Sonntag, 9. Dezember 2012

ARMORED SAINT - "SYMBOL OF SALVATION" (U.S. American Heavy Metal from 1991; Re-Release CD-Version on "METAL BLADE RECORDS" from 2003)

("Metal Blade Records"; CD):
Quite a "big time" ago I reviewed a now a days pretty old "METAL BLADE RECORDS" label sampler compilation disc ( and on this comp disc there was also a great song titled "REIGN OF FIRE" by the mighty ARMORED SAINT to be found, a song that is in fact the opener song of the originally in 1991 done ARMORED SAINT full length album "SYMBOL OF SALVATION", and a song that back then blasted me away right from the start and that still is today a total anthem for me and so it was pretty clear that I really needed to finally grab the already mentioned "SYMBOL OF SALVATION" album one day and this very year some few months ago I finally did so and bought it, the re-release version of it from back then in 2003, and this all for the price of just 5,00 Euro bucks. And, okay, I think that maybe already a lot should know what this is all about here and now, it's about ARMORED SAINT, it's about damn fucking Heavy Metal from the United States of America, it's about true and real Metal, yes baby, that's it what's now coming for you, aimed at ya!!! And also yes, this is pretty much a through and through Old School affair, but that shouldn't make you wonder if you keep in mind that this is a album originally from 1991, so it should be very clear that especially by looking at it from today on it's a through and through Old School album, very sympathic and authentic, but anyhow it's also beside this 1991-to-2012 view on it surely a Old School Heavy Metal album and affair, even more sympathic and authentic, of course. So, okay, with this set straight, here we go on and ahead in this review, so onward we now march!!! Somehow I always got and still get the impression that ARMORED SAINT are very often some sort of overlooked by a lot of guys into Metal music. And this impression I also get by looking at my own record collection, where only two albums of them are to be found, this one here and their "RAISING FEAR" album on 12'' LP. Don't ask me why, why I only have two albums, and why they are so often pretty much overlooked, I can't tell it you. Maybe it's because their no fancy circus clichés approach that sets them apart from most of their current ''rivals'' in more or less classical Heavy Metal and maybe it's also their U.S. American Metal heritage and background that features no kindergarden poppy melodies, refuses too over the top eunuch style of singing and don't gives a damn about trendy cirmes bullshit dumb ass so called ''True'' Metal attitude'n'style'n'sound, instead of this it's mostly in strong stomping Mid to some Up Tempo coming, heavily by the strong guitar riffing work dominated, very heavy and crushin' rocking Bad Ass Heavy Metal from the States, the real shit, nothing for bullshit kiddies no matter of which day and age. And, about this album in particular, there's also a strong 1980's Heavy Metal and Hard Rock touch to be recognized, perhaps or pretty sure not at least because of the original release year of 1991 that was still pretty close to the 1980's and so it's all heavy, hard, sharp, no fancy poppy bullshit heavy Metal music that would have also been a great fitting movie soundtrack for some of the great Action Movies of this age like for example "THE WRATH" or "INTERCEPTOR" how it was named over here in good old Germany, it's all full of pure testosterone and definitely has a lot of guts. As well as also a great varying diversity is to be recognized, like the far ahead of its time "TRIBAL DANCE" with its tribalistic rhythms and arrangements and the somehow spoken styled sung lead vocals in the verses. Or the great slightly bluesy old school Rock & Roll styled lead riffing and the general arrangement of "THE TRUTH ALWAYS HURTS" or the cool somehow sort of classical guitar instrumental "HALF DRAWN BRIDGE" and the pretty proggy power ballad "ANOTHER DAY" with its sort of mixture out of latinamerican/hispanic and oriental lead (and solo) guitar arrangements. And also don't forget the pure grooving bomb that "HANGING JUDGE" is with it's singing lead guitars and it's perfect rocking rhythm background and the invokening lead vocals. Also the stomping title track, "SYMBOL OF SALVATION", with its suprising twists and turns is just a great moment of real Heavy Metal music and art, and the absolutely heavy hitter "WARZONE" commands you to bang your head and mosh hard, with its crushing mid paced rhythm and its stoic and mercyless heavy guitar work. Whoaaa, what a bomb!!! "BURNING QUESTIONS" then is great fast forward rocking Heavy Metal stomper with guitars that have the intensity of a roaring chainsaw and the voice of hypnotic intense singing, not to speak about the great strong and smart lead vocals, and all in all this is a pure fists up in the air song and definitely one of my personal favorites here. "TAINTED PAST" follows up with a great Country and Western music styled guitar intro going over and on in a limber grooving example of 1980's/early 1990's hymnal Hard Rock anthem with a strong Heavy Metal guitar work, again and again shortly nicely loosed up by the already mentioned Country and Western like guitar playing, thumbs up. Last one is "SPINELESS", a first class stoic rocking and banging classical Heavy Metal slasher with the right attitude, the right intensity, and the right approach. Nothing spectacular and the only not so good and strong song with a more average level of quality, but the great lead vocal arrangements make a lot up for good. And now I've talked about mostly all tracks but forgot totally my three personal absolute favorites, the this album opening trio of "REIGN OF FIRE", "DROPPING LIKE FLIES" and the almighty "LAST TRAIN HOME". Three total anthems of one of a kind, amazing, worth alone buying finally this very album here. "REIGN OF FIRE" with its intense heavy sawing yet very hymnal arranged melodic guitar work and its great tension building rhythm work and not to forget about one of my alltime favorite guitar solos ever, Metal in particular, as well as music in general. This is an awesome track, a strong up tempo paced headbanger track, and a great way to kick an album off. Only problem could be, that it really takes some time before you come to listen to the other tracks, after you have to listen to this track again and again for a whole while. But you should go on, not at least because it's the larger than life fist in the air rocking mid tempo headbanging hymn "DROPPING LIKE FLIES" with a outshining guitar work and brilliant done forceful lead vocals that's up next and that will force and command you to sing with it loud and to bang your head hard, a awesome song. Up next then is the larger than life dramatic and intense arranged very powerful even its at first sight/listen pretty ballad-styled composed, arranged and written "LAST TRAIN HOME" with its impressive heavy stomping bass and drum work, great out shining guitar playing and really a great charismatic and outstanding lead vocal output, not to forget about the great damn singing lead guitar playing. One fucking stand-alone atmospheric and intense ''goosepimples song'', truly larger than life. After this, the album continues with "TRIBAL DANCE", so read above to go through this album song by song. This is a amazing stand-alone U.S. American Heavy Metal album that is full of diverse varying and just damn great, forceful and shining guitar work, charismatic and strong lead vocals, a massive rhythm section, and just amazing songwriting and it's all really damn fucking skillful like not much else, and even it's original from 1991 this album is still today in 2012 fucking fresh, interesting, intense and grapping and so totally stands its ground. So, by any means, if you still don't have or even know (about) this very album and if you are at least anyhow a little bit into Heavy Metal especially of the U.S. American kind then make no further mistakes and just buy this masterpiece album finally for your own good, you would miss a lot if you don't do so. Expect also a bunch of cool lyrics that cover a wide distance of several different topics, a amazing artwork, and also a powerful, clean yet earthy production sound. The complete package by a still active far too often overlooked legendary and amazing band. If it wouldn't be for "SPINELESS" it would get the best rating grade, but also so it's a phenomenal strong album, period. It's just: Great!!! So by any means:  Buy it!!! (9 of 10 points)
(PS: Ah, and I totally forgot to mention that after this very one here is a re-release edition there's also some bonus stuff on it. In this particular case two video clips that can be played via Quicktime on both either PC or MAC, and it are the videos of or to "REIGN OF FIRE" and "LAST TRAIN HOME", some nice stuff, so check them out as well.)

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