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Armed for Apocalypse – Ritual Violence

Armed for Apocalypse
Ritual Violence
by Gary Hernandez at 01 January 2023, 6:31 PM

It’s a bit cliché to describe an Extreme Metal band as brutal but ARMED FOR APOCALYPSE is simply brutal. It’s also cliché to say that California churns out nothing but Thrash and Stoner. ARMED FOR APOCALYPSE hails from Chino, California in the Inland Empire, but serves up lethal dosages of Sludge Metal with no hint of Thrash or Stoner. They are at the nexus of Death and Doom. “Ritual Violence” is their third full-length album over a 14-year span. Even adding their demo and EP to the mix, there’s still a considerable amount of time between releases. Who knows, maybe it takes that kind of time to recharge the aggression reserves or maybe these blokes have more going on in their lives than just cranking out furious, down-tuned riffs. Regardless, “Ritual Violence” is a savage battering of distortion and dissonance and warrants attention.

Released via Candlelight Records on October 7, 2022, “Ritual Violence” comprises 11 tracks and has a full runtime of over 42 minutes. A surprisingly long album. I mean it’s hard to keep up this type of energy without pharmaceuticals. Or maybe not. ARMED FOR APOCALYPSE makes it look it easy. These tracks swoop down like iron claws out of something else that’s iron. I don’t know, how about a flying, shrieking demon of metal?

Okay, for returning fans what to expect since the last release five years ago? Well, lineup changes, of course. A few deft blows from life, fate, and sour luck. There were a few years of the plague in there as well. All in all, I think the net effect of those experiences ratcheted the band up to a whole new level of intensity. “Ritual Violence” may be their heaviest, gnarliest effort yet.

As far as standout tracks, it’s hard to top “Full of Phlegm.” Apart from having one of the best titles ever, it is five minutes of glass in your eye. But in that good way. “Lifeless” also tops my favorites list. One for its sheer ferocity, two for its gut-wrenching presence. A real bruiser about real shit. Be sure to check out the video linked below. Rounding off my list is “Flesh and Blood.” If you were looking for the quintessential Sludge Metal track, I mean the sludgiest Sludge Metal track, this would be a contender.

Not everyone will be into Sludge Metal. Which is probably a good thing. The same way that it’s probably a good thing that not everyone is into Depressive Suicidal Black Metal. An acquired taste, but that’s the case with most Extreme Metal. Anyway, great stuff this album. Brutal as they come. If Extreme Metal is your thing, you need to check out “Ritual Violence” post haste.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Under My Shame
2. Frail
3. Full of Phlegm
4. Hourglass
5. Lifeless
6. Live Through the Storm
7. Foredoomed
8. Thieves of Existence
9. Suffer for a Living
10. Flesh and Blood
11. Eternally Broken
Charlie Fischer – Bass
Nick Harris – Drums
Cayle Hunter – Guitars
Nate Burman – Guitars, vocals
Record Label: Candlelight Records


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