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The Armored Saint in recent years has always maintained a fickleness in their releases, much is due to John Bush entered Anthrax and also Joey Vera work on Fates Warning. But since Bush leaves Anthrax , the band decided to leave the coma and return to activities.
So much has been speculated about a new album, since the last release was "La Raza" (2010). A great expectation was created, and, for sure, certain doubts about what kind of work the band could present.
Well, 2015 came and Armored Saint brings to life "Win Hands Down" and what could be just an average album to generate tours, exceeded the expectations and actually showing the full force of Armored, for surely "Win Hands Down" just is not better than the absolute classic "Symbol of Salvation" (91).
The band returns with much of their characteristic sound, and showing a reinvigorated band, with strong compositions, and each musician presenting a great performance. The production done by the bassist Joey Vera was great, which contributed to sound of the band, using more modern sounds, but without compromising the band’s personality.
Musically speaking we have crashing guitar riffs and great solos by Jeff and Phil; Joey is showing one more time he is one of the best bass players in the world, accompanied by a correct drum work and without frills, Gonzo’s courtesy , and with John Bush shining, singing with the guts!!
The openning act, the title track "Win Hands Down" shows that the time just did very well to Armored, perfect vocal melodies as well as the characteristic riffs and of course very well embedded soils, a sticky and striking composition.
"Mess" and "An Exercise In Debauchery" comes in the same vibe, especially the guitars and the beautiful choruses that make you go out humming already at first listen.
In "Muscle Memory" we have a more melancholy and experimental side, that falls nicely on album’s progress, and Bush show why he is one of the best singers of Heavy Metal ever.
But surely one of the highest points of the album is the track "With a Full Head of Steam" and all its energetic power, which slowly begins to blow in a captivating progress, and Joey teaching how is to play with class on your instrument, and we also have the beautiful duet between Bush and Pearl Aday (daughter of Meat Loaf and wife of Scott Ian).
In "In an Instant" we have a semi-ballad with a guitar beginning and very beautiful voice, but soon enter the distortion and the song becomes more aggressive, but then the calm returns, and the track follows this way until its end, a different composition, but extremely catchy, featuring beautiful melodies on guitars.
"Up Yours" closes the album, with more modern elements, with great guitars and Bush stand out vocals. Certainly a great song to end the band's concerts.
Indeed, Armored Saint positively surprised everyonereleasing one of the best Metal albums of 2015.
Now, we hope the band have a big world tour, and come to Brazil!
Review by: Renato Sanson
English Version: Caco Garcia
John Bush (Vocal)
Joey Vera (Bass)
Gonzo Sandoval (Drums)
Phil Sandoval (Guitar)
Jeff Duncan (Guitar)
01 Win Hands Down
03 An Exercise In Debauchery
04 Muscle Memory
05 That Was Then, Way Back When
06 With a Full Head of Steam
07 In an Instant