Let me get straight to the point. This is sadly a case of a band with an 'awesome' album sleeve, but the music itself is sadly 'not so awesome'. You would think it would be a (progressive) metal album according to the sleeve, but it's progressive rock. Nothing wrong with that of course, but somehow the music isn't something you wouldn't expect with this kind of album sleeve.
The album Tell Me! from the Dutch band Argus contains six tracks, which are between seven and ten minutes long. Production, mixing and mastering could have been done much better-it sounds amateurish. The drums are dry and flat, it sounds like it has been directly recorded in some rehearsal room without the right conditions. The instruments should have been played tighter as well, and some of the keyboards sounds that are used sound outdated. The vocals are good, but not super, and the musical compositions are good, but not spectacular. I miss a certain consistency and cohesion in the music.
There's a spectacular intro in the first track Crisis, but when the fretless bass comes in it's sadly too loud compared to the other sounds you hear in the intro. The instrumental mid-section after six minutes sounds quite interesting though. The guitar intro riff of Tell Me is catchy, but suddenly the song turns from a heavy prog rock song into a way softer track after a half a minute... And then it becomes heavy again... And soft again! There's no good cohesion and the transitions are sometimes sloppy, which is too bad. What If starts very interesting as it reminds me of early Metallica, but somehow the guitars sounds like it has been recorded through a metal tube after the cool intro. My Star is the longest track on the album. The musical elements, ideas and guitar solo are very cool in this song and this is the best one on the album in my opinion. Sick Girl has a nice guitar solo again just like My Star, and the chorus is quite catchy. The intro of the last track The Wall is quite uplifting and the music reminds me of good 80s progressive rock. The keyboard solo at the end is good, but could have been more spectacular.
I have the feeling this band can do so much better, and that they are probably a good live band to watch. I do hope this band will improve in the future! They have very interesting elements in their music that could have been so much more than it is now. This album would have received 4 stars if it sounded better.
**+ Iris Hidding (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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