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Armored Saint North - 85%

Dunstan, March 25th, 2016
Written based on this version: 1998, CD, Old Metal Records

The title of this review is a supreme compliment. Griffin plays a classy and serious brand of traditional metal that one can’t help but respect. The bands share a similar sound and songwriting style. The Saint comparison is most obvious on Heavy Metal Attack and Creeper, which happen to be the strongest songs on the album. The former anthem has a great chorus that may cause you to frighten the unaware while you wait at a stoplight.

William McKay’s vocals are similar in phasing to John Bush but his voice has a sharper edge. The rhythm section is solid and lays a good foundation for the guitars, which are not flashy but serve the songs well. This band is clearly not a vehicle for a particular member, but a band unit whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Traditional metal is best when it comes across as epic, but not overlong. Griffin practice that art quite well. The sound of the album is heavy in the low and midrange, but just like with the vocals, the guitars also have a slightly sharper edge than their counterparts in Saint. I would not put them on quite the same level as Armored Saint because their melodies and riffs are not as memorable. Griffin's music is very satisfying to listen to, but won't haunt the listener after the first listen in the same way that a song like March of the Saint does, with the exception of Heavy Metal Attack. Lyrically, the album could be called fantasy-themed, but in a personal way. Emotions like fear and pride are central themes.

The difficulty of finding this CD for a reasonable price may contribute to the legend of Griffin, but they are not over-hyped in any way. This CD will be put in this reviewer’s regular rotation. A diligent and patient metal fan can find it without breaking the bank, as some become available from time to time. It’s worth the wait.