It’s probably not a good sign when your 3-year-old digs a metal album more than you do. But there he was, strapped in his car seat and still singing “Rockin’ and a Rollin’ Tonite!” after I’d skipped past the first track of Armour with a mix of impatience and disgust. Guess I don’t need to buy that Hevisaurus album for him after all.

Okay, so that’s probably not the fairest way to open a review, but man, this album was a chore to sit through. And that’s a shame, because the music accomplishes pretty much what it set out to do – pay homage to the raucous, beer-draining, party-vibe heavy metal of the early 80s. Accept, AC/DC, W.A.S.P., Motley Crue – these Finns pull off that rockin’ vibe pretty damn well, from muscular, menacing thrashers like “The Time is Right” and “Magick Armour” to fast-paced, speed metal anthems like “Hellfire” or “Satan’s Knights.” Crunchy riffs, good soloing, drum sound is a bit thin but it’s appropriately retro.

In fact, the liner notes state “this is no lame retro-joke,” and that’s pretty much true, except someone forgot to tell the vocalist, Vince “Werewolf” Venom. It’s clear he’s trying to pull off a screechy homage to Udo Dirkschneider or Bon Scott, but the guy comes off sounding like a damn Muppet. (Or to be more specific, one of the Skeksis bird-things from The Dark Crystal. Gelfliiiing!!!) It’s neither original nor convincing, and while he might be an exciting frontman in a live setting, here it just sounds silly. Interestingly enough, “Werewolf” also handles vocals, guitars and more for Finnish black metal acts like Satanic Warmaster, Blutrache, even Horna at one point. So maybe it’s just that his voice is made for Satanic screeching and not heavy metal heroics, even if he is probably having a blast here. Too bad I wasn’t.

So anyway, that’s the big chink in this Armour. In the meantime, there’s a new Accept out, as well as a new Ratt, so why go for homage when you can have the real thing?

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
September 7th, 2010


  1. Commented by: Plaguemyheavensblack

    Wow. Never thought I’d hear a Dark Crystal reference. Amazing

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