Fireworks

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Armored Saint - 'Carpe Noctum' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/10/4c/48/armored-saint-carpe-noctum-92-1486671241.jpg Hot

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If you love 'em, this will just make that crush tighter. If you don't know 'em, visit this and fall head over heels.

I will always remember a shot in 'Kerrang', from the mid to late eighties, of Armored Saint, in a circle and looking up in their dressing room, all sweaty from a gig. It made me think "that seems to be where it's at". However, the Saint never really made it as huge as they were perhaps expected to. They released good albums ('March Of The Saint') but eventually John Bush replaced Joey Belladonna as Anthrax front-man, producing the fantastic 'Sound Of White Noise' and less gargantuan 'Stomp 442' and AS seemed done.

Except these days, that's never the case. There are always second acts in Rock these days and they are no different. When they roared back though, they produced albums which showed their power and talent; if comeback 'LA Raza' was good then 'Win Hands Down' was brilliant, exciting and memorable Metal. Although they released a live record in 1988, 'Saints Will Conquer', it's fitting that they mark this revival with a live document from Wacken and Aschaffenburg.

It is simply brilliant. Live albums are notoriously tricky and this pulls off something marvellous; it feels sweaty, small, the crowd sound like they are pushed against the stage while Bush keeps the chat to a minimum and the band deliver with real venom. There are few tracks here, this is not a deluxe three-discer, they leave you wanting more; the old songs roared with approval by the crowd, the new ones sung raucously.

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It's a testament to the strength of the last album that the kickoff is 'Win Hands Down', heavy as a pulsar and sweaty from the off, but of course 'March Of the Saint' is here, with a real contained power, along with 'Aftermath' and 'Left Hook From Right Field', new tracks displacing older material that are just wonderful, the former real light and shade, the latter a real gutsy groove.

We close with the more classic Metal 'Reign Of Fire', the crowd singing it back at the tops of their voices. Bush, Joey Vera, Jeff Duncan, along with Gonzo and Phil Sandoval, really deliver this great music with panache and power, it's a real statement that says "Armored Saint are back to stay"; I hope they are anyway.

If you love 'em, this will just make that crush tighter. If you don't know 'em, visit this and fall head over heels. "Seize The Night"? That they do...

Steve Swift

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