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Armour - "Armour" (CD)

Armour - "Armour" CD cover image

"Armour" track listing:

1. Rock 'n' Roll Tonite
2. The Time Is Right
3. Sex Demon
4. Roll Out (Or Get Rocked)
5. Satan's Knights
6. Can't Resist Your Spell
7. Magick Armour
8. Hellfire
9. Ready to Attack
10. Heavy Metal Drinkers

Reviewed by on July 9, 2010

"The secret to these furious Finns' success is that, unlike other revivalists (say, Vains of Jenna), who either add modern elements or deliver the '80s goods with a wink and nudge at how outrageous it all was, Armour plays it absolutely straight. "

If you've got a hankering for the metal era in which Motley Crue was shouting at the devil and W.A.S.P. was fucking like a beast, Armour's self-titled full-length debut is the disc for you. It's a trip back in time to the early 1980s, both in terms of songwriting and production that absolutely nails it in terms of authenticity, right down to the bevy of pentagrams on Motorhead veteran artist Joe Petagno's cover.

The secret to these furious Finns' success is that, unlike other revivalists (say, Vains of Jenna), who either add modern elements or deliver the '80s goods with a wink and nudge at how outrageous it all was, Armour plays it absolutely straight. That does lead to some unintentionally funny stuff like the completely overinflated "Sex Demon," but that was par for the course in the Reagan era (trust me, I lived through it).

Vocalist Vince Venom, who also plays guitar, has the ideal voice for a band like this, sounding for all intents and purposes like Cinderella's Tom Kiefer. Mike "H.C." Slutz's guitar solos are eerily reminiscent of the early '80s, containing just the right amount of what I call "Van Halen-isms." The drum tone is the same muddled mess it was on a lot of the albums of time, with echo being the order of the day.

There are plenty of fist-pumpers on this album, starting with "Rock 'n' Roll Tonite," which has plenty of call-and-response vocals (you know, "I said 'yeah' -- YEAH!) and a great "rockin' and a' rollin'" chorus that will stick in your head for a while. The next track, "The Time Is Right" features a great vocal from Vince Venom, in which he shrieks "into the NNNNNNIIIIIIGGGGGGGHHHHHTTT!" just like Udo Dirkschneider.

Generally, the mid-tempo numbers are better-formed than when the band puts the pedal to the metal. I like the Motorhead riffing on "Satan's Knights," but Venom's vocals are completely overpowered. Things are a little better on "Hellfire," in that Venom's a little clearer.

The fact that I can't imagine a video for "Can't Resist Your Spell" that doesn't involve a woman with teased hair in a leather dress slinking through giant spider-webs is probably a good thing. It probably also means that I watched way too much "Metal Shop" and "Headbangers Ball" back in the day.

This is a fun album, albeit one completely bereft of any depth or subtext. Granted, the metal of the '80s wasn't exactly known for its brooding angst, but there's occasionally a by-the-numbers feel that creeps in on an album like this one, in which the song topics include nothing more than sex, Satan and rock 'n' roll. Not that I really cared enough to stop banging my head, mind you.

On their self-titled full-length debut, Armour suits up to deliver 10 tracks of old-school '80s metal the way W.A.S.P., Accept and Exciter did it. Get it today and rock out like it's the Reagan era all over again.

Highs: "Rock 'n' Roll Tonite," "Can't Resist Your Spell" and "The Time Is Right."

Lows: Some covered-up vocals mar "Satan's Knights" and a couple other tracks.

Bottom line: A fun old-school metal album that fully embraces 1980s style

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)