ARMORED SAINT — Punching the Sky (review)

ARMORED SAINT — Punching the Sky album cover Album · 2020 · Heavy Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Armored Saint and me go back a long way. The first album I bought by them was their second, Delirious Nomad when it was released in 1985. On the face of it they should have had a lot more success than they did and I’m not quite sure why they didn’t, as from day one the band have been releasing quality heavy metal. In a career that has seen them split up and reform a few times, their latest run from 2006, Punching The Sky is their eighth studio album. Despite the quality of earlier releases I felt the band reached a career high on 2015’s Win Hands Down, a perfect example of traditional heavy metal with barely a weak moment.

The good news is if you enjoyed Win Hands Down you’re going to also love Punching The Sky. It’s another strong collection of heavy metal full of great songs, melodic but heavy and packed with great riffs and memorable well thought out guitar solos. The bands not so secret weapon has always been the incomparable vocals of John Bush who of course spent time with Anthrax. He’s on fine form as expected here with the right balance of raw power and the ability to carry a tune which he always does magnificently. Of course any fan of Armored Saint knows that the rest of band are fine players and they all put in strong performances here. Like last time around the album is strong as a whole but favourites include the up-tempo End Of The Attention Span and then there’s Lone Wolf which wins the award for catchiest chorus. Then there’s the chugging palm muted riffing of Do Wrong To None alternating between a steady groove and a more up-tempo chorus. In fact the songs on the whole maintain the listeners’ interest with plenty of dynamics, well placed accents and tempo changes, no better demonstrated than on Fly in The Ointment.

Armored Saint have done it again and released an album of classy heavy metal to equal anyone in their field. As a whole it may not quite equal Win Hands Down but that’s more to do with the high bar they set themselves last time than any defects here. It’s not far off though and if they continue to release albums of this quality I’ll be more than happy.
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