Armored Saint
A Nod To The Old School

After returning in Y2K with their stellar comeback record Revelation, California metallers Armored Saint serve one up to their long time fans with A Nod To The Old School; a collection of early indie tracks, live tunes, 4-track demos, covers and a few new numbers in a 2Disc package that is sure to fit comfortably into any die-hard Saint fan’s collection.

There are even a couple of live videos embedded on disc 2 that play nice and loudly on your PC. John Bush has a great attitude in his voice. ‘Real Swagger’, one of 2 brand new cuts here, showcases this perfectly. A driving mid-tempo riff coupled with John’s acidic snarl drills right into your brain. The chorus on this one is begging to be played live. This would have fit neatly within the Revelation record. ‘Unstable’, the second newbie, has a good, chugging riff counteracted by a cut time, softly sung chorus. The feel of this track is nice and dark, which John’s vocal brings out nicely. The high-octane remake of ‘March Of The Saint’ will have the lifers banging their heads and shaking their fists in pure metal bliss.

Kudos to the Saint for their obscure taste in cover songs. They deliver Robin Trower’s ‘Day of the Eagle’ and Judas Priest’s ‘Never Satisfied’ with unadulterated Armored Saint style and substance. Joey Vera (bassist) handled all production duties for the new tunes and the result is a full, heavy mix and crystal clarity. Guitarists Jeff Duncan and Phil Sandoval turn in their usual amount of guitar venom, and Gonzo Sandoval pounds his drums without a hint of mercy. The acoustic reworking of ‘Tainted Past’ offers a moody, melodic break in the madness. Nice tones on this one.

 That’s pretty much it for the ‘new’ stuff here. The rest of disc 1 is rounded out by 2 live tunes (recorded on the US 2000 tour) and the original Bill Metoyer produced, 1983 3-song EP plus 1 extra from the same sessions. Disc 2, besides having the videos, is chock full of 4 track demos from 1989, plus ‘You Can Run But You Can’t Hide’ (from The Decline Of The Western Civilization Part 2) plus a strange little 54-second blurb called ‘Betty ’79’. Oh, about those demos, they sound good. Don’t let the ‘4-track’ tag fool you.

While not quite full-scale release quality, I have heard store-bought albums that sounded much worse. Diehard Armored Saint fans and metal collectors need to get their leather-gloved claws on this 2-disc set.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shawn Pelata
July 24th, 2001

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