In a cold-blooded music industry that eats its young (and old), there are but a few veteran metal bands that continue to keep their listeners engaged. Intentional or not, quality over quantity seems to be the ethos of Armored Saint, a group which, for the last couple of decades, has released just four full-length studio albums.
Punching the Sky, the Los Angeles quintet’s all-new, 11-track offering, has proven to be well worth the wait. Leading off with “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants,” it’s loudly apparent that the five-year stretch since Win Hands Down (read our album review here) hasn’t caused laxity in the band. The following song, “End of the Attention Span,” is true-to-form Saint majesty: John Bush’s deftly-penned lyrics, crushing rhythms, and enthralling guitar volleys from Phil Sandoval and Jeff Duncan.
In the rock game, there is a scant number of singers who sound as good as they did in their salad days. Bush, Saint’s frontman since the band’s beginnings in the early ‘80s, is one of these anomalies. Devoid of recording studio trickery, his vocals sound as strong as ever.
Loaded with catchy hooks and big choruses, with an allure that is inexpressible, Punching the Sky is sure to be on many critics’ top ten lists for 2020. More important—it is an album that Armored Saint fans and the heavy metal community will surely embrace. It is a hard rock tour de force. Seems like five-year breaks between albums can work in a group’s favour.
Punching the Sky Track Listing:
1. Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
2. End of the Attention Span
4. My Jurisdiction
5. Do Wrong to None
6. Lone Wolf
7. Missile to Gun
8. Fly in the Ointment
9. Bark, No Bite
11. Never You Fret
Run Time: 54 minutes
Release Date: October 23, 2020
Record Label: Metal Blade Records