ARMAGEDDON
Proto-Metal • United Kingdom

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Armageddon was a hard rock band formed in 1974 - their self-titled debut, Armageddon, was recorded in England and released in the United States on A&M Records.

Not to be confused with Armageddon, the Krautrock band who formed and released an album in 1970, the French Black Metal band.

The albums' original liner notes use the term "supergroup", as their personnel were drummer Bobby Caldwell (previously a member of Captain Beyond), singer Keith Relf (who had fronted the enormously influential Yardbirds as well as having been a co-founder of Renaissance), guitarist Martin Pugh (from Steamhammer), and bassist Louis Cennamo (also formerly of Renaissance and Steamhammer).

Keith Relf had helped on the final Steamhammer LP, "Speech," in 1972. That band's dissolution came soon after the album release following the death of drummer Michael Bradley. The remaining Steamhammer alumni Pugh and Cennamo shared a flat and were asked by Keith Relf to move to
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.. Album Cover 3.69 | 7 ratings
Armageddon
Proto-Metal 1975

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ARMAGEDDON Armageddon

Album · 1975 · Proto-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Armageddon" is the debut and sole full-length studio album by British/American hard rock act Armageddon. The album was released through A&M Records in May 1975. Armageddon were a kind of supergroup which consisted of Keith Relf on lead vocals, Harp and Harmonica (Yardbirds, Renaissance), Martin Pugh on electric and acoustic guitars (Steamhammer), Bobby Caldwell on drums, vocals, piano and percussion (Captain Beyond, Johnny Winter) and Louis Cennamo on Bass ( Renaissance, Steamhammer). Armageddon were brought to A&M records attention by Peter Frampton who was impressed by the band´s music. Armageddon´s career were very shortlived though as Keith Relf´s bad health and the drug abuse among some members of the group made it impossible for them to tour in support of the album (they actually only performed two shows in their lifetime) and even though the album was generally well received by fans and critics alike, Armageddon disbanded shortly after it´s release. Keith Relf returned to England and began a reunitement project of the original Renaissance called Illusion. He sadly died after being electrocuted while playing guitar in his basement/recording studio (and not in the bathtub as many sources claim). The guitar was not properly earthed. He died before recording any material for his new group (with the exception of "All the Falling Angels" which is featured on "Enchanted Carees (1990)" by Illusion. The other members of Armageddon went on to other projects.

The music on "Armageddon" is guitar driven hard rock. The tracks are generally pretty long which provides guitarist Martin Pugh a lot of room to show off his skills. The rhythm section is pretty fantastic too and I have to give a special mention to former Captain Beyond drummer Bobby Caldwell. His performance on this album is outstanding. The music style from the debut album by Captain Beyond comes to mind a couple of times during the playing time of "Armageddon". Don´t expect this to sound like Captain Beyond though as it´s just elements in the music I find that are similar. I don´t find the music on "Armageddon" to be as accomplished as the music on "Captain Beyond (1972)" either. This is mostly due to the vocal lines/melodies and the vocal delivery by Keith Relf which I honestly find a bit weak. The rest of the music is great even though some parts drag on a bit too long (the riff in "Silver Tightrope" just seems to go on and on and on).

The sound production is professional, organic, and suits the music well and all in all "Armageddon" is a solid guitar driven hard rock album with a lot of positive qualities. The vocals do drag my rating down a bit though and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is warranted.

ARMAGEDDON Armageddon

Album · 1975 · Proto-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
cannon
The ground work for Armageddon's s/t debut from 1975 was already somewhat laid out with Steamhammer's Speech(1972) as the band was left as a power trio with Martin Pugh on guitar, Louis Cennamo on bass and the late, great Mickey Bradley on drums from the Mk.II Steamhammer. Steamhammer's first three albums were in the vein of progressive blues rock but Speech took took a 90 degree turn just before hitting the sun's photosphere melting experimental/hard rock/prog into exploring the new frontiers of far away galaxies. This is where Cennamo introduced the bow to the bass. This album seems to have found a black hole and is basically lost in the proto-metal realm.

Forming from a sun's solar storm a few later Armageddon's s/t debut(1975) is casted in plasma with turbulent and dynamic forces. Joining from the interplanetary magnetic field Keith Relf(Yardbirds, Renaisance) and drummer Bobby Caldwell(Johnny Winter, Captain Beyond) find Martin Pugh and Louis Cennamo from another solar cycle.

Pugh's guitar work is radiant with scorching chords, riveting riffs and manic solos to floating acoustic passages. Keith Relf's vocals never sounded better but it is his harmonica interludes with Pugh's guitar that are stellar and even taking it solo to take some of wieght off Pugh's shoulders.

Matching Pugh at warp speed is drummer Bobby Caldwell. Caldwell takes it to another light speed from his fantastic show on Captain Beyond's s/t debut and on par with Mickey Bradley's technical drumming.

The album opens up with a proto-metal classic "Buzzard", ripping flesh from bone to the soaring "Silver Tightrope", a break from the relentess onslaught but comes back with Pugh's "Paths and Planes and Future Gains", reminescent more of Steamhammer blues formula. Relf's harmonica duelling with Pugh's guitar is smashing in the "Last Stand Before". The epic four part suite "Basking In The White Of The Midnight Sun" puts in motion all the interstellar sub-genres related to proto-metal in a celestial sphere.

Armageddon was one of the few pieces of vinyl from the proto-metal sub-genre that did stay in print for a relative period of time and was easy to acquire even after it was deleted by A&M. After acquiring the Black Sabbath catalogue 25+ years ago Armageddon was the next LP I had picked up and shortly after Steamhammer's Speech which was available as a German import on the Brain label which opened the flood gates to my relentless pursuit of these obsure/rare albums of proto-metal/heavy psych/hard rock artists.

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