Friday, December 30, 2016

Argus - Castelul nopții demo '98

Alright, let's start!

I've recently bought a couple of tapes again, and one of them was from mighty Argus. I'm pretty sure Argus is my all time favorite band from Romania, so it feels nice to finally write about them.

Argus was formed in '96, they released 3 demo tapes (the second demo being this one) and a full-length album before changing their name to Argus Megere in 2005. Their style is melodic black, in its finest way - or maybe I should be more precise when describing the genre of their music, and call it sympho black? The fact is - Argus called their style medieval black, that's what it says in tape layout.

To be honest, I don't really understand the border between medieval black, sympho black, gothic black - for me all of it is melodic black. But if someone would like to explain what exactly is the real difference beetween these three subgenres in the comments, I'll be glad to read.

The production isn't clean or completely messy and noisy, it's just the way it should be - a bit raw and dirty, but the music is like i said quite melodic so it makes it all sound clear enough. When I listen to Argus, for me it's all about amazing vocals and keyboards, I don't even really notice the guitars and drums, they are kind of there but not really dominant, just fit in the music as they should. As for the tempo - it's definitely black/doom or mid tempo black, with some fast parts every now and then, and even some folkish acoustic parts.

If you're wondering how I managed to get this tape, well, I saw one person from Romania was selling it on Discogs and it was a bit pricey because it's old and self-released and nice looking tape, in great shape after all these years and all. I contacted that person, we exchanged few emails and it turns out he bought entire distro of underground extreme metal with thousands of tapes back in the '90s! Anyway, I managed to lower the price little bit, but still payed 15€ + shipping which, in my opinion, was money well spent and I am fucking happy to have this tape in my collection now. Just look at that beauty! The cover artwork, the music - I don't know which is better! I absolutely love it!

You know, I can't help noticing few things. First, I can't help thinking how much potential this band had and so early too, and in Romania of all countries! And second, it is quite interesting how Southeastern European coutries had bands in that period that had the same idea, and made quite similar music, I mean the feeling I get when listening to Argus is quite similar to the feeling I get when listening to Wiccan Rede and early Negură Bunget.
And if we move little bit more to the west, we get to my country Croatia, where we had our first black metal band at the same period as Argus made that demo - that band was Castrum and they were also keyboard-driven melodic black. 
Then, if we take a look what happened at that era even more to the west, there's Italy which was known for melodic/sympho black stuff back then, or at least that's how I see Italy - when someone says "Italian '90s black metal" first thing that comes to my mind is keyboard-driven black and bands like Maldoror, Evol, Adversam, Novgorod, Ugluk, De Occulta Philosophia and many many more. Heheh, I don't know, I just think that's interesting.

If I had the compare style of Argus with something else which isn't Italian black metal, I'd say French '90s scene and some of the melodic bands like Diamond Eyed Princess or Arkham. 

I'll stop here and just make a conclusion - if you already know this band, good for you, and I've probably just reminded you of them because you had forgotten about Argus; Also, the previous version rip of the demo that was circulating on web was of lower quality with no scans, so now you can get it as a true tape rip with pics and scans and all. If you didn't know about Argus, I'd really recommend you to listen to all of their material and Argus Megere too if you're curious. To which people would I really recommend this? To curious, fans of '90s underground black, to people who enjoy melodic black, doom black and keyboards.

Go listen to it and enjoy!