Aug 242023

One way to think of the Canadian band Augurium‘s new album Unearthly Will is as a tour through a potentially deadly wildlife refuge of arcane and even astral origins. It provides close encounters with a variety of musical beasts, some more extravagantly colorful than others (but still with teeth bared) and some more savagely hostile. By the end you might be relieved that you didn’t become a meal for the menagerie, yet electrified by all the close calls — and by the sweeping splendor.

Augurium‘s name is a Latin word for omen, and Omen was the name of the band’s 2017 debut EP, which was an omen of things to come but not entirely predictive. Adorned by an eye-catching cover of an intriguing young woman with hands ending in talons, and introduced by a sinister symphonic intro, it delivered a brand of death metal that was equal parts blistering, bludgeoning, and imperiously hellish, anchored by vicious tremolo-reliant riffing and berserk vocal monstrosity, and accented by melodies of cruel menace, pestilential terror, oppressive gloom, and demonic violence.

From there Augurium moved more in the direction of brutal death metal with their 2018 debut album Unhallowed Ascendance, but with more dynamism than is often found in that genre, even more fully embracing bombastic, thuggish grooves, the ugly distortion of eviscerating riffage, melodies of illness and agony, and bursts of obliterating mayhem. Yet still, the music had plenty of eerie, insidious, and sometimes surprising melodic elements that helped shroud it in an atmosphere that seemed genuinely infernal.

In the intervening years since then, the band’s lineup has changed, and the new album marks a further evolution in sound — actually, more like a dramatic revolution in their sound. Indeed, Augurium seem like a thoroughly reinvented musical entity.

Some things have remained constant across this compact record: the hideous monstrosity of the guttural roars and maniacal screeches and screams; the obliterating percussive outbursts; the vivid prominence of the bass; and atmospherics of the arcane (though as we’ll discuss in a moment, they’re of a very different kind than before).

In many other respects, however, the band have made their music less brutish and significantly more elaborate and melodic. In something of a return to the Omen EP, the album begins with a symphonic overture (“Appolyon Rising”), one that’s both foreboding and steeped in sorrow. But unlike both Omen and the debut album, the symphonic elements of the music on Unearthly Will don’t end there – the orchestration has become a dominant presence and significantly accounts for the changes in atmosphere mentioned earlier.

Here, the sweeping keyboards and towering chords create moments of vast and daunting splendor, often still malignant but less demonically feral, and frequently downright celestial, like choirs of an angelic host.

Moreover, the piercing quality and greater abundance of the guitar leads, plus an equal abundance of melodic solos that usually spiral into fret-melters, also distinguish the new music from the old, as do a plethora of darting and devilish riffs, which often replace the distorted, tremolo-heavy quality of those in the band’s previous music. And there’s even a tiny bit of haunting clean singing.

Augurium do pick plenty of moments to deliver bombast in ways that don’t depend on the keyboards — dropping bunker-busting bombs and inflicting battering-ram slugs. Indeed, it’s fair to say that the music’s brutal, hard-hitting grooves are almost important as the soaring keys, the soloing spectacles, and the intricacy of most of the other fretwork.

Almost — because the main hallmark of the album is the daunting scale on which the music operates. Augurium strive for experiences of magnificence and awe, even if hell still awaits within. It’s now fair to call their music symphonic death metal, which by definition means melodic death metal.

And with that we’ll leave you to our premiere stream of the entire album:



Unearthly Will has a release date of August 25th — tomorrow! It was produced by Augurium‘s members from their homes in Saskatchewan and British Columbia, and it was mixed and mastered by Reid Paraszczynec (with co-production credits to James Norbert Ivanyi). The fabulously monstrous cover art is the work of Mark Erskine (Erskine Designs).

One last bit of Augurium news: They’re touring now, and you can check out the dates and places after the following links:



Tour Dates:
Aug 24 – Kelowna, BC – JackKnife Brewing w/ Neck Of The Woods, Omnia Nihil
Aug 25 – Vancouver, BC – Astoria w/ Atavistia, Kayas, The Blade Itself
Aug 29 – Drumheller, AB – Neighbours’ Corner Pub
Aug 30 – Edmonton, AB – Rendezvous Pub w/ Kryotic
Aug 31 – Calgary AB – Nvrland w/ Kryotic
Sept 1 – Saskatoon, SK – Black Cat Tavern w/ Cell and Krytotic
Sept 2 – Regina, SK – The Exchange w/ Cell and Krytotic


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