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Armored Saint - Win Hands Down

Armored Saint
Win Hands Down
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 28 May 2015, 11:50 PM

Since the 80’s it has never been quite a permanent venture when it comes to ARMORED SAINT. Maybe now, after barely hearing from them since the release of “La Raza” back in 2010, they would give up a hiatus and show up more with new stuff and live performances. So, their back again. Truth be told I have been waiting with plenty of expectations after I saw the video released to promote the upcoming of “Win Hands Down”, via Metal Blade Records. After biting this one hard for several times, I could honestly understand that I have been waiting for a golden goose and was able to snatch it. As a fan of “Symbol Of Salvation”, which I believe both the world, and myself, consider it to be the band’s top album, I found the classic ARMORED SAINT, with a small token of modern shading, within “Win Hands Down”. Certainly, it would be hard to just leave it alone after a single round as it heads down the street for a kind of the true reality that Metal have always made it its mission to preach about. The saints march again in full colors.

“Symbol Of Salvation” was a huge step for ARMORED SAINT when it comes to stepping out just a bit from Traditional Metal and into a tuneful mixture of Heavy Metal, a bit of proto Thrash but with a also touchy Hard Rock. Following “Revelation” and “La Raza”, I believe that ARMORED SAINT are back on the groove in the vain of “Symbol Of Salvation” while pursuing to head forward with several peaks of progression that truly made a difference. Therefore, the “Win Hands Down” appears to be well assorted, spreading throughout everything that spits Traditional Metal, revealing British like melodies, caught up in the strive to groove along with itchy crispy tasty Hard Rock mash. For one thing, unlike the classics, there is no revamping of older kinds of riffs, the structures of songs screams a new type of age coming yet still deep down clinging to the old. Hard to really call it QUEENSRYCHE, though I was just thinking of “Empire”, as the Saints have always been louder and heavier. Better believe it, they sure are on this album as well, but no doubt that their newly creations, some came along with length, sound immensely intelligent bearing strong lyricism and a heavily expressive manner. Most of the time I was caught up with John Bush’s voice, the old kind of street / lower class tone that has been thriving since his ANTHRAX days, and the power of the rhythm section of Gonzo Sandoval meets Joey Vera that sounded so mighty genuine. However, in time I got also sucked into the guitaring of  Phil Sandoval and Jeff Duncan, driving hard into slicing Metal but also respecting the will of Rock.

And here I go. The ground swallowed me whole with “Muscle Memory”, a breathtaking song that first introduced me to a new kind of addiction other than “Reign Of Fire”. The Saints escalated their efforts to be everywhere. “Up Yours”, a stick up of a finger in the neighborhood or mainly sending out the F word to the right person who deserves it, a true energy pump up showing the band’s toughness. First time for this collaboration when Pearl Aday, daughter of Meatloaf, joined Bush and the boys in “With a Head Full of Steam”, devouring with a tremendous course and a melodic vibe that was hard to deny. “Win Hands Down”, after checking out the video and tuning in for the first time, I knew that this Rock hard bastard was a keeper, melodic, heavy and simply on replay and I will add “Mess”, lives up to its name a bit but truthfully one of ARMORED SAINT’s top progressive yearning tunes. And stop right there.

Another candidate for my album of the year just arrived, and you guessed it right. As a big fan of the band’s “Symbol Of Salvation”, I found its competitor. The saints are under some kind of evolution that has been doing them good, even some on “La Raza”. Don’t go home without a copy of this one people, a must for every respectful Metalhead.

4 Star Rating

1. Win Hands Down
2. Mess
3. An Exercise in Debauchery
4. Muscle Memory
5. That Was Then, Way Back When
6. With a Head Full of Steam
7. In An Instant
8. Dive
9. Up Yours
Joey Vera - Bass
Gonzo Sandoval - Drums
Phil Sandoval - Guitars
John Bush - Vocals
Jeff Duncan - Guitars
Record Label: Metal Blade Records


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