Home > Music > Augury – Concealed (2004)

Augury – Concealed (2004)

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This is Augury before they went jazz-prog on Fragmentary Evidence. Concealed is kind of weird by comparison; it’s much more vocal driven, it relies more on ambience and texture, and I’ve seen it labeled a sort of death metal/folk fusion in response to the existence of the acoustic interludes and vocal interplay. I’m not so certain about the accuracy of that last bit, myself, but the end result is still a significantly different album, despite it sharing quite a bit of its ‘sound’ with its successor.

While it’s not an overtly jazz flavored album, Augury’s debut is still home to intricate musicianship. As the various types of vocals are so prominent here, it’s probably best to inspect them first, and indeed to give them special attention. Concealed is arguably defined more by the interplay between its vocalists than the mere fact they perform both death growls and various types of traditional singing; while you don’t get much in the way of simultaneous vocal overlap (which is admittedly kind of rare in metal unless you’re listening to Solefald), you do get constant style changes, which are the next best thing. The growls in particular aren’t especially ferocious, but instead seem to be oriented towards both depth of pitch and overall intelligibility; Frank Mullen’s vox in the band Suffocation are a good comparison.

Concealed orients itself, none the less, towards a progressive-metal sound, with a great deal of dynamic range, harmonic complexity, and messy compositions. The latter was less of a problem 5 years later, but the way that the songs on Augury’s material throw abrupt musical changes at the listener is something musicians and songwriters have to be very careful with in order to prevent disaster. In general, Augury knows enough about restraint to incorporate it into their songwriting without losing the drive towards complexity. Ironically, the intentionally dissonant sections are probably the weakest links, since the transitions between consonant melodies (which are easy, and Augury is good at them) and such are often janky at best. It’s hard to fault the band for their ambition, though, since they do manage to churn out some strong extended compositions in the meantime. It also helps that I appreciate ambitious songwriters, but you shouldn’t judge the members of Augury by my preferences.

While the stylistic differences between Augury’s albums could throw off some listeners, I still think that fans of one could easily cross over to the other.

Highlights: “Cosmic Migration”, “In Russian Dolls Universes”, “Becoming God”

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