AUG is a hard rock/heavy metal band out of New Jersey looking to fill the void left behind by the likes of Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath. They have just released their second album “Be Careful What You Wish For,” a straight up rock cd like you would have heard in the ‘80s that would please rock fans and metal fans alike.
Led by Anthony “Aug” Agostine, together with Tommy Shauger on lead guitar, Rich Tanis on bass and Russ Latamer on drums, AUG is comprised of veteran rockers who have been playing the NY/NJ area for years. In 2011, their debut album “20 Years In Hell” was met with favorable reviews, and they went on to be the host band for the VH1 “That Metal Show” Christmas Party in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
AUG has played with such acts as Dokken, Blue Oyster Cult, L.A. Guns, and many others. They refer to their first album as a “basement project,” but this time around the band got serious and recorded at the renowned House of Loud in Elmwood Park, NJ. (Other artists who have recorded there include Paramore, Breaking Benjamin and Papa Roach.)
The title track on the album, “Be Careful What You Wish For,” is nonstop, has lots of driving guitar riffs, and the vocals sound eerily like Ozzy here. The lyrics are a bit confusing (“Be careful what you wish for / It might change your world, but it might change your life.” What?). If you don’t think about it too much though, it becomes easy and enjoyable.
Other tracks like “Little Green Fairy” and “The Devils Rejects” round out a solid first half of the album. “Light of Day” is a more of a melodic, heartfelt track with a featuring great guitar and drum solos. These guys know what kind of music they like to play and they certainly know how to play it. Although they haven’t seemed to break out of the New Jersey music scene, it’s not for lack of knowledge or talent.
The second half of the album, while still decent, doesn’t seem quite as substantial. The lyrics on “Coming Home” seem a bit behind the beat but not much. Just a hair, barely enough to be noticeable, and yet, it was noticed. Then there’s “All I Can Be,” which is repetitive and with the expected driving rock beat.
The guilty pleasure on this release is their surprising cover of Toto’s “Africa.” Hardcore metals fans may think it a displaced selection, and it is, but in a good way. It sounds nothing like the original but is instantly recognizable, the way a great cover should be.
The band is looking forward to being busy for the rest of the year, touring around the U.S. in support of the album. They also have some tour dates planned for the U.K. this fall.
For more information, check out AUG's official website, or follow them on social media.