ARMOUR BRINGS THE RIFFS, THE RAFFS, THE EVERYTHING
Armour is 80s metal, man. Get used to it right now, before you check them out. But FUCK if it isn’t AWESOME at the same time. The song titles, the solos, the cover art – EVERYTHING is there on the Finns’ self-titled album, and it’s all really, really AWESOME. Well… the lyrics are kind of stupid, but who needs lyrics when you’ve got riffs and fist-pumping anthems, anyway?
First things first: Font man Vince Venom sounds a lot like Cam Pipes of 3 Inches Of Blood – who may have beat them to the punch by a couple of years – but Amour’s more than paid their dues. With a brash band of burly dudes who have already traded their wares in black metal bands (Satanic Warmaster, Horna, Blasphemous Evil, about twelve others), Armour might be a means of more stripped down, back-to-the-basics metal, but goddamn if they couldn’t fit right next to Tank, Accept, or W.A.S.P. But it doesn’t feel like a throwback – it sounds earnest, and the songs are, ultimately, AWESOME. Have I used “awesome” yet?
At the end of the day, Armour seems more sincere than a plethora of throwback bands playing metal the way metal was played in its heyday, and that’s the reassuring and redeeming thing about this band. It’s not simply solos and imagery with Armour… they’ve got the songs, and songs are the final indicator of a quality band, right? When the band is singing on ”Satan’s Knights” or “The Time Is Right,” it’s more of a well-constructed musical moment, rife with solos, riffs, and singing, than the retreading of the past that so many bands littering the metal landscape nowadays are doing. And if these cats aren’t behind it 100%, then call me clueless, because at the end of the day, it seems like they care about construction, performance, and the almighty riff.
Ultimately, Armour should remind people why they like metal in the first place. While nobody’s going to win a spot as a Nobel Laureate with songs like “Sex Demon,” “Rock’n’Roll Tonite,” or “Heavy Metal Drinkers,” thank God, Satan, Buddha, Jesus, or whomever: metal’s meaning is in the music, not tongue-in-cheekery, and damned if we don’t like it that way. Listeners beware: whiplash may ensue, but it’s all in the name of metal with Armour.
(four and a half out of five horns)