2 May 2018

The Armed - Only Love

If you've ever read this blog before, you should already be acquainted with Detroit mavericks The Armed/⋈.  If not, you can check out our previous reviews here.  It's been three years since Untitled and two since their live record Unanticipated.  I've been waiting with impatient anticipation for Only Love to be released, I need a dose of chaos every now and then.  The first rumbling of this record started in February, ⋈ started to post accord Facebook and Instagram that music was coming,   Dropping "Witness" with Ben Koller from Converge February 15th, ⋈ unleashed a wave of noise that has been on repeat for a lot of the year.  Then, there was the video for "Role Models" featuring Tommy Wiseau, which was released via Adult Swim.  That was a ballsy move and a show of intent.  ⋈ has set themselves up for one of my most anticipated releases of 2018, so how has it turned out?

Only Love can best be described as anger incarnate.  ⋈ have not softened their style one iota for this release, if anything, they have sharpened their claws and are primed to attack. From "Witness" to "On Jupiter", there is no relenting, it's attack, attack, attack!  Due to this all out onslaught, this album will have weaker mortals running for cover.  Only Love is also not just a noisy album for noise's sake.  There is a focus to this madness, a strange understanding to the guitars and a fuck load of attitude in the mix. The way "Parody Warning" starts with a cough and then erupts into that wonderous noise is fantastic, the same can be said for "Heavily Lined" as it comes from left field and smashes your brain to a bloody pulp.  "On Jupiter" is my favourite song of Only Love,  ⋈ have outdone themselves here with a mixture of noise, sinister slow passages and an all-out feedback attack on the audio senses.

Whilst I am in awe of the performances from ⋈ on Only Love, it is not an easy album by any means.  If you're new to their world, expect a violent hurricane of sound to erupt from your speakers.  If you're familiar with them, it's a little more unhinged than before.  Whilst I might never get the instant shock of "Forever Scum" ever again,  I can appreciate what ⋈ have done here. Each of these tracks is still a fantastic piece of art/violence.  Only Love is a brilliant record, one that will help the legend of ⋈ grow further.  It has been said that there is nothing new to come from Hardcore, that punk has plateaued. There are some who say that nothing else of interest will appear from the genre ever again.  ⋈ would like to challenge that train of thought, to give that concept a good old kick in the bollocks and to destroy your preconception of noise.  Hardcore is dead, long live ⋈!

9 out of ten - Almost perfect, almost.....

Top track - On Jupiter

You can purchase Only Love from The Armed Bandcamp page here.
You can follow the activities of The Armed on Facebook here.

You can stream Only Love on Spotify here.

You can stream Only Love on Deezer here.

You can stream Only Love on Tidal here.

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