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ShadowSouled, June 24th, 2010

Let me make one thing clear: I don’t usually review “new” or unknown traditional heavy metal bands, the reason being that the recommendations I get are usually from people who have the same kind of specified addiction to the genre as I do for black or death metal. This means that the music tends to be appreciated to its fullest only by said demographic, of which I am not part and therefore cannot give a full or accurate review. However, once in a while, there’s an album that just strikes a chord with me, such as Armour’s self-titled.

This is Armour’s first full-length after a number of demos, splits, EPs and compilations; in short, high time. It consists of ten tracks, clocking in at nearly forty minutes, every one of which is pure old-school heavy metal at its best, when the genre’s inner flame was still burning bright. The riffs are as energy-charged as any of the greats of the early 80s, with soaring, soul-searing solos liberally plastered in every song (on average, at least two per song). The bass is somewhat linear compared to the leads, and while it doesn’t detract from the sound, it doesn’t add much either. The drumming is competent, traditional heavy metal fare, occasionally dabbling into speed metal; not much to say about them beyond that. The vocals delivered by Vince Venom are most comparable to (at least to my ears) Accept’s Udo Dirkschneider; they have the same high-pitched, snarling quality, but remain somewhat more musical than aforementioned example. The backing vocals tend to be “cleaner”, which complements the harshness of the lead vocals surprisingly well. The lyrics consist of your usual trad metal themes, although somewhat more “satanic” than what was usual in the 80s. The production is close to crystal clear, although on occasion one loses track of the bass guitar on occasion.

Again, traditional heavy metal is not my forte; however, even I can say that this album just about sums up the pinnacle of 80s worship, done with class. It bundles up all the restless energy of that era and shoves it straight into your face in a way that would make the old masters proud. The fact that bands can still put out quality heavy metal albums like this one even after three decades of evolution proves that metal is not, in fact, dead. Highly recommended.

-Originally written for Fueled Magazine