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Tokyo Blade anyone? - 80%

Pratl1971, August 24th, 2010

Armour hails from Finland, a country that has had Nightwish and gothic-tinged metal on the brain since the early Nineties, with some old-style traditional metal that seems to be making its reemergence in recent years. It’s a welcome change of pace from the black metal always talked about from that part of our globe.

“Rock ‘n’ Roll Tonite” is exactly what the title implies: a very hard rockin’ anthem that KISS or Loudness might have conjured up back when, but it’s not cringe-worthy or wearing; in fact, while formulaic, it has the charm and tone to carry it well for repeated listens. There is no genre revamp here; yet for me the sound of Armour lies somewhere between Motley Crue and some early Tokyo Blade. You can generously add Tooth and Nail-era Dokken to that mix for a pretty well-oiled effort that rocks pretty hard for the traditional sound I’m finding fun again. “Sex Demon” reminds me of something Canada’s Piledriver might have come up with back in the day: a heavy, power-chord shredding opus that doesn’t take itself too seriously and just gets your blood going.

For some ‘party-on’ hard rock Armour has a pretty good grip on the concept, issuing a forty-minute heavy party record worthy of inclusion in the coveted “to-hear” pile of your collection. “Satan’s Knights” is a complete throwback to the NWOBHM ala Tokyo Blade; it’s a fast-paced tank-through-the-living-room-wall track that really takes me back to the first time I heard Night of the Blade some twenty-five years ago. Vic Wright is certainly channeled in the music here, an obvious plus if you’re a Tokyo Blade fan. If you strain particularly hard you might hear some Tom Kieffer of Cinderella in the delivery as well. While I can easily hear these guys making the MTV rounds back in the Eighties at a time when Ratt and Dokken were still harder than what was to come, the commercial sound doesn’t ruin the music. To be honest, if we still had this type of music in the last part of that decade it would be much more viable and understandable as to why Bon Jovi can still sell out football stadiums today.

Before it became a watered-down mess the hard rock genre was a happy cousin to the straight-forward heavy metal we enjoyed. Then, seemingly overnight, it was infiltrated with New York Dolls wannabes with a three-chord repertoire that courted girls with high hairdos and AOR-friendly ballads. It seemed like a lost cause for our scene, yet here we are, some two decades on and Armour comes up and clears the air with its first full-length. It’s familiar but not contrived; when you hear “Hellfire” I challenge you not to think of Kill ‘em All in the verse riffs. If it doesn’t say “Metal Militia” then nothing does.

Take a chance and check out a solid effort by some heavy Fins.

(Originally written for