Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Armored Saint - Wind Hands Down - a reluctant review

Armored Saint
Win Hands Down

  This entire album as hard as it tries, can't get out of it's own way. The subject matter throughout the disc is a hindrance. Reflecting back on the past and trying to shed some extra pounds (yep, "Muscle Memory") does not conjure up anything the band's long time fans really want to think of when they are trying to forget their own problems. Seriously most of us are in our forties now and are trying to deal with the national phenomena called the "Dad Bod" craze. Do we need our metal heroes reminding us how shitty it is to age out of our leather vests and start worrying about how we're gonna pay this months family dental bills?
  The album has a limited amount of highlights. The opening track, "Win Hands Down", has something to offer to the old school fans. It's signature Armored Saint, nothing too deep but it thrashes enough to perk up your ears. John Bush is still one of my favorite metal vocalists. This album does not diminish the strength and range of his voice. The lyrics and songwriting do the real damage here.
   Seriously Bush was the quintessential frontman of Anthrax during their most potent years. Watching his career devolve into to "old man" rock territory is disheartening. The lyrics for "DIVE" and "UP YOURS" are some of the worst I've ever heard in my entire life. I know Bush spent some time writing songs for commercials in his hiatus but did he have to carry over this stream of consciousness schlocky bullshit to his real passion. Who vetted the lyrics for That Was Then, Way Back When - "got all my pictures strewn across facebook, wanna be liked in a desperate way"....that's a big no no... I don't care who you are, if you throw in a pop culture term that will easily be dated in a few years when something new comes around and makes that reference look old as fuck, you're dead in the water. This type of writing is found throughout the entire album and stinks of a band trying to sound relevant in the eyes of a younger fan base. The few times the band musically experiment like "In A Instant" where the band breaks up the monotony with acoustic guitars are too few and far between. That song specifically sounds up to par with the legacy of the band. It's fully flushed out and since it's inspired by the Boston Marathon tragedy in an abstract way it really stands out. Win Hands Down really makes me wish Bush was still with Anthrax. Their last album wasn't great but at least it provided something really meaty for a journeyman like Belladonna to put his chompers into. This smacks of a band who really wanted to put out a new record but the ideas were just not there.
   I hate to score albums or give them a grade. Sadly as an old school fan I'm disappointed, the tracks on this not only make the band sound old but I feel like I've developed new frown lines in reviewing this.
..... I now need a "perfect chair to park my derriere and stare out the window and see the world moving along"......yes lyrics from "DIVE"... I know.

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