Next review: » Armored Saint - Revelation
Released: 2000, Metal Blade
Armored Saint have re-united for a new album, their first in eight years. Plans for this album began in 1998 when vocalist John Bush was having some downtime from his other band Anthrax. The album was recorded last summer and was released on March the 7th. The main question I had about "Revelation" was, would this be something that would stand up to their previous material? After all, this is in essence the first CD without David Prichard who wrote a good deal of the band's last album "Symbol of Salvation" before his untimely passing. The answer to whether this can stand up to the earlier material is both yes and no. Some of the tracks on here are totally metal and worthy of the name Armored Saint. There are also a handful of tracks that lack any feeling or emotion and sound like they were used as filler.
The CD begins with one of the stronger tracks - "Pay Dirt." John Bush's vocals are like always distinctive and lie somewhere in that realm of heavy bluesy rough rock - arguably more suited to the likes of Armored Saint than any other band. The next couple of tracks are along the lines of the opening track with excellent lead playing, memorable vocal lines and classic metal riffing. Stand out tracks on the CD include "Creepy Feelings" with a creepy sounding harmonized guitar intro, "The Pillar" and "After Me, The Flood" with cool riffing comparable to a heavier version of some stuff from Metallica's black album. My personal favorite track on the CD is the classic sounding "What's Your Pleasure." I didn't even realize that this track was co-written by the departed David Prichard (former lead guitarist) until after I had heard it. It's clear his influence is sorely missed in the Saint and that he can never be replaced! The leads provided by Phil Sandoval and Jeff Duncan are however first-class. As mentioned above, there are a few filler tracks on this CD. The two big disappointments for me would be the repetitive "Damaged" and the flamingo sounding, entirely sung in Spanish, track "No Me Digas" - what they were thinking there is beyond me.
Although this is a good album, it is by no means a godly album. If you liked the Saint's last release "Symbol of Salvation" then you'll probably also like a lot of this, just don't expect the earth to shake when you listen to it. Perhaps if the band stays together they will be able to come up with some more inspiring tracks.
Released: 2000, Metal Blade
The Saint have returned!!! It seems like only yesterday that they released "Symbol of Salvation", a great CD that seemed to point to only bigger and better things from this perpetual underdog of a band. Armored Saint had made their mark at first on the L.A. metal scene with their energetic live show but then gained national and international attention with the release of the first full length CD "March of the Saint" in 1984 and its "hit" single and video, the fist pumping anthem "Can U Deliver". Saint toured with Judas Priest and Metallica and released three more discs, "Delirious Nomad" in 1985, "Raising Fear" in 1987 and "Saints Will Conquer" in 1988.
However they were dropped from their label Chrysalis because they could never reach the super star status that the label was hoping for. To make matters worse, original guitarist Dave Prichard was diagnosed with Leukemia and soon succumbed to the disease. After much soul searching the band finally carried on and released "Symbol of Salvation" in 1991. This CD generated two "hit" songs which garnered heavy airplay on music video stations. The band finished tours with Megadeth and Suicidal Tendencies and had just settled in to write for the new CD when John Bush got the call to fill the vacant vocal position in Anthrax. Armored Saint disbanded.
Well this is 2000 and "Revelation" is the follow up to "Symbol of Salvation". It doesn’t seem like nine years since we last heard recorded material from the band. "Revelation" picks up right where "SOS" left off with more of the same straight forward metal that we have come to expect from Armored Saint. The CD opens with the up tempo rocker "Pay Dirt" which is followed by "The Pillar". This track is a classic Armored Saint song with strong riff that carries the song. "After Me, Comes the Flood" is up next with its infectious rhythm and swirling vocal bridge. Short but sweet. "Tension" is the first song that doesn’t grab you right away. Its not a crunchy, riff laden tune like the first four. "Creepy Feelings" continues with the classic Saint sound. Other stand out tracks include "Den of Thieves", "What’s Your Pleasure" and the sombre "Upon My Departure". "What’s Your Pleasure" gives a writing credit to former guitarist Dave Prichard. This song also happens to sound the most like old Saint of anything on the disc.
I have to give Joey Vera credit for the production on this CD. It is very sharp without giving up any of the heaviness. There are a few weak songs that are only filler. "Damaged" doesn’t do anything but slow down the CD and "No Me Digas" would still be a filler regardless of the language in which it was sung. Armored Saint have created a traditional heavy metal CD without straying far from their sound. They don’t break any new ground and that's the problem. After "Symbol of Salvation" it seemed as if the time had come for the band. They had just released a very powerful CD and seemed to be on the verge of becoming one of metal’s elite acts. "Revelation", while being a good CD, just doesn’t have the same power that their earlier work possessed. I was hoping for a continuation from "SOS" but just got more of the same. Oh well I shouldn’t complain. Its still a good CD.