ARMORY

Power Metal • United States
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Armory is a metal band that hails from Townsend, Massachusetts USA and was formed in the summer of 2001 by Chad Fisher and Joe Kurland. Heavily influenced by European power metal along with 80’s traditional metal, the band wanted to develop a sound taking advantage of both styles. In an effort to be even more original, they also wanted to incorporate sounds from other genres, such as thrash and progressive metal. After several months of intense writing together, the music for 10 original songs emerged, and thus Armory’s first album was basically written. While the drums were recorded by Joe and the guitars by Chad and Joe, certain key elements of the band were missing. The incredible voice of Adam Kurland (Joe's brother) was called upon to deliver the needed power, emotion, and tone. Thomas Preziosi also joined the ranks on bass, offering a classic Steve Harris-influenced style. Ironically, all read more...
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Empyrean RealmsEmpyrean Realms
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Dawn of Enlightenment by Armory (2007-12-28)Dawn of Enlightenment by Armory (2007-12-28)
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ARMORY The Dawn of Enlightenment album cover 3.82 | 7 ratings
The Dawn of Enlightenment
Power Metal 2007
ARMORY Empyrean Realms album cover 4.68 | 6 ratings
Empyrean Realms
Power Metal 2013

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ARMORY The Dawn of Enlightenment album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Dawn of Enlightenment
Power Metal 2004

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ARMORY Reviews

ARMORY The Dawn of Enlightenment

Album · 2007 · Power Metal
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UMUR
"The Dawn of Enlightenment" is the debut full-length studio album by US, Massachussets based power metal act Armory. The album was independently released in December 2007. It´s a complete re-recording of the "The Dawn of Enlightenment" demo from 2004. A demo which was originally released as the band´s debut album, but was "downgraded" to demo status, after this version came out.

Stylistially the music on the album is Euro styled power metal. It´s neo-classical oriented, usually fast-paced, energetic, and uplifting in mood. In other words...classic Euro styled power metal. Armory are skilled composers though and they bring enough compositional variation to the table, to not sound one-dimensional or too generic. The first five tracks on the 10 track, 64:02 minutes long album, provide a good overview of what the band have to offer. The intro track "The Tempest" is an epic atmospheric opening to the album, and in traditional Euro power metal style it is succeeded by a fast-paced and energetic track in "Faith in Steel". "Riding the Cosmic Winds" shows the band playing more mid-tempo (although still relatively fast), while "Forever Triumphant" is a majestic power ballad type track featuring an anthemic chorus with a grand choir. "Heart of Dreams" introduces galloping Iron Maiden type riffs and rhythms. The 13:47 minutes long title track is slightly progressive in style, but the overall style of that track is Euro power metal too.

So the material is relatively varied and it´s delivered by highly skilled musicians. "The Dawn of Enlightenment" also features a very well sounding production, which suits the music perfectly, so upon conclusion it´s a high quality release by Armory. It´s not exactly an original sounding release, but when the music is delivered with as much conviction as here, and when the songwriting and production work are as professional and clever as it is on "The Dawn of Enlightenment", you just can´t deny quality although originality is usually a high ranking rating parameter. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

ARMORY Empyrean Realms

Album · 2013 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Empyrean Realms" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US power metal act Armory. The album was released through Metavania Music in November 2013. Armory was formed in 2001 and released their debut full-length studio album "The Dawn of Enlightenment" in 2004. The band weren´t satisfied with the result though and the album didn´t sell very well and didn´t receive much promotion either. As a result of their dissatisfaction with the recorded material, they opted to re-record the full album and release it again in 2007, which turned out to the a good idea, as the re-recorded version of the debut album put Armory firmly on the power metal map.

The lineup who recorded "The Dawn of Enlightenment" remains the same on "Empyrean Realms". That means that Joe Kurland again handles both one of the guitars and the drums. You won´t notice this though as he is as good a drummer as he is a guitarist. The rest of the band are very well playing too.

The music style is Euro power metal with strong ties to traditional heavy metal. It´s the keyboard heavy Euro power metal style that´s in the high seat here though. Anthemic driving rythms, neo-classical influences, loads of keyboard runs, melodic guitar themes and epic sing along choruses delivered by a singer who can hit the high notes with ease. As such not a new thing in the world of metal at large or power metal in particular, but Armory do what they do in a very convincing manner. The way they incorporate traditional heavy metal riffing also means that there are slightly more grit to their music than what your average whimsical Euro power metal act usually produce.

The material are generally very well written and while all tracks are more or less vers/chorus structured, the band take enough excursions outside that formula, to keep things entertaining and fresh throughout. "Empyrean Realms" features a powerful sound production which suits the music well. Initially I found the drums a bit thin sounding, but as a consequence of how they are produced, the music adopts an 80s heavy metal vibe, that´s quite charming. A lot of things actually come together nicely on "Empyrean Realms". I could maybe have wished for more faster tracks, but other than that this is through and through an entertaining high quality release and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

ARMORY Empyrean Realms

Album · 2013 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
adg211288
Empyrean Realms (2013) is the second full-length album by US power metal act Armory (although they actually belong to the so called European branch of the genre). It's been several years since Armory made their debut with The Dawn of Enlightenment (2007) and I gather that Empyrean Realms is one of those albums that has been in the works, and delayed, for quite some time before its eventual release towards the end of 2013. I didn't get to hear Armory's debut yet however, but I can certainly hear through Empyrean Realms how it must have been worth the wait for those listening to Armory for years (The Dawn of Enlightenment seems to be very highly regarded in certain power metal circles), as Armory have produced something special here in their second album.

Armory's brand of melodic power metal may initially seem to be a textbook example with little originality; fast, melodic, often prominent keyboards (although they don't really step into full symphonic territory) and epic clean vocals. Even if that summed up Empyrean Realms, this would still be a highly worthwhile release, because it's instantly made clear with opener Eternal Mind that Armory are a bunch of guys who have studied the book of power metal at length and come top in their class. What makes Empyrean Realms special is that the start of this paragraph doesn't accurately describe what Armory sound like; their sound is further characterised by often overt progressive elements, particularly in their instrumental sections, as well as a good old classic heavy metal vibe.

This is especially good for a power metal album, because it is also one of those seemingly rare cases where the band doesn't feel the need to throw a ballad in. Armory aren't a power metal band who are all about speed, speed and a bit more speed, but they are always metal and that makes a defining difference. Too many excellent power metal albums have had their flow disrupted part way through because of a pointless ballad. The ironic thing is given their obvious talent Armory are probably the one in ten power metal band who could do a ballad the right way, but all the same I'm glad they didn't on Empyrean Realms, since this album is near enough the perfect power metal release at it is.

Aside from the highly skilled composition, instrumental and production work I'm greatly impressed by the band's lead singer Adam Kurland. It's very possible that Armory have the quintessential male voice for melodic power metal in this guy. His tone is pure with absolutely none of the rough edge heard from the singer's of acts such as Grave Digger or Iced Earth, but neither is he as high pitched as those heard in acts such as Heavenly or early Helloween. In fact although his tone is a bit different he reminds me of Bruce Dickinson more than anyone, the soaring notes, the power; the two are definitely in the same league.

Empyrean Realms is a rare kind of album, as few albums impress me as much as it did based on first impressions alone. Most releases that earn a top tier rating from me tend to require several listens to digest and open up to me, before earning such a regard. Others might make that excellent first impression and then fail to hang onto it after the initial wow factor has worn off. Empyrean Realms doesn't belong in either of these categories. It makes that excellent first impression and further listens set it in stone. I don't think I really need to say it at this point, but I will anyway just to round this review off, Empyrean Realms is a true gem of the power metal genre, right up there with classics such as Helloween's Keeper of the Seven Keys Parts 1 and 2 or Blind Guardian's Imaginations from the Other Side and a top tier, five star range rating, is easily deserved.

99/100

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/armory-empyrean-realms-t3296.html)

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