10 July 2015

The Armed - Untitled


God bless the world - we are back with cover roulette!!! As regular readers of this blog will know, every now and then I go out on a whim and pick an album to review based solely on the cover with no prior knowledge of the band.   The latest edition to this hall of great art work is the latest release from hardcore punk noise specialist The Armed, they hail from Detroit, Michigan and have been going since around 2006 (or 2009 - their Wikipedia page is really weird).  According to their Facebook, the band member is - I love that; that is a sort of thing that aims to make the music more important that the members of the act.  I also love this cover, it is a nod to David Bowie and his Aladdin Sane period, but the look of boredom on the man's face whilst he is smoking for the camera is compelling (and I'm not even a smoker).  Something about that picture just made me want to review this album, and now it is time to find out what sort of noise , , and make.....

The opening track "Future Drugs" starts the album with the sort of explosion I used to expect from At The Drive-In, Dillinger Escape Plan and Nailbomb; from the opening lines you are introduced to a punk/grindcore/hardcore/metal/noise song that is either going to make you run to the hills or embrace it like a long lost lover - if you run, you are foolish.  This song starts the album with the sort of in your face, nasty snarling piece that I was hoping for after a brief read about them; it is not a nice gentle number and it does want to fuck your environment up, so from the opening number I am pretty much sold.  Next track "Forever Scum" keeps up the onslaught and does not give an inch or any remorse to what damage it may be inflicting, it takes your breath away and then strangely towards the end it gets almost melodic in nature, it is the hardcore side of the band coming to the forefront and it is strangely contrasting to the beginning; once again, I am sold and my excitement level is reaching the same as when I listen to the Sleaford Mods.  Third track "Nervewrecker" is a swamp of noise with a frantic drumming keeping the lunacy in full swing as the band smash their way through your skill with all the subtlety of the point end of a knife - it is (like every song on here) a short, sharp shock to the system that is not designed to be here for long and it is in and out of the door without so much as a by or level.  Again - sold on the idea of this band!  Fourth track "Rhythm 0" has a strange beat going on, it seems to be all over the place or so it seems on the first listen; but when you start to focus on the rest of the instruments you can hear that they are out of time and place with each other as well; it really should not sound so tight and it almost loses itself every so often, but this is by design and it is pulled off by experts - hats off to the band here, they have made chaos sound like they own it!

The fifth number is called "Enemies Closer" and it feels as if this band are made from machines as no-one should be able to keep up this level of manic drumming, massive attacking guitars and hostile screaming; it is like being punched in the face for eternity and there is nothing you can do about but enjoy the experience - I am grinning like a village idiot at the sheer level of unrelenting noise coming out of this song, it is a moment much like when I first heard Napalm Death or Nailbomb - jaw dropping.  "Blessings" gives the audience a moments rest (in a given sense of the world) as the punk is the more dominant part of the song.  It is very much in the vain of bands like Comeback Kid and a version of Shelter that is fronted by the singer of Discharge, these are meant as compliments as this song is has a great grove towards the end which basically sounds like the band are trying to tunnel a way into your mind - once more, not trying to over sell it but I am totally sold here.  "Dead Actress" stops the album in its tracks in terms of speed and ferocity; it is a chill out, swirling being of beauty and sadness.  The song sounds sinister still, a trip-hop influence is on show and then the band explode into a crushing piece of noise and shouting that makes the hairs on my neck stand up on end again; even in their more relaxed moments, they still have to explode like a bomb in your brain - we are half way through the album at this point and there has not been one foot placed wrong.....  We are then introduced to "Polarizer" and it is all strong noises over a machine-esque drumming from (or is it ....) and subtle lulls that bring the audience into their crazy world and spit them out as devout followers.  "Ender" yet another sonic attack on the senses, coming from all angles and making little to no sense in places - but once it is all wrapped together (both the slow grind, together with the fast and furious noise) then you get a feeling that the band are not one to be easily pigeon holed (alright, you can say they are punks and metal, but there is more going on here).

"No Risk" is a call to arms for everyone within hearing distance, it is a another strong number on this album that smashing itself into the listener with no consideration to anything else apart from making sure that shit is about to get fucked up.  It is has a measure paced about it, it is still as mad as a bag of weasels after you add a badger to the mix, but it is still taking this album forward with no remorse and that is a talent for this type of music.  "Issachar" starts off which a messy mesh of strings being bashed, screaming and drumming until it unleashes another sonic attack onto the audience that makes that punk/groove/hardcore/grindcore combo sound more majestic with each passing second.  This is one of those songs that keeps getting back into your head for days afterwards and does not give an inch to you; it is once again a measure attack by the Armed and it is one that I would gladly listen to for many year to come.  "Paradise Day" just brings back the violence and it is another gem in a sea of jewels, once more it is something that keeps the violence at a very high level and a certain degree of integrity.  To be honest, it is another song on the album that is as good as any other on a given day, but it is the song on the album which is not as good as the others - but with that said, the song on this album which is last in line still shits on a lot of songs - I think this review has finally gone fan boy....ahem.   Anyway, whilst we head to the end we have two more track; the penultimate is called "Rage of Youth" and is still as impressive as the rest of the album; whilst we are only looking at an album which is just over forty minutes in length, it is a worthy feat to make one that is this intense and that does not lose the attention of the listener. "Rage of Youth" is one of the crowning moments of the album and to be honest with this album that is something hard to say as they are all of such a high quality.  Ending the album is "Dead Artist" which is a noise piece that matches "Dead Actress" in many ways, but with it being more noise and sonic bass (apart from the explosion at the end - well done, by the way  , , and ) it is something to end the album on an explosive and strange high.

I like surprises like this album - it makes the world such an interesting place.  It is a vicious piece of music that just saying it is a great punk album, a great grindcore album, a great mathcore album just seems to do it a disrespect; it is a great album and one that does not want to sit in one easy fit pod too easily; there is a fire in this band that is not easy to capture in words and is even less easy on the ears in places and this is where the band thrive.  I have stated on many occasions that when I was younger, I heard Napalm Death before I heard the Sex Pistols and it made punk seem weak sauce to me - the album I heard first was called 'From Enslavement To Obliteration' and this album is just as exciting to these ears.  It is a new fire to enrage the masses and one that needs to be heard; if this is not fighting with Sleaford Mods for my album of the year I will be surprised, the new kings are here..... All hail !

10 out of ten - This is proof there is a God

Top Track - Forever Scum

You can purchase the album from Amazon here

You can get the album from The Armed Bandcamp page - at the time of writing, it is free!

You can follow the activities of The Armed on Facebook here

You can stream the album on Spotify here

You can stream the album on Deezer here

You can stream the album on Tidal here

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