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Armored Saint - La Raza

By Charlie Steffens aka Gnarly Charlie, Writer/Photographer
Monday, March 15, 2010 @ 9:08 AM


Metal Blade Records

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It’s a doggone shame that Father Time served his cruel justice to bands who got over on looks more than sheer musical talent. Many of the stars birthed from rock’s most decadent era, the 80’s, have long since lost their luster and livers. But, let’s celebrate a band that has withstood age, gravity, and the rapacious music industry quite well. Los Angeles’ native sons, Armored Saint, have released La Raza, the follow-up to 2001’s Nod to the Old School, and it is truly a comeback album with the refreshing brilliance of a breakout release.

Of course, critics will often say shit like that about their favorite bands, but La Raza will not disappoint, especially if you’re a fan. John Bush, Joey Vera, Jeff Duncan, Phil Sandoval and Gonzo Sandoval have truly captured the essence of their sound on this one, unveiling ten tracks of metal bliss, recorded in the tradition of Symbol of Salvation.

Rawness and power come over loud and clear on “Loose Cannon” flaunting Duncan/Sandoval guitar magic while showing us what they’ve learned along the way. The crushing, “Left Hook from Right Field” is a stab at the holier-than-thou evangelicals who claim that theirs is the only way to heaven. It is just one of ten songs that exhibit John Bush’s lyrical genius and spellbinding vocals. “Chilled” is a mellow-er, heartfelt reflection on life at 45, and a track perfectly placed in the sequence. “Black Feet” displays Gonzo’s thunderous timekeeping adjoined to Duncan and Sandoval’s wall of guitar sound. “Blues” and “Bandit Country”, the last two songs, respectively, are as impressive as the aforementioned, maybe even better, depending on how you like your Saint.

There is nothing missing on La Raza, except a few extra tracks. It was worth the wait. Go buy this album. You won’t be able to get the wrapper off it quickly enough.

* * * * *

Purchase your copy of La Raza now in the KNAC.COM More Store. Click here.


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