In the world of heavy metal, there are some "givens". It's a given that any time Metallica releases anything, the haters will line up to bitch and moan about whatever they do not being as good as their first three albums. It's a given that with every release Slipknot puts out, an army of guys over 40 will put on their "keyboard warrior" capes and start whining about how that band is NOT metal. Any time Cannibal Corpse releases music, there will be a stream of people to tell you how it's no good because "cookie monster vocals suck". And, like clockwork, with every release of anything at all from Armored Saint, the metal people will take to the internet to proclaim them as "the most criminally underrated ever". It really is quite funny to watch all of this, to be honest.
While Armored Saint are one of the most underrated of all time and probably deserved the fame and fortune that many less deserving bands received, they haven't sat around crying about it. In my eyes, Armored Saint is a fairly simple band. They do two things, and they do them well - make metal and play it live. Their worst record (in my ears, LA RAZA) still soars about the mid-quality stuff of almost any like band of their peers. Live, they are one of those bands that is virtually untouchable. With the release of CARPE NOCTUM, Armored Saint reminds you that in 2016, they are just as potent as they ever were. Vocalist John Bush is the most recognizable member of the band due to his time in Anthrax. That said, his home is with Armored Saint and he's always brilliant within it's framework. His voice is as strong as ever here, making songs like "Last Train Home" shine with his emotional performance of the song. He's accompanied by Phil Sandoval and Jeff Duncan playing some solid, tight and killer riffs and leads throughout, with Gonzo Sandoval and Joey Vera creating the bottom end on songs like "Win Hands Down" and "Reign of Fire". The result? The Wacken crowd that got this short set in 2015 were blown away by this old band that still brings it stronger than most acts 25 years their junior.
PITRIFF RATING - 91/100 - Armored Saint continue to be great. Be it with new music or live performance, they are one of the most consistently excellent bands out there today. CARPE NOCTUM is a release that does nothing more than prove that they are still as relevant as ever if you are a fan of metal. Well worth a listen.