KERRANG! ISSUE 79 October 1984

ARMORED SAINT: March Of The Saint (Chrysalis CHR 1479)

ARE ARMORED SAINT heavy? Armored Saint are heavyyy, and I don’t just mean that all that armour and chain mail and broadswords they wear makes them a mite tough to bench press either.

No indeed! Their debut album amply defends those ardent HMers back west who dubbed them the ‘headbangingest band in Los Angeles’, and stands firm as a relentlessly scorching slice of vinyl. Armored Saint sound like mighty earth giants banging ten tons of cutlery on the cosmic table – pumping riffs, pounding beat – impatient for flesh and blood. Mean and magnificent stuff. Yup, you’d better not mess with the US (chain) mail, my friend…

Ah, when you think of all the plastic out there that’s been used to make egg-slicers and Frisbees and artificial limbs that could far better have been put to making albums like this one; albums with more balls than a snooker marathon, more drive than Sterling Moss!

Hardly a millimeter of vinyl goes to waste on this fine debut; indeed, the only track that doesn’t stand up quite so well to my hardened earholes is opener, ‘March Of The Saint’ – four and a bit minutes of warm-up theme tune and a little like what ‘Hey, Hey, We’re The Monkees is to ‘Daydream Believer’, if you want to stretch the point a bit. But that’s only when compared to the gooder-than-good stuff to follow. Like ‘Can You Deliver’ – they certainly can! – or the anthemy ‘Seducer’ to name but two, all solid as Gibraltar and nowhere near as wet!

Yes, in spite of freaks (I use the term advisedly!) like Motley Crue, W.A.S.P. and Van Halen, the new wave of LA Heavy Metal getting snapped up by the major labels still featured too big a proportion of Def Leppard-influenced, safe AORockers; so it warms the blood to see another fine hard working pro heavy HM bunch heading for success. Because that’s where I reckon they’re going with this opus.

Which isn’t to say that it’s all thrash – the ballad on Side One, for example, ‘Take A Turn’, is great sending shivers down the old spine, while ‘Glory Hunter’ on Side Two represents over five minutes of marvellousness, with some absolutely killer vocals on both. Hmm, looks like I quite like this bunch…

The production of Michael James Jackson (no relation) could be a tad butch-er, more of a stadium than a large-hall performance, but otherwise I’ve
no reason to cross swords with the band about this album.


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