming of Gorguts, and countless other bands forming in the scene, Augury has always been a top dog and a huge inspiration, but now they had to stand out in the modern scene. The sound is tweaked for sure while still retaining that same Augury sound that made them a household name in the first place. It's very jazzy and progressive, but also still heavy with some absolutely pummeling riffs. There's a lot of good bass and guitar lines on here, and the fretless bass is a nice touch. The drumming is spastic, going from fast and brutal to complex and all over the place. A good merge of sounds to imagine is Beyond Creation mixed with Cynic, if you haven't heard of Augury's previous outputs. It has a lot of nice, warm, jazzy slow parts that remind me of Cynic with the crazy musical wizardry and progressiveness of Beyond Creation.

There's no real weak spots to the record's game, as it is above average in pretty much every regard. The songs are structured evenly, never being too complex it's forgettable or too simple it's mind numbing. Each song, while some are better than others, have some good riffs and melodies to offer, and even the short instrumental track delivers some good music. The production is on point, everything sounds good to me and everything is audible. I think the cherry on top of this record for me is the vocals. I really don't remember Patrick's vocals being this impressive on previous albums. He sounds absolutely insane, and it contrasts the beautiful nature of the music perfectly. He has really low, brutal death growls and manic fucking highs. He sounds like he's being tortured and I love it. He even throws in what I like to call his signature "pirate singing" which, by that description, sounds like it's worse than it actually is. It's actually pretty amusing and fits well.

I do need to revisit Augury's earlier outputs, but after listening to them all, I have determined this is their best record to date, as it manages to keep their signature sound while staying modern enough to stick out in the modern scene. The instrumental work, the vocals, the songs themselves, everything isn't the best of its genre, but it's really damn good and Augury continues to prove why they're one of the most influential bands in the scene. You're missing out if you haven't listened to this band yet. Some really good stuff awaits you if you enjoy this genre of music.

FFO: Beyond Creation, Cynic, First Fragment
Favorite song: The Living Vault
Final score: 8/10