I love reviewing bands that are completely unknown to me. Like Armortura‘s Armortura album. Sometimes I find some real treasures and other times some real stinkers that should never have got off the starting line. This is thankfully the former but it has it’s downsides in parts also… read on.
“Zodiac” – It all starts off heavy…. so that’s a good thing. It’s very 80’s thrash reminiscent of bands like Exodus, Annihilator et al. The vocals remind me a bit of Randy Rampage the vocalist who sang on Annihilator‘s debut Alice in Hell. There’s some nice guitar work on this one and it’s all about speed. Lots of intricate parts thrown in here and there and a cranking solo. The breakdown comes in and then we’re off again.
“Insidious” – Starts off with a nice lead riff that sounds a little Egyptian. When the song comes in proper the double kick is pummelling and there’s a cool little riff that underlies it droning away like a piece of machinery. As we rev away towards the chorus there are a lot of little guitar pieces thrown in here and there to show off their wares. Again the Egyptian themed guitar comes in around midway just before the tapped out solo rips and shreds your face off. This again could easily be an Exodus, Xentrix or any early 80’s thrash band.
“Hellbound” – Has a raging bass line that’s all over the place from the off waiting for the drums to catch up. The only problem I’m seeing up to the third song is the vocals don’t really have any dynamics meaning it’s all performed in the same tone never going up or down a key. As always the music is powerful and fast. There are definitely a few guitar wiz’s on this slab of wax. Again some nice guitar work when it comes to the solo but overall it’s starting to all sound a bit the same.
“Cursed” – Kicks off with a good solid, powerful riff that really rolls off the eardrums. There’s a slight change in the tone of the vocals on this one and it’s all the more improved for it. It almost reminds me of Bruce Dickinson which leads me to wonder why didn’t they just do this from the beginning. To my ears with this addition, the song quality has gone up a few levels. This is the first song on the album that’s really pricked my ears up. And it’s not just the voice, it’s that little riff that’s played over the chorus. That tone is just sweet to the ears. Again a wow solo is all over this as it plays over the aforementioned tone.
“Shadow Underworld” – As the song began I thought it sounded a bit like Slayer‘s “South of Heaven”, but there’s nothing wrong with a bit of thievery. Again the vocals sound great on this track. I’m really liking the guitar work as it kicks off and the soloing is immense as it plays out the beginning of the track. As the riff comes in proper there’s a good fist-pumping feeling as the riff chugs along. Again that Bruce Dickinson tone is there and hopefully here to stay.
“Flight 19” – Starts off with a nice flowing twin guitar intro. Again once the intro is over that biting little headbanger of a riff comes into the mix. The vocals have made the second half of this album so much better than the first. This song rocks out as it gets midway and now I’m thinking this is the best track on the album. There’s so much going on here but it all fits.
“11th hour” – Again loving the twin guitar intro and as the double kick comes in there are some nice bits of widdly guitar thrown in. And you can hear the bass going hell bent for leather in the background. The breakdown fits so well on this track. It takes on a whole new life as it roars to life with an earth-shattering solo.
“Wanted Dead or Alive” – Thankfully this is not a cover of the Bon Jovi favorite. No, it’s a much harder, faster, thrashing riff along. Love the solo on this. The riffing in the background sounds a little like Arch Enemy or Carcass and adds a lot of flavor. Midway through the track a cracking guitar solo comes in and the underlying riff makes it sound so much fuller and then it turns into a twin guitar solo and it’s flowing.
“The Keep” – I love the beginning of this song. It reminds me of an orchestra. The riff that plays along with the vocals during the verse is perfect and follows along nicely. There’s some crunching guitar work on this one with lots of intricacies thrown in for good measure. But it’s that underlying riff that really caught my ear. The vocals are the best I’ve heard on this one and really add to the mix of what’s going on here.
“Requiem for the Damned” – Starts off acoustic but then blasts into a wailing solo which sounds like ear candy to me. There’s a stop-start riff throughout this one which is nice for a change as it’s all been pummelling up to now. The bass is thundering along in the mix and fits so well. This is a well-constructed song and I’ve enjoyed every second of it, this shows how much talent these guys have when they feel like using it to it’s full.
My Thoughts On ARMORTURA’s Armortura
Final thoughts on the album as a whole. Well, when the first three songs had passed I thought here’s another 80’s style thrash band playing a style of music that is never really going to come back. You can say it never went away with bands like Megadeth, Metallica etc but I’m talking about the style of thrash that never really got going as in the bands that fell out of the big four and disappeared.
Then came that ray of light when the vocals changed and brought a whole new dimension to their sound. I’m not saying the first three tracks were bad because these boys can really play but if they had put them nearer the end of the album rather than at the start it could change the perception of a whole lot of people on first listen. To be honest three tracks in I was ready to turn this off but I’m glad I stayed for the long run.