Review by Jordonna Lobese for MPM
In mid-2019 Armored Saint announced that it had begun writing their 8th studio album, Punching the Sky (Metal Blade Records), to be released in October 2020.
John Bush, lead vocals, has stated that quality over speed is more important when it comes to spitting albums out quickly.
And with past lineup changes, record label issues, and the death of lead guitarist, Dave Prichard, time hasn’t been on Armored Saint’s side, until now. John Bush has said that in some ways Dave Prichard is always with Armored Saint, and the band’s sound has more than likely changed on some level due to his untimely death.
The band has made a record in each of the past five decades and has progressed from old-school 1983 metal to 2020 metal.
The band members have played with other bands and artists over the years, and it is hard to not have some of these great bands rub off on Armored Saint members.
They have also broadened their sound with small changes that add up. This album is good from beginning to end. Some of the songs have to do with getting along with others even though we all have differences, being present, and being careful about those things that we wish we had.
There are 11 songs on this album, and some songs that deserve special mention: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, which has a traditional Irish intro, builds up to some classically blended John Bush and Joey Vera vocals.
Two guitars add dimension and Joey Vera’s bass is instrumental in this song, no pun intended. Drums (Gonzo Sandoval) are on point. Lyrically, a nicely written song.
A sweet piece. Catchy, energetic, and magical. Enter End of the Attention Span. This song has no ending. It’s crazed, quintessential Saint on acid. Set your alarm to this song, and you’ll get your ass up! The drum is scandalous! Guitars are atrocious! Simply superb!
Bubble. Another great intro where all smaller, more detailed sounds add up and explode into a smorgasbord of rattled rock n’ roll. Jeff Duncan and Phil Sandoval’s guitar fingerwork takes centerstage.
My Jurisdiction, soooo good! This is probably the one song that is a little different from all others fluid-wise, and is song #4 — smack dab in the middle of the album.
Nice to have that variation though. Missile to Gun, hands down, is the strongest single on the album. And lastly, Unfair, has an eerily familiar vocal range of Alice In Chains’ Layne Staley. It’s hauntingly reminiscent of the early 90’s.
To sum it up, awesome from beginning to end. No real gaps, and appeared to lyrically be fluid, to the point, and vocals have gotten better with age.
Instrumentals are spectacular on all accounts. Bass and drumline fell inline together to add a third layer of dimension. All in all, true Armored Saint. Did not disappoint!
Order at: https://www.metalblade.com/armoredsaint