The Armed

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These Are Lights (2009), 6/10
Untitled (2015), 6.5/10
Only Love (2018), 5/10
Ultrapop (2021), 6/10

Detroit's metalcore band The Armed debuted with These Are Lights (2009), that contains spastic vignettes like Party at Pablo's, I Steal What I Want and Grand Party Frankenstein. 09-11 (2011) compiles These Are Lights and the EPs Common Enemies (2010) and Young & Beautiful (2011). The EP Spreading Joy (2012) contains two of their most devastating songs: Cop Friends and Sterling Results.

Untitled (No Rest Until Ruin, 2015), produced by Kurt Ballou of Converge, continued the mission with unrelenting fury (Future Drugs) but melody surfaced in the middle of the mayhem (Forever Scum). Dead Actress begins with two minutes of simple, slow, balladry before plunging into dissonant banging and screaming.

After the live Unanticipated (2016), Only Love (2018) introduced elements of dance-punk (Nowhere to be Found) and shoegazing (in Fortune's Daughter but still played at lightning speed).

Kurt Ballou's loud and distorted production is the real protagonist of Ultrapop (2021). He turns some songs into euphoric statements but sometimes also in simply cacophonous moments. Remove the thick sheen of distortion, and Ultrapop is melodic slocore and Average Death is lame shoegaze-pop. Luckily the synthesis of the band's punk-pop verve and Ballou's genocidal production yields some powerful songs: Masunaga Vapors is almost blackgaze (black metal/ shoegaze), A Life So Wonderful has a refrain that basically consists purely of senseless banging, Where Man Knows Want is a fit of pure hysteria, and Real Folk Blues is a savage visceral banger. The industrial/punkish hoedown All Futures is the most "entertaining" of these songs, but the real standout is Big Shell, a suffocating molotov cocktail of screams and pummeling drums.

(Copyright © 2021 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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