Sweden is having something of a metal renaissance at present. The country is at the heart of the new wave of traditional metal making waves at the moment but there is also the beginnings of a speed metal revolution stirring. Joining the rank of countrymen AIR RAID and LETHAL STEEL, as well as neighbouring RANGER, in playing this most unusual of styles ARMORY are the new kids on the block and have something to prove with their debut World Peace… Cosmic War.
The album opens with the introduction World Peace. A quiet synth line is the backdrop to a speech about space before fading out as Cosmic War kicks in. From the off the album makes it intent known with high speed and riffs straight from the eighties. While the vocals initially sound stretched they do work surprisingly well with the genre and grow as the album progresses. High Speed Death satisfies the requirement for every speed metal to have a song with the word in the title and continues the assault pausing only to allow a twin guitar solo to demonstrate the youngster’s skill.
Hells Fast Blades opens with a riff certain to get heads nodding along to it as well as a bell chiming in the background to add some variety before returning to the formula which persists for the remainder of the track aside from a short spoken word segment over the music. Spinning Towards Doom also changes things with a guitar driven introduction and a focus on them throughout the track, featuring some of the better riffs on the album as well as one of the better solos. The high shrieks from the vocalist won’t disappoint fans of the genre either. Without Days, Without Years also leads in with a slower guitar driven introduction before standing aside to allow the standout vocal performance of the album with a catchy chorus thrown in for good measure.
Bringing the tempo back up to previous levels is Artificial Slavery. Another high speed track containing the riffs, shrieks and solo’s expected from it. A tempo change towards the end along with gang shouts earn its presences on the album. Phantom Warrior begins with an easily recognisable introduction clearly meant as a homage. One of the shorter track on the album it’s able to push the speed up a notch and condenses the structure down without losing anything due to length. A standout track. After this Final Breath is something of a disappointment with very little to differentiate it from the other songs making it almost entirely forgettable.
An over nine minute long speed metal song could be considered to be indulgent but ARMORY make it work with the albums closer Space Marauders. With several changes to tempo and good riffs throughout it hold the attention as well as providing a dose of nostalgic sci-fi goodness. The chorus feels built up to and the gang shout works really well. The track feels designed to close out both live shows and this album on a high note.
Speed metal is a difficult genre to do well due to its constrictive nature. Too slow and it’s just heavy metal, too fast or aggressive and it’s thrash, too soft and it starts to fall into power metal territory. Often this means songs sound too similar to each other and struggle to find a voice of their own. ARMORY have managed to avoid this trap on World Peace… Cosmic War. Almost every track feels different to the other without straying too far from the formula. An album fans of the genre will certainly appreciate and a band to watch for sure!
World Peace… Cosmic War is set for release August 19th via High Roller Records.
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