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Armour - Armour - 85%

ThrashManiacAYD, March 2nd, 2010

I am aware that my review rate has dropped in the last 10 days or so since I secured a job at long last and for that fallacy you must excuse me (Rockfreaks.net does not pay the bills, sadly), but boy do I have a corker of an album to review to bring me back into the fold. The advantage of being employed and thus earning money is that it allows me to dream of summer festivals again, thoughts which gain magnitude when imagining how good Armour would be rocking n' rolling out their Mötley Crüe meets W.A.S.P. meets Accept heavy metal glory in the company of copious friends, beer and sunshine.

At the present time it appears that Armour do not seem to be booked to any festivals, which is a certifiable loss to every single one of them because with summer not too far round the corner (though seeing some signs of spring here in London would be nice) these Finns' self-titled debut is the perfect soundtrack to that environment. In the likely event that you did not know, Armour are essentially another project for the mysterious Vince 'Werewolf' Venom (not his real name, obviously) who can list about 15 hideously underground and Satanic true black metal bands to his résumé, giving Armour the feel that this is his chance to expose his passion for classic heavy metal and to have a good time in the process, an event unlikely in the camps of Satanic Warmaster, Blasphemous Evil and the rest we can safely assume.

Recent times have shown a number of bands do the old-style heavy metal thing again with varying results. Regular RF.net visitors should be aware of my lauding of RAM's "Lightbringer", and with good reason too, but "Armour" is such a wonderfully different listen in many ways, in turn showing the span of the 'heavy metal' genre. The song titles scream out a tongue-in-cheek Spinal Tap demeanour ("Sex Demon", "Rock'n'Roll Tonite" and "Heavy Metal Drinkers" anyone?) and aside from the "Kill 'Em All"-like speed metal of "Satan's Knights" this album is entirely made up of a number of songs so good they would hardly seem out of place on godly metal albums such as "Balls to the Wall" and "W.A.S.P.". Armour are not reinventing the wheel here, with songs built around the Vince Neil-like vocals of Mr. Venom, frequent choral backing from his bandmates and a collection of unadulterated balls to the wall riffs set atop the delayed and vast 80s-style production I love, and many of my fellow writers here hate. And so, with good reason you might ask, why the glorification? The simple answer to that is the consistency of song across the whole album mixed with the genuine conviction to everything associated with this release that separates Armour in my mind from bands like Hammerfall who, in their own heavily clichéd way, peddle the style of true/classic metal.

"Armour" features so many good songs I won't try and explain away my favourites, rather just simply stating they are "Rock'n'Roll Tonite", "Hellfire" and "Heavy Metal Drinkers", the three best on a great album. I am usually harsh on bands who fail to offer anything new to a genre, but with their debut album Armour have nailed the classic sound of Accept and W.A.S.P. to near perfection - the saving grace of any band with such a retrospective view to life. How they may move forward on future albums I don't know but for the time being, check out "Armour" and make it the soundtrack to this year’s summer.

Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net