Sound — 9
The members of Armed For Apocalypse want to make something perfectly clear before scores of listeners hear the up-and-coming metal band's debut record: They're not attempting to break any records out there for speed or technical virtuosity. A sample quote from the quartet's bio states, If you're looking for guitar aerobics or drum clinics, try the DVD section at Guitar Center, because Armed for Apocalypse has nothing for you. That's not to say that there aren't any chaotic moments in terms of tempo on their new record Defeat, but the band usually delivers their peak musical moments in other ways. If you enjoy the low, grinding sludge sound or even an occasional Maiden-esque riff, you'll find plenty to like about Armed For Apocalypse. Featuring former members of Will Haven (guitarist Cayle Hunter) and Red With Envy (drummer Nick Harris), Armed For Apocalypse has a fairly melodic sound (perhaps not even their intention) that is conveyed through creative guitar work and groove-oriented rhythms. Quite a few metal bands these days revel in the double bass pedal, but Armed For Apocalypse uses this aspect sparingly. It's more about creating a mood with tone. The Demon Who Makes Trophies of Men is a perfect example with its slowly building intro that morphs eventually into that characteristic sludge sound. In the final moments, however, the band lets the tempo fly and there's an explosion of sound. Some might save their epic tunes until the end, but Armed For Apocalypse chose what could be described as a larger-than-life track for the opener. We Fell From The Bottom bursts with a tornado of screams, percussion, and guitars, but it takes several turns along the way. Along with the trademark sludgy, grooving melodies, the band also includes some fantastic layered guitars that weave in and out of the mix. Another standout track is Hero Complex, which begins with an Iron Maiden-like guitar riff with no percussion underneath. There are several moments during this particular song when the melodic side of Armed For Apocalypse comes to the forefront, and some of the riffs even have almost a classic rock sensibility to them.
Lyrics — 8
You likely have some inclination as to what the songs are about with titles such as The Demon Who Makes Trophies of Men, Torch Light Search For The Dead, and You Are Alive When They Start To Eat You and there's a certain charm to songs that are so in-your-face with their subject matter. With the dropped tuning, you need something a bit on the darker side to sing/scream about, and Armed For Apocalypse nails it whether in Hero Complex (If it sails, we sink it; If it breathes, we kill it; Flames and limbs flailing) or A Collapse (The sun glows red with rage; His eyes are screaming; Burn! Burn! Burn!). To put it simply, there is no shortage of drama.
Overall Impression — 9
As far as debut records go, Defeat is a defining record for Armed For Apocalypse in the best possible way. This is a band that has not forgotten that a lot of us still love to have a killer riff to go along with the low chugging guitar rhythms (Torch Light Search For The Dead one of the peak moments for guitarists Cayle Hunter and Kirk Williams).Armed For Apocalypse has a much darker vibe than you would get had there been lightning-speed tempos injected into every song, and the band needs to be commended on restraining themselves from what seems to be the norm these days. There are, of course, moments when the sludge is drawn out for a good portion of the song with barely a tempo to speak of, but it's all to build up to a darkly brooding mood. And in the end, Defeat successfully accomplishes this goal.