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This month sees the mighty return of the French-Canadian progressive death metal band Augury. Their new opus for their new employer Nuclear Blast is titled 'Fragmentary Evidence' and is filled to the brim with a perfectly executed mix of technical death and symphonic black. LoM found guitar player Mathieu Marcotte willing to go into the long hiatus between the predecessor 'Concealed'. Moreover Mathieu gives us all the info we could want on the concept as well as the conception of 'Fragmentary Evidence'.

By: Richard G. | Archive under death metal / grindcore

Finally Augury returns! It's been three years (five even if you're from north America), since your last release 'Concealed'. An obvious first question is of course: what happened the past years and what took you so long?
We spent the last four years writing music and restructuring the band. After Etienne (drums, RG) left in 2006, we've worked with another drummer for about a year but we had problems matching our schedules. We finally asked Etienne to the rescue; he learned the rest of the songs and recorded the parts. But since it was only temporary, we still had to find a permanent drummer and now we have Antoine Baril from Québec City. He is also known for his outstanding Death tribute band. Due to this, the process spread over four years and for sure we would have wished to release the album before, but we made a good out of the bad and we perfected the songs and added more details to them.

A new album also sees Augury on a new label: the mighty Nuclear Blast! Congratulations on that one! How did you land the deal and how does it feel to be on the label?
Thank you! We are very happy to have this opportunity; this label released a lot of cult bands that we love so we are very proud to be part of this family. They have bands like Testament, Anthrax and Voivod, all of them influenced us in some way or another.

The album is going to be released on July 17th, which seems still quite a long way away. Since the album's been done for some time now, how do you reflect on the new material at the moment?
At the end of the process, we kind of took a break from it to change perspective. But after some time, I think that listening to it is still a pleasant activity. It could have been released a year before or after, it would have little influence. Our goal is not to fit in a trend or the style of a specific year; if it ages well (like a good wine) then good!

And how have reactions been so far? In the light of the renewed interest in technical music (Cynic, Atheist, Pestilence reunions, the insurgence of bands such as Obscura, The Faceless etc.) how do you expect the album will be doing once it is out there?
As of now the reaction has been really great. The album was leaked on the net for the last two weeks and we had good comments from our fans. Technical metal and styles fusion are more popular nowadays and metal in general seems more legitimate among the regular population. Like Sam Dunn's movie "Metal : A headbanger's journey" that explains metal culture in such an accessible way; it will only help to spread the good news. Even if it was less popular we would have done the same thing. If this album is meant to be successful, so be it. But I sincerely believe in its potential.

So over to the music then, a lot can happen in five years, what should the fans of 'Concealed' expect from your new album 'Fragmentary Evidence'?
It's a continuation of "Concealed", whenever it comes to the music, visuals or lyrics. We wanted to make an album that could be listened to immediately after the first one and follow the progression ; we just increased all factors and added more details. They are far less female vocals, Leïlindel from uneXpect honoured us with performances on two songs, but we prefer our music this way since our songwriting went this way with Patrick doing more vocal types this time. We also had many friends who joined us in studio for even more variety. "Fragmentary.." is also longer and this time each strings player (Pat, Forest and myself) wrote one third of the album, so it is more varied in styles.

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Are there any specific things that you wanted to do differently on the new album?
We wanted to put more care and do better on each instrument. For myself, I wanted to spend more time fine-tuning the sound of acoustic and clean guitars so the sound would be unique for each song. We also put more time on vocals and bass.

Your former female vocalist Arianne Fleury already left the band a long time ago, but how did her departure influence the song writing process for the new album?
It didn't change anything for most of the process. Arianne used to sing on both heavy and mellow parts and the proportion didn't change due to that, same process for us anyways. I know that Pat starts writing his songs with the vocal patterns and it's normal since he is the singer; there is input from me and Forest as well; overall, we just followed our instinct to pursue without soprano voices since the music required less and less of them.

It is not easy to judge by the titles what the songs on the new album are about. What are the main themes that are touched upon in the lyrics this time around?
It's a fragmented concept that revolves around topics such as prehistoric civilizations, humanity being created as livestock and cheap labor by some super beings who keep controlling our elites remotely, the persistence of those beings in remote parts of Earth, a cycle of destruction that erases civilizations every 10 000 years and the subsequent rebirths, some elite orders tinkering with mind control and astral planes. I surely forget a lot! Patrick is an old school conspiracy theorist and he has been collecting obscure occult writings since way before Internet. Myself and Forest have suggested topics to him as well. We certainly aren't into mundane run of the mill shock stuff.

How important are the lyrics actually for a band like Augury?
They first must fit the ambiance of the music and when a song abruptly changes ambiance, the storyline must follow accordingly. You wouldn't sing sad lyrics to a happy polka waltz! They also have to fit the music in quality, creativity and originality. The subjects mentioned before fit very well with the atmospheres created. Or at least we tried!

Another striking element on the album are a couple of songs of pretty epic length: 'Jupiter To Ignite' (almost eight and a half minute) and the incredible 'Oversee The Rebirth' with over eleven minutes! So how did these songs come into being and do you already fear playing them live?
If we play those tracks live, it will be quite a feat since they were recorded in segments with lots of arrangements. We aren't sure to play all the new material since we have to keep room for our older songs. It is still feasible to play those songs, maybe we will do play them, we don't know yet.

Speaking of which, this fall you will be going on an intensive north American tour with Holland's God Dethroned, among others. What do you expect from that tour?
It will be our first US tour and we are very happy to share the stage with them for this premiere. I also like Abigail William a lot, so I expect to have lots of fun with all those folks on that tour!

And are there already any plans in the pipeline to make it to Europe sometime soon?
If everything goes well, we'll surely tour your area sooner or latter. As of now there is nothing official but stay tuned, because we will soon supply you with further details as things unfold. And we are very eager to cross over there!

Well, I am sure looking forward when that day comes! Until then good luck with the album and the tour and see you around!
Thank you very much!

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