Label: EBM Records
Release Date: 2011
What the hell are we doing talking about an album that came out last year? Well, we just discovered this beast, which was released by Endless Destruction of Men records as part of the label’s The Thrash Is Back series.
Armor Column hail from Albany, New York and the band’s potent sound predates the separation of power metal and thrash, harking back to an era when it was called “speed metal”. They however, label themselves “powerthrash”. Whatever you choose to call it, Armor Column have got a battery of powerful riffs at the ready, rapid-fire drumming, and wailing scream-laden vocals. This is all brought to you by vocalist Jeff Andrews, bassist Tom Barber, drummer John Glassbrenner and guitarists Noah Carpenter and Dave Matthews, which is essentially an unholy alliance of former Skinless and Held Under members.
The album opens with “Warmonger”, starting with a movie intro from 2008’s Rambo– “When you’re pushed, killing’s as easy as breathing…”. Dynamic retro track, though I could have done without the little falsetto choral lead in before the vocals. Still an explosive way to launch the listener into this album.
Next, the repeated lines “Avenge Me” from the 1984 film Red Dawn. We love you, Harry Dean Stanton. God bless AMERICA, and screw the Obamanation. And we are propelled into warp-speed oblivion on “With Blood and Vengeance”. Immediately my throwback genes began hyperventilating. This is where it all started for me; bands like Exodus, Venom and Overkill. Barber’s bass is a bit lower than I’d like, but he keeps the rumble solid, and Glassbrenner’s stick and pedal work will give the listener a workout.
The quote, “kill ’em all let God sort ’em out” kicks off the band’s namesake track. The riffage is fast and pummeling as it is on most every track, meshed with blistering lead solos, and the cacophonous rhythm section. Overlaid on it all is the voice of Andrews who can readily throw down the thrashy growl, but eats you alive with his Ralf Scheeper/Ripper Owens type falsettos. It’s this mix of vocal wizardry that compels one to take this bludgeoning journey into the abyss of sonic warfare, which is “Where’s There’s A War There’s A Way”.
“Dictator’s Whore” is the first track on the record to really bring all the band’s strengths to full form on one complete track. The solos here are decisive and on target. There’s even an early-Maiden vibe on underpinning much of the song.
“Rattenkrieg” offers up a momentum change, slowing our breathing long enough to catch some much-needed air, but offering little else. Meanwhile “We Breathe Extinction” has this great chasing riff that makes one envision a madman chasing a cockroach around the room trying desperately to squash it. Perhaps I’ve simply gone mad myself.
The album’s title track is also the closing song, and also the longest running at nearly seven minutes of meaty goodness. Thick with ripe riffs and Glassbrenner’s artillery-like attack, this may be the best overall track on the record. Listen below:
In a music industry as dysfunctional as the government, it would take a load of good fortune for a band like Armor Column to see the worthwhile rewards of what is clearly a talented group of guys. But the promise for greatness is there. So let’s start a grass-roots campaign, and start spreading the word: Armor Column is metal for mercenaries!