By Sean Palmerston
File this one under holy shit: Finland’s Armour have just released one of the finest slabs of eighties fueled heavy metal to come across the desk over here at Chez Hellbound in quite some time. Forming in 2006 and having released a number of demos and small run releases, including a now sold out EP on the Nuclear War Now imprint, this finely named Finnish quartet have made one hell of a debut album. Although this baby was recorded in 2009, you would not be far off if you were thinking 1986 upon first listen instead. Although the members of the band are better known for time spent playing in black metal bands previously (including Horna, Blasphemous Evil and Satanic Warmaster), the music that Armour creates is much more grounded in the classic metal of more than twenty years ago. And by the music of yesteryear, for once we actually don’t mean thrash. No these bad boys pay homage to the fist pumping sounds of Accept and W.A.S.P. in their prime. Great riffs, anthemic choruses and just enough testosterone and swagger to pull this stuff off.
Armour vocalist Vince Venom has a great raspy voice that sounds like a bastard mixing of Udo, a younger Blackie Lawless and (gasp) shades of Cinderella’s Tom Kiefer. Thankfully, the music which he is singing along to is much closer to the bands of the first two vocalists mentioned. In fact, think The Last Command era mixed with Restless And Wild and you will know exactly what I am talking about (and if you haven’t heard either of those two albums before, do yourself a favour and check them out pronto too). I also hear a bit of influence from the classic Finnish metal band Oz, whose Fire In The Brain album has sadly become an almost lost classic these days. It’s definitely due for a proper reissue. With songs like the red hot “Heavy Metal Drinkers” and “Roll Out (Or Get Rocked)” this isn‘t terribly complex stuff, it’s just balls-to-the-wall old school metal done with conviction and passion. My only complaint would be the drum sound on the record. The snare is really flat-sounding, almost as if the drummer had socks wrapped around his drumsticks. But even a crappy drum sound can’t hold these songs down. Really impressive stuff.