Armored Saint is a heavy metal band from the USA founded by brothers Felipe ‘Phil’ Sandoval (guitar), and Gonzalo ‘Gonzo’ Sandoval (drums), along with Dave Prichard (guitar), John Bush (vocals), and Joey Vera (bass). In a career spanning four decades, the band has released eight studio albums – ‘March Of The Saint’ (1984), ‘Delirious Nomad’ (1985), ‘Raising Fear’ (1987), ‘Symbol Of Salvation’ (1991), ‘Revelation’ (2000), ‘La Raza’ (2010), ‘With Hands Down’ (2015), and ‘Punching The Sky’ (2020). During this time the band has endured line-up changes, two periods of inactivity, and the death of founding guitarist Dave Prichard in 1990.
2022 sees Armored Saint celebrating their fortieth anniversary with the reissue of the band’s first three albums – ‘March Of The Saint’, ‘Delirious Nomad’, and ‘Raising Fear’ – all originally released during heavy metal’s formative years during the eighties. The glorious eighties when metal was just “metal” – none of this grunge, nu, djent, and post-metal nonsense! Even the likes of Def Leppard and Bon Jovi were considered to be metal! Everything was so much simpler back then…
…I was a teenager listening to Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Saxon – bands that are now classed as “traditional metal”. And then along came the American traditional metal bands – bands such as Virgin Steele, Manowar, Twisted Sister, Metal Church, W.A.S.P., and Armored Saint…
…with a sound to emulate their British peers, paving the way for thrash and power metal to evolve over the ensuing years. Armored Saint‘s 1987 third album ‘Raising Fear’ features eleven songs over fifty-one minutes – the continued growth and maturity of the band clearly evident, with album opener (and title song) ‘Raising Fear’ a blistering high energy gallop. ‘Saturday Night Special’ is a pumped-up cover of a classic Lynyrd Skynyrd song, taken from the Southern rocker’s 1975 album ‘Nuthin’ Fancy’. The band continues on with the heavy-hitting ‘Out On A Limb’, followed by the more serene and mellow ‘Isolation’, breaking out into a gallop for the fast and fiery ‘Chemical Euphoria’.
Over on side two – yes readers, side two! The eighties were all about vinyl records, with digital downloads and streaming not even invented! How much technology has changed over the past forty years is incredible, although, with the recent re-emergence of vinyl, this reissue will be released on multi-colored limited edition vinyl…
…so back to side two – and the previously unreleased ‘Crisis Of Life’, featured on vinyl for the first time. ‘Crisis Of Life’ has a groove and a touch of the blues, while ‘Frozen Will/Legacy’ brings forth a majestic swagger of bands such as Iron Maiden and Savatage. ‘Human Vulture’ creates an atmosphere of menace with a much heavier feel than anything heard so far, with ‘Book Of Blood’ and ‘Terror’ both galloping romps of highly infectious head bang-able metal. Album closer ‘Underdogs’ is the fastest song on the album, full of energy and a crowd-friendly chant-style chorus.
Overall, a glorious reminder of how great the American invasion of traditional metal was during the eighties.
Saturday Night Special (Lynyrd Skynyrd cover)
Out On A Limb
Crisis Of Life
Frozen Will / Legacy
Book Of Blood
Armored Saint: Facebook
Release Year: 2022
Label: Metal Blades Records
Reviewed by Iron Mathew for Frenzy Fire, and Metal-Roos.