CD Reviews

Armored Saint - 'La Raza' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 12, 2010    
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‘La Raza’ has the band back in fine fashion and sounding better than ever.

I have been a fan of Armored Saint ever since I bought a second hand copy of ‘March Of The Saint’ from Harum Records so many moons ago.
The band looked like they were destined for big things but they just missed the bus, and when John Bush jumped ship to Anthrax so many years later we thought it was all over. What sets the band apart is they are friends who love playing together, and for some years they would reunite on occasion to record and tour. The last release I bought was the rather average ‘Revelation’, and to be honest I thought Armoured Saint had finally laid down their swords.
So I am glad to report that ‘La Raza’ has the band back in fine fashion and sounding better than ever.
Kicking off with ‘Loose Canon’ it’s clear John Bush has lost none of his vocal tone and the band hurtle along in front of Gonzo’s frantic drum work. The song has attitude and a killer chorus nicely mixed up with a modern approach, while retaining the Armoured Saint signature sound. A slow intro takes us into ‘Head On’ as the dark spoken vocal paces the song along menacingly, then it’s all chunky riffs and John Bush screeching out the chorus in glorious metal fashion.
Bells chiming introduce us to ‘Left Hook From A Right Field’ before Jeff Duncan and Phil Sandoval let their guitars blast us into oblivion. These guys are much underrated players and it’s about time they had their due. Taking us back to the sound of the glory days of ‘Raising Fear’, ‘Get Off The Fence’ is like listening to a long lost track from the bands back catalogue.
Joey Vera’s bass floats the song ‘Chilled’ along nicely as John Bush puts in a fine vocal for a very introspective song about his thoughts on his life from past to present. The depth of the song content adds to the atmosphere and some subtle guitar work colours the song in the right places. Title track ‘La Raza’ has an infectious chorus despite the disjointed and chaotic feel of the song.
What is a constant on this release is the strength of the choruses and the musical passages, clearly the band have really pushed themselves in new directions this time. The splendid ‘Little Monkey’ has an old school Ramones style riff and a whole bunch of attitude in the lyric department as the band vent their anger at the school bully who grows up to be an even bigger bully in society .
In all a one of the best releases this band has put their name to, period.

Ray Paul

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