Album: Torn – EP
And upon her, a watcher was set: great and strong Argus, who with a multitude of eyes peers every which way. The Goddess stirred in him unwearying strength and fortitude; no sleep could fell upon his eyes. He kept watch always. Such begins the Greek myth of Argus, 100-eyed giant and guardian of Hera, who was famed to slay the demonic serpentine monster Echidna in order to defend the Goddess as she slept. Her gratitude ensured that Argus’ legend—and his 100 unblinking eyes—would live on forever in the tail of a peacock—and in the dissonant, chaotic heaviness of Michigan-based metalcore act, Argus—and their latest release, Torn. With influences as numerous as the Greek giant’s eyes, and enough bone-breaking, blister-inducing heaviness to slay ten Echidnas, Torn is a crushing, punishing lesson in beatdown-blended metalcore that will leave the listener completely defenseless—with no guardian to watch over them and keep them safe as Argus wreaks havoc upon their sanity.
Grabbing hold of the listener by the ears and shaking them mercilessly from the get-go, Argus assault the listener with thrashy, jarring riffs that branch out beautifully from hardcore and metallic roots alike. This is just as true in the opening seconds of “Puppeteer” to the waning seconds of “Cut Out.” Throughout all of Torn, there is a constant hint of thrashy, metallic riffing that provides a sharp edge to the blunt, bone-bending beatdown heaviness of the bass and percussion. This is particularly true of the mile-a-minute snapshot of sinister anger that is “Burnt.” Starting off with bouncy, intense percussion and a section of shred speedy enough to turn a nursing home into a circle pit, the track quickly devolves into a pseudo-technical, completely raunchy lesson in misanthropic beatdown that would make Villains proud. “Puppeteer” is just as sneaky in the subtle, yet belligerently brutalizing ways in which it incorporates a variety of furiously-fretted elements into its song structure—as is the nu-metallic morsel of malice, “Sick.” Whether it’s the looping, intense guitar or the piercing snap of the snare, Torn makes abundant use of metallic influences to accept it’s unstoppable heaviness.
Ah, heaviness. At the end of the day, that’s what one would expect out of the guardian giant Argus Panoptes, is it not? For a weak guardian is not truly fit to guard. In this respect, the listener has both nothing—and everything—to fear. Argus are heavy, but the victim of their incessant, driving heaviness is not Echidna, nor is it Iefeo; it is the listener themselves. Tracks like “Cut Out” and “Snakeskin” are acrid, awe-inspiring instances of bone-splintering heaviness that blend beatdown an traditional hardcore with metallic, intelligent song structure to create a crushing, cataclysmic cacophony of spine-shredding intensity. Deep, booming bass works brilliantly with grating, intense vocals (including those of Daniel McWhorter of Gideon and Josh Barela of Get a Grip) to completely wear away the listener’s sanity and turn their mind into barely-functioning bits of debris. If the potential listener may have been dissuaded by promises of punishing, riff-heavy song-structure, then they should find nothing but soul-smothing solace in the fact that for every catchy, circle-pit inducing riff found on Torn, there is a tidal wave of chug-heavy crush to drive the metallic nail deep into the listener’s coffin.
Argus is one part fire-hot, liquid-magma thrash metal fury and one part heavy-hitting, hardcore headhunter. These elements work together as a chimara as fearsome as even the deepest, darkest dregs of Greek mythos. Together, driving dynamic song structure and brutalizing heaviness create an experience not unlike that of genre-blending masters Left Behind—masterfully melding different musical styles with the ease of a well-seasoned veteran act. In this respect, Torn seems truly…torn as to which genre it truly wants to identify with, instead opting to pick-and-choose influences from bands and styles as countless as Argus’ eyes themselves. Flowing as smoothly as the River Styx from metalcore to punk, all the way over to clear-cut thrash, Argus are capable of shape-shifting and melting into any mold they choose in order to craft a weapon of mass destruction with which they can annihilate the listener—and whatever expectations the listener had before listening.
It was granted that Argus should remain timeless—That much the Greeks were right about. Argus are a limitlessly talented hardcore-turned-metal-turned-thrash band that have what it takes to truly take the scene (local or otherwise) by storm. Dynamic song structure with a sound greater than the sum of its part, Torn will have the listener truly torn; drawn and quartered, dragged to ends of the earth so far that only Argus could peer upon them.
For Fans Of: Left Behind, Villains, Kingmaker, Dead End Path, Terror
By: Connor Welsh