Argesh – Excommunica (2021) – Review

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By the unholy minions of the Lightbringer. RMR’s race towards bigger and darker Extreme Metal records continues. Already our short write-up of best finds up to August 2021 yielded some juicy records.

An abundance of disquieting tunes that bask in yonder frightful halo emerging from the abode of the fiend. Stories that speak of the goat and terrible tales whispering about perverting the Bible. About the downfall of mankind and the imminent reign of the beast.

That kind of thing.

Well, Argesh and their debut Excommunica for sure rocked to the forefront of the review pipe with lightning speed. Blasphemous wares galore that we just couldn’t resist. And this – wait for it – presented by a band that started in 2010 apparently. And it took them five years to produce something more of an EP than anything else with its short 31 minutes of airtime.

But Rome wasn’t built in a day, right? Sometimes you need to let things mature, and this band for sure did that. And the outcome is nothing short of fascinating.

Argesh call their style Apostate Black Metal. Interesting. So, in this sense, it is Black Metal with an absence of religious belief. But if that’s so, they bitch an awful lot about Christian topics. This sounds like those self-proclaimed atheists turned virulent skeptics that populate the interweb. But I trespass, this would be material for another post on our ‘zine.

It is indeed interesting how many sturdy Extreme Metal outfits hail from Italy. Argesh here come from Varese1), a nice city up in the North. Yet, the town indeed sports a decidedly dark underbelly. One that attacks with an intense mix of Black Metal, Post Black, and bouts of Deathcore.

Whilst firmly steeped in blackened traditions, Excommunica gets you that modern version of what passes today as Black Metal. One that mixes Death Metal growls with typical rasps and often contains enough melodic elements to satisfy a symphony nerd. Albeit that I sometimes get disconcerted when they lead off with clear voice vocals in the midst of all that extreme madness.

In other words, if you’re looking for the likes of Burzum in their tune, head North until you reach the North Sea. Instead, Argesh here lean far into territory that their brethren from Perugia2) already occupy. And the folks over at FA are far from their chosen genre.

Already Abiura captured my attention like a dreadful curse. Usually, we treat intros with disdain, but this one seriously impressed the RMR deckhands with its virulent depiction of Moonspell‘s darker days with a part or two of old-style Rotting Christ3).

Suffocate in Oxygen pretty much throws the goods at you. The gist of what Argesh is all about, in one go. Yet again, the band has that tendency to overload the mix with a ton of frantically arranged elements. This sometimes sounds as if Anaal Nathrakh moved South and forgot to moderate its virulence. So and yet again, less would have been more. And this time it’s not time creep, there is no fat in Excommunica. The record tends to overwhelm you with too much … stuff at times. And the outcome is an overly rough mix that could have used a refining touch or five.

But those are relatively small quibbles. Because once the tasteful dissonance of Source of Miracles hits, this specific dark sun really starts to shine. Interestingly, this track later goes a-hunting in an area where the progressives play the strongest. Yet another interesting twist in a piece that’s full of them.

You see, there are no weak tracks on Excommunica. And – in truth – the band couldn’t really afford them or fall off the deep end. The record is chock-a-block with ever-changing soundbites. A tour-de-force of deliciously vile and totally virulent Extreme Metal. Now, having listened to this amazing beast a few times, I understand that it took them a (very long) while to get all the details straight.

And last but not least, Argesh‘s Excommunica garnered a full review despite essentially being an EP. That’s against RMR company policy – and thus a rarity. But what can we do, right? If the material is great, we can’t help but waste a pot of ink on it. A review stamped with RMR’s steely sign of quality all over it. It ain’t getting any better.

Ed’s note: And congrats, the record made it onto the 2021 Top 10 Records!

Record Rating: 9/10 | LabelNero Corvino Records | Web: Official Band Site
Release Date: 14 September 2021


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