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.