Armored Saint - Punching the Sky
Metal Blade
Heavy Metal
11 songs (53:29)
Release year: 2020
Armored Saint, Metal Blade
Reviewed by Goat

One of metal's particular delights is older bands that continue to pump out fantastic releases even today, and Californian old-timers Armored Saint, active since 1982, are back after another five-year gap with another beyond solid album. They've not always been a perfect band but 2015's Win Hands Down especially showed that there was a lot of life and inspiration left, and Punching the Sky is an excellent follow-up, if not quite as instantaneous and sheer fun. The older album's slightly experimental aspect isn't particularly continued here despite touches like some Uilleann pipes mixed in to the intro of the album-opening Standing on the Shoulders of Giants and a guest spot from Guns N' Roses' Dizzy Reed on keyboards. The meat of the songs is carried by the traditional metal instruments, however, as well as John Bush's typically strong and anthemic vocal performance, and the band remain excellent players and songwriters, capable of making catchy but not too simplistic songs with a good amount of variety.

Alongside the more traditionally heavy metal anthems such as the aforementioned Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, there are also more nineties alt-metal fare in the industrial-infused Bubble in the most out-there track present. It says a lot that Armored Saint incorporate these elements smoothly and make it seem natural rather than some wacky experiment. Everything here is guitar-focused, but some are moreso than others, such as the more upbeat and grooving End of the Attention Span and My Jurisdiction. There are cuts that sound like the best moments from Bush's time in Anthrax such as the chuggy aggression of Do Wrong to None or the melodic semi-ballad that is Lone Wolf. There's even a touch of Alice in Chainsy grungy world-weariness to Fly in the Ointment and classic, almost AOR rock melody to Bark, No Bite. And there's plenty of great guitar riffing and leads across the album, particularly on Missile to Gun's faster-paced widdlefest. At over fifty minutes this could probably have used a little trimming at the edges, but so consistent and solid are the songs that it's genuinely difficult to pick anything to cut; absolutely nothing here is even close to being filler. Growing on you more with each listen, Punching the Sky is a great album and a reminder of Armored Saint's enduring quality. March on!

Killing Songs :
All are great, especially Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, My Jurisdiction, Fly in the Ointment
Goat quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Armored Saint that we have reviewed:
Armored Saint - Win Hands Down reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Armored Saint - Delirious Nomad reviewed by Stefan and quoted 96 / 100
Armored Saint - La Raza reviewed by Goat and quoted 77 / 100
Armored Saint - Symbol Of Salvation reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 89 / 100
Armored Saint - Nod To The Old School reviewed by Danny and quoted no quote
To see all 7 reviews click here
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 1 replies to this review. Last one on Fri Dec 25, 2020 2:30 am
View and Post comments