Armored Saint delivers metal that lives in the current age without much of a hint of their 80’s origins. It’s the same band but then again – it’s not.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Armored Saint
ALBUM: Punching The Sky
LABEL: Metal Blade
SERIAL: 3984 15728 2
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: John Bush – vocals * Phil Sandoval – guitars * Jeff Duncan – guitars * Joey Vera – bass * Gonzalo Sandoval – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants * 02 End Of The Attention Span * 03 Bubble * 04 My Jurisdiction * 05 Do Wrong To None * 06 Lone Wolf * 07 Missile To Gun * 08 Fly In The Ointment * 09 Bark, No Bite * 10 Unfair * 11 Never You Fret
WEBLINKS: Site Link
While many bands from the 80’s metal era struggle to stay relevant decades later, this cannot be applied to mainstays Armored Saint who continue to periodically release albums; this being their tenth major label release since 1984.
In this regard, some things remain untouched for the Saintly Ones, still with the same lineup that goes back to the ‘Symbol Of Salvation’ era (1991) and still a part of the furniture at Metal Blade Records. Obviously, it’s all about quality over quantity over a nearly thirty-year period, ‘Punching The Sky’ being the latest addition to the AS canon.
This album lands right in the middle of COVID plus the lead-up to the US Elections. Some of these songs could be Armored Saint’s attempt at social commentary via music. Very clever, I doubt YouTube would have the nous to do anything about it though. Hopeless hacks that they are.
An unusual Celtic introduction precedes ‘Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants’, which lyrically reads like a man enduring life in the modern-day but still being optimistic about it all. Sounds like life in the 2020 US pre Election timeframe!
‘End Of The Attention Span’ is a song pointing the finger at our covid-19 world. Lyrics such as: ‘Foot apart, must be contagious. Oh so close but something divides us. That’s us. We’re lost within our screens.’ This song pours out molten riffs but even that won’t be enough to blast common sense into the heads of scaredy-cat citizens and brain-dead leaders.
‘Bubble’ is an angst-driven slab of metal. The term bubble within the context of this song could be an allegory related to people’s insular opinions in our world of divisive social media. I could be wrong, but the lyrics would suggest I’m close to the target.
‘My Jurisdiction’ is manic metal with a hint of Metallica in the chorus, ‘Do Wrong To None’ also pushes the fine needle, suggesting that perhaps Mankind needs to look at its past history and rewrite a few things. The devil in the details. Will prove that we’re naïve. This rock is never pure and rarely what it seems.
Musically, ‘Lone Wolf’ is less metallic sounding than what’s gone before but still hard-hitting nonetheless. This is a song dedicated to all those that think outside the box and don’t toe the line. The last lyric line ‘Don’t ever kneel’ says it all really.
‘Missile To Gun’ is the ultimate conflict song. Who has the biggest weapon? Sounds like a pissing contest right? ‘Fly In The Ointment’ has a mournful vocal from John Bush, the protagonist in this song sounds like he’s always in a sticky situation, hence the song-title.
‘Bark, No Bite’ is the obvious choice for change-up moment on the album, though the chorus is kinda rabid (like a dog). Unlike the introspection of ‘Unfair’ which is very restrained and reflective. ‘Never You Fret’ finishes up the album pretty much as it started, all power with a gung-ho attitude.
Armored Saint delivers metal that lives in the current age without much of a hint of their 80’s origins. It’s the same band but then again – it’s not. The last two studio albums ‘La Raza’ and ‘Win Hands Down’ were both impressive efforts. However, I’m thinking at this early stage that ‘Punching The Sky’ might be sitting just behind those two in the pecking order but not by much.
As this album contains lyrical references to the current timeframe and the events within, it makes for a good companion piece when discussing the COVID-19 history books in the decades to follow, and the global madness which resulted.
End Of The Attention Span
Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants
Missile To Gun