Review of ARMORY’s “The Dawn Of Enlightenment” in “The Metal Observer” about one and a half years ago: “Somebody give these guys a deal and a reasonable budget and just have them re-do this CD and you will get a great album!” Fast forward to 2008. Two and a half of these things have come true, the lads have re-done the CD with a better budget (not sure, if it was reasonable, though, therefore I only award myself half a point here) and look what wonders it has done for the album! Beginning with the excellent packaging, which now bears a great cover artwork and continuing on in the far beefier and clearer sound, so we actually stand a real chance to enjoy the over 60 minutes of European-influenced Power Metal from Massachusetts.
Technically I could just point towards my review of the demo and tell you to imagine it with better sound, but I think that would be a tad bit unfair, given that the quintet went to great lengths to re-record, so I might just as well follow suit and re-write. As mentioned, ARMORY are heavily influenced by the European Power Metal sound, minus the big choirs, though, sounding a little more down-to-earth, but the soaring keyboard solos definitely add this sort of dramatic flair.
Starting out with the double-bass driven fury of “Faith In Steel”, they stand in full tradition of the fast openers that many bands from the “old world” have, with a very good sense for melodies and dynamics, same goes for “Riding The Cosmic Winds”, which is going for a more direct approach, though. But the boys know more than just “pedal to the metal”, “Forever Triumphant”, my least favourite track off the demo, benefits from the better sound, too, it seems as if an epic ballad can’t function with a bad sound (it still is a little sappy, though).
Two more highlights to mention are the excellent, dynamic instrumental “Forged In Dragon Flames” and 14 minute monster “The Dawn Of Enlightenment” at the end, which shows the full potential of ARMORY, very varied and despite the length neither dragging nor pieced together, big respect for this song! That was it originally, but now we also get treated to two cover versions, the first one being IRON MAIDEN’s “Flight Of Icarus” (and singer Adam Kurland has some Dickinson-isms in his voice here and there along the album anyways, so an almost logical choice) and “Dr. Wily”, from the classic “Mega Man” series of video games, which is a fun ending for the album.
So yeah, a huge step forward for ARMORY, presenting the fans of traditional Heavy/Power Metal with a little gemstone that now also is allowed to shine in the re-recorded version, this definitely has a lot more potential and substance than many signed acts out there and it would be a shame, if the Americans were overlooked by the label executives, because they deserve to be heard by a wider audience, now do your part!
(Online May 26, 2008)