Here, at Album a Day, there’s a really obvious weakness when it comes the music selection. I noticed this a while ago and started working on it, all the while dreading the day someone would comment, “Hey motherfucker, where’s the fucking metal?” At first I tried to go it alone. When I saw I was fucked, I went out and got some professional help.
A montage of me going through metal training: A heavy-bearded metal guru glides into the room driven by a headbang so fast and aggressive it acts as a propeller. When the sharpened spikes on the guru’s leather jacket glint in the sun, instead of ringing out an audible “ting!”, it screams as if it’s dying. The Metal Guru raises each arm and storm clouds form. An ocean of double kicks rise from within the floor slamming out the fastest tempo ever fucking heard. I slowly sway to this beat, back and forth, in a feeble attempt to headbang. The guru shakes their head. Instead of making “the sign of the horn” with my hands, I point to different things within my kitchen with my pinky and screech like a raptor. The guru slams a palm to its forehead. Instead of selling my soul to the devil, I end up using my soul as a timeshare to middle-class demons that just need a week off every year.
Cut to one – consistently loud – week later under the guidance of a metal guru.
The Armed hail from Detroit and specialize in a genre called extreme metal or hardcore punk. It’s loud. Holy fuck is it ever loud. But this loudness is perfectly orchestrated. The Armed arm themselves (see what I did there?) with polyrhythmic drumming, a screaming from three guitarists and three vocalists, and aggressive fucking synths. On a first listen, the music feels like it’s continually about to explode. This tension is maintained throughout the entire fucking album. The drummers on this shit work with the same determination and talent as many jazz drummers, but with the tempo turned up to fucking impossible.
This isn’t a style of music to scoff at. It’s something to admire and study. The practice it takes to sing metal can only be compared to opera. It takes a lifetime to learn how to do it well. And, even then, it doesn’t mean you’ll be any fucking good at it. There are highly respected teachers to train under (check this link) and voices like Mike Patton are revered like Roberto Alagna. Even in the Metal game, The Armed are unique. They have carved out their own fucking noise. They broke from the mould of generic metal to form something highly fucking entertaining, loud, and, somehow, playful. There is nothing in their wall of angry cacophony that doesn’t have a purpose. This shit works like osmium, the densest metal on earth, because this shit is dense, even by metalheads standards. But, even some noob like me can admire its noise, its chaos, its rage, its talent, and its purity. If you’ve never heard anything like this before, don’t be scared. It’s just fucking music. Really loud, really angry, and really fucking good music.