Monday, July 30, 2007

Armored Saint-March of the saint

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What do you think of when someone mentions the LA metal or hard rock scene in the 1980's? You probably think of Motley Crue, Ratt, Poison and the like. Yet between about 1981 and 1985 there were a number of classic, speed and doom metal bands that emerged from LA as well. Metallica started out there before relocating and we all know that Slayer and Megadeth were from there. However the likes of Dark Angel, Laaz Rockit, Savage Grace, Abattoir, Agent Steel, Warrior, Hirax, Saint Vitus, Cirith Ungol and Armored Saint also came from LA in the early to mid-1980's. Armored Saint are a band who I have liked since I first heard them twenty-some years ago. "March of the saint" was their debut lp and it's largely mid-tempo classic style metal with strong vocals and a straight forward approach. Certainly nothing fancy or ground breaking, but it doesn't have to be. However unlike many of their peers they don't sound a whole like anyone who came before them so that's a plus. John Bush is probably one of the best metal vocalists to come out of our country. The guitars are fine and keep things going and I always thought the band had a better than average rhythm section. I don't pretend that this is their best effort though because I think each of their next three efforts would see the band's music becoming more complex and they would eventually peak with their 1991 masterpiece "Symbol of salvation". Unfortunately for Armored Saint I think Chrysalis records wasn't sure how to market them. I also think that this band may have emerged a few years too late. They were merely debuting about the time classic mid-tempo style metal was peaking. By the late 80's when Armored Saint were coming into their own style-wise, this brand of music had been somewhat replaced by speed metal on one end and hair metal of the opposite side of the spectrum. Still I guess they will just have to settle for being one of the best American metal bands of their time. Not a bad label to have in my opinion though.

***Remember this is Trans-American Metal Monday so pop over to rock of ages and read what Bill has to say on this album.

****Also thanks to Bill for doing this four week long project with me as it has been challenging and fun.


Blogger aXe mAn said...

Armored Saint kicks ass! I love them. "March Of The Saint" was a good album. But, "Symbol Of Salvation" is my favorite from them also. I love the song "Reign Of Fire"! Good review...nice job.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Ray Gillen, RIP said...

I agree. I love early Armored Saint. My favorite is probably Delirious Nomad, but they never released a disapointing album. Love the cover design as well.

8:42 PM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

It's such a shame that Armored Saint got lost in the shuffle when ever metal band in LA was getting signed. I guess it was hard to market a band that was actually heavy early on. I listened to this album recently and it was a little bit of a disappointment, because I think they took a big step forward with Delirious Nomad and I listen to that far more often. Nonetheless, March of the Saint is far better than what the lies of Ratt and Dokken and all were doing at the time.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

axe man-Symbol of salvation was a great one.

ray gllen-You are right about no weak albums. Everything is either good or great.

Bob-It's a little surprising that they got a major label so early on. Ultimately they may have had more control had they stayed with a big indie label like Metal Blade.

Kind of funny that this band ended when John Bush jumped ship for Anthrax. Funny because it was another big band that tried unsuccessfully to recruit their members earlier on. That was Metallica who in the early days tried to recruit both John Bush and bass player Joey Vera on multiple occasions. Some sources also say that after Cliff Burton's death that Metallica were at first very interested in Joey Vera then as well.

5:39 AM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Definitely one of their best albums. I think I still have my copy drawing of this cover somewhere.

10:03 PM  
Anonymous Pete said...

Great album, great band. this is the only album I have by them. I've been meaning to pick up a CD of "Delerious Nomad", I remember the song "Over The Edge".

I liked John Bush in Anthrax, but he was always Armored Saint's singer to me first!

6:31 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Ray-It's a good one

Pete-I agree about Bush. Joey Belladonna was always Anthrax's singer to me and Bush belonged in Armored Saint.

6:42 PM  
Blogger DPTH International said...

Nice review, Armored Saint was one of those bands that slipped by me. I'll think I'll have to check them out now.

9:44 AM  

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